Goodbye 1970s: Updating an Outdated Kitchen

Photo by Katie Honnette

Photo by Katie Honnette

Steve and Kathy Burnett live on an acreage outside of North Mankato, Minnesota. They built their home in 1973 and have always enjoyed entertaining family and friends. Although their home is spacious, the kitchen was outdated and cramped. “We always knew we would remodel the kitchen someday and finally a friend asked, ‘Why don’t you do it now?’ I thought we’re not getting any younger! So we decided to just do it,” Kathy says. In the spring of 2010, the couple began remodeling the heart of their home.

“It was a typical 70s kitchen,” Kathy says. “It had white Formica countertops, dark cupboards with soffits up above. A peninsula came out into the kitchen, with cupboards up above, cutting the space in half.” When the renovations began, everything went including the soffits. “Without a working kitchen, the entire house seems upside down,” Kathy laughs. They set up a make-shift kitchen in the garage to use while the new kitchen took shape. “We redid the ceiling and added recessed lights and rearranged the cabinet layout to open up the entire room.”

One of the most important features the Burnetts chose for the room was the granite countertops. The colors of the natural stone became the inspiration for the entire space. “Once we chose the granite, we revolved everything including paint color around it.” Birch cabinets with a rich maple stain complement the room along with an island with an antiqued finish. “By opening up the kitchen, I can visit with my guests or family without having to look under the cabinets. I was worried I wouldn’t have as much cupboard space but by switching the direction of the kitchen, having cabinets to the ceiling and adding a nice sized island, I gained more space than I ever imagined.”

Kathy forfeited her free-standing china cabinet in exchange for a built-in to display her beautiful dishes. “I have no regrets about that,” she says. “Our cabinet maker, Curt Krohn of Krohn’s Woodshop, had many good suggestions and I knew the look I wanted so we worked together on the final layout and he went to work.” Steve and Kathy incorporated some custom details into their kitchen. “While working on the layout, our grandkids who live next door asked where they were going to each lunch. We then decided to add a large slide-out extension on the island,” Kathy says. “That really turned out to be a good decision.”

Using the existing space, Steve and Kathy transformed their kitchen into a striking up-to-date room. “When I walk into the kitchen first thing in the morning, I’m still surprised; I can’t believe it is the same kitchen. We are so happy that we made the decision and went ahead with it. It was a mess for a while but well worth it,” she says.

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