Kitchen Remodel Project

Here is the kitchen that my parents have cooked in since the mid 70s. The house was built in the early 60s. Not one bit of touch up or improvements have been made in over 30 years.

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For the last 15 years my mother and father have been planning a kitchen remodel. By planning I mean having a discussion that would within minutes devolve into a War of Wills, with my father storming off in a huff, and my mother retreating into passive aggressive silence. If you wanted to drop a bomb in the living room, all you had to do was say the words “kitchen remodel”. Tensions would rise, past unproductive actions would be revisited, the noise volume would increase, and finally all discussion of the prospect would be tabled, so the arguing parties could recover before the next idiot kid brought it up with them again.

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You see, the problem with a kitchen remodel is that there are simply too many decisions to make. It’s a huge project, and when the kitchen in question will be used by avid cooks, not one that you take lightly. Dad wanted 2 sinks, 2 ovens, and a gas range. Mom wanted induction, and frankly would probably be perfectly happy with the existing kitchen if there just weren’t other people in it also wanting to cook. Yet at least 2 people share the kitchen in the house, and when I’m around, that makes 3. Back to the decisions. Kitchen layout, should you push out the house (they are) or make do with existing dimensions, appliances – ovens, refrigerator, stove top, dishwasher, sinks, counter tops, cabinets, lighting, flooring, colors, tile, drawers, pantry, room for cookbooks, island or no island, and the list goes on.

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Last year my father asked me to project manage the kitchen project. I think perhaps he thought we could bypass my mother and just get it done. I said I would if he and mom could agree on exactly what role they wanted me to play.

I never heard from either one of them about this again.

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And then, as if a remodeling fairy had alighted on our house and sprinkled fairy dust over my parents, mom and dad went off to a local builder‘s public presentation about how they do remodels. The company does everything – architecture, design, general contracting.

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Thank God.

A reputable firm who could gently guide my parents into a plan.

So they could have a nice kitchen “while they’re still alive” (quote my dad).

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And now, after months of planning, with surprisingly few meltdowns from either camp (talking about the parents here, not the builders who are peaches to work with), demolition has begun.

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Foundation has been laid. The outside wall and roof built. (They are pushing out the back of the house by 6 feet. And that quaint little kitchen with the paint peeling off of practically every surface (don’t even get me going about the tile grout), is now wrecked and piled up in a heap in a garbage container the size of the driveway (which is where it is sitting, btw).

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The porch has been pulled down from the back of the house, and another has risen its place, with a new gabled roof.

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Sort of giving it a Whole Foods look.

Dad gave me a mischievous look yesterday and said, “I think I’ll tell the builders we’ve changed our minds, and want to put everything back the way it was.”

Update See the update of our kitchen remodel with photos of the brand new kitchen here.

85 Comments

  1. Jeanette

    Oh my, oh my, oh my….

    I never knew hood vents came in that color:))))

    It will be very interesting to compare the after to the before.

  2. Lauren

    It’s a big job isn’t it. I re-did my kitchen last year about 6 months after I moved into my new house. It’s soooo much better!! Trust me, your parents won’t regret it :-)

  3. CJ

    Oh, I have kitchen remodel envy.
    When this is done, they’ll both wonder why they took so long to do this. It’s going to be GREAT!! Can’t wait to the the next batch of pics.
    p.s. I’m with your Dad on the two ovens. I am the only cook in my house and I want two ovens too.

  4. Brook

    Wow! I can’t believe it only took 15 years for them to do this! My in-laws have decided that whatever is done in their house can just wait until they’re dead and the kids can deal with it then. Actual quote. And they have alot of years ahead of them. I love the way the back of the house is shaping up, the prairie/bungalow hybrid is great. I recently got a duel oven range, duel fuel also and I must say that 2 ovens are the bomb. I have no idea what I did without my stove. I love it and it or one similar will be with me wherever we go. I love your posts.

