This house and I had an instant connection. I was on a mission to preserve as much as possible, and thankfully, the house had a lot of great details and original materials to work with. However, it also came with a front family room addition that left an awkward kitchen transition. A window shelf above the kitchen sink separated it from the front family room. The space also offered cabinets suspended from the ceiling that made sitting at the raised bar nearly impossible.


This needed to be changed. The cabinets were removed and the window shelf opening was expanded in order to make the raised counter bar functional and maximized. I loved the original wood spindles that flanked the living room, but their existing locations made it feel very closed off. The solution was to relocate three of them to the opposite side of the room to balance the others while also creating a visual separation between spaces.

With the suspended cabinets gone, a new exhaust hood was dropped from the ceiling to help give a modern vibe to this retro space. In the dining room, a modern sputnik chandelier was installed to help anchor the large teak dining set. It’s incredible what a huge comeback 1950s-style furniture and décor has made and how accessible reproductions have become.

After. Photo by Peak Photography.

The cabinets and counters were saved and restored, but we added a new quartz bar countertop that wrapped around both sides, doubling the amount of kitchen seating with six beautiful Bertoia barstools. This is one massive change since the 1950s—at that time, nobody gathered in the kitchen. But today, it’s where everyone comes together, and it’s important to have a space that accommodates that. Kitchen seating is a must have!


James Judge is a designer, flipper, blogger, future TV host and all-around house-a-holic. He strives to take ugly houses and make them into beautiful homes. He loves a collection of all styles but especially enjoys midcentury modern. James appreciates good design and thoughtful solutions to help get the look for less. To see more photos from this project and other transformations, check out James’s blog, Flipping Diaries, or follow him on Instagram or Twitter @flippingdiaries.



Ceiling light

Exhaust hood

Bertoia-style barstools

Dishwasher Panel from Big Chill

Chrome cabinet hardware

Cabinet color: Dark Pewter PPU18-4 By BEHR

Door color: Pencil Point PPU18-02 by BEHR