When we bought our house, it was everything we wanted and didn’t want, all at the same time. It didn’t have the open kitchen and living area we hoped for, but it’s original kitchen was a great candidate for a remodel. It was also in the price range that allowed for us to do that. After looking at several houses, I figured out the only way I was going to get the kitchen I wanted was to buy a house that needed a new kitchen. We certainly weren’t going to replace perfectly good, new cabinets just because I wanted a different color. I was just excited a 1970s kitchen remodel was happening.
Original 1970s Kitchen
The original kitchen footprint was pretty large, but the layout didn’t work for us, since we really wanted it open to the living room. It was an eat-in kitchen with a table in the corner with a light fixture above, and the only path to the den was a doorway in the far left corner, right next to the stove–not exactly a natural pathway in and out.
There was tons of storage in the original kitchen, but it was not an efficient layout. The stove was off to itself and the dishwasher and refrigerator were all the way at the other end off to themselves. I really wanted to get a counter so we could have meals there and be a gathering place, but we went through a few options before we settled on one.
Having a bar in the location of the original stove with a pass-through to the den was considered, but ultimately, we didn’t really want to be eating IN the den, so that was nixed. We barely had room for an island, because it’s the room was still longer than it is wide, but eventually settled on a island with seating for four.
I was totally against the suggestion we leave the soffit, because it screamed DATED to me and if we were remodeling the kitchen, we might as well do it the way we wanted. So, we removed the soffit, all original light fixtures, and the chair rail. Then, we had to tackle the den.
We wanted an open kitchen and den, so we decided to take out that wall the stove was on and make it a large cased opening. We went with the cased opening so we would have some space to arrange furniture in the den.
After agonizing over all the flooring options (and there are a LOT), we settled on prefinished hardwood. We had to replace all of our particle board subfloor, since you can’t nail hardwood to it, but it was no big deal for our contractors. We had several types of flooring going on in the house–tile in the kitchen, laundry and baths; plush carpet in the bedrooms, living and dining rooms; berber carpet in the den and hall; and finally, parkay flooring in the foyer. I just wanted to find something that would work for most of the house and keep things cohesive.
Although the tile in the baths and kitchen was actually not that old, I knew I didn’t want tile in the kitchen. We kept it in the baths, but ran hardwood throughout the house (minus the bedrooms, where we put in carpet). It’s just the stock oak flooring at Home Depot, and I couldn’t be happier with its pretty golden tone in our house.
Taking out the floor wasn’t as simple as we thought. My husband had some friends from work come help do demolition with instructions on how to take it out. Something was lost in translation, and they finished removing ALL the tile in one hour. It turned out that they had used sledgehammers and made multiple holes in the subfloor that had to be patched, but boy, did they get it done!
We didn’t change a lot in the den, but the walls were all paneling, so we replaced everything with new drywall. The fireplace stayed the same, but got a fresh coat of paint in Sherwin Williams Dover White. And we added a ceiling fan and made the far doorway to the hall a cased opening to match the others in the house. The walls were painted Sherwin Williams Slate Tile.
We went with a Shaker-style cabinet, with white uppers and black lowers, a black island, and a wall of pantry cabinets in Benjamin Moore Coventry Grey. We moved the refrigerator to the other side and surrounded it with different depths of pantry cabinets. The sink stayed right under the window, with the dishwasher to the left, and the stove moved from the far wall to the right side of the sink. The island has plenty of cabinet storage, a couple bookshelves, and comfortably seats four.
The cabinets appear to go all the way up to our 8′ ceiling, with a piece of crown molding at the top. We painted the walls Sherwin Williams Rookwood Sash Green.
We considered everything from granite and quartz to laminate, but a simple white Corian countertop from Lowe’s proved to be the same price as laminate. I absolutely love the white counters. They are easy to keep clean, will not stain, and they still look great. The sink is seamlessly built in and we went with the 90-degree edge, not a beveled edge.
Our New Kitchen
We couldn’t be happier with our new layout and kitchen. It works so well for our family and I love being able to talk and interact with everyone while cooking. I love the clean lines and colors and hope this can serve as some inspiration if you have a dated kitchen you’re squinting to see what it COULD be.
Check out our very budget-friendly painted backsplash and think about adding a fun pattern to your kitchen. Even after a major renovation project, like our 1970s kitchen remodel, it’s still fun do update things every once in a while.