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July 13, 2012

Color My Vintage Kitchen – Cabinet Stain and Retro Rubber Floor Tiles

By Sablemable

Finally!  The time has come to get started on my kitchen and the cabinets are first on the list.

Now, I desperately need your advice on colors I should use.  Let’s start with the basics, ok?

My cabinets are birch and varnished in a warm honey tone, the original finish.



I plan to refinish them in a blonde stain like this from Minwax .



I already have the new  hardware for the cabs, just like these “Dish” knobs from Rejuvenation, but in satin brass.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I bought them online. Sorry.



I asked Bob to put up a few of the new hinges/knobs and he gladly complied!  The range hood is the original Nutone from 1955.



Hanging over the kitchen table is a pull-down lamp.  Yep, Bob put it up!




Flooring is still up-in-the-air.  As you know, I have this generic off-white ceramic tile floor that seems to have taken over in the world of remodeling.  And, not only is it boring and ugly, it is not pleasant to fall upon.  We are considering installing commercial rubber tiles that are softer and easier to maintain.

Our two favorite colors from the Mannington ColorSpec Sculptured series:


Chili Pepper (a warm red with black and yellow flecks)

Style: "Neutral"


Lagoon (more of a deep aqua color not shown so clearly here, with pale yellow and white flecks)

Style: "Andersen"


My countertops are the original in white.  Still in good shape, it’s getting harder to keep them from looking dull and stained.  Also, someone before me decided to use the countertops as a cutting board.  I’ll probably remain with the white color when they are replaced.

Color wise, here is where you come in readers.  These areas need your expertise!

1.  The CABINET INTERIORS must be repainted.   I’d like to do something other than ultra white.


2.  The WALLS.  One wall merges with the hallway to the bedrooms. (PS: the floor is actually clean; that is the color of the ceramic tile.  It always looks dirty to me.)


Right around the corner from the pantry door is this wall.  Not sure if I will put a sideboard against this wall, but what do you think about floating shelves?



3.  I will be going with interior wood shutters for the 2 windows, but I have SLIDING GLASS DOORS leading from the eating area into the sunroom.  Pinch-pleated drapes are my choice.


4.  The SOFFIT needs something.  I do have a wall clock to put there where the outlet is, but I don’t know whether to paint, wallpaper, tile or use paneling.


I am open to wall art and trinket things to decorate with, so feel free to recommend and send images of your ideas.  This includes fabrics for the drapes and table linens.

Thanks, gang!

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18 Responses to Color My Vintage Kitchen – Cabinet Stain and Retro Rubber Floor Tiles

  1. Melissa Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Love your idea for the rubber tile. I’m interested in learning more about this product. Seems like it would be a comfy choice for those that like to cook and end up standing in the kitchen a lot!

  2. RetroRuth Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I agree with Melissa! I am intrigued by the rubber tiles! Also, I TOTALLY think wallpaper for the soffit. What clock do you have to go up there?

    Very exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see more pics as the renovation progresses!

  3. sablemable Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hi, Melissa! Commercial rubber tiles are for comfort and durability. They are used in hospitals, commercial kitchens, etc. Mannington Flooring (www.mannington.com) has free samples of their flooring products. Johnsonite Flooring (www.johnsonite.com) also has commercial rubber tiles, but no freebies. Both sites have design visualizer tools where you can play to your hearts content.

    Hi, Ruuuuuuuth! I featured my clock a while back; it’s round, has a white face, brass numerals and copper edging. It looks more like a dinner plate in shape. Any suggestions on wallpaper design?

  4. Trisha Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Jan, I love both of your tile choices, I have installed ‘Chip It’ I have it on my computer it’s from Sherwin Williams, I tried it on the tiles and then really fell in love with the blue tile you picked, but that’s me. I have NO affiliations with SW. I just love the app & it is free. http://letschipit.com Hope it helps you find the colors for your kitchen or in the least give you ideas.

  5. sablemable Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Hi, Trisha!

    Thanks for the SW link! Behr also has a color visualizer, too, which I have used, but I will try out SW’s.

    It’s hard choosing the floor tiles! The blue, or Lagoon, is bright and would look good with my whitle appliances, but then again, so would the Chili Pepper. Glad you liked the Lagoon!

  6. Charlotte Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I think some retro plates or trays would look great on the soffit. I liked both the flooring colors. The chili pepper grabbed me more, but I guess it depends on what you decide to do for your wall colors. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  7. sablemable Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Hi, Charlotte!

    What a great idea using plates/trays to decorate the soffit! The Chili Pepper flooring would definately be a bold move for me!

    Thanks for your suggestion!

  8. Silvercat Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I think I have that same tile… I love that Chili Pepper pattern, then paint the cabinet interiors bright yellow or a burnt orange.

  9. sablemable Reply

    July 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Hi, Silvercat!

    I was thinking of a bright lemon yellow for the interiors, ha-ha!

    Thank you for your ideas!

  10. Sara In AZ Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Yeah, I’d keep it easy and go with plates/trays/wallpockets in the soffit area! Hmmmmm, I’m thinking some kind of turquoise for the cabinet interiors.

  11. sablemable Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm


    I like turquoise! And don’t forget that Eartha once recommended mint green!

  12. Onyx Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I love the rubber tile idea, thanks for turning me on to those products. My house is on a cement slab and I’m already using gel mats in the kitchen because of it, this looks like it will help 🙂

  13. FlyingTexan Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Great project! That Chili Pepper really grabs ya! I’ve always heard that reds and oranges are good colors for dining areas. Usually as paint suggestions but, I think it would look great on the floor with the blonde cabinets. The Lagoon is really pretty, too, so whichever way you go is win-win! I think bright yellow inside the cabinets would look great!

    I love that light. Does it go over a table? I’ve got a ceiling fan/light over my table that I hate! I never use the fan. I’ve been looking for something else but everything is so modern and I don’t really like what I see. A light fixture like yours would look good in my eating area.

  14. sablemable Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Hi, Onyx!

    Your back/feet must ache you to pieces! Let us know if you have it installed, with plenty of photos!

  15. sablemable Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hey, Flying Texan!

    Red and orange are supposed to stimulate appetites and well, maybe other things that need stimulation; i.e., red dress? Ha-ha!

    Yes, the pull-down light is over my current dining room table which is not mid-century modern, but that is about to change. I bought it on Ebay, but I also found another one that I bought thru Craigslist. I hate ceiling fans, too! Send photos when you find your special light, Tex!

  16. Jen Reply

    April 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    So – what did you decide!!?? I want to refinish my cabinets too and they are very similar to yours. Did you use denatured alcohol to take off the shellac? I love the red floor choice – and retro plates above would be great!

  17. Aida Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I love what you did keeping the old hood. I have the same hood and I really want to keep it but I have to replace the fan/light switch, but can’t find the model number. I was wondering if you can help me locate the model number. I will really appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Jason Reply

      July 5, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Aida,

      I have the same range hood with the same switch problem and am wondering if you were able to find the model number? I’ve looked over mine and cannot find it.


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