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One Room Challenge: Cozy 1940’s French Kitchen- Week 1

Big announcement time: I will be participating in my first-ever One Room Challenge, starting today!

If you are new to the world of “One Room Challenge”, it is a bi-annual challenge created by a fellow home design blogger, Linda from Calling it Home. In this challenge, home DIY bloggers accept a challenge to design, and execute a design plan on one room in just eight weeks! This may seem quite the undertaking, especially because we literally JUST moved into Holly House 2 weeks ago, but let me explain why I think this is the perfect time for this project.

In the past, I’ve struggled with focusing on just one project/room at a time. (Anyone else?!) Since moving into Holly House, I am a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects we need to accomplish in literally every room. Sometimes inspiration strikes but I struggle to stick to one project at a time. This results in a ton of half-finished spaces and no cohesive rooms. I want to do it differently this time around and focus on finishing one space at a time. ORC really forces you to focus on one space and complete it. PLUS, I’m a huge procrastinator so a deadline is my best friend.

I’ll be posting updates every Wednesday for ORC! Be sure to follow along!

If you are new here, my name is Cassie and I live in beautiful North Carolina with my sweet little family of 5.

I am passionate about home design and specifically love to thrift and antique to find ways to make home design attainable at all budgets.

This year we bought a stunning 1940’s colonial revival house which we are slowly bringing back to life. I’m not a professional designer but I love creating cozy spaces that make our home feel warm and special.

SO, without further adieu, I am announcing that the space I’ll be transforming as part of the One Room Challenge is:

The Holly House Kitchen!

Yes, I picked the most complicated room of all rooms to transform for this year’s ORC… But let me explain why it’s the perfect choice:

historic kitchen reno

This kitchen space is tiny! In fact, this picture makes the kitchen look bigger than it is in real life. The space has the most adorably quaint feel, but again, it’s small! Due to the lack of space, we have a sorta/kinda back-pocket plan to eventually expand the kitchen or swap some rooms around and possibly make the current dining space into a big kitchen.

Surprisingly, those types of renovation take money… and time. These are two things we have little of with 3 kiddos running about. So, we’ve decided we want to make this kitchen as functional as possible for our busy family while also making it a place we LOVE to be (while we save for bigger changes down the road).

1940s kitchen

That said, I’m absolutely stoked to get started on this kitchen plan. I spend 3/4ths of my life in the kitchen, baking sourdough and passing out snacks so I’m ready to feel at home there. Let’s get started breaking down this kitchen space:

What We Love:

There are so many things I already love about this space:

  • Heart Pine Floors! Literally the most insanely beautiful NC heart pine wood floors from an old tobacco barn.
  • Old-fashioned pane windows. Our entire house has these stunning windows which let in the most beautiful filtered light
  • Antique cast iron sink: Stole my breath a bit when we first looked at the house!
  • Antique Beadboard: So beautiful and adds such a “cottage” feel to this space.
  • Antique Stove: More on this later but my plan is for the antique stove to live on through my design choices!

What We Don’t Love So Much:

Having 3 kids + eating home-cooked meals the majority of the time means I spend so much time in the kitchen and the space really needs to be FUNCTIONAL. Here are a few things we don’t love about the space and would like to change or improve!

  • Limited cabinet and storage space. Our old kitchen was big so I didn’t have to worry much about organization or utilizing every single square inch. This is very important for the Holly House kitchen! I need better organization and storage options.
  • Lack of counter space: The butcher block island has been removed and now we are lacking a kitchen island space.
  • Tiny pantry: This is self-explanatory, but the pantry is tiny and could use some reorganization. I’m not sure if we will get to the pantry during ORC but I’d love to!
  • Dated paint colors and hardware: The cabinets are the typical stark white of the 2010’s and the hardware is dated. The kitchen is currently painted yellow which I actually have loved from a “cheery” standpoint but it definitely needs to be changed.
  • Cherry red butcher block counters: I’m just not a big redwood guy. I prefer pine or more neutral shades for wood.

The Inspiration:

I can’t wait to share my inspiration with you all. I hope to take this quaint, small kitchen and turn it into a French-inspired “unfit” kitchen space filled to the brim with character and charm.

holly house kitchen mood board

For this renovation, there will be several large projects and then smaller cosmetic changes as well. Here are my ideas for this year’s ORC for my colonial kitchen:

  • Bleach Butcher Block Counters: I’d like to save money and keep the current counters. I’m going to experiment and see if I can bleach the red tones out of the wood and then stain/re-seal these counters!
  • Paint cabinets and change hardware: This is an easy fix, but I’d like to paint the cabinets a mushroom shade and exchange the hardware with unlacquered brass!
  • Source a kitchen island: I originally wanted a simple work table for the island, but because I need to utilize every square of space, I am hoping to find an island with some storage and possibly a marble top to contrast with the wood counters.
  • Add a storage cabinet next to the refrigerator: There is a dead space to the left of the refrigerator that I’d love to utilize for more storage. I’d love an antique pine cabinet but also considering built-ins.
  • Backsplash: Behind the stove needs a beautiful backsplash. I’d love to use Zellige tile or Delft tile to create a stunning focal point.
  • Lighting: The fixtures are very farmhouse feel and I’d love to exchange with something a bit more elegant and French inspired.
  • Cosmetic Tweaks: Adding pantry doors, a cafe curtain, a brass pot rail and some decorative shelves are all ideas I’ve had to keep the character of this sweet space.

About the Vintage Stove…

Since purchasing our home one of the most frequently asked questions we’ve got is : “Are you keeping the stove?!”… Well, actually sometimes it goes more like: “You better be keeping that stove!”

retro kitchen

So, we had every intention of keeping this adorable vintage stove even though the mint green wasn’t my top preference… But unfortunately, the oven does not work. The burners lit right up but the ovens barely got warm. This brand is no longer made. We could (maybe?!) hire someone to try to fix it but the parts are difficult to find and it would probably need lots of upkeep to make it last.

So sadly, my vintage stove dreams had to die. But that’s ok because this sparked an excessive amount of research on my part to find a “vintage-look” stove with modern functionality. I have settled on the stunning (and pricey) La Cornue Cornufe range. My design plan for the kitchen is planned around this beautiful range!

I realize this range is expensive and out of reach for a lot of people so I’ve rounded up some other vintage-look ranges HERE. I also think sourcing a vintage range through FB marketplace is a great way to get the look you want- just make sure it works because it can be impossible to get replacement parts if they no longer make the stove!

Join Me For Spring 2024 ORC!

I’m just SO excited to get started on this project and I really hope you all will follow along and give me input on all the projects and design choices we make for this space. I can’t wait to make this sweet little kitchen just a little homier and cozier!


Be sure to check out all the other fantastic contributors to the ORC Spring 2024!

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