  5. rob

    For some reason, I find the old drawer and cabinet fronts very charming!

  6. Alanna @ Kitchen Parade

    Oh it just so goes to show that it doesn’t take a fancy kitchen to cook. Twill be great fun to see your parent’s project coming out the other side …

  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Wahoo! Having remodeled three kitchens, one of them twice (took me a while to get it right…), I can tell you that keeping your sense of humor during the construction is the key!

  8. Sophia

    LOL. What an adventure. Here’s me happy for you & your parents! In the meantime – where do you all cook? Reminds me of a cooking book, julie & julia. Very funny read.

    I rent a house in the neighborhood, where my parents are coming to cook and eat for the next several months. ~Elise

  9. John P

    Funny, my mother just finished remodeling her kitchen. It looks amazing, but all I have to say is be wary of builders, know exactly what you want, and be very specific – they will try to cut corners and screw you at every turn. Perhaps this is a gross generalization, but it’s amazing how many times the contractor tried to con my mom by saying “this is how everyone does it.” But I do wish you best of luck, it is really a sight to behold when the dust settles.

  10. Sheila Murphey

    Thanks for the humerous article about the “KITCHEN REMODEL”. Agreeing on a remodel is probably a common issue for couples. If their marriage stays intact (which I am sure it will) they will both agree that they should have done it a long time ago!

    I think after almost 50 years of marriage, they just finally gave up on fighting each other over the remodel, recognizing that they both need to compromise. I expect that no matter how well the kitchen turns out my mom will be pining for the original, that’s just the way she rolls. Dad will finally be happy to cook in a kitchen where he isn’t always bumping his head on the cabinets. :-) ~Elise

  11. Edward

    My grandparents had the very same cabinets, except w/ gold paint in the grooves, and Avocado appliances…

  12. Kristi

    Congrats to your parents on the new kitchen! No doubt it will be gorgeous and a pleasure to work, eat and spend time in. However, I have to admit that when I look at the pictures of the old, time-worn kitchen, I see a lot of love – of cooking, of home and of family – treasures which no modern appliance or fixture can replace.

  13. Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    Oh I love remodels!! And I’m jealous – we can barely fit more than two people in our tiny kitchen and would love to build out from the back of the house. Maybe one day…

    can’t wait to see new updates!

  14. Cheryl S.

    I nearly spit coffee all over my monitor when I saw the first photos. Those look like exactly the same cabinets that were in the previous house I owned. Although mine were in great condition – the previous owner did a fantastic job of repainting them. The colors were softened a bit though – ivory and sort of a sage green. I’d always assumed the cabinets were originally dark, but looking at these, I’ll bet this was the original color.

  15. elizabeth (brooklyn supper)

    I absolutely love all the wear marks on the drawers and cabinets, though I guess it’s time for them to go. Glad you documented the old, well-loved, kitchen. Clearly, I am very nostalgic.

  16. Rhonda

    We are on the tail end of a massive kitchen remodel, too. It has now been 7 months and I finally have a sink again! You don’t realize how much you take those little things for granted! We are slowly getting things back together, due to how much work we wanted to do we have taken it on entirely ourselves (we had the kitchen down to the studs). My husband is thankfully skilled enough to have handled the job, with minor, untalented help from me ;-). I can’t wait to see the after pictures, I’m sure your parents will be thrilled!

  17. Sara

    Good luck to your parents on their remodel.

    Just this week Bittman was writing about not needing much to cook well. I think having a nice kitchen makes it easier and a little more fun.

    Please show us the results if you can.

  18. Nancy

    Your parents will NOT regret the remodel!! We did that in our first home and it was the same age and that long since anything had been done. We bought it KNOWING that was the first thing to happen! lol

    I have to admit that the home we’re in now, I insisted that it be turn-key ready. No more remodeling!

    Can’t wait to see the AFTER pics.

  19. Anita / Married ...with Dinner

    wow.

    just wow.

