midcentury modern kitchen refresh

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

If nothing about the kitchen in this photo excites you, you’re not alone. Well, if some freshly made banana pudding was on the counter, then maybe… nah, forget it. Everything about this kitchen is dismal. And this is what we inherited when we bought our beach condo in Florida this year. A sea of beige.

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

Beige floors, beige walls, beige countertops. Time to pull out the beige hammer and do some remodeling!

You can read more about our full condo renovation here, but for now I’m just going show off our kitchen face-lift.


The biggest project we took on was replacing the beige tile throughout the condo. I selected a beautiful Italian porcelain plank tile with the look of driftwood colored hardwood. I decided to buy the tile myself and to pay a contractor for labor only to install it. You can find this wood plank tile in a variety of price ranges, but I ended up discovering some at Floor and Decor, a discount flooring chain, that I absolutely loved. I narrowed it down between 2 selections – Birch Forest Gray for only $1.99 per square foot or Tabula Fog for $3.39 per s.f. I felt a bit more confident with the one made in Italy rather than China, so I went with Tabula Fog. Still an awesome price!

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


Obviously, a coat of fresh paint gives you the biggest bang for you buck and can completely transform a space. Because I was going for a retro modern feel, I painted the walls white, with just a few accents of color. I chose a soft gray for the ceiling and a deep blue for one wall in the dining area.

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


Next, on to the granite countertops. I know, I know. What’s wrong with granite? Nothing, really. But this granite is (you guessed it) beige. And it doesn’t jive with my modern updating. I wanted a cleaner, brighter look. I’m not a granite hater, I promise you. But (as I tell my husband frequently), I am right. Just take a look… 

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


I better warn you now. If you didn’t sympathize with my decision to nix the granite, you’ll probably cringe at my next decision, too. Beautiful cherry cabinets – yep, I painted them gray. Remember, I’m going for a brighter, more casual look. Replacing cabinets can be exorbitant, so I opted to just paint the existing ones and replace the hardware. I selected Gauntlet Gray from Sherwin Williams.

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


Now it’s beginning to get fun. Say hello to my chartreause backsplash. I knew I wanted this pop of color to help create a midcentury modern mood, but it was difficult to find. I finally found the perfect shade from Heath Ceramics, which creates their handmade clay tiles in San Franciso’s Mission District. The folks there were friendly; and when the tile arrived, it was even more beautiful than I expected. 

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


The wonderful thing about lighting is that you don’t have to break the bank to buy some trendy, fun fixtures. And with online stores like Lamps Plus and AllModern, the shopping is stress-free. 

Just to refresh your memory, there were 3 major concerns with lighting in the former kitchen: a boring, undersized fixture in the ceiling inset; too many recessed lights; and an outdated chandelier.

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

The dining area was easy. I found this iconic Sputnik chandelier for under $300. It screams Midcentury Modern. (Check out this guide for proper chandelier size and placement.)

atomic chandelier - myfrenchtwist.com

For the recessed ceiling in the kitchen area, I selected a semi-flush 4-light fixture to accentuate the length of the ceiling inset. 

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

Finally, I converted the recessed lighting over the bar area into small hanging pendant lights. I fell in love with these cork pendants from AllModern. (Check out these tips for hanging pendant lights.)  

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

And this brings me to my next point… accentuate focal points!

focal points

Although open to the family room (which I love), our kitchen is long and narrow. The island seems endless, yet it was completely overlooked by the previous owner. (Too few bar stools, no accent lighting.) Instead, a generous feature such as this should be accentuated! Not to mention, its size is ideal for entertaining friends. 

To play up the island bar, I first added a few inches in depth to the new countertops. The previous depth was extremely narrow. Secondly, I painted the front of the island the same gray shade as the cabinets. Thirdly, (as mentioned earlier) I converted the recessed lights to 5 small hanging pendant lights.

And lastly (my favorite) I splurged on some killer modern bar stools from Hive in a cognac colored leather to compliment the warmth of the cork pendants.

Oh, I just can’t wait any longer…

the reveal

My former kitchen…

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com

and my kitchen refresh…

kitchen makeover - myfrenchtwist.com


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Hi, I'm Wendy. Southern by birth, Francophile by marriage, bohemian by nature, and minimalist by choice. Check out myfrenchtwist.com and join me in a year of making beautiful things.

Comments · 15

  1. gorgeous just gorgeous, i am from florida and it thanks you for this ha ha xx

  2. Whoa! What a gorgeous transformation! I think your painted cabinets look so much better and the back splash and turquoise wall look so good together and make the kitchen look so fun and welcoming. You did a fantastic job!

  3. Wow, what an amazing transformation. It’s like you got a whole new kitchen. I love the colour, I love the splashback, I love the new lights, I love the chairs. Basically, I love all of it. Have you thought of submitting it to Apartment Therapy before/after?

    1. Thanks Claire! I’ve been wanting to submit something to AT but just haven’t yet. Thanks for your vote of confidence!

  4. Beautiful! Can you please provide the source for the Kitchen Bar Stools

    1. Yes, hive modern carries them, although I bought mine through a store in Tampa called Soft Square. The style is Montis Jim

  5. You mentioned that you purchased the tile to replace the existing tile and paid to have it installed. Was the existing tile removed? Love the new look!

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