Reader Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Before & After: A California Bungalow Kitchen Loses the Orange!

updated Jun 5, 2019
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Elizabeth lives with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in a 1923 California bungalow that came with orange kitchen cabinets, bumpy yellow walls, and splintering wood floors. “Our kitchen remodel was long overdue,” she tells us. Take a look at how they updated it — it’s a good one!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

So much better! Here’s what Elizabeth tells us about the renovation:

Our kitchen remodel was long overdue. We could no longer deal with the poorly planned layout, and thick yellow-orange painted cabinets, yellow bumpy walls and splintering Douglas fir wood floors from the 20’s.

The first step was to tackle the deep rooted problem which was our plumbing. We hired a great contractor to replace our old galvanized pipes with new copper pipes throughout the house. *Hello, heavenly water pressure!* Once that was done, it was time to for a functional kitchen layout.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The decision was made to keep the upper cabinets but sand away layer upon layer of old goopy paint *6 different colors were discovered* to reveal the original wood. We then had our crew paint the cabinets with a fun surprise of color inside, patch and smooth the old plaster walls, paint the entire room and add a classic white subway tiled backsplash. An old, unattractive ceiling fan from the 80’s used to “adorn” the room but we chucked that out the door and brought in a white ceramic hanging light fixture and fitted it with a nifty Edison light bulb.

Next, it was time to install the new flooring over the ninety year old hardwood floors. We had them stained in a lovely dark wood which makes all of our whites and brights pop! Then we headed to Ikea for our lower cabinets, new dishwasher, apron sink, wood counter tops and an island to which we added our own casters so that we could have the option to move it around the room.

We found our fantastic bronze spray faucet and our lemon yellow metal stools for a bargain price at Of course, the fun part was shopping for accessories. We scoured flea markets for vintage knobs, and found our affirmation banner from Etsy. Our pretty dishware is from Anthropologie which we scored on sale.

We used Apartment Therapy and Pinterest for daily inspiration and we managed to find all of the things on our wish list. We are lucky to have found such an amazing contractor and our total remodel only took one month to complete. Our kitchen is now our happy place to cook, hang out and do crafts together.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If this kitchen looks familiar, it’s because you may have seen it pop up in our Small Cool Kitchens contest this year! So fun to see the whole behind-the-scenes process.

Great job, Elizabeth! You can see a ton more photos of the renovation process, as well as a full resource list, at Elizabeth’s Flickr stream.

Thanks for sharing!

(Images: Flickr member sunkissis used with permission)