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Updating a kitchen with oak cabinets
Kristen Martin Lewis
February 18, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have oak cabinets and I want to update my kitchen. My husband won't let me change the cabinets so how can I update without messing with the cabinetry?
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Jayme H.
You could paint your island a darker color....Are u keeping your countertops and current appliances?
February 18, 2013 at 10:05am     
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Kristen Martin Lewis
we are going to get all stainless appliances and i do want to get a new countertop.
February 18, 2013 at 10:06am   
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Granite Transformations
Hi Kristen. There are a few things you can do without messing with your cabinetry.

I'd say the first thing to consider is paint. You could really bring out some character with a new paint on your walls. With the wood floors and oak cabinets, I'd say go with something earth-toned. Either a green, blue or brown. My suggestion would be "dark pewter" by Benjamin Moore- http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/darkpewter

Next, consider updating all your appliances to stainless. You already have a stainless steel fridge, I'd update your microwave, range and dishwasher as well.

Then you might want to consider new counters. You could install gorgeous new granite countertops in this kitchen without any demolition. Take a look at our selection and services here- http://www.granitetransformations.com/southjersey/products/granite-countertops/

The last thing you might want to consider is a new backsplash. Since the space between your floor and wall cabinets isn't too large, installing a stone or tile backsplash should be inexpensive. I'd recommend a subway tile. Something that would tie your counters and paint together with the cabinetry.

Good luck!
February 18, 2013 at 10:10am     
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onthefence
If you're replacing appliances, can I suggest a slide in range rather than the style you have now? I think fully opening the backsplash behind a range makes a kitchen look great.

After new countertops, consider a backsplash and paint for the area above your cupboards. If possible too, you might want to try to find hiding places for a few of the things that are on your counters.
February 18, 2013 at 10:10am     
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onthefence
Oh, and I meant to say....I know oak often gets a bad rap here. However, I think your cabinets are beautiful. They're a good style IMO and a nice shade. Being oak doesn't necessarily make cabinets bad.
February 18, 2013 at 10:12am     
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nFORMAL design
Jayme...the island idea is good, but it is still cabinetry (I think.) If you paint the island, paint the toe kick (or put a stainless strip on it) because the color of the floor makes it look almost like the cabinets are growing out of it. The color is too similar.

I'd put in bar lights that are bidirectional--so they bounce off the ceiling.

Counters...my vote is always concrete, but I'm partial. Haha.
February 18, 2013 at 10:15am     
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flgrandma
I agree with your hubby. The cabinets are beautiful. Take the decorative stuff off of the tops of the cabinets and counters - easy and free. Only have things on your counters that you need there. I actually think the white appliances look better than your SS frig. Your white counters look fine. What are you thinking of replacing them with? I think that the real "problem" is the floor and cabinets are so close in color. Light colored rugs could probably help. Here's a photo of cabinets similar to yours with updated appliances, counter and back splash. Very nice, but note the light floor.

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February 18, 2013 at 10:21am     
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Jayme H.
Is the island the same as the cabinetry? It almost appears to be different..
February 18, 2013 at 10:24am   
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Kristen Martin Lewis
thank you so much everyone for all of your help! i'm so grateful for it. i'm thinking of granite for the countertops. we have one area that's already damaged, so we'll have do something anyway. the backsplash idea is wonderful and i had never thought of a slide-in range! what a great idea! any more pointers or advice??
February 18, 2013 at 10:28am   
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Kristen Martin Lewis
Jayme-it's the same as the cabinets.
February 18, 2013 at 10:29am   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You can select wonderful new countertops and add cabinet hardware. You'll also need a backsplash to go with the new countertops A new paint color can also contribute to your kitchen's facelift.

One of the things that new countertops would allow you to do is to create a slightly bigger island, just by extending the overhang, perhaps in two directions. You currently have an overhang but no barstools. Do you not want to have any? If you do add some, I'd suggest very small ones with no back. They serve the purpose but don't take over the room as the big ones that have backs and arms and swivels do.

Your collection of old mixing bowls atop your cabinets is interesting, but I think they are too strewn out.
I suggest you group them more closely in just one area, and perhaps tilt a few of them against the others. On your countertops, I'd try to cut way down on the number of items you have out. These
days less is more, and simplicity rules.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
February 18, 2013 at 10:30am     
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0825sam
Agree about the slide in range. Can you remove the crown molding from the cabinets? They are otherwise nice and simple and I think that would help them look sleeker and updated.
February 18, 2013 at 10:30am     
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Jayme H.
If he won't let u paint the island, maybe wrap it with a contrasting material...It looks like it is not trimmed out on the sides I can see...adding trim work can add interest too.
February 18, 2013 at 10:30am     
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Kristen Martin Lewis
i could probably get away with painting the island, but i won't be able to do anything with the rest of it. the barstools are a great idea also. i don't know why we've never used that idea and i love the type that are suggested.
February 18, 2013 at 10:34am     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
The barstool is from Ballard Design, is well priced at about $109 and you will need to be sure to order "counter height".
February 18, 2013 at 10:45am     
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tomda
You have the nicest oak cabinets I've ever seen. I don't think you should paint them even if he would let you :)
February 18, 2013 at 10:53am     
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Kristen Martin Lewis
thanks tomda! :)
February 18, 2013 at 10:55am   
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gkemp
good advise from all.... I would look at a new faucet too.
Love the slide in range idea! That will make a huge difference. Make sure you select this appliance before changing your countertops and review the cut-out specs completely. Slide-In Ranges are designed to "overlay" the counter top. You will need to make slight adjustments for this to happen.
February 18, 2013 at 10:58am     
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onthefence
Great point about selecting the slide in range before countertop change gkemp!

