November 2nd, 2011

The kitchen needs a bit of help.

After sixty odd years of use, some parts of the kitchen (*cough* countertops *cough*) aren’t faring so well. Worn out, busted up, whatever you want to call it, this not looking clean thing isn’t cool anymore.

Seen from afar? Not so bad.

In person? Kind of gross.

Here’s my idea mash-up board. Now get in my kitchen all you things.

Of course any updates need to be affordable and the plan is to reuse some stuff that’s already laying around the house.


Counters :  IKEA Numerar. Cheap easy lovely wood. Not the dream top, but sometimes budget wins.
Hardware : Brass pulls you said? Possibly.
Paint : BM Kendall Charcoal. Actually just for use inside the cabinets.
Faucet : Still working on that. Something simple. Something affordable.
Backsplash : Kismet Tile – C4BW S17


Floors : Black VCT
Lighting : Danish copper cone
Chairs : Eames wire chairs
Sink : Our sink

Laure shot an incredible floor installation of Kismet tiles at Jon and Tyke’s new place. I’m in love with Tracey’s patterns and colorways and just the finish in general with these Moroccan-made cement tiles.

Hey now. This is the Kismet tile patten I’m currently digging.

Our black-splash area and the space behind the stove is pretty petite; we really only need about 60-ish sqft of tile to do the whole kitchen. I’m hoping that a nice dose of graphic black and white might just be thing to bring the wowser factor into what would be pretty basic overhaul and tweaking of the current kitchen…since the gut and rebuild strategy isn’t ever going to be an option.

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  1. GoodBonesVintageCo on 11/02/2011:

    I happen to have the Ikea wood countertops. Love them on the island (which is lovely and large and perfect for dinner parties.) Loathe them on the sink section of the countertops. Splashing + water + wood countertops = way more maintenance than I ever want. The Ikea peeps make it sound so simple and you think to yourself “sure I can oil the wood” but it is a freakin’ annoying and constant battle in the sink area. Of course, everyone who comes to the house LOVES them, so they’ve got the good-lookin’ thing going for them! 🙂 p.s. Love the tile and love the-brick-house!

  2. Helen on 11/02/2011:

    those pulls. I lurve them. Are you keeping your stove? I hope so…

  3. Amy on 11/02/2011:

    Your before shot looks beautiful, but I love the inspiration board, esp. the tiles. And I just painted the window trim outside my place Kendall Charcoal (rest of the house exterior is Duxbury Gray): great color!

  4. Dan @ Manhattan Nest on 11/02/2011:

    Yep. Perf.

  5. dabney on 11/02/2011:

    thanks for the introduction to those tiles. they are amazing.

  6. Florian on 11/02/2011:

    No you don’t! You are not doing your kitchen over, before I have done mine! It’s unkind, it’s unfair, it’s bad style. I mean, seriously. I will feel very bad about myself when you do that – do you want that? You can’t want that. You will feel bad yourself for making me feel bad. Just leave it for a while. Really, the kitchen looks fine, great even! Clean looking countertops are so yesterday.

  7. pam kueber on 11/02/2011:

    You new design looks great. You should definitely donate your old countertops to the Re-Store or put them on craigslist, though — there are lots of folks looking for vintage green (linen weave?) countertops like that, and they might be very happy to get them even though they are worn. Curious: What is the center-to-center of the cabinet pulls on your vintage Youngstowns?

  8. Emily on 11/02/2011:

    I think this will look really fantastic! I love the wood and brass/copper with the black, and your back splash idea is amazing!

  9. eliza on 11/02/2011:

    i like your plan, lady! it feels much more like you. i personally have always liked the turquoise counter tops, but they do feel a bit incongruous with the rest of the place. some pretty butcher block counters will look gorgeous!

  10. amy h on 11/02/2011:

    Does that mean you are replacing the existing light fixture? Noo! I love the one you have now. Love it. The new one is pretty, too, though.

  11. Call of the Small on 11/02/2011:

    Whoops! I thought you were going to post on the progress with your A-frame dollhouse kitchen! Any inspiration to be found here for that? 🙂

  12. Naomi on 11/02/2011:

    Your makeover inspiration board is phenomenal! I want your updated kitchen, that’s a real beautiful 180 turn.

  13. cottageofstone on 11/02/2011:

    LOVE your stove. I really do. LOVE!!

  14. Lena on 11/02/2011:

    Pity that the countertop are in such a bad state, I really love them! Excited to see what you will do, but I will mourn them for sure!

  15. saraht on 11/02/2011:

    Drool. That looks awesome.

    Just a tip: I went to an Ikea just north of Chicago last weekend to purchase the same countertops, and they had been out of stock since MAY. I was able to find them at another Ikea, but it was a bit of a chore.

