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July 12, 2018

Susan’s Epic Journey to Have the Vintage Kitchen of Her Dreams – Part 3 The Big Reveal!

By Sara In AZ



OK y’all, today is the big day….the final reveal of Susan’s amazing retro kitchen renovation!!! Susan did a fabulous job picking out materials and coordinating everything, it certainly is a midcentury kitchen dream kitchen to be sure!

But first, I asked Susan for a little background on what inspired her to want a mid century style kitchen……..

First and foremost, I was born in the mid-1960s and grew up surrounded by mid-century décor. What inspired me to remodel my kitchen to look like the 1950s? Without a doubt, Mad Men. I owe it all to Matthew Weiner. Ha-Ha!  Also, I am so sick and tired of the granite and stainless movement. I feel it is overdone.

Mid-century bloggers like No Pattern Required inspired me fully appreciate mid-century as well as give me the tools I needed to achieve the look I was going for. I do follow other MC bloggers; however, No Pattern Required is my go-to blog for answers to my (many) questions.

You are very kind to say that Susan, thank you…glad we can help you out in some small way at least!

Lastly, I do feel that those who blog about mid-century are archivists. We need mid-century bloggers to keep mid-century alive. To show people that mid-century is cool. That you don’t have to go the stainless and granite route. You don’t have to decorate your home with big box furniture store furniture, held together with staples, glue and made in some 3rd world country. With the exception of my JoyBird Hughes Sofa and Soto Chair, all of my furniture is from the mid-century. Pick up at yard sales, Craig’s List, Estate Sales or from my parent’s home.

I could not agree more Susan…..vintage furniture is really the absolute BEST!!! Ok, now…let’s check out this kitchen renovation!!!

I contacted Dan Taccini of DWT Woodworking in early 2018. I told him what happened with my previous cabinet maker, as well as the fact I have been without a kitchen since December 2015, when I gutted it over Christmas vacation. Dan was empathetic and made my kitchen project his first priority. The first time Dan came to my home, he hand sketched my entire kitchen free hand and included measurements for every single item in my kitchen: Basically he drew free hand a blueprint of my kitchen. To say I was impressed was an understatement.




Dan was especially mindful of my Big Chill refrigerator. He wanted all the specifications on the fridge. When I told him I didn’t have them, he asked for the model of the number because he said he would contact Big Chill directly. Why? Because Dan wanted to make sure that when he built the refrigerator cabinet that the fridge was property ventilated. The gaps you see around my Big Chill, especially the top, those are the exact specifications dictated by Big Chill. I mean, talk about going above and beyond. No detail was ignored by Dan. Unlike the other cabinet maker, Dan only needed to measure my kitchen once.


May 20,2018 – The Morning of Pre-Cabinet Install



I guess that’s because he wrote everything down in such detail on the blueprint he drew by hand. To say Dan was thorough would be an understatement. The week before the install, Dan came to my house with life-size drawings of my kitchen, which he drew on Luan. He literally dragged these huge pieces of Luan into my kitchen and propped them against the walls so I could see exactly what my kitchen would look like. It was so cool. I had never seen anything like that before.

1950 GE Vintage Stove View(s) Pre-Cabinet Install




Photos the morning of the cabinet install…that’s my pantry to the right, which contains the sink. The pantry is my next project



In terms of mapping out the design of my cabinets, I gave Dan printouts of Betty Draper’s knotty pine cabinets with one change: I wanted Amerock pulls and hinges, not the hardware Betty has. Dan reviewed the pictures and asked me lots of questions about the cabinet and door design. It should be noted that when I showed Dan the design the previous cabinet maker had given me, Dan said, “Everything you said you wanted is not in this design. For example, you wanted slab front doors, this design does not show slab front.”




Cabinet / Counter Install by Dan Taccini, DWT Woodworking, Braintree, MA




One thing that should be noted is my cabinet are not solid knotty pine – especially the dors. The way Dan explained it, you cannot have solid knotty pine cabinets, especially doors, as they will warp over time. I cannot recall the exact construction of the cabinet doors, but if anyone wants more detail in how the cabinets were constructed, I’d be happy to provide it. I just need to follow up with Dan.




