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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Adding Vintage Charm in the Kitchen

Recently, on a sunny day in western Colorado, the stars and planets aligned in a once in a lifetime miraculous event and my kitchen was clean enough to take photos!! Can you believe it? Really, it will not likely happen again anytime in the near future, so you will have to bear with my gazillion photos today. I need something happy to look back on when things are out of control over here! 

Back in January, I shared a post entitled "Permission to Nest"
where I talked about finally letting myself treat this house as our home. 
I was going through a divorce when we (my four kids and I) left the family home my husband and I owned and moved into the town home we currently rent. Up until that point I was just not mentally or emotionally capable of investing myself into decorating (or getting too attached to) a place that may be temporary for us. 

Well, we've now lived in this home for almost 2-1/2 years. I still don't know what might happen from one month to the next, but I'm in a place now where I am comfortable investing some effort to make this place feel more like "me", regardless of what might happen next. 

So what does all this have to do with my current kitchen? 

This is my kitchen the day we started moving in, January of 2011. 
What's wrong with it? Absolutely nothing! {except bad photography- haha}
It's a kitchen lots of people would love to have, regardless of how (or whether) it's decorated. It was brand new construction and we were the first to ever live in this home. I truly am blessed to have this kitchen! 

The thing is, it just wasn't me. Gosh, I hope this doesn't sound too petty. It's just that after living here for some time, I was finally ready to add a little charm to this quite contemporary space. How did I accomplish a look that's more my style, without looking out of place with the house's style? And how did I do it without spending much money?

I'd love it if you'd come with me on a little tour of my space!

 First, please notice my ability to produce a better photograph :)

If I owned this home, I would probably want to paint the cabinets. Since that isn't possible, one of the things I've done is add a few painted pieces of furniture, like this blue stool. There's just something about a painted piece that softens the somewhat "hard" feeling of all the wood and granite. This stool was given to me by a friend when she moved away. In fact there are several things in this kitchen that were gifts from that same friend. Thanks, Dina!

This kitchen has no backsplash. I really wanted something behind the stove because it can get messy back there. The piece that looks like a ceiling tin is actually a plastic material. It's a leftover from the previous house (purchased at Lowe's). I like that it has a vintage look, but still blends well with the contemporary appliances. Plus-I already had it! Now remember, that's the main thing when you're decorating with no budget-shop your own stuff!

To the right of the stove I had an opportunity to add another piece where there is no backsplash. This chippy wood panel came from a curbside antique door (I only managed to get half the door-ugh! Story for another day) I cleaned it and smoothed down the peeling paint by lightly sanding it and then covered it with a coat of polyurethane.

In my humble opinion, ironstone always seems to bridge the gap between design styles. A vintage glass and my grandmother's cow creamer hold measuring spoons.

To the left of the stove I have another small wood plank panel in place of a backsplash. This was another curbside find that I painted white and distressed a bit. I hope I'm not grossing you out with all these curbside things in my kitchen! : )

In front of that is the large ironstone bowl I have used to hold my DIY Cloche.
Here I'm using it with a vintage canning rack holding a plate of apples.

The white cotton chair cover was $1.50 thrift store find, and the feed sack was another freebie.

In this corner I'm using a wooden box turned on it's side to hold my coffee supplies.

 I keep coffee and filters tucked into this pretty white container-another thrift store find.

I've had this hanging rack for years, and it holds plenty of cups!

This French blue shelf is one of my favorite pieces! I've had it in the master bathroom since we moved in, but I recently decided to move it down here to the kitchen where I can enjoy it for most of my day!

It's kind of fun to make the necessities look pretty. I'm using an ironstone dish next to the sink to hold soaps and scrubbers.

To the right of the sink, a little painted stool that I bought for my son when he was a toddler now holds a stack of oval Homer Laughlin plates (they were 50 cents each at a thrift store)

The white tray I've had for many years. It actually has legs that fold up, so it can be used as a bed tray. In fact, my kids used this to bring breakfast up to my room on Mother's Day. 

Not only is this chippy, rusty old advertising thermometer cute, it has sentimental value to me, as well. It's another of many items I'm lucky enough to have that belonged to my dear grandparents.

Baskets are another of my favorite items to add a little warmth to a more contemporary space. Plus they are just great for organizing and storing necessary items, like these kitchen towels.