    I thought the kitchen we demolished was long overdue… but I think your parents win. :D

    I can’t wait to see more pix as you progress.

    Yah think? LOL. ~Elise

  20. Rita

    Parents are hard to raise aren’t they?;o)

    I’ve lived through several of my parents redecorating adventures with kitchens and bathrooms. Of course, they never asked my opinion…though they have to live with it.

    I think one of the reasons I moved out after high school was to NOT have to look at the “gawd awful, burnt orange and brown, loud floral printed wallpaper” that used to scream at me every morning. I hated the wallpaper from the moment they brought it home. When I moved out, they replaced it with something soft peach and taupe. Hmmm…now that I think about it, maybe it was there was to get me out on my own earlier. LOL

    Good luck and I too am anxious to see the “after” pictures.

  21. tim

    We are going through a kitchen remodel right now and the kitchen that was gutted here puts our old kitchen to shame. Fortunately, we have a Saladmaster electric pan. I have made everyting from Chinese, to Italian to Mexican in the pan over the past three weeks. (With three more to go.) My wife continues to give me kudos on creativity working with that pan. No microwave – no toaster oven. We’re living pretty close to the vest, but not starving. Kids are having fun too. In tough times, and remodels are exceedingly tough, have fun. Lots of veggies, basic meats, sauces and rice.

    Have fun

  22. Ken

    Um, you will be posting pics of the final remodel, no?

    Of course! In the meantime you can follow the kitchen remodel project on my Flickr page. I’ll add photos as the project progresses. ~Elise

  23. waisze

    I actually like the old worn in look. I especially love the photo with the knives up against the side of the cupboard. I’m sure the “remodel” will be fabulous!

  24. Nicole

    I love renos! I can’t wait to see the “after” pics! Don’t hold out! :)

  25. Kalyn

    How fun seeing the progress. Can’t wait to see the final kitchen. I’m sure they’re going to love it, even your mom, once she gets used to the idea of a different kitchen.

  26. janice

    Been there and by there I mean remodeling hell. But redoing a kitchen is the most exciting thing once it’s done. It actually made our marriage stronger. When one of us lost it, the other would root the other on.

    Good luck to your parents and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  27. Shawn

    When I read this I too recalled Bittman’s article on not needing a fancy kitchen to cook. But it still came as a huge shock to see people who create such gorgeous-looking food leave their kitchen in such a state of disrepair. Astounding! I’m very happy that they’re finally doing something about it.

    I think the rational was, why fix X when we are just going to remodel? The problem was that the remodel kept on getting put off because they couldn’t agree on how to proceed. Now that they are in the midst of it, they are both delighted with the prospect of a new kitchen (and so am I!) ~Elise

  28. Asha

    That kitchen is proof that one doesn’t need gleaming acres of modern appliances to make great food. I think it’s charming and really more shabby chic than seventies. My bathroom, on the other hand, did not escape the horror of the seventies decor and is a revolting pea-soup green.

  29. TikiPundit

    Wow, love the wear and tear on the cabinets — this has been an ACTIVE kitchen, and one can only imagine the great food that came out of it.

    Good luck with the renovation — and more pictures, please.

  30. Lori

    With a boyfriend of 14 years who is a custom cabinet maker (yes…you read that right), I have been jealous of all of the kitchen remodels he has been a part of (I’m guessing at least 30 of them). That said, even though my kitchen is a “one butt” kitchen built in 1953, after looking at these photos, I don’t feel so bad about it. Thank you for reinforcing my decision years ago not to paint my cabinets…

  31. Theresa

    I agree with Jeanette, my thoughts were “Oh my, oh my, oh my! How could it be so bad after 30 years… oh yes, they did a lot of cooking in there.” I love the pictures. They are actually cute cabinets and probably stylish for the time period. Can’t wait to see the after pictures. Congrats to your parents for setting aside their differences and getting some help. I’m sure they’ll wonder why on earth they didn’t do it sooner. :)

    Yep, it’s sort of like airing one’s dirty laundry, but a cook’s version. And a reason why I have avoided all food blog events around the theme of “show us your kitchen!” Uh, I think not. The kitchen has certainly seen a lot of use over the decades. ~Elise

  32. Elise

    For those who have asked, when the kitchen is finally finished, which should be in about 3 months (mid March 2009), I may very well give an update here on this site. In the meantime, any photos I take of the remodel project, I’ll add to this Flickr set.