Note the gaps around the Big Chill. Those are the exact specifications for ventilation, dictated to Dan by Big Chill. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the fact that Dan took the time to contact Big Chill. Talk about thorough and attention to Detail.

Again, I think it was a blessing the other cabinet guy didn’t work out. In fact, I am grateful. I truly believe everything happens for a reason.




I would like to give a little shout out to Sara for helping me with the Formica, as well as the metal banding. I also owe her a debt of gratitude in explaining to me that this 100 Anniversary Edition Formica is a special order item only, so that Dan would be aware and could plan accordingly. Thanks Sara.

You are very kind to say that Susan…so glad I could help you in any way that I could!!



Mom’s mixer and cookie jar. True mid-century vintage items. And yes! The mixer works


Pulls and hinges by: Amerock. I found the pulls on Amazon and the Hinges from Build.com




As you can see (to the right of the 1950 GE stove) I still need trim and baseboards. I have already spoken with Dan and we are going to do knotty pine trim and baseboards, that he will custom make, to match the cabinets. So cool! I found that 1950 GE stove on Craig’s List for $250. Woot!




Those “boxes” you see to the right & left of my stove. Dan built those to cover my radiator pipes.

My ex-husband suggested I hire a plumber to have the pipes removed/replaced with flex tubing but that would have driven up the cost of my kitchen remodel.


You’ll note in the photo above: I am missing a pull on the cabinet door above the stove and on the drawer to the left. I didn’t count right when I ordered the pulls but have since ordered 2 more Amerock, to which I have installed . I just love the way the afternoon sunlight is lighting up the pink boomerang Formica. Which is why I included this incomplete photo.


Pending: baseboard, door and window trim




Don’t you just love that metal banding?



I do not have an exact figure, but all told, my kitchen remodel cost me +/- $20,000 which includes: ktichen cabinets/countertops & metal banding. The cost of the Big Chill refrigerator, the vintage stove, electrical work, new light fixture above stove, new ceiling fan, paint and painting supplies. The demo cost nothing as I did it myself over Christmas week vacation December 2015.

The cabinet install took 3 days and that is because Dan took his time, and made sure everything was perfect, not slap-dashed




It has been a long road but in the end, I do believe everything happens for a reason and I am so glad I went with Dan Taccini. I cannot say enough wonderful things about his talent, his attention to detail, his professionalism as well as his wonderful kind personality.



In closing, I have to say, it was a blessing the other cabinet maker did not pan-out because Dan is sooooooooooo much better! He is, just as my ex-husband said: a true craftsman, a true artist and a professional! If you live in Massachusetts, I highly recommend Dan Taccini of DWT Woodworking, he is worth every penny.


Cabinet / Counter Install by Dan Taccini, DWT Woodworking, Braintree, MA


I am personally blown away by how amazing this kitchen is…it is mid century perfection Susan!!! You said you wanted a “Mad Men” kitchen, well I think you actually have a better version of it in your own home…I mean pink AND Knotty Pine…..hello dream kitchen!!! Everything pulled together SO beautifully, from the pulls to the laminate and the oven – it honestly looks like a kitchen that could have been there from the 50s. I am thrilled for you Susan, I am SO happy you FINALLY have the kitchen you have been dreaming of for all these years…if anyone deserves such a beautiful kitchen it is most definitely you! Kudos my friend, job well done!

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14 Responses to Susan’s Epic Journey to Have the Vintage Kitchen of Her Dreams – Part 3 The Big Reveal!

  1. Susan from Boston Reply

    July 12, 2018 at 10:02 am


    You are too sweet! Thank you for the compliments as well as for featuring my kitchen on your blog.


  2. Debbie in Portland Reply

    July 12, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Susan, you will love this kitchen for the rest of your life! Stainless-and-granite are the avocado-green-and-harvest-gold of the 2010’s, but this kitchen is a timeless classic. And kudos to Dan for his old-school craftsmanship!

    Can you please tell me where you purchased the metal banding?