I told you the sweet story of this picnic basket  over here.
Can you believe my son-in-law bought me this darling vintage teapot for Mother's Day? I showed you the lovely things my daughter gave me for Mother's Day in my last post, so I was very surprised that he wanted to give me something that was just from him. I love it!

On the average day, this entire island counter is usually covered with papers, schoolbooks and art supplies. I hate to spoil the illusion, but we really do live in this area of the house most of the day long, and it looks really lived in most of the time. It was really good for me to pretty things up and know that it can look nice :)

I pulled together some random thrift store parts to create this large candle holder. The wire base is from a planter I've had for years. The glass part I picked up last year at the local second hand shop. It's beautiful hand blown glass from a hotel light fixture, I believe. They were asking more than I was willing to pay, but I think I talked them into letting me have it for $3.00. I put a round piece of wood in the bottom of the wire basket and placed a candle and the glass piece on top, and voila! I love the way it looks!

At the end of the island counter I have another {you guessed it} curbside find. It was a dark brown planter box when I picked it up. I cleaned it up and painted it and now it holds jars of flatware and utensils. Sometimes math

At the very end of the island counter I've found it's very helpful for a messy crafter like me to keep a small chest of drawers for supplies.

 It's another opportunity to incorporate a painted piece, again softening all the hardness of wood and granite with a little cottage charm.

This piece is extra special to me. First, because it belonged to my grandma. Second, because all four of my kids have had this piece in their rooms growing up. When I was expecting my last child, (was that really six years ago?!) I re-painted it, added the red handles and decoupaged some sweet little vintage baby images on the drawers. It's been in my son's room up until about a week ago. I know it's kind of baby-ish for a house with no babies, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to change it yet. You understand :) 

Several years back an acquaintance of mine had the good fortune of procuring tons of furniture from a hotel in Aspen as they were remodeling the whole place. I was able to get 4 of these very sturdy, very comfortable bar stools for a fantastic price (around $30.00 apiece) knowing I would want to change the fabric, or slipcover them someday. Well that "someday" has long passed, and I'm determined to create some kind of cover for them very soon! I'll keep you posted on that project.

View of the kitchen from the living room area.

Whew! I know this was a super long post, and you are all troopers for sticking with me to the end! 

I've tried to create a balance, infusing some vintage charm without overwhelming the space with things that are not appropriate for the style of the home. It's become a comfortable place for my family, so I guess that's what's most important. 

By the way, the items in the kitchen that were purchased since we moved into this house 2-1/2 years ago total about $25.00 spent. 

If you're a vintage-loving person like me, living in a contemporary space can feel a little challenging.  I hope I've given you a few ideas about how to incorporate a bit of that charm we love so much into your own home as well. 

Thank you all for reading, friends!
Have a blessed week-


Come join me this week over at

Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill 
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House 
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Creative Bloggers Party at Homemaker on a Dime 
The Scoop  
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life 
Budget Decorating Party at Creative Cain Cabin 
Knick of Time Tuesday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm 
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House 
Pretty Things at twelveOeight 
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style 
Tutorials Tips and Tidbits at StoneGable 
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Creative Inspirations at Embracing Change 
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage
The Weekly Creative at Reasons to Skip the Housework 
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 
Be Inspired at Common Ground 
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors  


  1. There is a different kind of charm I love about that kitchen (think cold drinks and Mikayla, Amelia and Silas) but these pictures are lovely and I am counting the days until I am sitting at that bar! Your home has been a blessing to all of us. Dina

  2. You have added lovely vintage charm to a brand new home Jeanette, your kitchen is beautiful!!

    xo, Tanya

  3. Dear Jeanette, I love the vintage pieces that you have added to your contemporary kitchen, (and more than likely throughout your home). Knowing the origins of these additions make them very special. You definitely qualify as one who can inspire HOW TO MAKE A HOUSE A HOME. I have been following your blog for two-three months and know that the challenges in your life have been more than difficult. A single mom with young ones at home. I do know WHO you lean on...When I can afford it, there are several items in your store that I would love to order, (I have a wish list-not a need list, however).

