Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to Preserve the Charm of an Old Kitchen

Older homes have their charms: sturdy construction, vintage details, and original hardwood floors, to name a few. People who buy older homes love these details.For all the vintage allure, however, older homes also present certain remodeling challenges.

The difference between vintage and outdated is subtle, yet important. "Vintage" is timelessly appealing, but "outdated" just feels stodgy and tired. Sadly, the latter is often the case with the kitchens in older homes.

Today the kitchen is the center of the home, a place for the family to meet and eat. In the past, the kitchen was the provenance of the family chef, the space designed for a specific duty: to cook.

Old kitchens are smaller; and without the benefit of any serious remodeling, these kitchens often display outdated materials and appliances. Old kitchens also often share the charm of the home--even if its buried under laminate. A good remodeling project transforms an outdated space to new without losing the vintage charm.

Over the years, MKBD has remodeled more than a few outdated kitchens. For pictures and remodeling tips, read below.

 In this Fort Washington MKBD project, we refinished the original hardwood floors. 

New Floors or Refinish old Floors? 

Some older kitchen benefit from timeless materials; some do not. In the project above, we discovered beautiful hardwood floors--a perfect option for refinishing. Whether to refinish or replace is personal preference, but timeless materials like wood can often be refinished with relatively little hassle.

Beyond wood, most other old materials, like linoleum or tiles, are best replaced. Old linoleum can look stodgy, and most tile floors suffer from cracks. Ceramic tiles are prone to cracking when the floor below has structural movement. For some kitchen updates, then, we recommend replacing the subfloor, too.

A tri-color tile floor, imported from Italy, is a perfect addition to this older kitchen

New Cabinets or Refinish old Cabinets?

Like wood floors, refinishing can be a good option for cabinets, too, which are often made of wood, yet have suffered from wear and tear over the years. Some wood cabinets can look "outdated"; often a simple refacing is all that is needed to revive the vintage appeal.
The timeless simplicity of wood Shaker cabinets, which are an excellent option for refinishing. On the other hand, new Shaker cabinets like these are an investment that will last for decades.
Many older cabinets are actually more durable than today's pre-built cabinets. (At MKBD, we build our cabinets from scratch, so this is not an issue).

In many older kitchens. however, the cabinets are beyond a simple refacing. If you plan on living in your home for more than five years, new wood cabinets will evoke vintage charm yet provide years of durability.

New wood cabinets, like these cherry cabinets, are a great investment. After years of wear and tear, they might be in need of a simple refinishing.

Replace Those old Countertops

Countertops are often the stodgiest part of old kitchens. Standard laminate counters can look worn after years of use, and are good candidates for replacement.

Here's what the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has to say about laminate replacement:

"If your countertops are old and generally worn over a large area, the best repair is to recover them with new laminate. While the job is not particularly difficult, it does require a wide variety of skills new to most homeowners. You'll have to disconnect the plumbing, remove the sink, and cut, apply, and trim the laminate. Then the sink has to be replaced and reconnected, and some trim may be required."

Another option, of course, is replacing the laminate altogether with a durable material like granite.

In this MKBD project, we replaced the old laminate with beautiful granite.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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