Designer Sarah Phipps saw potential as soon as she walked into the door of this 1940s Oregon kitchen — despite the shag carpeting, horrifying heater and peeling paperboard walls. “I always see what it looks like in the end,” she says.

Phipps ripped out the old materials for a clean slate and used authentic vintage accents and bursts of bright color to pull this kitchen back from the abyss. She managed to reinvent the kitchen without making structural changes, sticking to a $5,500 budget.

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: Vacation rental for designer Sarah Phipps
Size: 210 square feet
Location: Bend, Oregon
Cost: $5,500 budget, including labor, subcontractors and materials; Phipps did the design herself

The cabinetry was in good shape, so Phipps cleaned them up, repainted the outside and relined the inside with contact paper. A new subway tile backsplash transitions between the cabinetry and new stainless steel countertops.

Smart Craigslist finds give the kitchen extra vintage flair. Phipps found the 1940s electric range for just $300. The kitchen’s back door (just visible to the far left) had been kicked in, so Phipps replaced it with this vintage door with original hardware, which she found on Craigslist for $75.

Island: Stenstorp, Ikea; blue cart: Raskog, Ikea; subway tile: Daltile, Home Depot; wall colors: Marscapone, Benjamin Moore

Although she made few structural changes, Phipps did have to replace the cottage’s windows, including the ones in the kitchen. “I don’t usually do this, and struggled with the decision,” she says. “I like to save old windows when I can, but these had rotted out beyond repair.” The new vinyl window package cost about $800 for the entire house.

kitchenReplacing two big fluorescent box lights on the ceiling with affordable fixtures cost just $30 and gave the lighting scheme a simple, clean look. The slanted ceiling over the sink was awkward to work with, so Phipps took a Barn Light Electric shade and modified it with a galvanized stem mount to fit into the space.

By stripping down the kitchen to its bare essentials, Phipps highlighted what made this kitchen great. The new design lets the clean lines, vintage fixtures and quality construction shine.

Ceiling fixtures: Lowe’s; pendant shade: Barn Light Electric