Before & After: A Bright Kitchen Makeover Honoring Vintage Wares

Before & After: A Bright Kitchen Makeover Honoring Vintage Wares

In keeping with the original Cape Cod style of her 1,400-square-foot Portland, OR bungalow, Anna Harris set out to complete a hands-on, $700 kitchen makeover. As the digital shopkeeper behind Experimental Vintage where she sells vintage furniture, housewares, textiles, and art, Anna wanted her small galley kitchen to remain functional for cooking as well as a place to showcase the special antiques she hunts and gathers. “I love the idea of bringing home something used instead of new for environmental reasons,” she shares, “But also because I like to think that each item has a story to tell. What home has it been in before? Who has loved it? Where has it traveled from to end up in my hands and home?” Fittingly, all of the beautiful items in her personal collection are sourced from flea markets, thrift stores, estate and yard sales, and local free piles.


When Anna purchased her place two years ago, a dark wall color and bulky upper cabinets made the small kitchen feel more like a cave. She threw herself a birthday paint party where her closest friends made way for open shelving and painted the walls Alabaster White by Miller Paint. Anna also covered the existing vinyl floor with two coats of Annie Sloan Pure White Chalkpaint, and later spent 10 hours applying the intricate floor design with an Etsy stencil (then sealed with Annie Sloan Lacquer). Local reclaimed wood yard Salvage Works had just the perfect 1920s farmhouse Douglas Fir to turn into shelving. Peter the carpenter cut, sanded, and installed the pieces in less than one day with Home Depot brackets costing less than two dollars apiece. Installing Anna’s grandfather’s 1950s Frigidaire refrigerator was the finishing touch. “The fridge is a very special piece to me, as I remember grabbing Henry Weinhard root beer from it at Grandma and Grandpa’s lake house during the long, hot summers of my childhood,” she adds.


After a small outlaying of cash and a lot of elbow grease, Anna has an airy dream kitchen that functions for a modern cook while adapting to her vintage style. The new open shelving allows the sun to shine brightly and adds color to the room with its contents – but its added bonus is to ensure each exposed item is used and enjoyed frequently. –Annie


Photography by Anna Harris



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