    Thanks for all of your comments! I’ve been reading them to my parents, much to their enjoyment.

  33. corynne escalante

    Wow. That’s exciting! After all this time, I’m sure your parents deserve this. You’ve got to give them props for sticking with the old for so long… good luck!

  34. Shanan

    We just finished a large remodel including the kitchen and kind of like having your first child, nothing anyone said could prepare me for the journey that was ahead. Thank goodness upon its completion, a dear friend told me, “Don’t worry if you don’t love it right away. It may take some time to feel right. To feel like you.” Because after more money than I thought I would ever have access to spending, the remodel is now done and I’m sad to say… “I DON’T love it.” Isn’t that horrible? I mean, it’s everything I wanted, but now that it’s in – there’s such a part of me wanting to scream out, “did you really need this? Couldn’t you have just made do?” But with my friend’s advice and some good time between the pain of the remodel and the good memories we’ll build in the new place, I know it’ll get better. In the meantime, I just have to tell myself – as your parents should remind themselves whenever they get overwhelmed – I deserved it. I worked hard, and I deserved it. Now did I NEED it? Nah, purely all for want. :)

  35. Jessica

    We cooked on the camping stove and did dishes in the bathroom for the duration of our kitchen/dinning room remodel. We ended up with one of the horror stories, no need to get into that, but it ended up taking so long that even after it was completed I’d find myself carrying dishes to the bathroom after dinner. It was a horrible habit to break, but we no longer find forks & such in the bathroom.

    ps. We LOVE our new kitchen. The headache will be worth it and your folks seem to really deserve it.

  36. Matt

    All I can say Elise is you are truely one of the finest photo talents of this day and age. I mean I’ve seen pictures of you and your parents on this site in what I’m sure is that same kitchen and I’d of never guessed the condition it was in :)

    Glad they finally agreed to let someone else agree and got it done, I’m sure they’ll be quite happy in the new kitchen whatever that may be. Just be thankfull your father didn’t decide to do it himself. I lived that experience once, and as nice as my parents kitchen turned out I would never wish to relive it again.

  37. Mona

    How exciting! To think that two such great cooks were sharing such an outdated space??!? I can’t WAIT to see the finished project! I am jealous, I want a 1) bigger house which will probably not happen but 2) a new kitchen also!

    Off to check out the pics now… :-)

  38. H Laws

    Please give us updates along the way. I love remodel stuff! We finished our kitchen this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing how your parent’s works out.

  39. Erica

    We are in the middle of remodeling our master bathroom. We have a whole other full bath to use in the meantime and we still find it disruptive. I can’t begin to imagine a kitchen remodel (which will happen one day for us too!).

    Wish your parents well.

  40. Jean Prescott

    I think I would like your parents. They sound like mine but with genders reversed (Dad was the stoic one, Mom was the get-’er-done one.) I wish you (them) tons of luck. When my daughter and son-in-law did a kitchen redo while living in the house, my daughter tried to “clean up” every night. He finally called me and asked that I please, please, please dream up an excuse to have her come visit for, “Oh, I don’t know, two weeks, a month.” God love him. She came, but then called 15 times a day (I exaggerate). It’s a fabulous Tuscany-like kitchen now, but they barely lived through the redo.

  41. Nick

    You should have pitched it to HGTV! They love doing full remodels. That is gonna be one cool kitchen.

    Can’t wait to see the final version.

