A Spanish Kitchen Goes Back To Its Roots

The kitchen remodel is done.  The house is 80 years old and the kitchen has only been remodeled three times, including the changes we have made.  That is pretty amazing!  All of the cabinetry is original and we can actually prove it :-).  When we removed a set of upper cabinets there was handwriting on one of the sides.  It noted, in cursive, the name of the home owner, the city and the general contractor.  Those pieces have been saved and somehow we will incorporate them in our decor of the house.  Seeing the handwriting of someone who, 80 years ago, likely made these cabinets is a bit humbling.  Their craftsmanship has lasted this long and will continue to serve my family for years to come.

The kitchen was great as is but not exactly my style.  The existing layout works well and structurally there is nothing that needed changing.  In keeping with the Spanish style of the house I wanted to bring in Spanish tile, warm wood, and use my favorite bronze finishes.  I scoured the internet and found wonderful examples of tiled walls.  I finally decided to have an entire wall of Moroccan inspired tile behind my stove/hood.  The tiled wall would be the focal point, where all the color was located, and the rest of the kitchen would be muted but warm.

The range hood shown in the before picture is in style with the house but to be honest it was a serious pain…in my head!  It was too low for me and I would hit my forehead when I leaned forward to check pots that were on the back burners.  It had to go.  I will say that everyone who had seen the kitchen prior to the remodel LOVED that hood.  On a side note, we met the previous owners whose family owned the home for over 60 years and I was saddened to hear that they had installed the hood.  They are such wonderful people and the thought of removing something that they contributed to the house made me a tad regretful of the hood change.  Luckily, they were very pleased with the remodel…phew…seriously.


Before Kitchen


DSC_0002 DSC_0008

Sink area:



Our counter tops are oak butcher block is from Ikea.  At our previous home we had a butcher block island and bar in Brazilian Walnut, which is a very chocolate-brown.  Our preferences tend to go toward the darker colors so choosing oak tops was a change for me.  We have oak floors in this house and I thought if I could bring more warmth by using oak butcher block that would be a nice touch.  The counters had white tile with white grout and the cooking area had butcher block already.  We decided to make all the counter tops butcher block.  We removed three upper cabinets and added butcher block shelves in their place.  I’m not quite done with the styling of the shelves but I already like the way it looks.  Not having the cabinets really opened up this particular area.

Open Shelves:


Tile up close: http://www.justmorocco.com  The tile has a white background with a paprika/burnt orange outlining the medallion.  Within the medallion there is navy blue, grey, yellow, and green.  Each tile is 8″x 8″.  The original tiles I looked at were cement tiles.  Not only were they more expensive than the ones I chose but they also weight considerably more than the Moroccan tiles.  Cement tile colors are more muted based on the samples I received.  However, these Moroccan tiles really add warmth to the kitchen. Paired with the oak butcher block it really is something to see.

Tile up close


The kitchen has a wonderful built-in cabinet opposite the window/sink area.  It was painted a mustard yellow.  We removed all the upper doors to create open shelving and painted it Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.  All the cabinets had multiple layers of paint so our GC sanded most of it down but there is definitely signs of previous paint.  There is some character in that, this isn’t a brand new house and I didn’t mind some of it looking ‘well worn’.


before_built in


After_built in

Product information:

Stove – GE cafe series, dual fuel double oven / Hood – Broan / Oak Butcher block – Ikea / Lighting – Pottery Barn / Farm Sink – Rohl Shaw / Cabinet, drawer hardware – Amazon.com (the least expensive I could find!) / Island table – World Market / Paint – walls: BM Linen White, cabinets: BM  , built-in: BM Hale Navy / Tile – http://www.justmorocco.com   Moorish tile 3 / Sink Faucet – faucet.com (six years ago)

General Contractor: Mike Sharp  Yolo, Ca


  1. It looks so inviting! I love the open shelving concept. My husband and I are in the process of taking down cabinets to replace them with open shelving. We built a floor to ceiling cabinet to make up for any loss of storage ( I know there are plenty of critics out there thinking of that). Keep up the great renovating! πŸ™‚


  2. I just came across your website. Lovely, just lovely. Two weeks ago I ripped out our upper cabinets in our 1987 colonial and added stainless steel shelves and I love it. I have to ask about the half door – we have two cats, an older dog, and a puppy and that door would be perfect to keep them in or out. Please tell me about the door as it looks like you didn’t have to do anything with the trim to install the door?


    1. Hi Niki, It’s called a dutch door. The top and bottom halves swing independently of each other or you can lock them together and it works like a regular door. It is original to the house but what I can say is that it’s a standard door width. The frame doesn’t look any different than the other doors in the house. Like you I have a cat and two dogs. It keeps the dogs out while I am cooking but allows the cat to come in for his food & water that is in an adjacent room.

      I love the open shelves too!
      Thank you for checking out the site πŸ™‚



  3. What did you use to finish the oak butcher block? And how is it holding up to water and spills? It looks really warm and inviting!


    1. Hi Heather. I finished it with a light sanding and mineral oil. It’s holding up great. We make sure to wipe up water quickly and I continue to oil it about every four months. Thank you for checking out the blog!


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