A New MCM Kitchen, Part 5. It is done!

I keep trying to find the time to sit down and write this out but it’s been a challenging few months with work, children, PTA, and Christmas.  Not to mention the finishing touches for the kitchen were being worked on and I wanted to wait until the dust settled before embarking on pictures and my thoughts.

The process took about three full months from start to finish and I’m still waiting for a couple of items to complete the kitchen.  But, it was so worth it.  Every single day I walk into the kitchen and flip the light to a room that is everything I wanted.  It is MCM-inspired with lots of modern conveniences and a layout that I’ve been plotting for almost a decade.  I love how it flows from the living room to the dining room and because all of our furniture is either true MCM or inspired by that catchy time period, our home is finally cohesive.

I really wanted cabinets with a natural wood look because I lived with white-ish cabinets for so long and know how dingy they can look over time.  These were custom made by Mark Nixon and with the help of Rick Carmondy, the designer who embraced our love of MCM instead of trying to sell us a more traditional concept, these cabinets are fabulous!  We have two magic corners instead of either empty space or incorporating a lazy-suzan into the spaces.  The door opens, and with a quite ingenious system, the shelves pull forward and into view.  Lovely!


Simply pull the door open


The shelves are connected to the door


and a rolling system pulls forward another set of shelves!



And, the item I was really super excited about—the hidden stool.  I expressed my deep concern to Rick about my shortness and how I don’t want to climb on top of the counters anymore, but without cluttering up the kitchen with stools.  His eyes lit up and said he had the perfect solution. Take a look at these pictures:


I love surprises!  It’s like Christmas morning every time I use this kitchen.


Incorporating as much space as possible was important to me and Vic, and we had the cabinet maker build us a pull-out pantry next to the fridge.  It’s sort of amazing to see how much can actually be stored in there, and this works out great because we always seem to have lots of little bottles, cans, bags of pasta, and all kinds of miscellaneous groceries that use to just get tossed into the old cavernous cabinets and it was a crapshoot if they would be used.



I am also smug in knowing that tearing down that annoying hanging cabinet that separated the old kitchen from the dining room would actually add to the space. What did it add?  Light.  Lots and lots of glorious light and it made the room appear almost twice as big.  The soffits are down and the fridge is against a different wall, which further opened up the space.  Not only that, but it just makes it much more efficient to have the fridge by the stove and a niche to prepare food.



Also, having new appliances has been a life-changing experience.  We lived with such junk for so long that these new-fangled appliances are blowing my mind.  We kept just the dishwasher since it was only a few years old and the original stainless steal sink.  I like the look of it and the fact that it’s a double.  It is possible I would have bought the exact same sink so I had the guys re-install this one.  The faucet is a treat though!  It has LASER water—Ok, maybe it’s not laser water but it comes out in such a smooth stream.



Let’s talk about lighting.  MCM lights are really cool and I’ve seen some great examples of bubble lights in vintage shops.  I had a detailed conversation about lights with Rick and he came up with a stunning over-the-sink light.  To me, it sort of looks like a UFO!  Especially when the top and bottom lights are on.  It also reminds of the famous jack bookends from the MCM heyday.  I’ve seen lots of staged pictures of MCM spaces and there is almost always a jack.  I just love it so much.


I found the two pendant lights above my peninsula counter.  Like the UFO light, they are new but I love the shape and the bright color. We wanted the kitchen to remain a bit neutral and speckle it with fun bits of color.  These get the job done and are fun to look at!


Under-the-cabinet lights were also installed and I highly recommend this for anyone thinking about a new kitchen.  It’s so nice to chop vegetables in the late afternoon when the Michigan sun sets low in the winter.  I rarely turn on the big recessed lights since the pendents, the UFO,  and the counter lights are normally enough.


The tile.  Do you like it?  We didn’t want to overdo it with a large bright pattern.  I love the turquoise stars, which is reminiscent of 50’s googie architecture—think of the Las Vegas sign.  Plus, I love anything that is like a starburst.  These are from Ann Sacks and we had to special order the colors, but trust me, there is nothing like this in Home Depot!  The white is a bit darker than the rest of the tile in the kitchen.  For that, we decided upon giant bright white subway tiles, but instead of a brick pattern, we had them set stacked above each other in order to keep the design simple and make the turquoise stars the center of attention.


One of the parts of the kitchen I love is the counter.  It’s not granite!  Nor is it marble.  It’s old-fashioned laminate.  There are thousands of patterns to choose from and Rick, much to our relief, picked out this soft gray pattern.  It’s subtle and also has that MCM vibe to it.  It’s really easy to clean, just using a damp washcloth has sufficed fine, and it’s durable.Vic and I haven’t been shy in cooking and making a mess in here, and this stuff has held up.  All in all, a great choice. It doesn’t take away from the specialness of the terrazzo floors, which have a busy pattern, and it looks nice.


The terrazzo floors! I’m still in love. Easy to clean, easy to sweep, and easy to look at.  Here’s a close-up shot of the fun colors inside and see how nice it looks next to the cabinets!  Simple yet it will never go out of style.

This is all for now!  We still have some counter-stools to source and a whole wall to decorate.  I have some things on order that are being made and shipped soon, so once those arrive and are installed I can call this complete.

Just for fun, here’s my robot cleaning the kitchen for me:




3 thoughts on “A New MCM Kitchen, Part 5. It is done!

  1. Great write up!! Looking forward to seeing it in person. You and Vic did a great job picking out all you wanted and making your perfect kitchen.

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