Thrifted Home Tour: The Kitchen

3 Mar


I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so in away, we were really lucky that it was renovated by the slightly deranged woman who lived here before we moved in. Lucky in that I’m sure the counters were in terrible condition (plus they were tile) the linoleum on the floor was most likely trashed, and she sprang for a few fancy upgrades: Corian counters and a fancy sink and faucet set by Kohler.

We weren’t particularly lucky in the fact that she chose a color for the counters (speckled navy blue) that I don’t get along with, and if that wasn’t enough, she had the cupboards painted turquoise. The walls were hastily painted the same bright blue color. She added unnecessary hardware to the cabinets and aggressively decorated the kitchen in a theme that can only be described as “Fork and Spoon.” Because she worked a fork and a spoon in everywhere she could, from giant ones on the walls, to very expensive (and very weird) drawer pulls.

Frankly, I’d like to redo the whole thing over again but we don’t have the money and since everything works fine, I could never justify it.

At least we got some nice floors out of the deal. They may be laminate, but at least they aren’t linoleum.


The thrifted touches in the kitchen are subtle, but they’re there. All the way in the corner is the infamous Keep Calm poster, which I scored on etsy for cheap. The frame, for once, was purchased from Target. The giant cutting board is one of my favorite things in the kitchen, but it’s old and beat up and due for some love. It was from a trip we took to Ikea in 2003 when we were outfitting our first apartment.


The two plates you see on the wall were originally a set of three. They are vintage and were given to me from my aunt. Unfortunately, I trusted the also vintage plate hanger on the back to hold them in place, and it disintegrated, and when it fell the plate dashed to pieces. I was very sad about this until recently, when my in-laws gave me a box of vintage treasure that had belonged to a deceased relative. In it was a plate, nearly identical to the one that broke.


All these bowls on my counter are vintage, and I keep them there constantly so fruit and vegetables are close at hand. Oh, wait, I forgot: the black bowl isn’t vintage. The Waltons gave it to me years ago. But everything else is.

This Vogue poster is very special to me. It was one of the first presents Anthony ever bought me. We were in high school at the time, both living with our parents, carless. He walked from his house to the antique store down town. He knew I had my eye on it. So he bought it, and walked from the antique store to my parents’ house to give it to me. Yeah, he’s a keeper.


I used to keep a bunch of terrariums on the kitchen counter, and I’d use that white sake server to water them. (With water. Not sake.) It was a wedding present from cousins. The brown pepper grinder is from our town’s Fancy Thrift Shop, the one I volunteered at, and was relatively expensive since it is Peugeot. Growing up I had a Peugeot bicycle. I didn’t know they made pepper grinders, too. I scored the Viking jewelry dish at an estate sale for $1 and I love it heartily. It’s supposed to be for jewelry but I cleaned it out and it makes the perfect salt cellar. Lastly, we have The Fish. It’s our bottle opener and it belonged to my Papa. It was my favorite thing to play with at their house and is inlaid with abalone shell from Alaska.


I probably should have gotten a better shot of the stuff on top of my fridge, because a lot of it is vintage. All of it is passed down from family, except from the coffee tin.


As you can see we have a glass-top electric range. Most homes in the valley have electric ranges, and I never used a gas range until we stayed at my aunt’s house in Half Moon Bay. Being able to actually smell gas while I cooked, no matter how slight, was very unnerving. I never got used to it.

The tea towels I got from Target. I have a crush on tea towels and found a bunch on etsy that I regularly visit and drool over.

You’ll notice we have two microwaves in our kitchen. One is The Untouchable microwave. It sits, in all its 80s glory, over the stove, and I avoid it like it causes cancer. Then we have our trusty little white duder, a wedding present from Grandma. The one over the stove was here when we moved in and I’ve yet to figure out how it works. I didn’t even bother to clean it out when we moved in. Why bother? I’m never going to use it. The only reason we haven’t taken it down is that it is directly connected to the venting system for the stove.


Above my trusty microwave is a vintage cheese spreader set. I’m kicking myself for not getting a better photo of it because it’s pretty rad. The top is inlaid with a marble tile for resting your cheese on, and the little door slides out to reveal a velvet-lined tray with all your cheese-slicing tools.

