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Old 12-29-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
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Our 1950's Kitchen Dilemma


We are interested in making some improvements to our kitchen before we try to sell our house. We really feel like the kitchen was one of the main selling points for us, and in our area of homes built in the 40’s and 50’s most kitchens are very small, but ours is decent sized.

Our house was built in the early 50’s and I believe that our kitchen cabinets are the old metal ‘Youngstown’ brand cabinets that were popular back then. They have been painted over (sloppily) and don’t really look very nice. They have the original cabinet pulls also. I think it would be neat to “restore” them and keep them, but another part of me wonders if we should just pull them out and replace them with some cheap stock cabinets?

Also, our counter top appears to be homemade from the same black floor tiles that were used for the kitchen floor (it’s a bad job). Am I wrong in assuming that we’d be better off replacing it with even some inexpensive laminate countertops? Lastly we want to re-tile the backsplash. Currently the back splash is very old, painted over tile that doesn’t feel like ceramic, it seems softer.

I guess I’m open to any suggestions, but my main questions are:

1. How much of a pain in the a** would it be to rehab these old metal cabinets vs. replacing them with some inexpensive wood stock cabinets? (Should I take off one of the metal cabinet doors and experiment with stripping & repainting?)

2. Do I have to remove the cabinets in order to retile the backsplash or can I leave them?

3. Am I better off replacing sloppy homemade tile countertops with inexpensive laminate ones?

I really appreciate any feedback you guys can give. I can even post pictures if you think it would help. J

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Old 12-29-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Our 1950's Kitchen Dilemma


These choices seem to be easy to make.. but with the current market you are better to leave it as is. It works. Anything you do will not yield a return on the dollar. Any inexpensive fix will look like just that. And this would still mean a potential buyer will look at this house as one that needs a kitchen upgrade.

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Old 12-29-2009, 12:46 PM   #3
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Our 1950's Kitchen Dilemma


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Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
These choices seem to be easy to make.. but with the current market you are better to leave it as is. It works. Anything you do will not yield a return on the dollar. Any inexpensive fix will look like just that. And this would still mean a potential buyer will look at this house as one that needs a kitchen upgrade.
Thanks Bob. I was afraid of that. I just find it hard to believe that some elbow grease wouldn't make it a bit more appealing - but I see your point.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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Our 1950's Kitchen Dilemma


elbow grease, and some painting will be a good thing. Hiring out a pro, countertop replacement or new cabinets are over kill unless you make this look like an expensive kitchen without the cost of one. And this takes a lot of work and planing and shopping for the right items. Sand down the cabinets if they look bad and use a spray can to give them several light coats of new paint. Clean the grout with a commercial cleaner and repair cracked or missing grout as needed.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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Our 1950's Kitchen Dilemma


The backsplash sounds like pressed board with a tile look. It is soft and always painted. As Bob said, if you do part, do all. People buy a house and change it to sit their needs or choices, not yours. I would leave it as is.
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