EWWW! Disastrous kitchen re-muddle featured in Sunset

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EWWW! Disastrous kitchen re-muddle featured in Sunset

Postby Slim and Gabby » Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:52 am

Ouch! This popped up on the MSN intro page today, and I was hypnotised by the horror of it. Sunset, why have you forsaken me????



The full story of the $30 kitchen makeover is here:

http://realestate.msn.com/slideshow_sun ... &GT1=35000

The cute kitchen with original pine, nice hardware and a STUNNING original Tappan oven is here....

Image


Look at what a cheapo paint job has done here.....

Image


What a shame to hurt that gorgeous oven with a tacky fake re-do-Whimsical my ***.
This is what made me queasy:
Image


more paint de-botchery here:
Image

The whole things is referred to as a "Stunning Makeover". I'm stunned, alright. Ouch. Let's hope folks don't get "inspired" by this to makeover any more neat old appliances or clear pine. Sheesh.
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Postby Stephen » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:22 am

I guess I'm writing the dissenting brief here.

I personally thought it was a rather clever way to improve a kitchen for $30 in paint. Most people would have just thrown the oven away and bought a new one.

Good design isn't really about what colors you pick or whether you like vintage or new...it's about contemplating, creating, understanding, and visualizing. To me it's clear that this person put a lot of thought into how to spend $30.

We often forget that in the 1930s and 1940s most Angelenos thought having good taste in homes meant you wanted a Spanish Colonial in Hollywood or a Tudor in Hancock Park. Many people of "taste" thought modern homes were abominations of design fit for nutjobs.

Most modernist architects I think would be dismayed to find people preserving their homes exactly as built in the face of changing requirements. I've always thought a chief tenet of modernism is that the architecture follows (or dictates) the lifestyle of its inhabitants. If something isn't working any longer, it should be changed. Cliff May frequently remodeled and modified his owns residences. You should be able to say that a home *is* relevant to how one lives, not that it *was* relevant.

In this case, the chocolate brown appliances and dark cabinets echoed an era where the thoughts of what a kitchen was were different. I applaud someone who managed to completely change the kitchen to fit their modern requirements and to do it with a minimal replacement of materials and expenditure. This person also managed to do something downright amazing: reinvent the past in the future.
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Postby Futura Girl » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:42 am

it is sad when original home features go away, but i think i reserve judgement until i saw what kind of paint job they did? if it was done properly and professionally - i don't see that it's much different than someone ordering a custom colored stove back in the 50s or 60s.

i actually think they did a nice job on color selection :roll:

and paint can always be stripped off by a future owner who want to bring back the original wood - it's better than tearing it out and putting in IKEA!

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Postby Futura Girl » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:48 am


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Postby Izzy » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:42 pm

way more "eco friendly" than all the expensive stuff on the green network. nothing thrown away.
not a bad solution for those of us with no money for a kitchen redo.
slim/gabby: i know where you're coming from though. i dont think i could live with such a brown kitchen even though it is original.

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Postby DFWmidmodfan » Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:18 pm

I agree with the major points raised here: i.e. nothing was thrown away, strict adherence to yesteryear color schemes can be overly restrictive to a sense of "modern", etc.

I applaud that nothing was chucked merely because it appeared "outdated". If an appliance stops functioning, and due to age it can't be feasibly repaired, that is one thing. To rip out a perfectly functional appliance merely for aesthetics seems less preferable than to what the Sunset article is (perhaps not directly) is advocating; retaining what one has with careful "sprucing up".

That particular model of Tappan oven, with a slight variation in knobs and clock face, was in the house I grew up in...brings back fond memories of looking through that lined glass at a Thanksgiving turkey roasting away, and a mid-century modern ranch filled with wonderful cooking odors.
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Postby jesgord » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:14 am

At least it wasn't refit as a "country kitchen" or a granite counter topped home depot tiled special. I happen to think that this kitchen job was tastefully done. Original appliances, cabinets and pulls all remain in place.....just in different colors/finishes. As I've said in the past, I'm all for maintaining the original character of MCM homes....but not everybody wants to "live with" a brown kitchen.