The little green dish, sadly chipped, is thrifted as well.


The tea in these containers is almost gone, but I love the tins and plan to keep them out forever. I bought them in Chinatown.


In yet another homage to my heritage, we have two Viking ship salt and pepper cellars. They were my Grandma’s.

Here we have the toaster oven. I couldn’t run a kitchen without a toaster oven. Sure, they tend to break, burn your food, and occasionally catch fire, but damn those things are HANDY. The phone hanging above the toaster obviously isn’t vintage (yet) but it is obsolete. After years of wanting to cancel our land line, we were finally able to. Our wireless phone is now an amusing toy for our daughter.

On top of the toaster we have a vintage tin that I keep tea in (the brown one), thrifted shell salt and pepper shakers, and some 1950’s monkeypod wood bowl. I love to keep cherry tomatoes there when in season.


Lastly, my cat Zorro, who was totally thrifted in that we got him secondhand: from a shelter.

This post is part VII in my multi-part series called the Thrifted Home Tour. I am showing off different rooms of my house to display how thrifted items can be worked into the décor to be useful and inspiring items. Partially it’s because I’d love to promote my vintage Etsy shop, and partially because that’s just how I roll. You can find parts one through six here.

31 Responses to “Thrifted Home Tour: The Kitchen”

  1. Amanda at 9:52 am #

    I love these tours so much and am jealous of your Viking stuff, especially the little salt cellar.

  2. Sarah at 9:57 am #

    I love that someone else has bowls upon bowls of produce on their counters! May not look Style At Home presentable but it prevents it from getting rotty and smelly in the bottom of the fridge. Also? I detest cold apples.

    I love seeing all your antique treasure! I come from a long line of antique-ers! The end.

    • LittleBig at 4:46 pm #

      I love the way it looks out on the counters, all fresh and inviting and encouraging one to eat more fruits and veggies.

      A dear friend of mine had a mother that did this, except in the extreme, and I knew my friend was self-conscious about his mother’s “junk.” I loved it because she was essentially inviting us to eat anything in the house, any of the lush goodness you could see. It was a cornocopia, and I thought of her when I set the bowls on my counter.

      The End.

  3. dingey at 10:10 am #

    It’s funny to me that the gas stoved unnerved you. I grew up with gas ranges, and am still outraged to find myself in a home with nothing but electrical coils. I am sure that this is partly because the range is so damned old that the coils no longer heat evenly, but I find it completely confounding to not have a flame to control under my pots and pans. Drives me BONKERS. I am trying hard to get used to it but oh, how I long for at least an upgrade to a stoopid electric range that is fully functional and heats reliably. Are there versions now that actually heat up and cool down with the speed of flame? I can’t get used to how turning down an electric range means that in five or ten minutes it might actually cool down to the temperature that you’re looking for….you know…once it’s totally scorched the living shit out of whatever lovely thing I’m trying to cook. As you can see, I have reached the end of my rope. Or my electrical cord. One more benefit of gas range: easier offing of oneself when you’ve HAD IT.

    • April at 10:53 am #

      This is my favorite comment EVER. Standing ovation for Dingey! I’m sitting here picturing an outraged cook (with burned food lying about) frustrated at not being able to off herself with her electric coils.

      • LittleBig at 4:48 pm #

        I pretty much think, “Standing ovation for Dingey!” whenever I talk to Dingey.

      • dingey at 6:29 am #

        Aw shucks!

    • LittleBig at 4:48 pm #

      Dingy, please stop trying to off yourself with sub-par kitchen equipment. Thanks, The Management.

      Ideally, you’d have a gas range and an electic oven. Gas is far superior to electric for stoves for just the reasons you mentioned, but electic ovens are far superior to gas (unless you’re trying to off yourself). I’ve never seen a combo of the two, however.

      • dingey at 6:31 am #

        You know…I wonder if we might ultimately be able to pull that off when we’re a fully two-income house again. The oven is actually separate from the range already. It’s a late 50’s “modern” house, so the oven’s in the wall and the range is in the countertop. We’d have to use gas cannisters or something because there’s no natural gas runs up the mountainside, but hmmmmmmmmm. Options options. Money Money. Never the twain shall meet, it seems.

