When we moved into this house the kitchen still had the original cabinets and counter tops, but the wallpaper, flooring, stove and refrigerator all dated to the 1970s. Harvest gold prevailed, but it didn't match the mint green gold-specked Formica which has a lot of wear and two burn marks. We hated the updates, and they had to go fast.
The pull-down lamp in the kitchen is original and it was one of the things I MADE SURE would convey when we made the offer on the house. The Nutone intercom system is original too. You can also see the sputnik ceiling lamp I added in the dining room not long after we moved in.
I am not a big fan of wallpaper,and this pattern did not appear to be original so it was one of the first things we removed. The immediate goal in the kitchen was to make it more usable since we didn't have the cash to redo it, and I didn't want to gut it anyway.
The 1970s harvest gold side-by-side refrigerator was one of the first things that went. We've never liked side-by-sides. I was probably about three years ahead of when these would start to gain in popularity, so I had it hauled away when the new fridge was delivered.
A shot of the dinette I found on ebay about six years ago. All of the seat cushions were trashed and I've since had the seats recovered with red cracked ice vinyl. This shot shows the white walls after we had removed the wallpaper. (The white is something I'd like to replace, but for now it's serviceable).
Next to go was the awful flooring. Don't get me wrong, in a 1970s time capsule home it would be OK, but here, ugh.
At the time, I had been dying to find an old 1950s style dinette and do the kitchen in more of a complementary style, with black and white checkerboard composite tiles. I got that done, but I'm already bored with the checkerboard floor and the dirt it shows.
Here's a more recent picture of the same area.
Next we debated about the cabinets.
Please don't shoot me, but I was dumb dumb dumb, and it didn't take me long to realize it. I should have carefully sanded and refinished the worn cabinets (I'm guessing they were shellacked), but instead I made what I consider a really stupid decision.
Paint them white maybe? No. I opted instead to....
Paint them black. Gloss black. Ugh. I hated them from the moment I installed the last door and drawer. The kitchen is as dark as a cave. But this is what we've had to live with for several years now. I'm a lot wiser, thanks mainly to Pam's Retrorenovation.com blog and website, and to a lot of reading other blogs and looking at a lot of photos of vintage kitchens.
Also since the "blackout", I picked up our Shasta camper. And while researching how to repair the water-damaged birch paneling, I learned more about shellac. The amber shellac I used in the Shasta has a really nice golden amber glow, and I'm thinking that is what I want to get our kitchen cabinets back to.
I really like the copper-colored original hinges and cabinet handles, so they will stay. The handles are showing wear, but I can spray those with a copper metallic paint and then clear coat them and they should be as good as new.
So there you have it. My deep dark, gloss black secret.
These things have a way of influencing other decisions and timing. I've delayed trying to install and test the great Frigidaire Flair double oven because I need to make some decisions about the black paint and counter tops too, and the Flair is so battleship heavy I'm going to need hire some guys to move it in before I can even test it, then I would have to be able to move the oven out of the way again to work on counter tops, backsplash, etc.
So I've been sort of paralyzed by thinking and by knowing what I'll be getting in to once I start. Yesterday I took the plunge. I pulled two top cabinet doors and started stripping off the black paint. I'm going to do them one at a time, and then shellac those pieces. Stripping the black from the cabinet fronts is going to really be a drag, but it will have to be done too. And through all of this I'll have to keep the kitchen usable.
Next post I'll give a progress report on how the first doors are coming along.