1980s Traditional Kitchen Update

It had been 30 years since our traditional kitchen had any updates. What started as one appliance replacement (the refrigerator) quickly turned into what I refer to "scope creep". Before we were finished, we added under-counter and pendant lighting, replaced countertops and almost all the appliances, AND we even threw in new kitchen sinks!
Before: 1980s Traditional Kitchen
Although our layout and storage space was always great, the space was tired, especially that built-in blender on the island next to the cooktop!
Design Board for Traditional Kitchen Updates
My design board of updates shaped up as the above photo collage (the complete source list is at the end of the post, and can also be found on my Pinterest Board titled Kitchen Update Ideas).
New Quartz Counters, Sinks, Faucets, Tile
I lugged around quartz samples for months, trying to find something to blend with the existing cabinets and tile, while maintaining light. My quartz choice (Viatera Aria) has a nice blend of grey, white and khaki-tan veining that helped me achieve the goals of blending and keeping things light, as did the sinks, which are a granite-blend composite by Blanco. The Delta faucets have a nice touch feature that allows the stop and flow of water by touching anywhere on the spout or handle (which you can opt to disengage).
Detail of backsplash tile, switchplate covers
The ceramic subway tile is Walker-Zanger's Fog Matte. The grout color is TEC's Sterling. I found a grey stone finish backplate that coordinated with my ceramic tile, and had all the electric outlets and switches changed to light almond. 
Kitchen, After: with Lighting
Initially, I wasn't certain about replacing any appliance besides the refrigerator, but because we installed quartz, we did not want to risk future issues with keeping the existing cooktop set within the new quartz on the island. The tricky part, then, was finding suitable appliance replacements, given our layout and dimensions. 

We ended up replacing all appliances except the trash compactor. The cabinet above the refrigerator became an open shelf (to use as either a bookshelf or for decor).
View of wet bar as seen from breakfast area.
As you can see, my wet bar is situated at the edge of my kitchen, in the adjacent space where we have our breakfast table. I chose not to tile the wall behind that faucet so it would look less like a kitchen in that space. My goal is to use the wall and shelves for display (there are additional peg holes and one more shelf for cabinet portion). By not having a tiled backsplash, this allows me flexibility in hanging a print or plate(s) on the wall, as well as leaning them against the wall. There's an outlet in that wall now.
After: Traditional Kitchen Update
This project was completed in just over one week by my contractors. Of course, lead time for ordering materials was pre-planned, so everything was on site once the work began. A fresh coat of paint in SW Creamy (SW7012) completed the job...for now. :) See my blog link for more details.

Suggested materials:

  • Viatera Quartz (Aria)  (Johnson Granite, Mt. Airy, NC)
  • Black Stainless Refrigerator, D/W (Samsung)  (Home Depot)
  • Monogram Cooktop, Wall Ovens (Upper with Advantium Technology)  (Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery)
See all materials

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Rita C. - Panoply

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 11 questions
  • Nancy Flemming
    Nancy Flemming
    on Apr 30, 2017

    Lovely transformation, I know you did not change your cabinets, but do you know what colour they are? I have the same cabinets but in the lighter yellow oak and as we have a log house with the same colour walls would like to jazz up the cabinets a bit with stain, I don't want to paint.
  • Gretchen
    on Apr 30, 2017

    Your kitchen looks beautiful! I love how you incorporated the cherry cabinets, updating it but not replacing/changing every element. My question: how did you remove the wine rack section, with damaging that cabinet casing? We have a white kitchen with an outmoded wine rack and I had thought that I would need another door (for which I cannot find a match). However, I like the open shelves (it is above our "coffee area"). It is easy to remove/addshelf/DYI? Thank you.
    • Rita C. - Panoply
      Rita C. - Panoply
      on Apr 30, 2017

      Gretchen, thank you for your visit and comments. Although the wine rack was removed fully intact (it was screwed to the wall inside the wine rack 'box', but the side panels sat freely on the countertop), I guess it was remade for the most part. While the wine rack 'box' section was reusable, the criss cross pieces of the rack were nailed to the sides at various points, so the side panels had many holes and ended up being recut to fit the box. The interior shelves were also cut to fit inside the reusable box, and peg holes were strategically drilled out to add versatility in shelf placement inside the box. I know I couldn't do this job, but I certainly think those with DIY skills could give it a go. I hope this helps, and good luck!
  • Rebecca Miller-Cameron
    Rebecca Miller-Cameron
    on Sep 13, 2017

    I need to update my kitchen to be used as a rental until all updates have been done in prepreration to sell the house in the future. I have light oak cabnets and I have been told I need to paint them. I hate painting wood but I want it to be a welcoming kitchen. There is only so much you can do to a galley style kitchen to make it welcoming. Should I paint the natural wood cabinets or do I leave them wood like you did?

    • Rita C. - Panoply
      Rita C. - Panoply
      on Sep 13, 2017

      Rebecca, there seem to be two very distinct camps of thought on this subject, and I am in the natural wood camp. Even if you're among the painted wood camp, who's to say you'd choose the color a new homeowner would want?? I'd just keep a very spare decor look and leave the kitchen natural, as it is, letting the potential homeowners envision their own design decisions. Hope this helps.

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