I happen to think the after looks better than the before. Just because its original doesn't mean its nice. Plenty of people in the 50's had BAD taste..... just like plenty of people today have bad taste. Original details do not always= attractive or desirable. I wouldn't have wanted a brown oven/cook top in 1955 and I wouldn't want one now.

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Postby redneckmodern » Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:48 am

color choices aside, there is not a rattle-can spray paint on the market (of that color or at that price... or at all , really) that can stand up to the type of use/heat that the oven face, hood and cooktop will get. this looks nice and clean in photos, but with the first application of heat and grease (or a year of normal wear/cleaning), the owners might have a special appreciation for that baked-on enamel... no matter how brown.

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As with

Postby modfan » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:49 am

Other comments I don't find it too bad. But as others alluded to, see it in a few years after grease and heat and dirt have on it.

And I've seen worse redos.

Brings up another aside, I find WHY do they offer products for kitchens and baths that have more nooks and crannys to clean like this:
Image
and this:
http://www.tfillc.com/images/products.jpg
and this:
http://www.lechefkitchendesigns.com/ima ... rgetop.jpg

That have those places to clean, not to mention that hard to reach space above the cabinets (among other spots in that pic) that may need cleaning
in the last image/link

I mean 'modern' at least it most cases was smart about making it easy to clean-undermount sinks and soffited cabinets and simple forms etc. so you have a minimum of dust/dirt catchers.
A lot of these items look 'cool' but I wonder after people buy and install em, do they think 'damn why did I choose this it's soo damn hard to clean under the lavatory or that angular space between the hood and the upper cabinet'
unless of course they leave it to their housekeepers/maids to clean up.

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Postby redneckmodern » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:55 am


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Postby travelteam » Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:01 am


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Postby Carlos Araujo » Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:20 pm

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Postby MCMMI » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:54 pm

Interesting....is that really true about the paint on the oven? Has anyone ever tried it? My Dad spray-painted his free-standing electric stove about 6 years ago and the worst that's happened is he has a few chip marks around the burners. Paint on the oven is perfectly fine....

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Gabby here...

Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:32 pm

OK< maybe I was a bit harsh in my state of shock. It wasn't the colors I objected to, they were actually kind of cute. I've personally had a weird little MCM yellow and blue kitchen, and it was fun. And everyone who has been in our casa knows we LOVE color.

As for Futura and others, yes, I get that recycling is good (ask all the three legged chairs waiting for love in the garage!) and much prefer a re-fab to a hasty Ikea or Home Despot remuddle.

TravelTeam hit it right on the head. I found the quality of finish to be the issue. No better advice than to live with it a while. My last home was a 1959 cabin: EVERY inch was knotty pine, and this in the deep dark redwood forest. I made the mistake of doing a very sensitive light re-finish in the bedroom, and lived to regret it. I learned to love that pine. Our current kitchen is clear pine cabinets with a gloss varnish. I gotta tell you-there's a LOT to be done with colorful accesories. Who doesn't have fun thrift shop treasures to add spice? And that glossy pine finish is nigh on bulletproof. Just scrub away anytime and spend one weekend every few years with a bucket o' varnish and you are always fresh and new.

I'm not against repainting appliances. Slim did a great job colorizing our new frigidaire to match the kitchen tile. But he used two step auto enamel and buffed it out so we can maintain the finish AND keep it clean. We intend to do the same to our cool old Nutone hood/vent.

Redneck is right. There is no rattle-can that can produce a finish that will hold up to everyday kitchen use, especially in a small space. Modfan's comments about grease and cleanability are the crux of the issue.

Carlos has the right idea: stand steady with the original for a while, and you may find more sensitive ways to make it your own. We looked LONG and hard for an original kitchen.