    Happy Holidays!
    Nick
    Macheesmo

  42. valerie

    I love the old kitchen! It’s beautiful. Great light, good space. It’s in surprisingly good shape after 30 years. And besides the flowered border, is not even out of style. I love the white with turquoise accents, the flaking paint and wear patterns. It’s so pretty. You can’t buy this kind of charm.

    So much better than the generic pressed-wood Home Depot cabinets that have come with every apartment I’ve ever rented (and bigger, too!).

    I’m shocked at how many people are treating it like it’s SO bad. What am I missing?

    I’m sure they’ll love the remodel – having more space and newer technology and everything, but this looks like a functional and pretty kitchen to me.

  43. jcrn

    Wow, that is quite a remodeling project they’ve taken on. We had a home stager come in and rearrange things to make our home more livable and I thought that was stressful. Just looking at the photos and thinking about all that work makes me a bit queasy. I have to confess that I liked parts of that old kitchen quite a bit. However, I’ll bet the finished kitchen will look fantastic -and be a cook’s dream.

  44. Andrea

    Wow, y’all are daring! We bought a relatively new house so we wouldn’t have to tackle anything like that for a while. Best wishes for a smooth remodel, and I can’t wait to see the results. :-)

  45. Jenny

    So funny that you write about this; my mom always talks about the kitchen remodel… she wants another oven (and more cabinet space, though she never says that specifically). Now that I’m out living on my own, this is one of those things that I say, “When I finally am making enough money, I want to help them remodel the kitchen.” The pipe dream of our house. =)

  46. Jasmine

    Elise,

    Off-topic I know, but your parents sound like they could give some good advice on how to make a marriage work. I’d really like to know :)

  47. Neddy

    Oh no! What a horror! When I saw your parents’ kitchen and how much it reminded me of my own, I decided I would follow your plans for remodeling. Now we get down to the part where I see they have destroyed their home to get a new kitchen. I don’t want to go that far.

    But I will stick around to see how it turns out for their sake. I do hope they are not as old as I am.

  48. P.

    Your parents kitchen reminds me of mine. Before I renovated it 2 years ago. I lived with the ugly white cabinets, 30 yr old wall oven and cooktop for six years before I couldn’t take it anymore. Cabinet and countertop style was the most difficult choice to make. I love my new kitchen and can barely remember what the old one was like. Your folks will love their new kitchen too.

  49. Adriene

    Wow – what an exciting home project. The process isn’t usually very fun (I tend to get tired of it), however the end results make it so worth it! Please share pics as it progresses! Congrats on a new kitchen!

  50. Miss B

    Your stories about your parents are always so sweet. I happen to think the old kitchen looked adorable – very cozy and lived in – but I’m sure the new kitchen will be just as good. Ultimately, your kitchen will be *occupied* by the new appliances but it will be *filled* by the love and warmth your family seems to bring to the table. Best of luck to you all during the remodel!

  51. Carolyn

    Honestly, I really like the cabinets in the old kitchen. They’re just so cute with so much charm! If I were your parents, I would paint them and get new countertops, get rid of the wall paper, and get new appliances. Of course, it’s too late to do that now!

  52. friedclamfanatic

    We did it back in 1998! left for a job in Florida and commuted home every other weekend. Cost a fortune, but the requirements from me were:

    2 sinks….one a double, oppsosite sides of the room

    Double ovens

    at least a six burner oven top (electric…my wife is afraid of gas

    Room to work

    We got marble tops, hardwood floors, lots of space, and open feeling, a separate butler’s pantry/baking area

    I love it (and she still loves me and i love her!)

  53. Carsie

    Thanks for sharing this story. It will be fun keeping up with it as they go along! Happy holidays and the best of luck to you all as you cope with the hassle!

  54. clotilde

    Dear Elise,
    I was pleased to see a picture of the beautiful butcher’s block you mentioned last time I saw you. I hope it finds its place in the new setup, but if it doesn’t, you know where to send it! :)
    Clotilde.

