Elsie’s Kitchen (BEFORE)

Before- Elsie's kitchenI can hardly contain my excitement because today I’m starting the process of documenting this great big renovation we’ve been working on! Actually, I guess it started last May when we filmed the empty house tour. But today we’re going to get into MUCH more detail. (I LOVE details!)

Let me start by saying I love this home. It was built in the seventies, and when we first viewed it, it looked almost just like this (but with MORE seventies furniture and decor). I took these photos on our closing day when the house was empty. Anyway, the couple that lived here before us actually built the home themselves and lived there for forty years. I LOVED how they had it decorated. It was super cozy and very seventies. It reminded me of my own grandparents’ home in some ways. Good vibes. We fell in love with it pretty much instantly.

With that said, I am a very big believer in making a space your own and loving where you live. For us, this kitchen was never going to feel like us without major updates. And as much as I admired this well cared for yellow vintage kitchen, we knew we would love it even more if we updated it.

Before- Elsie's kitchen Here are some of the basic changes we planned from the beginning. I really liked the cabinets, but we ultimately decided to replace them and here’s why. 1. Getting them painted was more than half the price of all new cabinets. 2. I had my heart set on open shelving (inspired by this kitchen, which I loved SO much), which meant only keeping the bottom cabinets. 3. I wanted a traditional oven so that the space would feel bigger and more open (and more balanced). So once we factored in the painting and then reconfiguring the bottom cabinets, it made sense to replace them. The thing that really appealed to me about new cabinets is how fresh/clean they would be.

I knew we wanted to do a quartz countertop again because it was the best update we made in our previous kitchen. I can’t even count the number of times we wiped red wine, coffee and oil off of them, and they still looked brand new when we moved out.

The rest of the updates are more for aesthetics. I really wanted a farmhouse sink, mixed metals, subway tile and a fresher, brighter vibe. Oh! And definitely a new floor. The laminate was very old and had major sun stains in the breakfast nook right beside it.

Before- Elsie's kitchen That grate in the window popped right out. When we removed the drapes, we realized the window was much bigger than it appeared—Yay!

Before- Elsie's kitchen Here’s the view of the kitchen from the breakfast nook. Some of you commented that you thought I should leave this lattice, which I thought was kind of fun/cool. I’m hearing what you guys would do.

What we did, though, is said “goodbye” to our old friend (to be fair, we were only friends for like a week) and left that opening empty and clean.

Before- Elsie's kitchen Before- Elsie's kitchen These vintage ovens were SO cute. I kind of wanted to keep them, but they were broken anyway. I don’t know if you can see it, but there is black electrical tape holding some knobs together up there. Our inspector said they needed to be replaced ASAP. We decided to get a traditional oven instead and open up that counter space.

Before- Elsie's kitchen Here’s one last view from the kitchen into the front living room (do you call it a den? I don’t know) and the entryway. This clock ended up being hardwired into the wall (perma-clock) and kinda a pain to remove. Haha—that’s nothing, though, compared to some of the other expensive/annoying renovation surprises we ran into. Another story for another day, my friends.

I’ll be back soon to share the progress we’re making in the kitchen! It’s come a long way since I took these photos on May 15th. I hope you enjoy following along with our big project! It’s about to get crazy. xx- Elsie

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson 

  • You could put some kind of artwork over the clock, maybe spray paint it all white, put a better frame around it??? You guys are so creative that I am sure that clock will be a minor problem. Just watched some of your videos on Utube and I LOVE them and wish you’d do more.

  • That original kitchen is amazing. Why buy an all original house and just change it? Let someone have it who wants it just like it is. Those type houses are so rare.

  • Den? More like a cove. Goodness, that room is so dark compared to the brightness of the kitchen. 🙂

    I love the little details on those cabinet doors! Clean coat of paint and some open shelves, new hardware and those things would be my idea of perfect. Still, can’t wait to see what you do!

