Before & After: Modernizing a 1950's Bungalow Kitchen

Lemons, Avocados and the Bay

I've been admiring this kitchen renovation from the blog Lemons, Avocados and the Bay for some time, so I decided to reach out to Tammy and ask a few questions about the overhaul and the inspiration behind the project. Read on for the full interview!The Kitchn: How long have you lived in your home?
Tammy: We purchased our little 1950s yellow beach bungalow exactly one year ago. When we moved in, the home was in really bad shape. The home had never been renovated, reeked of cat urine, and had thirty year old stained carpet. Sounds inviting, right? We knew we had a lot of renovations to tackle in a very short amount of time.

The Kitchn: When did you overhaul your kitchen?
Tammy: We began renovating as soon as we moved in because the appliances were basically unusable. To make things even more fun, the last owners decided to "surprise us" by taking the refrigerator with them. As soon as we realized we couldn't fit our newly purchased oven, dishwasher, or fridge into the original kitchen, we knew we were in for a few long months.

The Kitchn: How long did it take?
Tammy: The kitchen renovation lasted about three months, but there always seems to be something that needs to be fixed.

The Kitchn: Where did you find your design and color inspiration?
Tammy: We found our inspiration kitchen (see below!) on decorpad.com. It inspired me because it was bright, airy, and had an attractive color scheme.

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The Kitchn: How much planning did you put into the project?
Tammy: We spent about 5 seconds planning. No really though, we made decisions as contractors come into our home and made "suggestions" about how cheaply and quickly they could make changes.

Honestly, I really wish we'd had more time to plan our renovation. We attempted to stain the cabinets, but realized quickly we have little to no DIY skills. I had picked out a light granite that looked beautiful in the store, but it looked horrendous when it arrived at our home. We returned the terrible granite and picked out the darker shade that's now in the kitchen. I knew from the beginning of the renovation that I wanted a green wall, and that seemed to be the only plan we made that actually panned out.

The Kitchn: What was the most challenging part of the project?
Tammy: We found that making modern appliances work in a 1950s kitchen is close to impossible. Apparently people were shorter in the 1950s and countertops were built lower. Because of this, we had to raise all of the countertops to fit our modern appliances.

The Kitchn: Did you learn a new skill during your home improvement project?
Tammy: We learned a great deal about how to work with unreliable contractors. Let's just say we grew up a lot during those first few months of home renovations...On a more useful note, we also learned how to paint cabinets and remove lots and lots of wall paper.

The Kitchn: Are you happy with the outcome?
Tammy: We are happy with the outcome...for now. In the future we would like to completely open up the kitchen into the living room and install a large kitchen island.

The Kitchn: What, if anything, would you do differently next time around?
Tammy: Next time around I would love to have the opportunity to plan! I would take the time to search the Internet for inspiration, take my time choosing a color scheme, and make sure I was working with reputable contractors.

The Kitchn: If you had one piece of advice for readers, what would it be?
Tammy: It's important to realize that things do not always go as planned. Take a deep breath, and realize that in the end everything really will work out.

Read more: Oh, And The Kitchen Renovation at Lemons, Avocados and the Bay

Related: Before & After: Opening Up a Galley Kitchen

(Images: Lemons, Avocados and the Bay; DecorPad)

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Landis is a ceramic artist who hand-makes heirloom-quality pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She writes about tabletop design and entertaining for The Kitchn and lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and toddler.

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