      • LittleBig at 9:49 am #

        If you can, Dingy, DO IT!

  4. Dan at 10:57 am #

    Is there a picture of the fork and spoon drawer pulls that I missed? Did you replace them? I’m very curious now.

    • LittleBig at 4:50 pm #



      (Sorry, Dan. You spooked me. You and the creeper dude.)

      I am going to have to see if I can find any pictures of those draw pulls. Ye gods, they were awful. And top of the line, too! I’m sure they were expensive as hell.

  5. Anne at 11:50 am #

    Lovely! I feel your pain on the built-in microwave, by the way. We have a similar situation in which our built-in gas oven doesn’t work (well, it turns on, but then it decides on its own whims what temperature to stay at and for how long, so it’s impossible to use it for cooking or baking – we use it to store our cookie sheets) and we have a countertop convection oven that we actually use. Someday we will be rid of the Blanket-O-Flame (actual name!), but not until we redo the kitchen, which is definitely not in the budget anytime soon.

    • LittleBig at 4:50 pm #

      Blanket-O-Flame?! You just can’t make that shit up!

      Because, obviously, if you did it would be called “Blanket-O-Shame.”

      • Anne at 7:08 am #

        And now I am extra-shamed because WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?! As ever, you rule.

      • LittleBig at 2:11 pm #

        Heh heh

  6. Gen at 12:15 pm #

    I like the 3 letters on the bottom half of the fridge. 🙂

    • LittleBig at 4:52 pm #

      Well, we used to have the whole set, but my daughter does love to pull them off the fridge and put them through the cat door when we’re not looking.

  7. I think you were pretty lucky. You have a beautiful kitchen. Our previous homeowners put peel and stick tiles on the floor. They are laid all wonky and they only did the places they could see, so there is the old, old linoleum around our fridge. And they are coming up after 3 years. Hooray.

    But the corian on the wall is a bit peculiar…

    • LittleBig at 4:51 pm #

      Oh! On the floor. And here I was thinking they went on the wall.

      You’re right, though. Could have been a lot worse.

  8. Tristina at 7:44 pm #

    I seriously cannot wait to own my own home (after our brief getting-back-on-our-feet stint with my parents this year) so I can decorate. The vintage is awesome and I’m so looking forward to making our own home “ours”… you know?

    • LittleBig at 2:10 pm #

      I remember that feeling well before we bought our house.

  9. Sean at 11:19 pm #

    I rather like the color of the counter top.

    • LittleBig at 2:11 pm #

      It’s really not a bad color. It just doesn’t really match with my favored brown/green tones, so it’s a bit out of place with the house decor and the accessories I used in our apartment.

  10. Jennie at 8:37 am #

    I love your idea of putting up those plates by the window! Great pop of color.

    Gahh now I want a cheese spreader set!

    • LittleBig at 2:11 pm #

      If you keep your eyes peeled you may come across one while thrifting! Though they aren’t as common as they used to be.

  11. purplequark at 10:16 pm #

    What a great collection! Oh, and I remember I gave you a companion piece to your Fish bottle opener. It was exactly the same as the fish but it was a little knife. I was all giddy like a little school girl because they matched.

    Ah, but the way you tie it all together just makes it work…I haven’t quite figured out that part yet.

    • LittleBig at 9:37 am #

      YES, I love that little duder. I’m pretty sure he’s in the same container as the chopsticks.

  12. Bonnie at 6:48 pm #

    I know you hate the dark counters, but oooooh… corian! We’ll likely be going with something cheap for counters in the kitchen when we do the cupboards (who knows when that will be)

    We got a granite counter for the bathroom though. I love the undermount sink with it. But if the counter gets wet (eg beneath the soap dispenser and soap dish) it darkens. It lightens when it dries, but I don’t think it was properly sealed.

  13. Lacey Bronson at 11:54 am #

    I absolutely COVET those beautiful blue countertops! Navy blue is one of my favoritest colors. 🙂

    Oh, hello. I’m new here. Nice site ya got here!

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