  16. patrick on 11/02/2011:

    We purchased the oak numerar countertops and finished them with Waterlox. I initially put three coats on and wish that I had put on more, but overall the finish is holding up really well (including the areas around the sink). We undermounted an IKEA sink and it has held up pretty well. We don’t cut on it and try not to leave wet stuff on it too long, and it’s held up well (just over 6 months old).

    We previously had a butcher block top that was finished with Good Stuff (a gel urethane) and the zones around the sink were pretty stained black-ish.

  17. angela hardison on 11/02/2011:

    your stove is so incredible. coveting…

    the plan looks great! excited to see what you do with it.

  18. haus on 11/02/2011:

    this is exactly the type of re-do our own kitchen needs, and I’ve been thinking about doing the same countertops – can’t wait to see how it works for you. The tile is really cool, and I think it’ll look great. I love your stove – jealous!

  19. Aleah on 11/02/2011:

    Love the new style board. And just wanted to give my two cents about the Ikea butcher block counters. We have them (budget won for us too) and before we set anything on them, we sanded off the mineral oil finish Ikea puts on, then we stained and finished them with WaterLox. A-MAZING product, but it’s illegal in some areas (CA where we are) due to the fumes. We haven’t had any issues with water and we have these counter on our sink side. The only thing that ate the finish off – a cup of super strength Oxyclean solution I made up for pre-wash stain treatments. Left that sitting on the counter for two days and it made a ring 🙁 After a year, I was getting very lax about leaving stuff on the counters because i trust the Waterlox so much. I leave wet anything sitting on our counter – wet glasses, dishes drying on a towel, whatever. Good luck and I’m sure whatever you decide will be loved!

  20. patrick on 11/02/2011:

    For what it’s worth, Waterlox makes a VOC-compliant solvent that’s available for purchase in California (I’m here too).

    I purchased, but did not yet apply, a Waterlox matte top-coat product. I was concerned that finish would be too shiny, but it’s not bad at all.

  21. Katherine on 11/02/2011:

    how exciting! we just completely redid our kitchen, as well, and installed butcherblock countertops. my bf is a woodworker and very picky about anything wood related, and even he thought the ikea butcherblock tops are decent for the price. we totally tried to go that route, but as mentioned above, they were freaking sold out at all 3 northern california ikeas. we ended up ordering some through his work, and with the employee discount they came out a bit more than ikea.
    my advice (for what it’s worth) is to start looking for those ikea countertops ASAP.

  22. anna on 11/02/2011:

    fun! can’t wait to see what your kitchen transforms into. I’ve been waiting on new countertops!

  23. Heather on 11/02/2011:

    So it looks like I may be alone on this, and your inspiration is stunning, please don’t gut it! You have a beautiful vintage kitchen; many people are currently lusting over (see stove & countertop comments above ; ) the very things you are removing. I empathize with your desire for something new, and realize you will probably still rip out the old… so please donate everything including (are those metal? wow!) the cabinets. You will make all of us who adore vintage very happy. : )

  24. modernhaus on 11/02/2011:

    spending $$$ to remodel a room that you use only to store Diet Coke? Heck yes. I love it. Nice MC Escher tiles too!

  25. Lorena on 11/02/2011:

    What about concrete counters? A great diy project and super inexpensive not to mention gorgeous. As for cabinetry, keep the boxes and have new doors made. When i did my kitchen, i measured the original doors then went to Home Depot, had them cut out of mdf and then primed an painted myself. $100 including paint. With all yoyr savings splurge on tiles, faucett–the stuff that will give the kitchen its character.

  26. THE BRICK HOUSE on 11/02/2011:

    We aren’t replacing the cabinets or stove or ripping anything else out besides the countertops. It’s all going to be pretty superficial changes and I’m trying to keep the whole project super super cheap.

  27. Alex on 11/03/2011:

    I’ve been wondering about the same benchtops… I like the look of your plan! I got all excited when I clicked your NUMERÄR link before remembering it was of course the US Ikea site. The exact same benchtops are $480 in Australia! Grrr.

    But yes, same story at our place. Creepy benchtops, but I can live with the doors. (But if only it was simple and cheap to replace floor tiles!)

  28. Margarita Lorenzo on 11/03/2011:

    I know how you feel, in fact I have been waiting for anew kitchen and bathroom since i got this house, 4 years ago and counting…My mood board looks similar to yours, I think mine would come form ikea, with some other pieces and some vintage finds, good luck with it, as for myself i need to sell a lot of cushions to make it happen haha…

  29. erin@designcrisis on 11/03/2011:

    Those tiles are insane, and brass pulls DEFINITELY.

