Retro kitchen in Charlestown, RI

A Retro Kitchen Remodel in Charlestown RI

A Retro Kitchen Remodel in Charlestown RI

When our clients first came to us, they had been splitting their time between their Brooklyn, NY, townhouse and their cozy coastal cottage in Charlestown, RI, for the better part of 25 years. While they appreciated the energy of the big city, they loved the respite that their Charlestown home brought. But through the years, their 1962 Rhode Island abode started showing signs of wear and tear, especially in the kitchen. The appliances were out of date and finicky; the lighting was dim; the floors were damaged; and the original metal cabinetry had begun to rust. It was past time for a renovation, but the homeowners loved the original flavor of the home and didn’t want to lose its mid-century character. While other design-build companies may have suggested ditching the kitchen altogether and starting from a clean slate, our team of expert designers and builders knew what the space meant to our clients. By working closely with hand-picked artisans, Red House delivered our clients the retro kitchen remodel of their dreams. Keep reading for more!

Cult-Classic Cabinets

Retro kitchen with refinished metal cabinetry
Original St. Charles metal cabinets are the star of this retro kitchen. Refinished to perfection! Photography by Aaron Usher III.

As anyone who loves to cook knows, having a clean, functional kitchen is paramount for the at-home chef. Being avid chefs themselves, this was the same for our clients. When they first bought the home to escape the sweltering city heat of summer, one of the biggest draws for them was the unique cabinetry in the modest-sized kitchen. While the upper cabinets were clad in warm wood tones, the bottom cabinets were enameled steel and fabricated by St. Charles New York. This renowned cabinetry company, established over 85 years ago, pushed the boundaries of modern kitchen design and is still active today. And while the metal cabinets had seen better days (the salty ocean air of Charlestown had begun to make them rust), they needed to be salvaged. With that in mind, Red House worked with expert metal workers to repair and refinish every inch of the cabinets–doors, hinges, shelving, and hardware! And with a custom color to match our client’s vision, the cabinets were repainted in blue-green spruce to last the next 25 years (or more!). 


Sophisticated and Ambient Lighting

retro kitchen cabinets
A ceiling recess adds the perfect spot to add functional and ambient downlighting. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

In addition to refurbishing the cabinets, upgrading the lighting was a big priority for this project. The small windows let in a surprising amount of natural light in the morning, but by dusk, the light levels weren’t suitable for cooking. There was also a peculiar drop ceiling to contend with, which didn’t mesh with the rest of the space–clearly, it had been a later addition. Removing the drop ceiling revealed a coffer in the center kitchen, a perfect area to add recessed lighting for functionality and, for ambiance, a sophisticated cove light to add a touch of class. Add new, mid-century modern lighting and made-to-order European wallpaper in the dining room and living room to the mix, and the home was beginning to feel bright and cozy again. 


Retro-Active Flooring

With the cabinetry and lighting taken care of, the final touches for the kitchen involved introducing another old throwback: Marmoleum flooring. An eco-friendly, anti-static, durable, and sophisticated material, Marmoleum is a branded linoleum product that not only feels great underfoot but also adds to the retro vibes our clients were aiming for without overshadowing the rest of the kitchen–the perfect match for a retro kitchen renovation. 

Marmoleum resilient flooring in retro kitchen
Marmoleum is a classic resilient flooring product that adds durability and sophistication to this kitchen. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

After working tirelessly to finish by the holidays (after all, no one wants to miss out on cooking Thanksgiving dinner in their home), our crew had finally finished. Our clients, ready to escape city life for the season, were once again proud owners of the retro kitchen remodel of their dreams. Here’s looking to the next 25 years! 

Wood panels and metal cabinets in retro kitchen in RI
Cleaned up wood paneling, made-to-order wallcoverings, and mid-century light fixtures add the final touch. Photography by Aaron Usher III.

Are you looking to renovate a part of your home but don’t know where to start? Red House Design Build is here for you! Whether it’s retro, historical, new, or old, Red House has got you covered. Contact us today to learn more!

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