Mid-Century Renovation: Kitchen

This week’s blog features our mid-century Kitchen renovation. If I had to say which change was the most significant one in our mid-century renovation, I would have to say that opening up the wall between the Kitchen and Dining Area had the greatest impact.


Originally, there was a 3 foot opening with swinging louvered doors – think Gunsmoke, but not as charming. We removed the doors and extended the opening another 3′. The linoleum flooring was removed, and the hardwood floors were extended for continuous flow between the two spaces.


After much discussion, we decided to work with the existing cabinetry. The new cabinets had been installed approximately 10 years ago, and they were in relatively good shape. Although the clear finish on the natural maple cabinets would not have been my first choice – I do love a white Kitchen – with all of the other renovations that needed to be made, we could not justify replacing or even painting the existing cabinetry.

I truly believed that once we made other improvements – changing the countertops, adding a backsplash, installing stainless steel appliances, etc. – the cabinets would recede into the background.

With the new opening, we had to reconfigure the space. I really had to think about how we would use the space. In our previous home, we had a small island with seating. Since the Dining Area is so small, it was important for us to add seating in the Kitchen which we did with a peninsula. The other advantage of the layout was the peninsula added lots of counter space for prep work.

Robin Cole Louisville KY Interior Designer Robin's Nest Interiors Home Decor Accessories

Another obstacle was the lack of a pantry. We decided to install a tall pantry cabinet with a built-in microwave. I will say my husband Tom was not happy and still is not happy about the amount of space the microwave takes up. He thinks we never use it – that is because when he is home on the weekends, I actually cook. When he is traveling during the week, the microwave is my best friend! He does love the pull out shelves we added for ease of access.

Robin Cole Louisville KY Interior Designer Robin's Nest Interiors Home Decor Accessories

Robin Cole Louisville KY Interior Designer Robin's Nest Interiors Home Decor Accessories


To finish off the cabinetry, we added oversized crown molding on top, molding to the bottom of the cabinets – this is a must! – and updated hardware.


I love, love, love carrara marble, but it is not a practical countertop for a Kitchen. My absolute favorite countertop material is quartz. I was able to find a quartz with the look of marble so it was a win-win. My favorite sink material is granite composite – good looking and easy to maintain. I selected a metallic gray finish which contrasts nicely with the countertop. Doing my research on the backsplash material that would have been used in the 50s, and if a material was used, it would have been glass. I wanted to use my favorite color green in the Kitchen so we went with 3×6 glass subway tiles for an updated look. We went with stainless steel on the appliances. A chimney style vent hood definitely makes a statement in this small space.


We painted the walls Benjamin Moore’s Nantucket Gray HC-111 to blend with the backsplash. Our Kitchen faces the street so the window treatments were important. I had functioning custom roman shades made is a beautiful crewel fabric. We also added fabric with our tufted counter stools. Fortunately, the previous homeowner had added recessed lighting. Adding under cabinet lighting is a must! – and decorative pendants over the peninsula. We had to be mindful of our cabinet door swing so we could not have two pendants. I decided to install 3 in a cluster and hang them at varying heights.

Next Steps

I am still in the process of selecting accessories for this mid-century kitchen renovation. I do not like a lot of clutter on the countertops so I want to make the most of the few I have. Right now we are using these vibrant lidded jars as canisters. Are they practical? Probably not. Are they fabulous? Most definitely!

We had many things go wrong during the mid-century Kitchen renovation – the pantry cabinet had to be replaced, the wrong faucet was installed, our countertop was damaged, etc. Anyone been through or going through a renovation, believe me – I feel your pain. But I am so pleased with the final product so it was definitely worth it. And when I look at the Kitchen now, I think the cabinets are just perfect for the space. Can I tell myself “I told me so?”! Enjoy!

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