Last year Alison & Dana contacted me for a consultation to take a look at their 1959-original kitchen. They had been living in the house a few years and had grown somewhat attached to the vivid turquoise appliances and formica, but a few leaky pipes and electrical fires necessitated a big improvement. Top on their list were new appliances, functioning cabinets, retro finishes, and a bright, airy feeling.
Alison & Dana’s old kitchen was a time machine back to another era, with the deep brown cabinets and panelling, and patterned vinyl flooring. The cabinets were pretty difficult to access, and there was minimal counter space. But check out that oven! With the new kitchen design, we were headed to a more considerate space for Alison and Dana, but reminiscent of this 50’s joyful, graphic punch.
One of the obvious goals was to lighten and de-clutter the small space. The old oven cabinet sat like a big box at the corner of the room, so we chose a range and integral vent hood, and left the corner open for a little breathing room.
We chose all white appliances to save a little bit of money and help brighten the space that much more. The white range and brushed aluminum backsplash are a fresh combination, but still a bit retro.
Alison is a wheelchair user, so it was very important to make the kitchen more accessible. The base cabinets have a 10″ toe kick to allow her chair to pull as close as possible to the countertop, and the upper shelves are now within reach. We all liked how the aluminum laminate at the toe kick really brightened up that space that’s usually dark and cobwebby.
The old kitchen had a heaviness in the form of an overhead soffit and upper cabinet doors. It was such a relief to demo these things and bring more light to the work surfaces. We kept the panelling at the walls, but painted them Folk Art green.
Color was a big part of this kitchen design, and came about gradually through our meetings and finish selections. We knew we wanted that light green at the walls, and played off that with a slightly darker green, Sweet Daphne, at the middle drawers. The turquoise, St. Lucia Teal (inspired by the old ovens!) came next, and then the fire-hot Jupiter Glow on the inside cabinet walls.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the incredible cabinetry… this was all done custom by RubyAnne Designs. Owner Michael Winningham, and his lead cabinet maker Matthew Herndon-Prine, put so much effort into the design and fabrication of these cabinets. This is true European-style cabinetry, with an exposed baltic birch plywood edge. They also sampled many variations of the Pecan stain and satin finish to achieve that consistent coloring, but fall within our budget.
Matt did a great job building this end-wall pantry cabinet. It really shows off the attention to the finish and careful paint job. I love the way Alison and Dana personalized each cubby and found a special place for tiny sculptures, spices, kitchen items, and produce.
And I’m so glad we found a place for Dana’s spice jars!
The dining room got quite the makeover, too. The new light green walls really make the vintage hutch and china cabinet sing. Before, they were camouflaged into the panelling!
The diner edge-banding was a great way to incorporate the retro look and save a huge amount on the countertop costs. Don’t underestimate the power of WilsonArt laminate tops! Unfortunately they don’t manufacture the pattern with the little boomerangs anymore, but white will always be a classic.
It was such a good feeling to see this kitchen come together. Aside from the fact that it really needed a new look, Alison and Dana can enjoy a space that is much easier to use and share with friends. It was such a pleasure to work with them and RubyAnne to realize the design.
Contractor: Michael Winningham of Ruby Anne Designs, LLC
Photography: Valarie L. Campbell