    Hi Clotilde! I so totally have dibs on that butcher block. Got my parents to promise to give it to me if they don’t use it in their new kitchen. :-) ~Elise

  55. Heather

    Your parents may have had the most well-worn kitchen I have ever seen.

    My husband’s best friend’s mother (got that?) truly did have two kitchens in her house, side by side.

    One was hers, just how she wanted it.

    The other was the “show” kitchen that adjoined the family room.

    Can’t wait to see the results!

    This is the first time I ever posted and I have to say I love the site. I frequently use your recipes and really enjoy hearing how you cook with your dad.

  56. missbhavens

    Oh! I would KILL for a range hood that color!!!

    Your parents are incredibly lucky to have somehow avoided the 1970′s avocado/orange/brown kitchen color scheme. Particular those strange brown appliances that sort of faded ombre-style into the center. Yikes.

    Looking forward to the new kitchen!

  57. Hillary

    The old kitchen had such a nice…patina. Too bad it’s in the dumpster! ;)

  58. barbara

    How fabulous. I’m looking forward to the final results

  59. Inkadinka2

    I started a “redecorating project” 3 years ago to simply strip off the 70′s wallpaper and add a new coat of paint to the old cabinets…and then we decided to take out the drop ceiling and put up bead board…and then we decided to move the stove…and then we bought a new fridge that was just a little too big for the original spot so ended up pushing out a wall…and then…and then…and then…and here we are 3 years later. It’ll be great when it is done…and like your dad I’m hoping to see it in my lifetime.

  60. Randi

    Our kitchen was pretty similar to your parents, except in salmon color!! We remodeled last year and its the best improvement we’ve ever made. It was well worth the headache!!

  61. Mary

    I have to admit, when I saw the first photos, I thought, “wow, look at all those drawers and cabinets! ENVY!” Also, “if they would clean off that island, they would have a huge countertop.” However, I understand about the countertop, because my dining room table is right in front of the door coming in from the garage, and I have to clean the dumped stuff off of it constantly or start eating on the floor! I do truly love the worn paint on the edges of the drawers! If my cheapo, last-forever cabinets would accept paint, I would faux-paint them in!

  62. jennifer

    I hope they get an induction stove top. I remodeled my kitchen last year and had an induction installed, love, love, love it! I can boil water in 30 seconds :)

    Gas won out in this case. We all love roasting chilies and tortillas directly on the flame. ~Elise

  63. Christine corgi

    You must post all the after photo.

    I too have been arguing about remodeling.

    The problem is that I’ve been arguing with myself.

  64. Judi Fountas

    How much longer before we see the new kitchen? Can’t wait.

    3 or 4 months. ~Elise

  65. sharon in oregon

    I think its great that your parents finally took the bite out of the bullet and let it happen. We’ve lived in our house for over 30 years and still can’t decide what to do with the kitchen. I’m still cooking with bright yellow formica counters and drawers that slide on their own wood! I know what I want, now I just need the money to do it.
    It will be fun to see your parents new “home”. Please show a picture of the wonderful couple when its all finished !

  66. Shaheen

    This sounds so exciting. I live with my parents and we don’t have a huge kitchen. After reading this I’m happily day dreaming of how I’d like my kitchen to be. Can’t wait till the place is new and shiny! :D

  67. chrisp

    I have done many house redos and get published quite often in national magazines, the kitchen is the hardest room to live without but when it is done your parents will find a new joy in cooking all over again….it makes you want to make even the most complicated of meals. loved reading the post please keep us up to date and of course the big reveal.

  68. robin

    Oh my, their old kitchen looks just like mine! We live in a 1969 California Ranch (just around the corner in Sacramento) and the kitchen has never been touched. We moved here after leaving a gorgeous, newly remodeled kitchen, so I grumble A LOT as I cook in this monstrosity. Yes, it functions… but BARELY. I am envious of your parents but they have put in plenty of time in their kitchen – 15 years! And they prove, as many people have noted, that you can produce fantastic food anywhere. (I get so sad when I see “showpiece kitchens” in homes where no one does any cooking… what a waste!) I will have to show your post to my husband so that he will be convinced that it’s worth remodeling our current kitchen. I just hope it doesn’t take 15 years to convince him! (It would be great to know who the contractor/designer/builder is.)