Futura is right: we don't want to see neat old features go to the dump so new ones can be put in. I just worried that folks will be inspired to paint over neat old stuff and then toss it when they find out the shoddy paint job doesn't work.

Thanks for delving into this can of worms with me- you can see it's a pet peeve. And for the record, I have been negotiating with some old folks for their yellow oven. I'll trade 'em a snazzy new black one any day!
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Postby Izzy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:39 pm

me and mdh once painted our 78 vw van with pea green appliance paint out of a rattle can. It really worked great! (ok, we were in college and our standards were different) BUT it did look pretty cool. We were not cooking bacon on it or anything but it held up pretty well to years of roadtrips from washington to palmsprings and up and back again 4 or 5 times.

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Postby domus48 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:45 am

Interesting topic and thread. As an owner of a historically designated post war modern home and a licensed interior designer employed with a firm known for a high-end, clean-line aesthetic, I would have to say that the "stunning makeover" is little more than a cosmetic upgrade -- what's with that dinky clock?

If the original intent of the exercises was to display what could be done for very little expense, then the ends justifies the means. Of course, the end product is subjective. Nevertheless, there is a degree of success evident.

That said, the subsequent thread opened a number of topics:

1) Reuse of a 40 year old appliance is questionable in terms of efficiency and subsequent long term use.

2) Painting low grade, veneered plywood millwork is certainly a viable option and not without precedent even during the "modern" period -- replacing millwork with IKEA product, etc. is also perfectly acceptable (see below).

3) "Most modernist architects... would be dismayed to find people preserving their homes exactly as built in the face of changing requirements." This is an excellent observation and rings absolutely true.

4) What is actually being discussed in this thread is: Preservation vs. Renovation. To which I would argue what is the value of preserving a dated environment devoid of architectural provenance?

Folks, it's just a kitchen that someone painted.

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Postby sdmod » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:36 am

I think this is an interesting thread but the controversy is maybe a bit misguided; it has to do with approach. Is this preservation or is it something else? My issue usually comes into play when somebody remodels or remuddles a house and then calls it preservation. The problem there is that it can result in “false historyâ€￾ if you say that you have “preservedâ€￾ a house and then you see granite counters and Ikea cabinets you are in some part distorting history. Again, this is not to criticize those who choose to update or remodel it s really a question of how you present the work that has been done.

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Postby Joe » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:05 am

well put, sdmod.

I have no issue with painting surfaces that require such maintenance. But with an oven, it's best left original. Sure the color isn't the greatest, rather a design challenge that isn't impossible. The only exception would be to change to a color that was offered by the manufacturer for that model at that time.

The issue here context. Sure, the owners may think it's neat and like it, but they probably won't own it for long. The next owner will most likely only see a painted oven and replace it. I think people tend to think about preservation better when a particular item is left closest to it's original state. Altering the oven just moves it away from original. I think "original" and "authentic" has value in today's society.

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Postby domus48 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:39 pm

" ...with an oven, it's best left original."

I disagree. Functionality and efficiency (in terms of energy used -- as in Energy Star) is of more value than salvaging a builders grade appliance in the name of preservation. It comes down to this: What is the value of the item saved?

The answer has to be gaged with the effort involved as well as the long term value.

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Postby momp57 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:38 pm

I planned to stay out of this firestorm, but just couldn't hold my tongue any longer. I HATE both kitchens. I could not have lived with that original kitchen. The brown appliances were ugly and the blue is only slightly less so. I also don't consider those cabinets anything special. ( I do like the hardware, however) There are old appliances and cabinets that I might think were worthy of preservation but this kitchen would not have survived in my house either.

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Postby cadman » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:31 pm

And...there are actually people like me that collect and restore vintage major appliances, not only to display and occasionally demonstrate, but as actual daily-driver appliances too.

I would not get into an energy-star debate on an electric range. Purely resistive in nature it all comes down to cavity size, wall thickness, insulation quantity, etc. Let's face it, the old stuff was typically over built and in many cases surprisingly efficient, especially when given a "tune up" (frost-free fridges aside).

