This project was a challenge to partially replace an original mid-century kitchen's lower cabinetry and plumbing with drawer boxes, while keeping the vintage look of the original upper cabinets with their scroll work trim.

This home is located in the heart of old Chula Vista on the famous "Christmas circle" route. It was built in 1949 and features all redwood studs, lath and plaster walls, and cast iron plumbing. In addition to needing a visual makeover, the plumbing was in dire need of an upgrade, with constant clogged drains needing regular attention.

Christmas Circle in Chula Vista draws hundreds of thousands visitors every year, and like most homes in the neighborhood, this one hosts a lot of guests who come to enjoy the festivities and see the sights. Being a hub of activity for friends and family alike during the busy holiday season, this little kitchen really gets put to the test every winter!

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Blending Old and New Kitchen Cabinetry and Fixtures

The original layout of this kitchen had the refrigerator located just to the right of the back door, which explains the cutout in the uppper cabinets:

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In order to successfully blend the old with the new, I installed a modern apron front sink, granite countertops, and a new range hood with built in exhaust fan, all pulled together by natural marble 3"X 6" subway tile on the backsplash. Because the owners decided to leave the upper cabinets in place, we had to decide what to do with the backsplash tile in this open space. Rather than fill that whole space with tile, we extended the tile straight across to the doorway and used a darker accent color of paint above it. This gave the space some visual depth, and leaving the bare wall exposed allows for easy future installation of shelving or other accoutrements.

Because the new lower cabinets are much deeper than the originals, the owner is very pleased with the extra storage space down below and the larger surface area of the countertops. The original tile countertops also had raised tile borders around their outer perimeter, further limiting the amount of flat working space available.

The new deeper counters with their flush working surface all the way out to the edge (plus a little extra overhang) have added nearly 50% more working area for food preparation. This has been a huge benefit that only adds to the upgraded aesthetic details of the job.

How To Really Maximize Food Prepping Space? Bob's Butcher Block to the Rescue!

Another huge upgrade that this kitchen remodel achieved was the installation of a full length hardwood butcher block countertop surface on the countertop on the other side of the kitchen, opposite the sink.

With all of this new storage space available, we wanted to retain a type of retractable breadboard like the old kitchen had. We utilized the cutoff from the large butcherblock to create a retractable combination butcher block and breadboard which is really quite sturdy and makes another great cutting block that slides in and out for final food prep.

It sits right between the kitchen sink and the original 1950's Gaffers and Sattler gas stove. The owner says that it is quite handy to be able to temporarily slide what you're working on out of your way if you need to get into the lower cabinets. There is enough space above it to slide whatever you a working on in momentarily if you need to get something out of the drawer below it, as long as what you're sliding under there isn't too tall that is. There is about 3" of space above the working surface when it's slid into place.. The owner tells me that this little gem gets nearly contant use.

Future plans include new flooring and a new back door, but now that this kitchen is finished, the overall looks and usefulness are greatly improved, and the owner is thrilled!

 

Here are photos of the finished project, along with some taken in progress:

(click to see full screen images)

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