Black & White Bungalow 1930s Kitchen Makeover

A look at the challenge of restoring a 1930s kitchen--after misguided remodeling results in poor space planning and a loss of original detail.
A vintage stove occupies a tiled alcove in this 1930s kitchen

A vintage stove occupies a tiled alcove in this 1930s kitchen.

Photos by Greg Premru

Misguided remodeling has ruined many a modest prewar house, and mine was no exception. The biggest project proved to be the kitchen, which had lost all original details and was a poster child for bad space planning.

I wanted an efficient kitchen, but one with the charm of grandma’s era. I referred to Jane Powell’s book Bungalow Kitchens, which advocates using simple white cabinets, linoleum, and tile.

I also used the period’s nickel fittings and bought vintage glass lampshades. I even collected Depression-era and mid-century kitchenware and tablecloths to add color to the design of this 1930s kitchen.

1930s kitchen cabinets and counters

New cabinets in an efficient arrangement mimic the details and hardware of the 1930s.

The room revolves around my cookstove, a 1930 Magic Chef range restored by Dave Erickson in Littleton, Massachusetts. (Dave also made the matching hood.) The stove’s enamel colors were the basis for all my other selections: off-white linoleum flooring with a black and red border, buttercream cabinets, and red accents.

A red table (found at a flea market) brightens the breakfast nook.

A red table and chairs, painted by Chroma Design, brighten the breakfast nook.

The kitchen cabinets are by Crown Point Cabinetry, customized for a true 1930s look. Forbo’s Marmoleum flooring is perfect for its practicality as well as its appearance. The new black and white hex tile countertops are inset with “flower” details. Liner tiles make a red stripe in the otherwise plain subway-tile backsplash.

Set in an alcove behind a characteristic rounded arch, the original nook is tight but adequate, and filled with light now that no appliance blocks the window. For extra storage that doesn’t take up floor space, I expanded the cabinet that’s inset into the wall of the nook. The table was a flea-market find—I recently had it repainted to match lipstick-red chairs; the bold accent adds even more charm.

The Kitchen Before

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