Myself, I can't warm up to Harvest Gold but I am liking Avocado. So much so in fact the new kitchen in the new house is designed around a Frigidaire avocado range I restored (gf's orders!). Similarly, someone out there would probably give their eye-teeth for this coppertone Tappan to fix their flipped remuddle. One less classic scrapped and one less disposable white-good replacement taken out of the supply chain. :roll:

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Postby rockland » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:52 pm

A young colorful family on a budget?
Image

My one complaint is not showing proper prep steps and the time involved.
And no harm in making a little change when an appliance functions.
(i don't really like the color) And i hope it holds up. I think we have a twenty-
something idea of using what we have. Why rip it out if it works. Joe is correct in
using an appliance that is still functioning...and i would use a color that was offered
originally.
I could not live with the brown.
Or maybe i would for a while. Change out the flooring first? Looks like vinyl yuk.
I'm sitting on the fence on this one :)

(I've changed to energy star for my fridge. And a new gas cooktop. No ego. I cook.)

The intentions are good but a bit extreme. Cute? fun? Who cares really. On a budget
even ikea is a huge expense.
Like i said, it is a bit shallow of content to mention a 30 dollar makeover without details.

My mother-in-law mucked up kitchens across America. She has Sears come in and white
the kitchen in every house. The last one they live in now is also showing signs of failure.
The originally brown double oven is chipping and the cabinets are just horrific.
She cooks and doesn't really care. Using what functions. Like the young family discussed.
Making it fit their lifestyle on a budget.
(i did not know Sunset was still at it. Pretty awful examples of 'makeovers' on their site)

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Postby Perks » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:54 pm

Interesting discussion. I've been watching this on the sidelines and it's been a fascinating read thus far.

While I can't say any one post sums up my own position in the matter thus far, I agree with most of the general consensus points. 1) A painted appliance has less potential "preservation value" to future owners than an original one. 2) A cheap "upgrade" job will only hasten the deterioration of said preservation value. 3) Context matters. I do find the updated color scheme a little more appealing, but agree that it won't hold up as well as the original finishes that seemed to hold up reasonably well over the course of a half-century's service. And when that finish starts to go, I'm willing to bet all that cool old stuff will find its way to the local scrap metal recycler.

With that said, I make no apologies that I tore out a perfectly serviceable, original kitchen in my own house. However, when I say "original" I mean "original but with enough updates over the years to render nearly impossible any reasonable attempts to restore it." Could I have restored the kitchen to its fully original shape? And had I done so, would the kitchen have held more historical value? Doubtful, since I don't know what that particular kitchen originally looked like, and a restoration attempt would have been just that--an attempt, and no less historically worthy than a brand-spanking-new kitchen. But importantly, I chose not to attempt to maintain the original integrity of the room, since the configuration of the kitchen was virtually unworkable (I have no idea how the previous owners made do with so little counter space!).

In cases where having the room as a museum piece is not the goal, one then has to decide how much of the spirit of the original one wishes to retain. I love my kitchen, but I could never pretend they even begin to resemble vintage cabinets. However, I could never have let go of a few elements that helped in my decision to buy the house in the first place: the original oven + cooktop assemblies, and a cool globe light that was probably also original to the house. I do think I gave a reasonable nod to the past in my quest for having a usable kitchen space, but I don't even pretend that anything I did was a remote attempt at "preservation."

It doesn't hurt that my Westinghouse appliances are stainless (perhaps even the same kind as Joe has!) and I didn't have to worry about matching up a new refrigerator or dishwasher with an unusual older color. And of course, the fact that it would take a LONG time to make up for the cost of a new oven with the energy savings that a new oven would give was no deterrent either.

And VMacek: Pedals that would decide to stick to the floor were a hallmark of Saabs for years! I think it was standard issue on my old 900 model. :wink:
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Postby Joe » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:58 pm

I am not fond of either kitchen. I am just stating opinion as a matter of principal.


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