  30. Liza: Chair To Spare on 11/03/2011:

    I actually love the ‘before kitchen’ just the way it is! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

  31. Laura on 11/03/2011:

    I love this blog. I am seriously ripping off so many projects you have done, so I cracked up seeing that you chose the exact same handles that I am putting in my kitchen. Hooray for excellent taste. 😉
    If it helps at all, we ended up going with the Delta Trinsic faucet. It’s very simple and has a nice pull out spout.

  32. lara jane on 11/03/2011:

    Just thought I’d throw this out there:

    You can still buy boomerang laminate countertops, even with the metal edging.

    I love your kitchen now (if only from afar!). I’m sure it’ll be beautiful after the redo, too.

  33. Ryan on 11/03/2011:

    The brass pulls are awesome. I love the unvarnished brass. I know everyone is all “Waterlox. it’s amazing!” and I was going to go with it too, until I became a convert to PolyX Hard Wax Oil by OSMO. It’s a German manufacturer, but you should be able to easily find a SoCal distributor. I had to get mine from the West side of WA state since no one in my town carries it. Totally worth it. It has no polyurethane in it and is so easily maintained (way less than just oil) but provides good water resistance. I’m planning on refinishing the floors in my house with it when I get to that project eventually.

  34. jennifer on 11/03/2011:

    i love the wood countertop, un-lacquered brass is dreamy. I personally covet a HEATH tile backsplash. so many amazing choices . . .

  35. Claudia on 11/04/2011:

    I love your old stove — it’s a beauty. Glad to read you’re keeping it. I’ve been thinking about wood countertops too for our old house but after reading a few comments here, I’m not so sure. I just don’t want granite or anything too “new” for our vintage kitchen. Good luck with your project. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

  36. Nicole on 11/04/2011:

    I love the vintage counter tops as well as those you’ve chosen for new. Please, though, for me, tell me that you usually keep mountains of stuff on the counters that you cleared for the photo! You don’t? It is always that serene in your kitchen? It is only me with a bazillion canisters and “just for a second” drop-offs covering my counters? <>

  37. AC on 11/04/2011:

    Have you thought of soapstone countertops? They look gorgeous when oiled.

    Or Labtops are an option. They are heat, flame, chemical, and stain proof. You can get a sample request:

  38. Tyson on 11/05/2011:

    If you replace the light fixture, I hope you list the current one on etsy or ebay. I want it. 🙂

  39. Christa on 11/06/2011:

    Your plans sound solid and you always do a spectacular job. I think you should think about the sink – try finding a used sink that has some surround, like 12 inches on each side. Vintage porcelain, or used restaurant stainless. That way, the water on wood counter issue will be a lot less trouble. And it will give you something to thrift search for. I lurve your existing light fixture so if it has to go, sell it to me please.

  40. Amy on 11/08/2011:

    Love the site. Chicago Faucets are simple, inexpensive and made in the US.

  41. julia fain on 11/13/2011:

    our kitchen layout is really similar to yours (ours was built in 57). we’re planning a minor kitchen remodel too. look forward to seeing what you do. does your kitchen have enough countertop space? thats one of our biggest issues…oh and I like the butcherblock, affordable and well designed. we’re planning either that or concrete

  42. Sarah on 11/23/2011:

    It breaks my heart to see that laminate go! My vote is replace with another laminate with metal edging (not that I get a vote) so you keep the vintage flair. There are many great options with laminate reproductions.

  43. Jenn on 01/04/2012:

    Oh my God yes, yes and more yes.

    We are also considering replacing our counters with wood. Currently we have granite. Which, contrary to most people, we HATE. Hate hate hate. We want butcher block-ish. We also want a similar giant farmhouse/apron type sink. Probably porcelain, not steel.

    Check out pre-move-in photos of our condo, circa 2009. Since this is about kitchens, ignore all the photos that aren’t the kitchen. We have removed the penis-peninsula and taken down all the hideous builder-grade mis-matched upper cabinets. Next step – repaint a lovely robin’s egg blue and white subway tile backsplash. Hopefully butcher block counters and non-hideous cabinets under. Upper will be open stainless shelves. At least this is the plan.

  44. Isabelle on 02/17/2013:

    We have the IKEA wooden countertops and I am happy but sloppy with them ;-)) We have the Boholmen sink with 1 bowl and 1 drainer, which was in the “kick-out-area” for 5 bucks. The sink is great in quality (expected much less) and no rpoblem with water splashing. I only wish the bowl was bigger (saw that in the US exists a model with a bigger one). To protect the wood, I use the “Pröjs” desk protection in the area where I do my chopping, spilling and splashing, works winderfully as a baking matt; for cutting I am using cutting boards. Hot kettles and pots get cork coasters. And the wood looks like on the first day 6 years ago.

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