  4. Hi Jeanette, I love everything about your kitchen. Although it is not your style, per say, you've made it cozy and inviting from adding all your vintage pieces. You've got quite an eye for decorating! I love the granite and stainless steel appliances. I admire your eye for finding vintage pieces at a reasonable price.
    Thanks for sharing today.
    Hugs, Noreen

  5. Your kitchen looks like a custom job. We are living in a rental for the first time in 36 years. We want to purchase the home, but the owner doesn't want to sell. Anyways, back to your kitchen. I have been trying to come up with some ways to customize my 'plain' kitchen, and you have given me a bunch of ideas. Thanks for sharing your kitchen. Blessings Paula

  6. So creative to be able to take a contemporary space and give it a true vintage feel. I love that little chippy white bits and pieces, the blue stool, and the French cabinet.

  7. I love how you've incorporated vintage pieces to make your new builder grade home...more You!
    (and on a budget too~)
    via CLH,

  8. There's so much here to ooh and ahh over, and did I ever. From the gorgeous vintage teapot to the French blue shelf and everything in between. You're very creative.

  9. Love all of your vintage accessories, and make the necessary things look pretty too. Great vingnettes. Thanks tons for joining Inspire ME. Hugs, Marty

  10. What a lovely home you have Jeanette! The mix of colours, textures and styles is so pretty!

  11. Wow, Jeanette,

    You did a great job of making your kitchen country looking and cozy! Loved all the pics.


  12. It is absolutely charming! So many sweet touches to make it homey and cozy as can be! :)

  13. Lovely kitchen!! Especially love the chippy wood pieces for "backsplash" here and there :)

  14. Jeanette
    What a beautiful transformation just like the one that took place in your heart. Beautiful journey to share even through pain, thank you sweet friend. I love the warmth of your special home.


  15. Hi Jeanette, I can see how your kitchen is the hub of your home. Its gorgeous with so many wonderful touches:)

    Hugs, Sumaya

  16. I so love the feel the kitchen has now. It reminds me of a farmhouse kitchen with all the lovelies you have:) I sure enjoyed seeing all the pics. Thanks for sharing at the Cabin's BUDGET DECORATING PARTY.

  17. LOVE! Now, to get myself an awesome kitchen just like that! I'd love for you to come link this up at The Weekly Creative! LIVE NOW!

    Melanie {reasons to skip the housework}

  18. What a beautiful kitchen. I love everything. You have done a beautiful job. Thanks for sharing. Karie

  19. I'm liking the little wood boxes and stool on your counters. Love the cover on your sofa too! Way to go!

  20. So many great ideas here. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes just the simplest of things that make me say...hmmm, why haven't I thought of that? I have that same little rack and so many white cups I can't stop buying. Perfect!

  21. I have the same problem in my home, Mom. If you ever want to "gift" some of your things to me I wouldn't complain ;) I loved that blue thing you brought over for my bday that I had the eating utensils in. And if you ever come across a breakfast-in-bed tray or want to make me one I would LOVE it. I haven't found one at the stores that I like.

  22. Hi, visiting from Hometalk. You've done a wonderful job of personalizing your kitchen. I love it!

  23. your home is warm and inviting and the kitchen is the heart of your home.Just beautiful, thank you for sharing xo

  24. Jeanette, I totally can relate to this post. When we purchased our home almost 4 years ago some things about it were not my style. Like you, a little too modern. I have tried to give it some vintage charm. I have found that some things don't work. But others make it have a little charm. All of my cabinets were alder wood and just too much wood for me. I painted my island and fan hood aqua and distressed it. Hubby couldn't believe that I wanted to paint that beautiful wood. I told him, yes; it's beautiful but too much wood for my taste. It really helped. I love all of the vintage touches that you have done! You have such a knack for style. I think that you have made it a wonderful place for you and your kids. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  25. What a warm and comforting transformation! I love your French blue shelf--love it! Please feel free to hop over to my blog and link up any time to my Vintage View Blog Party.

  26. I love how you softened your kitchen and made it yours. You have given me some ideas for mine. I was surprised when I saw the first photo because somehow I had gotten the idea you lived in an older place.

    thanks for sharing such great tips.

  27. Oh, I was so excited to see your kitchen. You would not believe how close it is to mine here in our condo in NC. My sink it where you're stove is....most everything else is the same. I have the same blank space above my kitchen sink and love what you've done there! You've really added some beautiful touches to your kitchen!


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