A Retro 1930s Kitchen Renovation

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We recently completed the renovation of a kitchen in Altadena, California for cherished repeat clients. Read below as we share our design inspiration and special moments for creating a new-old space:

The old kitchen was small, oddly shaped, and lacked natural light (and a dishwasher) — in other words, not a fun place for a family of four. We created an efficient space that feels spatially modern while keeping in sync with the history of the house. Fortunately, our clients are artistic and trusting, a perfect combination for a design endeavor.

Much of our inspiration came from the house itself, a classic 1930’s California ‘Storybook Style’ cottage. We took our cues from traditional 1930’s kitchens bringing back a design trend from that era – tile countertops!  We designed ours in classic white hex tiles with an olive green bullnose.  We paired the olive green with honeydew stick liners from Heath Ceramics for a unique backsplash detail in a charming, retro color palette.

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The tile palette dictated the paint color choices for the rest of the kitchen.  While we love a white kitchen, our clients were 100% behind our challenge to take it up a notch – almost to the colorful ‘atomic’ designs of the 1950’s and 60’s. Colorful cabinets really do create a feeling of warmth and are a nice change of pace.

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The best part of the project was seeing the clients’ faces when the appliances were moved in and the water was turned on! They could finally make dinner in a kitchen they hadn’t been able to use for months. Priceless. Our clients hadn’t unpacked their wedding china since they got married a decade ago, and they couldn’t wait to put it on display in a custom glass china cabinet we designed for just that purpose. Now the room is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family.

Photography by Clark Dugger