    So many houses around here have the same design, floor plan, materials. My parents have actually been in this kitchen for over 30 years. It’s just the remodel discussions that have been going on for 15 years. It is, what you might call, a “cozy” kitchen. :-) ~Elise

  69. Maureen

    I have such kitchen envy! We recently moved, and are renting. Our kitchen looks “nice” but the cabinets are horribly planned, not very deep, and have lots of difficult-to-get-to dead corner space. I can’t store the big appliances in the lower cabinets, they’re not big enough. So the countertops are home to the bread machine and other things. I hope we get back into a home of our own, so I can have a real kitchen again.

    I hope your parents enjoy the new one, when it’s finished.

  70. Yee

    Wow! I can’t wait to see the new kitchen! My husband and I laughed out loud when we read how your dad wants a nice kitchen while he’s still alive. =D

    I’m sure your parents would love their new kitchen!

  71. Newbet

    This is just amazing. You will keep me posted. I want to see all the pictures. I’m sending this to my daughter. They have a 1940′s house and need to remodel.

  72. AngelaAtHP

    Love that your parents have created deliciously edible works of art for the past 3 decades in that tiny little space. Can’t wait to see what they do with a cook’s kitchen.

  73. Katie

    More power to them! My husband and I had our little bitty bathroom gutted and remodeled a few years ago and though we both still wince when we think of all of the bargaining/arguing that went on during the planning stages, we love the end product SO MUCH now that it’s done. It was so worth it!

    (Is it sad that the bathroom is my favorite room in the house now?)

    When we bought our little house we inherited a kitchen that looks much like your parent’s and we were planning to redo that room next, but with the economy going the way it is we’ve decided just to maybe slap a fresh coat of paint on it and replace the faucet (finally!).

    I can’t wait to see what your/their sparkly new kitchen looks like!

    can. not. wait. :-)

  74. Trish

    I think your parents are brave… we have to re-do our kitchen. Not quite to the same extent that your parents are doing. Looking forward to pics to glean ideas!!

  75. Traci in Texas

    I am sad to see the demise of your family’s long-loved and much-used kitchen. Although, I am sure they’ll be pleased with the updated conveniences and improved traffic patterns and innovations … but seeing their kitchen reminds me of my parents’ and grand-parents’ kitchens. I remember those cupboards well. I can feel the warmth even through the internet…

    I envy the worn and loving look of it. And the multitude of cupboards — oh my, I’d give my eye-teeth for a few of those cabinets!!!

    May one day we all have such loved and used kitchens…

  76. Chinya

    I LOVE the original kitchen! Sans the peeling paint, I would cook there any day…LOL…cannot wait to see the finished kitchen.

  77. Shel F.

    Whew. What a project! Glad your father was only teasing…

  78. Sherihan

    Oh my! Remodeling any room in the house is a huuuuuge mess, I just came out of one, but of coarse the outcome is always worth it, I have to say I find the old kitchen very lovely dispite the worn out paint, but I can’t wait to see the new one (love that stuff) Good luck!

  79. dick

    Interesting. I found an old ad for Frigidaire refrigerators that had cabinets that reminded me of your parents kitchen. They were a little fancier but I think they probably came from the same era:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sa_steve/2753758611/in/set-72157606389427177/

    I love the look of it but I would guess it would require a lot of care to keep it looking good.

    Now that’s a kitchen! ~Elise

  80. thicket dweller

    I also have to say that I really love the charming look of the older cabinets and especially like that they wear came from all of the time spent there together making meals. It’s an amazing piece of history. I do hope your parents (or you) keep something from it, because it seems to have served you all very well. :-) Having said that, I can’t wait to check out the progress on Flickr, and I hope your parents have many, many happy years of cooking in their new kitchen, too.

