Kitchen Tour

Before & After: Yellow Cabinets and a Pink Checkerboard Brighten Up a “Tired” Kitchen — for Only $1,000

published Dec 13, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Kitchen before renovation

Marina Porter and her husband, Alexander Arseneau, who own a vintage store called Rainbows & Retro, toured more than 50 homes in five months looking for their forever space. After touring several properties and striking out, the couple realized they might need to find a home with “great bones” so they can reimagine the interior — and that’s exactly what they did.

When they moved into their current home, which is a colorful 1953 bungalow in Ontario, Canada, one of the first rooms to get its transformation was the kitchen. The existing space had dated oak cabinets, dark countertops, and an overall “tired” feeling. For people who love vintage finds and color, like the new owners, the original room simply wouldn’t work. 

“It was dated with old fixtures, counters, cabinets, tiles, and hardware, the underside of the cabinets were wide open, and the appliances were modern in contrast to the old cabinetry,” Porter said. So the couple got to work.

How They Transformed the “Dated” Space Into a Retro Modern Kitchen

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Porter and Arseneau’s kitchen renovation quickly became their proudest DIY project to date. They started by ripping out the counters, tiles, and drywall, and instead of using a traditional backsplash, they painted a checkerboard pattern using Behr’s “Sugar Poppy” and “Taffy Twist.” 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Of course, the faulty cabinets had to go, too. The couple “properly enclosed” the bottom of the cupboards and painted them in Behr’s “Yellow Jubilee.” Being pro vintage hunters, the couple replaced the hardware and appliances with secondhand finds; their stainless steel refrigerator was replaced with a retro-inspired iio Kitchen refrigerator from Habitat for Humanity, and their General Electric stove came from Facebook Marketplace.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Other retro additions, like oversized sculptures of ice cream cones, vintage-looking Mountain Dew cans, Tootsie Rolls, and orange juice cartons, dot the room (some on the wall and others on the countertops) and blend seamlessly with the bright, updated space. The best part? This massive transformation only cost the couple around $1,000.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

The kitchen is just one of the rooms in their colorful home chock-full of vintage finds and vibrant colors. To see more of their gorgeous space, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy