Old House Kitchen Reno – Part 3

Now we get to the fun part of the kitchen renovation in our 130 year old house. This is where we thought about what kind of stuff we wanted. I previously posted Part 1 and Part 2 of our renovation.

Anyone can come up with ideas for the expensive latest and greatest things to have in their kitchen if they are willing to spend unlimited $$. The thing is, my husband and I have worked hard for our whole lives, and while we are now comfortably early-retired, we have savings because we worked hard, did lots of things ourselves, and are somewhat frugal. We wanted this kitchen to reflect our personalities and how we use our kitchen. We also acknowledge that we will not necessarily be in this house for very long, so we want to make our house neutral and sale-able to young buyers in our area.

I have previously posted about the cabinets – white simple shaker style – lowers only, and counters – white – quartz with light gray marble effect, the farmhouse sink, and the paint – oatmeal eggshell – with white trim.

The oatmeal paint we are using throughout the lower floors of the house – is Valspar zero VOC paint and primer in eggshell in “Cotton Rag Paper”. It was a reasonably priced paint – that went on well.

As you can see – that’s a lot of white and not everybody’s taste – but that’s OK! We are still working on adding some art and colour.

The floor is refinished oak, and we also purchased a locally made wooden island. It is entirely in a dark wood tone. It is the perfect dimensions for our kitchen – as we can seat a few stools around it and it holds all of our pots and pans. There are no plumbed in or electrical features in it. This is so we can move it around, when we want – sometimes it faces the sink, and sometimes it turns around (It’s a mood thing). We are thinking of painting the base of the island a milk paint colour. Possibly blue or buttercup yellow? Any advice would be appreciated!

The features that we wanted to emphasize in our kitchen – the window with partial view of the river below and the size of the kitchen 15’by18′ – larger than most vintage houses in our neighbourhood. We wanted the kitchen to have the character of an older house – without being tired.

We used Wayfair’s idea board to cut and paste ideas in – we could have used Pinterest!

We had been to a Vegan restaurant with our daughter – and loved the painted brick wall. We were thinking – old red brick at first – but then our house on the outside is stucco over yellow brick (which is common in our neighbourhood) – so we thought old brick – that’s painted white.

White brick “idea” from Wayfair’s website
Wayfair idea board

We also knew that we wanted a few farmhouse features – like tractor seat stools that we have seen at our local flea-markets, open shelves, overhead lights, and a farmhouse sink (already posted). My husband wanted a gas stove that had heavier looking knobs, and a stainless range hood. We also saw lots of kitchen designs that had huge refrigerators and then cabinets built in all around the refrigerator to hide them. We just wanted a simple refrigerator that wasn’t encased in cupboards, and then we thought – maybe a retro looking one.

So then, as we were reno-ing and throughout the process we diligently googled and reviewed each item that we wanted. Retired people tend to over-analyze things……..

Brick Backsplash

We couldn’t find old brick facings near us for a reasonable price, but when we were in our local garden supply store we saw re-created “old” brick facings – We ordered – Canyonstone brick facings in Antique White. We decided to do one wall – counter to 10′ ceiling in the brick facings with same coloured grout. Now I have done many backsplashes over the years, but I knew that this needed to look perfect – and I have a tendency to do backsplashes that aren’t level, or have a slant to them – so we hired a local brickmason. This was expensive – but worth it to us. I also learned from him how to do the brick layout myself – and so I did a smaller fireplace project in our family room with the leftovers myself. Small projects are my skill level. The kitchen backsplash project took about one week – because of the drying time for the mortar and then the grout.

Brick veneer installation – using spacers – shelf brackets and light installed already

We also wanted open shelves on one side of the sink. I often see these on various websites – but I wanted my shelves to be able to hold loads of dishes without worrying about them falling off the wall. I spent a lot of time looking at the height and length of shelves that I would like (thinking about the ideal spacing, the height of the appliances I would like under the lower shelf, and the space required between the 2 shelves. There are a lot of great shelf layout blogs out there! Thanks blog world! I decided on 48″ shelves. 18″ inches between the lower shelf and the counter gives me enough space for my coffee maker and soda stream, and whatever else. 12 inches between the 2 shelves gives me enough space for platters. I could have put more shelves above, but I can’t reach that high!

Sturdy Open Shelves

We ordered the shelf brackets from Shelfology – A company that sells shelf brackets and shelves.

Aksel HD 3 Rod Bracket
(Bracket Length: 46 inch, Rod Holes: Yes)
BFSHD4606CSB12$71.00 USD$142.00 USD

We needed something 48″ long shelves that WERE NOT FLIMSY. We could have ordered individual brackets, but ordered 2 long 3″ bracket with 3 posts. Then we bought 2 49″ pieces of pine (1.5″by 11″ – I’m not sure how this gets to be a 2 by 12 but that’s a rant for another day). We drilled 3 holes in the back of each piece to line up with the brackets – and stained and varathaned them to look “oldish”. We had the brick mason mount them in the plaster walls on the studs. These are awesome and sturdy.


We wanted 10″ baseboards, similar to the rest of the downstairs, and window trim, similar to original doorways. We found a woodshop which made us similar molding in Wellesley Ontario and they were VERY helpful and kind. My husband cut and installed the woodwork himself. This was difficult, because the floors are NOT level anywhere in this old house! The trim doesn’t seem important at first, but it really highlights the big window and helps this new-ish kitchen look old-ish! Wellesley Woodworks.


My husband read all of the reviews online and we went to MANY appliance stores, and for our money we chose the Thor HRG3080U gas range, because it had all of the feature we needed, a nice blue enamel interior and chunky knobs.

Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30' Freestanding Professional Style Gas Range with 4.2 cu. ft. Oven, 4 Burners, Convection Fan, Cast Iron Grates, and Blue Porcelain Oven Interior, in Stainless Steel
Thor HRG3080U

We chose a stainless overhead vent from KitchenAid KVWB400DSS, because it is relatively quiet, has three different settings – and it had an extension of the vent that would just reach our 10′ ceiling! We like everything about it – but it was difficult to install – there was a lot of anxiety in our house that day.

KitchenAid KVWB400DSS
KitchenAid KVWB400DSS,

We learned from our previous house sale – that even though our real estate agents told us that white appliances wouldn’t stop the sale of a house that buyers loved – every single one of our house shoppers used “ewwww white appliances as an excuse”. I like white appliances – I think stainless says – “hey look at my appliances” – but that’s just me. So in our current housing market stainless steel sells – there are also newer black appliances – but they were much pricier – and our housing market is not that trendy.

Finally, my one kitchen appliance hack??? We needed new stove and range hood – so we had to buy them. The dishwasher was also white but a relatively new Bosch model. I ordered a new front panel, and kickplate in stainless steel for the dishwasher and replace the old white cover myself – it was NOT DIFFICULT – for about $100, and I believe 8 screws. I left the old button panel in white – which seems to blend into the countertop – nobody has noticed it yet – I could replace that too – but the buttons frightened me!

I just removed the screws on the inside of the dishwasher and replaced the outside panel with a new stainless steel panel.
Kitchen designer’s drawing of our kitchen wall – before helped us visualize

Finally, we chose a retro refrigerator in Buttercup Yellow from Elmira Stoveworks.

Retro refrigerator from Elmira Stove Works – this one in red

Why did we do this? I don’t know, but I love that thing! Functionally, it’s just a brand new bottom freezer refrigerator. It is wrapped though in buttercup yellow metal, and retro hardware. They have a lot of different sizes and styles, but this one worked for us. The only caution I would give is that this refrigerator is MUCH heavier than a standard one – so make sure your floor can support the weight!

The Other Stuff

We have an old sideboard from my first old house – which my mother refinished for me 35 years ago! We don’t need more built in cabinets! We still need a new microwave.

We bought 2 off-white tractor seat style stools – they are comfortable around the island and sturdy!

NACH Adjustable Tractor Seat Stool, Antique White
Tractor Style Kitchen Stool

We left the existing kitchen overhead light, as it was low key – but replaced the yellowed big pot lights with some hanging lamps in silver – hanging them just low enough to not obstruct the river view – and covered the big holes in the ceiling with medallions.

Emliviar Modern Mini Pendant Light, 8 inch Hanging Light with Metal Shade, Brushed Nickel Finish, 4054M BN
Ekena Millwork CM12BR Bradford Ceiling Medallion, 12 1/2"OD x 3 7/8"ID x 3/4"P (Fits Canopies up to 6 5/8"), Primed
Ekena Millwork CM12BR Bradford Ceiling Medallion, 12 1/2″OD x 3 7/8″ID x 3/4″P (Fits Canopies up to 6 5/8″), Primed

The faucet – we have broken a few of those pull-down faucets and pull up spray nozzles in the past. We like this one with a high arch, but if we need to use the spray, you remove it from it’s bracket – it is easy!

Project Source Brushed Nickel 1-Handle Deck Mount Pull-down Commercial/Residential Kitchen Faucet
Similar to this Project Source Brushed Nickel 1-Handle Deck Mount Pull-down Commercial/Residential from Lowes

Cupboard handles – from Wayfair – Classic 2 7/8″ Centre Cup/Bin Pull By GlideRite Hardware Colour: Weathered Nickel. I liked that these were a little more rounded than the “antique” look cupboard pulls from our cabinet supplier.

Classic 2 7/8" Centre Cup/Bin Pull
Wayfair hardware

Still to buy – a small kitchen table for next to the fridge – I like to write by the kitchen window with my coffee (it’s cheerful), a microwave (still shopping – it seems like these things haven’t changed their features in 30 years), and some art and tchotchkes for colour. Still to do…. fill the cat-door hole in the basement door, protective coat the backsplash and potentially paint the island.

Part view of kitchen!

We are not quite done with our kitchen yet, but we are enjoying using it everyday. I wonder who is making dinner tonight, and I think – if only the dishes would wash themselves………

I may receive commission payments if you choose to purchase products on this page for which there are affiliate links in this post. Note that the affiliate links on this page are for the lights, medallions and tractor seats. The other links to Elmira Stoveworks, Lowes, Wayfair, Wellesley Woodworks and Shelfology are just links because I wanted to share them!

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