    PS, SUPER jealous of how much storage your kitchen has compared to mine. Lucky! 🙂

  • I was just showing these pictures to my husband and saying how much I respect people who are willing to buy houses like this and make them beautiful again! I can’t wait to see what you do to the space!


  • Wow, this is a YELLOW kitchen! lol can’t wait to see the progress and how it turns out. I love the ideas you have planned so far!

  • Woah, the cupboard handles! They just made me shudder! We are about to embark on a ktchen refit too, but
    I am feeling frustrated at the lack of availability of items (this is where Pinterest is not good) in our country! Good Luck!

  • I am so excited to see what you come up with it!


  • This was a cute kitchen. But after checking out those older posts you linked in, I know it’ll be even better! Can’t wait to see!


  • Excited to be on the ground floor for this! Love that you acknowledged the previous owners in a positive way. Decorating is about putting your stamp on it – not tearing down what other have done lovingly before. thank you.

  • Hi Elsie!,

    I’m anxious to see what you have done!! I’m sure i’m going to like it, althought i’m not a big fan of the open shelves (more dust and grease)

    XOXO Laura

  • Well, that’s what you call a project! When I saw the picture on bloglovin I thought it were all small pineapples on the doors, and now I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s not a pineapple kitchen haha!

  • My kitchen has a hard-wired clock as well (the house was built in 1969)! Excited to see how it will turn out!

  • Whoa! First thing that sprang to mind was Disney. Not entirely sure why, but I could see a Snow White twirling about in there. Looking forward to how you end up personalizing the space. 🙂

  • aww I love built in double ovens! Too bad it’s broken. That’s definitely something I want in my dream house in the retro kitchen

  • Bursting with excitement over what it is going to look like when it’s done!!!

    ♥ Heather and Melissa

  • I can’t wait to see what you do with the space. I wish I was in your position because I would love to do this kitchen.

  • I love the character but can’t wait to see what you will do with it! I would for sure keep some yellow. It is a great colour.

    xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com

  • This project is going to be so exciting! I think renovations are a wonderful way to get a better look into the persons aesthetic. :]

    // http://www.itscarmen.com ▲

  • I look forward to seeing what you do with it!! 🙂 x


  • That kitchen makes my heart go pitter-patter. It reminds me of my house growing up. Those handles are so funky. I’m not saying I would want to live with it, though! I think I’d save some of the cabinets and use them in the laundry room or garage for sentimental reasons.

  • I am so excited to see how it`s going to turn out 😀


  • Maybe you could hang a bunch of clocks on the wall with the perma-clock. Make a clock wall with all sorts of vintage clocks. Broken clocks preferably, so the noise doesn’t drive you crazy!

    I love your home and can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  • Man, that cabinet hardware is really something! Sounds like it’s going to be a pretty big overhaul – can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  • I have been house hunting in SC. One of the houses we looked at had a kitchen exactly like this down to the smallest detail. Must have been a trend – yellow, white, and lattice. Looking forward to watching you transform it.

  • This kitchen looks like fun to restyle/renovate! I am very curious about what you will do in the end and if we still can see something from that 70s flair in the new kitchen!

  • Hmmm- I do feel like my inspiration has some 70s vibes- but it’s more “palm springs” and less butter yellow. :))

  • 1) The “Nope” in your first photo 2) perma-clock is now a thing that I want also 3) the dark hallway pic looks like the gateway to doom. But, like, cuter?

  • I will definitely be watching your renovation still waiting on the va to get my disability but when done will be buying a house most likely a fixer love old houses

  • Like others, I’m really looking forward to the reveal. Kitchen is my favourite room in the house, and renos of them always make me drool 🙂

  • who hard wires a clock!
    can’t wait to see the reveal because this is an interesting kitchen.

  • I’m so excited to see the finished kitchen!! I’m in the process of buying a 1900’s victorian home and the kitchen is going to have to be completely remodeled, so I cannot wait to see what you do! So inspiring!

  • Oh man I am so excited to see the end result, there’s so much potential!

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