Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Set me straight…

My neighborhood’s Home Tour was this past weekend and I volunteered to be a docent at a house and afterwards took the tour.  I admire the homeowners who chose to have hundreds of strangers walk through their homes.  There were 9 bungalows built in the 1920’s and 1 four square home.  All the homes had recently been remodeled and there is my dilemma.

The kitchens were beautifully remodeled.  Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances the latest in lighting, all straight out of HGTV.  It is just, that in my opinion, it doesn’t fit the house, at all.  I personally think a bungalow kitchen is timeless and I don’t understand why homeowners, who purchased a bungalow, get seduced by these DIY shows all showing the same materials show after show after show.  A classic kitchen saves money in that it is always in style and you won’t be taking the sledge hammer too it in three years.  Can we say avocado green refrigerators anyone?
My favorite house on the tour belongs to an architect and it, by far, melded classic design with some more modern counterparts.  It was gorgeous but not over the top ie. subway tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.  I loved each room and tried to nonchalantly settle into the library but they did eventually notice and said it was time for me to move on.  Even the garden potting area was beautiful.

My house was built in 1948 so no classic bungalow kitchen for me but I will take some hints.  The first has been when an appliance died the replacement was white NOT stainless steel, though each salesperson tried their best. Friends that got the latest stainless steel appliances have mentioned the “R” word.  As in rust, which in Florida is not unusual.   I haven’t decided on a countertop material but I will keep reading Paul Anater’s blog http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com/  and Nick’s at Cupboards http://www.cupboardsonline.com/ and I know eventually I will find the right material. 


My year of house had linoleum flooring.  I know this because when my new white refrigerator leaked I ended up with two holes in the very cheap square tiles through which I can see the green (at least it isn’t avocado green) original flooring.  I love Marmoleum because it offers tons of designs.  I am a basic person so a two color square pattern works for me but you could get really creative.  I am sure there is other flooring that is also appropriate so speak up in the comments section. 

There isn’t a good segue but I just have to show you the picture of the three different wall coverings that I found when I took some heavy vinyl off a wall in the kitchen. 

Of course a new kitchen for me is quite a ways on the horizon and by then who knows what new materials will be available. I am sure with a good designer and architect one could use these materials effectively in an old classic home.  So designers and architects set me straight!


  1. When we purchase our bungalow, the kitchen had already been redone. It's modern, but with an old feel to it. I think that it can be done correctly and still fit in with the older style of the home. I like to mix modern and older styles when possible.

  2. Hi Joe, I can't wait to see it on the Home Tour in a few years!

  3. If you are looking for me to "set you straight" then keep looking, as I agree 110% with you.

    The thing we HATE more than anything else when looking at older houses is when someone has gone in and ruined the place by "updating" it to look just like every other apartment / McMansion / suburban rancher out there. This goes doubly so for kitchens and bathrooms, as the $$$$$ you spend on those is harder justify when the new kitchen is functional, just ugly and not keeping with the character of the house.

  4. Brian - Yep the previous owner of my house did just that. The "new" cabinets even came with termites! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Ginny, I liked your thoughts and wholeheartedly agree. I've had the pleasure to remodel several historic homes on streets where the trend is to gut to the shell and totally depart from the original architecture. I really abhor this trend. I think the best compliment that can be received after a remodel in an older or historic home is "wow it looks like it's always been this way".

  6. You are right, that would be the best compliment! Thanks Paul:)