A Retro 1930s Kitchen Renovation

We recently completed the renovation of a kitchen in Altadena, California for cherished repeat clients. Project Manager, Leonardo d’Anconia and Interior Architect, Patrick Tennant, collaborated on the project.  Patrick shares his design inspiration and special moments for creating a new-old space:

The old kitchen was small, oddly shaped, and lacked natural light (and a dishwasher) — in other words, not a fun place for a family of four. We created an efficient space that feels spatially modern while keeping in sync with the history of the house. Fortunately, our clients are artistic and trusting, a perfect combination for a design endeavor.

Much of our inspiration came from the house itself, a classic 1930’s California ‘Storybook Style’ cottage. We took our cues from traditional 1930’s kitchens bringing back a design trend from that era - tile countertops!  We designed ours in classic white hex tiles with an olive green bullnose.  We paired the olive green with honeydew stick liners from Heath Ceramics for a unique backsplash detail in a charming, retro color palette.

The tile palette dictated the paint color choices for the rest of the kitchen.  While we love a white kitchen, our clients were 100% behind our challenge to take it up a notch – almost to the colorful ‘atomic’ designs of the 1950’s and 60’s. Colorful cabinets really do create a feeling of warmth and are a nice change of pace.

The best part of the project was seeing the clients’ faces when the appliances were moved in and the water was turned on! They could finally make dinner in a kitchen they hadn’t been able to use for months. Priceless. Our clients hadn’t unpacked their wedding china since they got married a decade ago, and they couldn’t wait to put it on display in a custom glass china cabinet we designed for just that purpose. Now the room is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family. 

Photography by Clark Dugger