25 Memorable Midcentury Modern Kitchen Renovations
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25 Memorable Midcentury Modern Kitchen Renovations

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
We love a good midcentury renovation all the more when stellar kitchen updates are involved.

We've said it before: The kitchen is the hardest-working room in the house. This space typically takes center stage in an open-plan midcentury home, often making it the major focus of a renovation.  Even if you aren't a big home chef, chances are that updating the kitchen with contemporary appliances and on-trend touches will be your top priority due to the sheer visibility of the room. Below, we've rounded up some midcentury kitchen renovations to serve as inspiration for your upcoming project. Or if you haven't got any major projects on your mind, feel free to indulge in just a bit of architectural eye candy. 

A Kitchen Remodel That Meets Personal and Professional Needs

Portland-base pastry chef Andrea Nicholas purchased a 1953 midcentury ranch whose 2,500 square feet needed "a lot of TLC." Nicholas hired architect Risa Boyer to design the renovation, which involved opening up the kitchen to the dining room and creating a contemporary open-plan living space.

SHED added oversized sliding glass doors which allow for indoor/outdoor living during the warmer months, while new wood cabinetry establishes a clean, minimalist aesthetic, and an oversized, marble-topped island with a table extension provides room to cook, eat, and entertain. Oversized sliding doors open to the expansive deck, while skylights fill the space with natural light—a necessity with Seattle's gray winter skies.

Originally built by Walter Thomas Brooks in 1962, this Napa abode received a breath of fresh air in the form of a new kitchen by Henrybuilt. Maintaining its connection to the living and dining areas, the room is anchored by an island with leather pulls. Its pared-down look, in harmony with the other spaces, is defined by minimal open shelving, built-in storage, and refined matte finishes.

This midcentury kitchen was well-positioned so the updates maintained its original footprint, adding plenty of storage space for all the family's cooking and dining essentials. 

The firm enlisted their Parisian carpenter to make the cabinets in the "Frey style and color"—stained maple topped with cream-colored quartz. Appliances are all Bertazzoni except for the refrigerator and freezer, which is a Frigidaire Professional. The brick wall would not have been original, but the firm kept it and hand-painted the surface in the style of Le Corbusier’s Parisian apartment.

Thick Calacatta marble counters wrap streamlined sage green flat-front cabinetry, painted in Farrow & Ball's "Mizzle." The island pendants are Cedar & Moss, and the Alfi Low-Back counter stools are by Jasper Morrison for Emeco.

"We designed a fully-custom, expanded chef’s kitchen featuring European-style cabinets, a large island with waterfall countertops, and hardwood floors," say Sommer and Costello. The light and bright kitchen has cabinetry by Gilbert Sojo, quartz counters, and a streamlined black GE range hood that syncs with the black finger pulls from Cosmas.

Wise maintained the footprint of the kitchen, which is roughly 125 square feet, then maxed out the storage. "Our goal here was to create a sleek and minimal kitchen respectful to the era of the home that was hyper-functional in a small space," says Wise. The black stools are from IKEA.

Previously, the long volume of the main living area was chopped in half by a wall that enclosed the kitchen on one side. The division was a jarring way to separate the kitchen and dining room from the main living space, so the designers removed it to improve the connection between the main living areas. Removing the wall helps to expose the home’s beautiful post and beam structure throughout and unify the living spaces. To emphasize the structure, the team repainted the ceiling beams a dark color to contrast with the natural wood that was preserved.

HabHouse renovated this Pasadena midcentury and gave it a completely new kitchen designed according to its original footprint. The materials were chosen in accordance with the original architect Calvin Straub's favored materials: vertical grain Douglas Fir.

For the renovation of this Portland midcentury kitchen, Risa Boyer started by removing a wall and converting the former galley kitchen into an open plan that shares space with the living and dining areas. Now, the centerpiece of the kitchen is a generous island with plywood cabinetry veneered with vertical-grain Douglas fir and a Caesarstone counter with a waterfall treatment at one end. 

The architects went with a bold, orange hue for the kitchen countertops. Past the front door and a short hallway lies an expansive living, dining, and kitchen space.

This midcentury in Armonk, New York, was the personal residence of Arthur Witthoefft, an architect for renowned firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Witthoefft won an AIA First Honor Award in 1962 for his design, and the home was listed on the Register of Historic Places in 2011 after a meticulous restoration profiled in Dwell. The kitchen was modernized with white lacquer and stainless steel. 

The essence of this 1950s kitchen was recreated with modern-day appliances and additional counter space. 

Yellow Popham Design tiles add whimsy to the kitchen. A vintage Murano glass chandelier hangs above a custom table surrounded by DWR chairs.

The expanded central kitchen occupies the heart of the home. The kitchen island is wrapped in reclaimed Douglas fir and topped with a white granite countertop. The countertops in the rear are black-flamed granite.

A dark concrete counter and blue laminate cabinets surround the Jenn-Air microwave drawer in architect Janet Bloomberg’s kitchen. The pendant hanging above the table is a Tejido Round Suspension from Artemide.

For the kitchen, master bath, and kids’ bathroom, the designers chose three different hues of Savoy stacked mosaic tile from Portland-based manufacturer Ann Sacks. Tractor barstools by BassamFellows pull up to a PentalQuartz countertop. The gas cooktop, oven, and dishwasher are by Miele.

In the kitchen, interior designer Emily Knudsen Leland replaced purple laminate cabinets with flat-sawn eastern walnut, and added PentalQuartz countertops in polished Super White for contrast. The cooktop and oven are from Miele.

See Arch removed a wall to create a more spacious kitchen with a stronger visual connection to the dining area. The updated kitchen is outfitted with quartz countertops and Viking, Fisher Paykel, and Asko appliances.

The orange kitchen countertops were swapped for custom concrete countertops. The cabinets were painted Pink Ground by Farrow & Ball and paired with Build.com hardware. The kitchen sink and faucet are from Amazon, while the tile is from Lowes.

"For this home, I took down the walls, which closed off the kitchen and dining areas, and magically the sunshine and palm trees appeared," Perry explains of her Pop Art-inspired renovation.

The kitchen cabinets are custom-made from 100-year-old wood purchased at Sliverado Salvage. There’s a breakfast nook and a nine-foot island finished in Tadelakt, a waterproof plaster often used in Moroccan architecture, creating a communal and open space that flows into the living room. "Tadelakt is such a beautiful material and provides an old-world, earthy feeling, but using it is very labor-intensive," says Elaine.

The team expanded the kitchen and gave it a modern look that now features stunning walnut cabinets, gray Caesarstone counters, and a beautiful teal backsplash with tile from the Ann Sacks Modern Line.
Photo by Jeremy Bittermann

The renovation of this midcentury home in Falmouth, Maine, incorporates a modern aesthetic while preserving the home's midcentury character, as well as making it more energy efficient. Now, the bright and spacious kitchen opens to the dining and living spaces. The additional row of windows follows the roofline and fills the space with natural light.  Photo by Jon Reece Photography.

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