Peeling Back the Layers in our 1952 Kitchen

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The demo continues.

As much as I dislike the mess, the history of my kitchen has me intrigued. How cool (and many times sad) to find what is hidden behind the years of upgrades in our Mid-Century modest home.

Hubby is busy extending the soffit in the kitchen to accommodate the new upper cabinets. A few of the older (we thought original) ceiling tile had to be removed. What we found was that the ceiling had been painted shiny copper at one time!

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Maybe it was painted to match this copper tile back splash that was also hidden long ago?

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You can see part of the original varnished upper cabinets before they met with a paint brush. I bet they looked pretty spiffy with that copper tile back splash, a copper painted ceiling and the adjoining knotty pine mud room!  I like to imagine that it had copper Colonial style lighting, cool bark cloth curtains and maybe copper or black colonial hardware on those pretty wood cabinets. Maybe the Mrs. here had copper canisters? Or maybe a weather vane wall hanging?

There is also evidence of salmon, minty green, red and bright turquoise paint on the walls. Sadly, at some point all the original ranch style trim was painted. Sigh…

This wall between the kitchen and mudroom has us confused:

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We think the smaller doorway to the left was added later? I cannot imagine the original plans called for a single doorway within inches of a double doorway.

All of the plaster had to be removed so the contractor could see what he was dealing with structurally. The header will have to be replaced so we can remove that center post.

This wall is going to be opened up to the living room to accommodate a snack bar area. We will then be able to view the fireplace from the kitchen and it will help with serving when we are entertaining. The bar top will match the retro patterned Wilsonart counters going in the kitchen.

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All of the beige back splash tiles came down, along with much of the plaster behind it. The walls will have to be repaired. We will be using the same Wilsonart laminate for the back splash.

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Has anyone ever seen copper painted ceilings (or walls)? Was that a common mid-century finish or maybe just something done on a whim by an adventurous homeowner?

Renovation Updates on My Mid-Century Kitchen and Bath

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Things are moving along here at the ranch, albeit a little slowly. Hubby is trying to do much of the work himself, while our easy going contractor juggles multiple jobs and stops in to direct Hubby and save us money.

The plumber has nearly finished his work. While we had the mess he installed another air conditioning vent in my large kitchen area and added another air return. In our hot and humid Midwest summers my kitchen was just not as cool as the rest of our home. He also had to update the old cast iron plumbing in our main bath, where our washer and dryer will be located.

As you know, we have tried to re-use “original” as much as possible and in the hall bath we kept the cabinet doors that were taken off of the wall of built-ins, had them cut down and used them for the vanity. We kept the old kitchen cabinet hardware and reused it in the bath. I think it looks pretty good!

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We also used that same hardware on the cabinets that we kept for the laundry area:

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Hubby added shelving and made doors for the top area (which was non functional). I now have more storage!

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The kitchen is still in the demo stage. This is a little unnerving, as my crock pot sits in the bedroom and the disposable dishes are sitting by the fireplace in the living room.

This doorway to the 3/4 bath is being closed up and moved around the corner into the knotty pine mudroom. This change will give me a better working area for the kitchen. Besides I don’t really think you should see into the bathroom while sitting at the kitchen table.

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We found the original copper wall tiles still hidden behind the built in micro/ hood. How sad that someone covered them with beige ceramic tile :-(

This center post is also being taken down to help with the flow of the room. There will be shallow base cabinets and uppers where the washer/ dryer are now.

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This wall will be partially opened up for a bar/ serving area in the living room. We will have a great view of the fireplace from the kitchen!

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We will be installing IKEA cabinets and appliances. We have purchased Armstrong VCT flooring in retro aqua, gray and charcoal.  Wilsonart laminate counter tops are being made in a few new throwback patterns so we have picked “Betty”.  We will also be adding retro sputnik lighting. A great seller on Etsy supplied me with 20 yards of vintage atomic bark cloth fabric for window coverings.

Stay tuned!

A Nice Surprise in the Tiled Hall Bath

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As you know, we have begun our multi-room reno here at the ranch. Since we are gutting the kitchen, the washer and dryer have to be moved to a new location to make way for the new kitchen design.

Here they are now in the knotty pine mud room adjacent to the kitchen:knotty pine 008

We have decided to move them back to their original location in the hall bath. From what we can tell, they have been in 3 different areas of the home: the hall bath, the basement work room and the kitchen/ mud room.

Our decision to move them to the hall bath was really an accident. Shortly after moving in, I kept getting a whiff of gas near the front door and on the porch. It simply did not make sense that there would be gas there, as the only other gas appliances in the house at the time were the water heater and boiler in the basement.

Hubby got out his flashlight and bravely went into the crawl space. What he found was an old gas line running to my hall bathroom. It had only been shut off, not capped. There was the origin of the leaking gas.

He also found that there were water supply lines and a drain. We started to sleuth around in the bathroom in the area of the floor-to-ceiling built ins.

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We removed the bottom drawers and found that the tile floor extended to the wall under them and that the tiled wall was still behind. The cabinets must have been a later addition.

This week DH dismantled them and here is what we found:

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So this is where the washer and dryer will be located! That bathroom is plenty big and moving them back in there allows me more cabinets for my kitchen. Yay!

We will need the plumber to come and move the exhaust for the dryer. The old one was vented into a pipe that went up through the roof. That is no longer “code” here so he will run a new line down to the crawl space and out the foundation wall. He explained that the moisture from the wet clothes froze in the winter and clogged the pipe. It required getting up on the roof to clear it out. Not something we want to do with snow on the roof!

Stay tuned for our work in progress.