A kitchen face-lift

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Inspired Home magazine.

Our kitchen is original to our 1950s cottage, and so it’s a fairly simple, basic space. It has a long peninsula counter that splits that kitchen from the dining room. The narrow U shape of the kitchen means that if the oven or dishwasher doors are down, you can’t get past them, and there are a lot of “excuse mes” said over and over if more than one person is in the small space.

It’s a very workable but unremarkable kitchen with a relatively low-grade countertop surface and plywood cabinet doors that we have painted a number of times over the years. But we have had a number of excellent parties and meals come out of this kitchen over the years, regardless its missing modern amenities.

A few of the houses in our neighborhood have done a total renovation on their kitchen and dining rooms—knocking out the wall between those rooms and the third bedroom on the main floor. That means that suddenly, these little starter homes have very large, modern kitchen and dining rooms, replete with granite or concrete counter tops, high-end gas ovens and stove tops and even room for sitting beyond the table. In short, they are fabulous.

But we never intended to put that kind of money into this house, and I like the third bedroom, which I use as a sitting room and office for writing.

Last summer we met a local company that came to give us a quote for wrapping the cabinets in a new surface but keeping the boxes and putting down new countertops and a new sink.

The price was fair, and we went with them.

As we started to look around the kitchen, it seemed like the perfect time to give the whole space a refresh. The day I bought the house, my husband and son painted two of the walls a burnt orange to go along with the green walls on the other two. I have loved those deep colors, but it was time to simplify.

We went with a much more minimalist look, choosing a very pale gray, bordering on white. My husband talked me into going with a slightly darker gray for the border and trim—something I was absolutely opposed to, but in the spirit of compromise said yes to. Turns out his instinct was right, and I like the darker accent now.

The cabinets are wrapped in a slate gray, and the doors have a slight wooden texture to them. The countertops are cream marbled with apricot and gray. 

We lightened up the space, modernized it and made it a more inviting area. We still can’t open the stove or dishwasher and do much else, but this facelift gave us the kind of upgrade that is just perfect for us. And our parties and meals somehow taste even better.

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