Just posting a few sneakie peekie photos of my kitchen; will post a longer update soon. If you recall, I was less than delighted with the state of the room when I moved in: the cabinets were a reddish-cherry tone (although they are structurally high quality and in perfect condition), the lighting and hardware were (hideous) brushed chrome, and the walls were soul-suckingly white. Shortly after moving in, I had a painter come over to give me a quote for painting out all the cabinets white (since I wanted white cabinets with brass hardware), but he more or less told me it was be a crazy waste of money for me to paint over such nice cabinets, and that I should paint the walls first and see if I could live with the cabinets after that. Well, I'm so happy he turned out to be such an honest person, because after painting the walls a lovely light blue (Behr's Ionic Sky; the same color I painted my living and dining areas), and switching out the hardware for polished chrome and the light fixtures, too, I absolutely love it. I think the space would have looked too light with the white cabinets and I think it looks terrific now - and I only spent a few hundred dollars on lighting, hardware and paint.
Just as a reminder, here's a picture before. Look at those bleak white walls and maddening IKEA track lighting. I don't have a picture of the hardware but trust me: it was so ugly, it would make you want to slap someone, too.
I switched out the lighting fixtures for something that was more modern, but still vintage. The two glass pendants below are from overstock.com (they were a steal at something like $82 each); the all chrome three-light fixture was from amazon, and the single exposed bulb light was from Schoolhouse Electric (frankly the least inspired of all three, and also the most expensive. I'm just saying). Oh, and tip: Home Depot now carries those old-timey Edison-style light bulbs for about $8 or so. They're much more expensive at places like Schoolhouse Electric. Again, just saying.
The countertops were already a really nice black granite with gold flecks in it. I love them, they're super shiny, and an enormous step up from the sad grey formica that was in my last place. And look at those nice shiny chrome knobs!
Here's my grandmother's old bread box, with a collection of old tea - and other - tins on top.
Yes, I got these amazing Thonet-style cane back bar stools - which are gorgeous and in pristine condition - for $20 each on craigslist. Yes, I did! And yes, I found the exact same stools for $395 on eBay right afterward, therefore making the incredible deal I got on them via craigslist all that much sweeter. Why does anyone buy anything new any more? So many vintage gems to be found, especially if you live in a city where people are constantly posting stuff for sale.