    • Susan from Boston Reply

      July 13, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Debbie, so sorry I missed your question. I *believe* Dan ordered the metal banding from New York Metals.

  3. mary Reply

    July 12, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Susan, Beautiful job! You are so right about the first cabinet maker not working out and finding the perfect one. I too have been slowly making my kitchen a dream one like yours. My 2 carpenters work for me a day here and a day there when they have time and I have the money. I couldn’t be happier with their work. They are a lot younger than me but they sincerely are having fun hanging 1950s metal cabinets and giving me suggestions about moving the stove here and the fridge there etc. I love your little copper wall lamp by the way, your stove also is just a great focal point. Congratulations!

    • Susan from Boston Reply

      July 13, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Hi Mary! Thank you so much for the compliments. Would you believe that little copper wall sconce is original to the house? When I gutted the kitchen, I saved it for that reason. You’re right tho. It took me 2 years to complete this project but in the end it was worth it. I suppose, in some cases, slow, steady and when you have the money is best. Rather than rushing through something. I certainly had plenty of time to think and change my mind. 🙂

  4. Jacki Reply

    July 13, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Susan, I knew this was going to be good. I love the mix of pink and turquoise; I may even use that mix in my next house. There is nothing more warm and homey than knotty pine and the metal edging just finishes the feel. And the appliances are wonderful! I know from experience it is hard to find workmen who bother to show up much less find a real craftsman who puts his all into his work. I can’t wait to see the rest of the house. Kudos to you!

    • Susan from Boston Reply

      July 13, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Thank you Jacki. 🙂 I will try and find some photos of inside the house before I started taking down wallpaper etc… and then send along current photos, assuming Sara would want to post them. Ha-Ha! 🙂

  5. Susan from Boston Reply

    July 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Note to readers: I showed Dan Taccini, my cabinet maker, this blog post. He pointed out that I had given some erroneous information about knotty pine cabinet construction. To that end, Dan is going to write up an explanation on the construction of the cabinets and why he chose this particular method of construction — why he chose to not use solid knotty pine doors, etc… Please stay tuned, once I have this information, Sara will publish it. Sorry to all of you for giving incorrect information. :-/

  6. dkzody Reply

    July 15, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Absolute perfection. You are to be commended for such an excellent remodel.

    • Boston Susan Reply

      July 18, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Thank you, dkzody. 🙂

  7. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    July 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    It all looks so pretty! I love the shade of the wood on the cabinets too. And also, can we find Dan and clone him? He sounds like the rare breed that we need more of in this world! She did right on getting the slab front doors. We have pine ones that aren’t and they gather so much dust and grease.

    • Susan from Boston Reply

      July 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Thank you, Eartha. Growing up, we had slab doors and if you recall, Betty Draper’s kitchen in MM (seasons 1-4) has slab front. But you’re right… throughout the years I have had other style doors and they do collect dust. BTW, did you see I used your custom paint color?

  8. Amy Weinholtz Reply

    November 25, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Your “new” kitchen is retro-licious! I luv flat-front cabinets and growing up that’s what all houses had. When hubby & I were house-hunting our real estate agent said, “You’re not the average buyers…” Right. He’d attempt to apologize for a “dated” kitchen – with flat-front cabinets!” – or Formica countertops with metal edges, a bathroom that “needs a re-do” etc – we’d say, “Great! We don’t want granite countertops or a spa-bathroom!” We got a Brady-Bunch 1969 bathroom in blue, a kitchen with flat-front cabinets and yes – sparkly Formica countertops! A super-low price for the home, too – because nobody “wreck-ovated.”

    • Boston Susan Reply

      November 30, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Amy, thank you for the compliment. I believe slab front cabinet doors were very common in early and mid-century – although, Sara would know better, she’s my mid-century guru.

      The house I grew up in was built in 1900 and it had slab front maple cabinets – base cabinets, as the house had a pantry. The pantry doors were beadboard slab. Slab front is so practical, simple, with clean lines. I too love it.

      Sounds like you scored big time. You should send Sara your photos so she can post them. I know I’d love to see them.

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