Updated 1970s Kitchen with Modern Farmhouse Style

Published: about 5 hours ago

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There’s a fine line between chic vintage and kitschy. Unfortunately, Carmen Lepp of Carmen Interiors and her husband had a home in the latter category on their hands. “The original kitchen was from 1979. We knew the kitchen was one of the first things to renovate,” Carmen says. “The cabinets were falling apart and smelled of years of use. It all felt very makeshift and temporary.”

With a third baby on the way, the couple was working against the clock to finish up the remodel before things got hectic. They managed to complete the whole project within four months, completely transforming their kitchen to an almost unrecognizable space. But it wasn’t without its challenges! As a designer, Carmen had plenty of ideas for the space but knew there were limitations in terms of budget. With roughly $8,000 to revamp the entire cooking area, she had to get creative and stay wallet-friendly.

“We used IKEA boxes and custom door fronts from a Canadian company called Allstyle Custom Cabinet Doors. This was the perfect solution to making our kitchen look custom without price tag,” says Carmen. The only service they hired out was someone to do the electrical work, but the two took on the rest. “We chose to the plumbing and gas range in the same spots to make for an easier renovation. We did, however, move the refrigerator and added a prep sink into the island. Working with a small space is always challenging but we made every square inch work,” she says.

“Appliances were going to be a compromise because we wanted a high end look but didn’t have the budget left,” Carmen says. “That’s when we started searching buy and sell pages. We managed to find used a Fisher & Paykel range and fridge for $1,000 total!” Since they rarely use a microwave they decided to go without to save the extra space. The dishwasher, from IKEA, has an integrated panel to help it blend in with the cabinetry for a seamless look.

To open up the kitchen, Carmen and her husband opted to include only a handful of upper cabinets. They also chose to keep the entire space white, other than a splash of color on the island and dark accent colors around door and window frames. Quartz countertops, aged brass hardware, and a flush mount light fixture from Wayfair all add vintage flair.

All the hard work and contemplating appliances and budgets paid off. The end result was an ultra airy, vintage-inspired kitchen with plenty of room to work and hang out. “We love how bright the kitchen is. We rarely need to even turn on lights,” says Carmen. “The cabinets to the ceiling really help visually raise the ceiling height. We love the mix of materials and the interest it brings.”

Carmen says anyone hoping to update their kitchen shouldn’t let a small budget scare them off. “Doing any project yourself is difficult but the reward is so rewarding!” she says. “If you are on a budget I would suggest really researching products that fit your budget. Mixing high and low materials makes for a higher end look.”

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