Retro Flair

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A 1960s-style kitchen knows the recipe for success in the 21st century

Seamlessly combining the past with the present makes this kitchen a one-of-a-kind space.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photos by Sarah Terranova


The young couple that resides here wanted to create an open kitchen and dining space to entertain family and friends while simultaneously remaining true to the architectural value of this 1960s mid-century ranch home in Merriam, Kansas.

“The husband is a structural designer and the wife is a toxicologist,” noted JoAnn Romano, designer with Total Home Remodeling. “And they both enjoy welding together as a hobby. Highly creative people, they are fun, crafty and very hands-on.”

Taking that hands-in drive to the next level, the couple opted to put their own stamp all over this space in a variety of ways.

“They drove this design,” noted Romano. “We simply helped them take it from concept on paper to reality in 3-D.”

Highly conscious of each detail, the couple was insistent upon sticking to an authentic of a design palette as possible to essentially make it seem as if crossing the threshold into their home from the front door led you into a 1960s time capsule while seamlessly incorporating some of today’s modern influences.


“The furnishings in the home are true to the time period,” expressed Romano. “What they accomplished through this design was putting a modern twist on a time warp, pairing retro elements with newer touches.” For instance, instead of purchasing a new couch, the sofa contiguous to the kitchen is actually from the 1960s and the wife simply had it reupholstered.

The first order of business in opening up the space was to tear out part of the wall that existed between the kitchen and the dining room. When tackling the kitchen as a whole, a structural dance ensued, with many parts moving across the floor to assume their new positions. The sink was originally under the window; the refrigerator was where the sink is and the stove had its first home where the refrigerator is now. Some new appliances were added – hence, a modern touch – and the hardwood flooring, originally buried under carpeting, was restored and brought to life.

Highlights within the kitchen include the concrete-colored countertops made of a Quartz material by Caesarstone; open walnut shelving made by the homeowners; and white glass backsplash in a snow napier color, incorporating a glass mosaic with a 1960s cut.

“Some of the glass is frosted and some is clear for that tone-on-tone effect,” stated Romano.


Sticking to their hands-on ambition, the couple chose to make the cabinetry themselves, resurfacing them to allow the natural  pattern of the grain to remain visible. Unafraid to color outside the lines, the homeowners also brought in pops of color to reflect the 1960s vibe, including the self-made blue pantry doors and adjoining cabinets and the yellow side door. They allowed for the window trim and the door trim to remain true to its natural stain.

The table in the dining room is a period piece, as are the accompanying chairs, all of which were reupholstered in blue-colored fabric, once again a tip of the hat to the retro appeal.

The newly-installed, custom-made windows in both the dining room and the kitchen required a bit of crafty execution as the owners wanted a perfect line between the two as seen from the front of the house.

“The windows follow the roofline of the home,” explained Romano.


Even though this redesign was not part of a large footprint, Total Home Remodeling perfectly delivered the homeowners’ vision, allowing the subtle details to give voice to the room without overwhelming it.

“The beauty of the entire space and design is that you cannot tell what is new and what is old,” smiled Romano. And that is precisely what the homeowners desired.


Project Designer: Total Home Remodeling

Painting: Color Splash

Flooring: SVB Hardwood Flooring

Cabinets: Homeowner

Countertops: Top Master

Plumbing: Grandview-Winnelson

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