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Before and After: Tour a Fully Remodeled 1950s Kitchen With Blocks of Color

A midcentury kitchen in a Rochester, New York, home receives a full makeover that incorporates high-tech features and modern finishes. With colorful custom cabinetry and fewer walls, the resulting open concept kitchen and dining room is a space you'll hardly recognize.

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Emily and Pete Fazio's Kitchen Remodel

Shown at home with two of their kids, Emily and Pete Fazio stand in their new kitchen. (Emily is a longtime HGTV contributor and DIY blogger at Merrypad.) Years of brainstorming left them with a long wishlist for the 1950s kitchen in their "forever home." Make it look modern. Brighter! And tech-centric. It wasn't until the duo met a local Rochester, New York designer, Robin Muto of Robin Muto Interiors, that their vision became a reality. Though lifelong DIYers, Muto's fresh perspective on affordable custom designs guided the transformation of their traditional midcentury home. Bold design decisions and tech-savvy integrations highlight the home's best features, and also improve the space to better suit the family's lifestyle.

Enjoy the before, during and after photos of this midcentury ranch.

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Photo: Emily Fazio

The Original Midcentury Kitchen Layout

The home's original kitchen had undergone various functional and cosmetic updates by the former homeowner and her family since it was built in 1952, but it retained the original footprint. There's no denying that the wooden cabinets and hardware were still intact, though many aspects of the design and fixtures were outdated and failing. The floorplan of the kitchen wasn't conducive to entertaining, nor was it an easy space for the family of five to cook and relax together. As part of the demo, Emily and Pete took great care to preserve elements of the space that could be reused or donated. All windows, drawers, doors, and the vintage chrome concave round pulls were saved.

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Photo: Photography by Scott Hamilton. Kitchen design by Robin Muto Interiors.

The Updated Kitchen Layout

Out with the upper cabinets, out with a wall. Two new (larger!) windows were installed to offer more natural light. For some time, Pete and Emily thought that the whole back of the house might be nice with floor-to-ceiling windows, but in reviewing all of the design options, keeping cabinetry beneath the window and removing the soffits proved the best solution to avoid losing storage space. It was a tossup deciding whether to put the sink or the induction cooktop beneath the window, but they decided that they spent more time at the sink, and would value the opportunity to look outside.

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Photo: Photography by Scott Hamilton. Kitchen design by Robin Muto Interiors.

Cutouts in Cabinet Doors

Cut-out handles were a common detail in many of the European kitchens that inspired Emily and Pete, and they were excited to try and incorporate the handles into the custom cabinet design. A template guided the cabinet builders on how to cut each door and drawer front. No drawer pulls or knobs were needed for the new kitchen.

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