Transformation | French Country Kitchen

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How to Transform an Outdated 1970’s Kitchen!

The transformation of our French Country kitchen has been showing up a lot on Pinterest lately, and every time I see it, I’m amazed at the difference!

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the very first room we transformed in our vintage 1970’s home, the kitchen! 

When it comes to home renovation, Hubby and I were complete rookie’s when we bought this fixer upper.

The only renovating I had any experience with was a little bit of painting and hanging wallpaper, which was more than hubby had!

His idea of renovating was to pick up the phone and call someone! 

I still shake my head and wonder, “What were we thinking?!?” when I look back at these pictures!

Renovating a home wasn’t in my plans when we were looking for a home, and looking back, I’m still not exactly sure what possessed us to bite off a fixer upper…..and do all the work ourselves.

It certainly wasn’t something either of us thought about doing before, but when we saw this house, we were like, “How hard could it be?!?”

There were definitely many moments when I ate those words.

But as each room in the home was completed, our renovating skills improved, and we gained more and more confidence in our abilities.

We made sure that we had the right tools for each job, consulted professionals when needed, and watched lots of YouTube tutorials!


Our one owner, custom built French Country home was built in 1972, and it hadn’t seen much updating in the last 40+ years.  

It was a 3800 sq. ft. beauty and it was showing it’s neglect, inside and out.

The first time we looked at it, I just kept thinking, “It’s a time capsule”. The kitchen needed lots of attention, and I could see the potential, but worried that it might be more than we could handle.

After several weeks of trying to talk ourselves out of buying it, and going back to look at it many times, we couldn’t stop thinking about what it “could be”.

It had great bones, and being a custom built home, it had some very nice architectural features and details.

So, we went for it and purchased our first fixer upper.

We tackled the kitchen first, and it took us eight months to complete.

During that eight months, there were many, many times that I thought “what in the world have we done?!?”

Hubby and I made a pact before starting the renovation that no matter what, we wouldn’t mention the “D” word (Divorce), and we never did! Now, I can’t promise that we never mentioned the “M” word (Murder)!

This is what we saw when we first walked into our home. Like I said, it was a perfect 1972 time capsule.


 And this is what it looks like today, after it’s transformation.

 We ended up having skills that I didn’t even know we had!

The first thing we did was take down a wall in order to open up the space between the kitchen and breakfast room.

We scraped the popcorn ceiling……what a horrible mess! Be sure and use protective gear when doing this! 

We salvaged cabinets and relocated them, and added new cabinets where needed.

Using a jack hammer, we tore up the old tile floor and laid 5″ wide, handscraped oak floors.

This was the point that I thought that we might have lost our minds!

We covered the soffits with wood, old appliances were replaced, new lighting added….

Old closets were removed to make room for additional cabinets, and we modified the existing sink cabinet to hold a new farmhouse sink.

Everything received a fresh coat of paint!

We bought off the shelf, stock cabinets to fill in where needed.

With an entire home to renovate, inside and out, we were on a very tight budget, so we got really creative with getting the look I wanted, without breaking the bank.

We splurged on Carrara marble for the countertops and added stainless steel appliances, new sink hardware, cabinet hardware, a double farmhouse sink, and subway tile backsplash for a timeless look.

We also trimmed out all the cabinets with decorative trim so that both old and new, would blend seamlessly for a cohesive look.

The cabinets were primed with oil based primer and then painted in Sherwin Williams Snowbound, and finished with a dark brown glaze to bring out the details in the decorative trim.

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We planked the entire kitchen and breakfast room ceiling, using lightweight tongue and groove planks, then pickled them with Minwax pickling stain.

The round brick floor in the breakfast room was original to the house and it’s one of my favorite features.

We salvaged the original island, added trim and legs underneath, then painted it in Sherwin Williams Pussywillow.

Crown moulding was added in the entire room and the walls were painted in Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.

 Subway tile was taken all the way up to the ceiling.

A gorgeous antique chandelier is the crowning glory for the center of the island.

All of the interior doors were painted in SW Pussywillow, and all the exterior doors are painted in SW Inkwell.

The home had amazing original, stained glass windows that weren’t even noticeable with everything else going on in this room.

Once we lightened the pallette, and trimmed the windows in black, the stained glass windows are now showcased beautifully.

In the original kitchen, there was a desk area built in underneath the windows. We removed the desk and added more cabinets topped with Carrara marble.  

Hubby added some open shelving to display some of my ironstone collection.

The bar stools are from Overstock and I added the antique grain sack upholstery to give them a little bit more of a French feel.

The dry bar was originally a large double closet.

We removed the doors and shelves, trimmed the space out in beadboard, added stock cabinets topped with a remnant of black granite.

The upper cabinets are stock cabinets as well, that we elevated with decorative trim, cutting out the space in the door, and adding metal grate.

Hubby built the shelves and wine rack from scrap lumber.

We also built an island table extension for extra seating.

It just slides under the lip of the marble on the island.

If I had to choose my favorite thing about the kitchen transformation, it would have to be the planked ceiling.

It grabs everyone’s attention that walks into the room!

We love the way it turned out and I’m still amazed when I go back and look at the “before” pictures.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we could transform a room like this ourselves. It just goes to show that anyone can do this!

If you would like to see other rooms that we have renovated, click on Master Bedroom, Dining Room, Family Room, Living Room, Foyer, Guest Bedroom, Study, Laundry Room, and Powder Room. 

And if you would like to see the different ways we’ve decorated the kitchen for the holidays, just type “kitchen” into the search box in the sidebar!




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