The kitchen is one of the most hotly contested spaces in the debate over what to keep as original and what to alter. Atomic Ranch’s book Remodeled Marvels can help you figure out how to style it.
A version of this story appears in our newest book, Atomic Ranch: Remodeled Marvels by Jickie Torres.
As with any creative project, deciding on the look of your kitchen needs to start with a direction. Landscape architect Margie Grace and her partner Dawn Close, founders and owners of Grace Design Associates, focus on the story. “In every design, for me there’s a story,” Margie says. As she looked for inspiration for her own mid mod kitchen, Margie thought back to the post-war era when the home was constructed. “I wanted to have a newness that felt like when people were trying to put the war behind them.” The end result is what Margie calls a “happy post-war kitchen.” White cabinets, soft yellow walls and a colorful vinyl composition tile floor that Margie worked on installing herself effortlessly transport the viewer back to 1948 when the home was built.
Just Like Old
So how can you build with new elements and preserve the mid century spirit? Look to companies that specialize in period-authentic materials, finishes and styles. Vintage Plywood and Eichler Siding (both owned by the same company), for example, manufacture wood siding that is made exactly as it was in the mid century period.
A vintage-inspired color palette is a great way to subtly transport a space back in time and capture the essence of the era. Choose colors that work well with the other key original elements of the home, such as built-ins and wood trim. Scared of committing to a signature color or afraid of going too kitschy? Accent colors used in tile or décor can be a great way to get a pop of retro color into an otherwise neutral space.
MCM Kitchen Style Basics
So what are the hallmarks of a mod kitchen? Simple or minimal ornamentation. Mid century kitchens are often devoid of excess trim and fancy woodwork. Hardware is often simple or decidedly futuristic in shape or motif (if there is any hardware at all). Fixtures tend to be pared down and elegant, and lighting leans toward the industrial in nature.
Mid century countertops bore the innovations touted at the time, such as laminate. Tile, just as in the periods before and after, was used too. Today, engineered stone is a more contemporary replacement for laminate, though there are fabulous options for the latter from companies like Wilsonart and, yes, Formica.
Tile is still the most common backsplash for the mid century look, and there’s an exciting array of options for mod tile on the market, making it easy for anyone to find a style that is the perfect fit.
For more kitchen renovation tips, order your copy of Remodeled Marvels either through our store or on Amazon. You’ll also find expert advice, stories, tips on budgeting, house hunting, and a room-by-room guide to remodeling your mid century marvel.