February 12, 2017

East Grand Rapids Midcentury Kitchen | Before & After

I LOVE walking into a midcentury home and seeing potential to retain some of the original features, but also see the opportunity make it more modern for living in 2017 and beyond. Original cabinetry, lighting, tile bathrooms, and other midcentury details may seem "dated" to some (most?) people, but to me, they are what makes a midcentury home unique and currently, very desirable.  My clients bought this midcentury modest two-story for their growing family. They purchased it directly from the original owner's son in their dream neighborhood. It isn't the most modern home on the exterior, but a lot of midcentury modern details were intact inside. Some of my favorites include: split level living! tile bathrooms! "rumpus room" with awesome fireplace downstairs! super cool interior doors into the formal living room! I was obviously gushing thru the whole home tour.

While my clients loved much of the house the way it was and didn't plan to change much, everyone agreed the kitchen needed updating, myself included. It was a traditional U-shape kitchen: small, closed off, and the appliances had seen better days. The light fixtures were okay, but the wallpaper was heavy & dark, and that support column at the end of the peninsula had to go. The floors were in dire need of replacing.
 As chance would have it, Greg and I were asked to film a pre-pilot television show last year (more on that experience soon!), and the timing worked out that we would do the work for my clients pro-bono to create some demo footage. While Greg and I don't normally do demolition, we needed some dust on film so it worked in our favor to take on this project. Thankfully, my sweet clients were okay with us doing the dirty work!

Bruce (pictured on the left) is a huge part of my construction team (he's my go-to contractor & cabinet builder extraordinaire) and was able to get that lam beam in before we started with the walls.

For the filming portion, Bruce, Greg and I took out the portion of the kitchen we were getting rid of - a small pantry and partial wall between the kitchen & living room, plus that dated peninsula.

The cabinets were in decent shape, and while we did talk about recreating the entire wall of cabinets, it came down to dollars & cents. At this time, we decided to keep the wall of cabinets, but have Bruce match the new ones to the old ones - the new ones don't have pulls quite yet (below). It's quite seamless and Bruce did a wonderful job making them look like they were original.
 As you can see in this after photo, we changed the U-shape to an L-shape, and added a large island - enough seating for all their kids! One of the biggest things I'm happy the decided to do is continue the original oak hardwood flooring into the kitchen. The kitchen floor was some sort of laminate that was ready to be replaced. Continuing the oak flooring and having everything refinished really makes the whole first level flow well - it looks original to the house!

The client hired me design the new layout and hired Bruce to do the work, but they picked out all the finishes themselves with a teensy guidance from me. They decided on classic white subway tile, modern open shelving, white quartz for the island and gray laminate countertops for the surrounding L.

To save money, we kept the appliances in the same exact locations, and were able to keep the original hood, which I personally LOVE. The main light is certainly atomic (and original!), and they sourced some simple globe lights to replace the 70s pendants that used to hang over the peninsula.

This was such a fun project for me because it's not often I walk into an original kitchen. Thank you to M&M for allowing me to work on this project for you - it was such a fun one and I LOVE how it turned out. 

2 thoughts:

Melissa Arnold February 13, 2017 at 7:35 PM  

This looks amazing and seamless. I can't wait to hear about the filming! Please say you're going to have a mid century modern reno show!!!

Dave February 20, 2017 at 12:43 PM  

I'm purchasing an MCM in Battle Creek with similar kitchen layout. I would be very interested in speaking with the contractor that did this work. Thanks.

BTW...fantastic design!

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True Home Restorations
PO Box 552
Grand Haven, MI 49417
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Grand Haven, Michigan, United States
Midcentury enthusiast • Home restorer • Wife to Greg • Mom to Eames & Adler • I brake for breeze blocks™