To add to what gkemp suggested - in addition to a new faucet, this might be a good time to install an undermount sink AND a new faucet ;-)

Oh and ITA with tomda. I do love you cabinets and I'm glad you're not changing them!
February 18, 2013 at 11:02am     
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maryannes
I agree, your cabinets are done. You need a few things updated to have a beautiful kitchen.
Updates needed: Appliances, countertop in a darker color, a backsplash, handles on the soors, and a coat of paint on your walls. I know it's a lot but you have the start of a great kitchen.
February 18, 2013 at 11:04am     
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calikym
Today there have been 2 posts about oak cabinets, but in your case, I wouldn't paint them. They look much more contemporary, and like Carolyn said ^, if you add some modern drawer pulls or cabinet pulls, YOUR oak cabinets are already contemporary looking. The main issue for me is that the floor and the cabinets are all the same wood color.. Everything that Carolyn said is right on... You should make your island a dining area for sure! It will look really good, serve a useful purpose, and you can add some color to the kitchen. Btw, I wouldn't use any more brown. It needs a bit of color. :)
February 18, 2013 at 11:04am     
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maryannes
I meant they are fine not done. Autocorrect lol
February 18, 2013 at 11:05am   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Kristin, here's my favorite kitchen faucet. I've had this faucet for about 5 years and love it. It's by Grohe and costs roughly $230. You'll need to select an undermount sink also and maybe someone else has a recommendation on that. You'll have to decide for yourself whether you want a large single bowl or a double bowl sink.
February 18, 2013 at 2:37pm     
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Jayme H.
I absolutely agree u have very nice cabinets...What struck me from the pic was that from the view of the pic provided, which also is a main view of the kitchen..the island does not have the details that your cabinets do..maybe it does on the side we cannot see, but that side is the least visible. Therefore, I still feel a change in the island, whether just more detailing trim and/or paint, would help enhance it's attractiveness. Just my thoughts...
February 18, 2013 at 3:01pm     
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bumbles12
I would remove the pots you have on top of your wall cabinets. Put up a false facade to the ceiling which will help make the cabinets look more up to date. Stainless steel appliances would help and maybe granite bench tops. Good luck with your decision.
February 18, 2013 at 3:21pm     
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aksnt11
I'm not sure what color scheme you may eventually be going with, but lets say you choose a grantite countertop with earthy tones and a heavy wave of black swirling through it. With that black swilrl, you could wrap the island base in a matte black painted beadboard, which would add some interesting contrast to the current all wood design, and draw it's color from the granite. A new back spalsh, perhas in a slate style would look great, then as budgets permit replace the remaining appliances with stainless ones. Paint the wall above the cabinets and ceiling an earthy tone found in the slate or granite. Your kitchen has beautiful cabinetry and floors, a great start for sure!
February 18, 2013 at 3:43pm     
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artluver1100
We recently completed a kitchen makeover in order to sell our home, so I understand what you are going through ;-) I'm not crazy about oak cabinets either (and especially not the dated ones we had--although I've seen much worse) but, considering the housing market, we wanted to change the things that added the biggest bang for the buck. Here are some suggestions based on what seemed to work for us. We chose a subtle multi-colored backsplash first so that way our wall color could be flexible. My husband added under cabinet lighting, which was nice because wood can tend to absorb light. We chose a golden yellow from our backsplash to paint the walls. We chose not to do the countertops but if we had decided to stay, we certainly would have. Just a few simple relatively low cost fixes can really change a room. I don't have "before" pictures but I do have these "after" ones of our modest makeover.
February 18, 2013 at 3:47pm     
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artluver1100
Oh, I almost forgot--new hardware, matching faucet and a stainless sink made a huge difference right away
February 18, 2013 at 3:51pm     
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Clare Michael Interiors
You have many really good contribution. One I would add is try for a spacesaver Microwave so it does not protrude out so far beyond the 12; cabinet depth. If you must wait for new countertops, fill in the backsplash with fun horizonal glass deco installed with thinset. I notice a high chair so you must be a young family. Even though oak is diffcult to cover due to the grain, send the baby to grammy's and paint with oil base white paint for better and faster coverage. It's easier to wash off the peanutbutter and jelly.
February 18, 2013 at 3:59pm     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
The high chair is filled with newspapers or maybe magazines. My guess is that they have grandchildren who visit from time to time. I hope frequently as they are such fun!
February 18, 2013 at 5:33pm     
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Kristen Martin Lewis
We have three kids, the youngest is 5 now. The high chair was my moms as a baby. :) thank u for all of the advice!!!
February 18, 2013 at 6:30pm     
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Jayme H.
SPAM alert
March 7, 2013 at 5:42am   
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pitbulls
I don't usually like oak cabinets but yours are pretty
March 7, 2013 at 6:07am   
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