Our Retro Kitchen Renovation on a Budget

Our newly re-retroized kitchen, with vintage Sunbeam percolator on counter
and under-cabinet Black & Decker toaster oven.
You could call it a botch job. Moving into our 1949 ranch, we found a new tile floor poorly installed, cheap plywood cupboard doors slapped up sometime after the house was built, and new hinges that didn't fit or work right. Neither retro nor modern, this kitchen needed help.

We considered replacing the cupboard doors, but a router borrowed from a neighbor, a sander found curbside, and mistake paint from the local paint store's "bone yard" spiffed up the sad, sagging things.

We used original Mid-Century Modern 1950s wallpaper from Hannah's Treasures on the bulkhead. The pattern complements an original painting by a family friend that hangs above our vintage oak table. My mom's Christmas gift to me was hanging the wallpaper. Didn't she do a good job? (Thanks, Mom!)
Porcelier teapot, vintage chrome toaster.
Vintage hinges, knobs, and drawer pulls from a thrift store, estate sale, and Pitsch Wrecking - a local demolition firm that runs a gem of an architectural salvage shop - replaced newer ones that weren't nearly as well-made. It took a few years to assemble the hardware we needed (were I less patient, shopping Etsy would've found me what I wanted much sooner). 

It took a decade from the time we moved in for Calin, my husband, to remove the tiles on the floor (mostly due to my indecision). Because we strive to be a zero-waste family, we didn't want to use flooring that would need to be torn out and thrown away eventually, so we opted to sand and refinish the spruce subfloor. It turned out beautiful! 

Our home boasts a little phone booth. We got rid of our vintage rotary dial phone when we ditched AT&T a few years ago, since it could no longer make outbound calls (a sad day), so we switched to this retro touchtone phone:

We found the perfect counter-height oak table for our kitchen at City Antiques in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but it was for display, not for sale. We left our contact information with the clerk just in case, and a mere month later, we received a call saying we could buy it! Soon after, we scored a set of Amish-made oak and tree branch stools at a garage sale. Finds like these make treasure hunting fun!

Arrowhead "Brookpark" melamine dishes, Mid-Century mismatched stainless flatware.
A retro kitchen renovation can be both charming and cost-effective. In all, we spent under $500 to complete the project (not including the kayak I promised Calin if he completed the project by the new year), with the wallpaper and floor refinishing our biggest expenses. I'd love to increase the cost with the perfect retro stove, but if we wait long enough, our stove will be vintage, right?