  81. Martha

    I am delighted you are sharing these posts with your parents.

    I LOVED your account of the battling and bargaining they did about the kitchen! Sounds a bit like my mom and dad (though the kitchen was never one of their issues).

    Mom would have loved your parents’ kitchen–either the old one or the new. In our house, built about 1890, there was NO counter space at all, and just two large cabinets my grandfather gave them to hang on the wall. The room was slightly larger than your parents’ and had a table and chairs. But it had a full, large pantry.

    The pots and pans went into the stove’s sizeable drawer next to the oven. Eventually, Mom bought a 6-foot-high, but shallow, white metal cabinet for the overflow of “stuff.” She used part of the kitchen table–the part not used by the breadbox, the toaster, the spoon jar, the toys, the coloring books, etc.–for stirring things; I don’t remember her chopping much. The vegetables and fruits for every dinner came out of cans. This was in the late 40s though the 60s. There were eight of us kids and the two of them.

    I really did enjoy your old kitchen. Oh, yeah, I saw all the worn-away paint. Our two cabinets had that, too. I grinned at the scorch marks, and laughed when I saw the knife rack. But it looked very clean and well organized, and it had storage space galore!

    We were in the house for almost 50 years, and it was bought by a rehabber–! I’m told there’s a very sleek kitchen there now, although two windows were built over to do it.

    What a long post! But I guess your story evoked it in me.

    Last thing to say and then I’ll go away. An earlier post had this: “My in-laws have decided that whatever is done in their house can just wait until they’re dead and the kids can deal with it then. Actual quote.”

    Oh, how I laughed!

    All the best to you and your family.

    Hello Martha, thank you for sharing your story. Isn’t it wonderful how kitchens evoke so many memories? ~Elise

  82. Claire

    Your parents’ kitchen has the same layout as my mother-in-law’s kitchen in Woodland Hills. Hers looked fairly similar in terms of cabinet wear (some from a bird who used to peck at the cabinets). Sadly we didn’t have the chance to clean it up until she passed away. Since the house was being sold, the cabinets were painted and new appliances (most special order as spaces were smaller than today’s)were installed. That spruce up really made it look new (and I guess is a lesson to me – with a 1970′s kitchen that isn’t getting renovated because my husband and I can’t agree – that if push comes to shove, we could just do it over without laying it out all over…).

  83. Martha

    I LOVE the new kitchen! The tile colors are wonderful and nicely balanced with the appliances, cabinets, and white walls. The tiles themselves are dazzling! The room’s appearance is “reasoned.” (This is my highest compliment.)

    Perhaps your parents didn’t renovate before because they may have sensed they weren’t ready yet to recognize the right “look” for them. There may have been a time when they would have coated the place with chuck wagon wallpaper or with vegetable or fruit decals. I think it takes time to be certain of what we truly like and relate to best. It would be especially important to get it right in such a busy, two-person workplace as their kitchen.

    Their long wait was absolutely worth it!

    I have looked at the flickr pictures a few times to ponder the layout. I am a single person who doesn’t cook much, so I was intrigued by the floor plan two industrious cooks chose for themselves. I guess the greatest adjustment your parents may have to make is now they will WALK, rather than pivot or take short strides, during their cooking.

    To your parents: My highest possible compliments on your excellent design and decor!

    = = =

    Elise, when will you show the final pictures, with everything moved in and with everyday life underway?

    Thank you for sharing all this with us! I plan to renovate soon my very small kitchen, and I’m grateful for what I learned here.

    Hi Martha, thanks! I’ll be sure to pass your compliments on to my parents. As for the follow up post, I will get to it, soon, hopefully. ~Elise

  84. Angie

    How I love pics of remodels. Can’t wait for more!

  85. Munirah

    I can’t wait to see the finished kitchen! XD

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