Our Leave it To Beaver Kitchen
I’m an old soul. I’m the one who kept all my grandmother’s furniture not because I was attached to her memory (although, I’ll admit that’s part of it) but because it was built to last, it holds true to that 1950’s way of life, and the wood color is not orange or pale. So when it came to getting to do our first ever real adult renovation (not just your DYI make it work project) I wanted to update our home to be a modern take on Leave it to Beaver. A kitchen that felt like the heart of the house, filled with color. A place where the family would gather or friends would come over for a nicely mixed drink to take to the porch or living room, or to bake family treats with nieces + nephews and someday, maybe even kids of our own.
Our classic home was built in 1969 with not many updates since the 1980s. It was a rental property for 10-years before we bought it in February of 2020 which means it needed a lot of work. But that’s what we wanted, a home that we could make ours.
Both Clayton and I aren’t fond of the open concept floor plans. We like compartments that allow you to be on the same floor without being in each other space. So the Kitchen is really cut off from the family room and has a good amount of distance to the living room. Because of this, it is a bit of an awkward layout but it works and we still have plenty of counter space to make our goodies and create incredible meals for our community.
What this kitchen really needed was to brighten up. The wood cabinets with matching beige floors and the weirdest Formica counters you’ve ever seen. On top of this, the kitchen wasn’t exactly to code missing a vent above the oven. So our priorities were to get a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets (we did ourselves), update the counters and backsplash, remove the built-in desk that we never used, replace the worlds WORST handles (we almost broke fingers in those things), add a vent above the stove + fix the hole behind the ungrouted backsplash, replace all the windows in our home that came with the aluminum bars making you feel like you’re in a prison, and cinderella scrub the floors to remove the 10-years of built-up dirt that we thought was just ugly flooring.
Our New Mid-Modern Boho Kitchen
If I were to describe our style I would call it Mid-Modern Boho. I want you to feel like you just walked into the turn of the century and we just came back from traveling the world. You’ll see this in the blue and white tiled backsplash that comes from Italy, combined with a thick subway tile (to save money) which adds to that Italian feel. Combine that with the fun colors in the kitchen and the old-time layout and I’d see we achieved our wish–This kitchen makes us feel at home and excited to spend time cooking and talking with friends and family.
The cabinets we painted ourselves, as you’ll see from the before photos. It was no easy feat. It took about two weeks to, remove all the doors, clean with a degreaser (and let me tell you, there was some grease!), coat in liquid sandpaper, prime, and then paint 2-4 coats on these damn things. (Note: the lighter the paint, the more coats you need. The white took 3-4 coats while the green was only 2 coats and some touch-ups). If you’re a perfectionist it might be worth having professionals come in and do them. But we had a budget and the small flaws that only we see don’t both us one bit. We’re just happy to get rid of the blonde cabinets with the world’s worst hardware.
Choosing Paint Colors
I should preface this with the fact that I grew up in a home with beige, tan, and tope walls. My father’s three favorite colors. So I HATE beige. I want lots of color and fun. I’m also an artist so color simply speaks to me. Painting our cabinets a color and then proceeding to add pops of color to the walls is not something I struggle with. Clayton, my husband, wasn’t so sure. He couldn’t see the finished product in his mind as I can, but he trusts that what I design always comes out looking its best. So, when I chose vanilla ice cream for the big walls, Sunflower Yellow for behind the credenza, and Roof Top Garden for the foyer, all from Home Depot. The cabinets were Liverwort Green from Lowes–We were told their highest quality paint was best for cabinets.
The result was a colorful oasis to invite our loved ones into and cook something the way grandma used to do. With modern counters and accessories, this kitchen feels like something out of history and yet fits right in with the times. Needless to say, we’re in love with our Mid-Mod Boho kitchen.
Katie Leigh is a brand strategist and photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience as a former graphic designer and former marketing director provide a unique perspective when it comes to your brand. Whether you want to get clear in your message and create a brand strategy that supports your work-life balance or need to update your website with photos that tell your story, Katie Leigh will help you get clear in your marketing and create sustainable practices to build the brand (and life!) of your dreams. Get the guide to work-life balance and more marketing resources here.