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Help with my cabinets...do I paint?
carrie
February 20, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We purchased a home and are doing some updating. The entire home was "upgraded" to hickory cabinets from the builders cabinets (semi custom home). They are really nice quality solid wood, pullout drawers, etc. but I don't care for the look of Hickory. We are pricing changing the kitchen cabinets, but to save some money, we are looking at having the bathrooms painted by a cabinet painter. He can even do glazes, etc. We are upgrading the granite tops, sinks, faucets so I want this to look right. The floors are all Autumn slate with lots of taupes and creams. I'm thinking about a cream color with a brown glaze. Thoughts? When done right, is this a good option instead of replacing? Any other colors come to mind? He thought he could even add some furniture legs before painting to give a custom look. Good idea to paint or do I need to bite the bullet? Thanks!
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PRO
The L.A. Lady
Option 1: take the plunge and paint. I'd switch out the hardware as well. It's pretty boring/standard and you can really change the look with some new hardware.

Option 2: Get new door and drawer fronts and paint the frames to match. I think the style is pretty dated and new fronts would not be as expensive as getting entirely new cabinets.

Refinishing cabinets is a big, messy job. If you're not in love with the shape of the cabinets to begin with, then Option 2 is probably the way to go.
February 20, 2013 at 9:54AM   
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libradesigneye
I say paint. But I think you won't be happy with cream - go more sophisticated and daring with a warm mid-tone taupe from your floor so you have a contrast from all the warm - select one that looks good next to your countertops. The style is not terribly traditional / outdated, i think it will look great with a glaze to bring out the details and with the right oil rubbed bronze modern hardware, it will come out very transitional. The key is to be braver with the color - you are looking for something gray-brown.

I would not change out doors and drawers for one other reason - solid wood cabinets are very hard wearing and what you could replace them with will not be.

See the taupe cabinets here on the back wall against the warm floor (not glazed, but the right depth of color I suggest - yours should be glazed if you like more traditional look, not glazed if you are more modern, your painter can do a sample of both on an old /garage cupboard door for you)
Bring home tons of paint chips / samples/ make sample boards and look at them in your home. They should contrast with both the warm floor and the countertops. Good luck!

Contemporary Kitchen design by Atlanta General Contractor Fitzgerald Construction
February 20, 2013 at 10:18AM   
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carrie
Thanks for the comments. Great suggestions. Our style is probably transitional so your comments about glazing/not glazing was interesting. I like the idea of a taupe ( but I couldn't see your example).
I would love to see your suggestion. Yes, the hardware needs to go.
February 20, 2013 at 10:43AM   
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stephaniegomon
It's amazing how different people's tastes can be! I would do anything for hickory cabinets! I have a background in lumber and wood and I think you will be unhappy with painting hickory... it has a grain that won't let you end up with a totally smooth surface - some wood grain will likely show through. How about a semi-transparent or opaque stain instead? Something like one of the dark chocolate stains that are all the rage? RustOleum makes a couple beautiful ones: http://rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=532. Good luck.
February 20, 2013 at 11:05AM     
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Stuart Nordin Design
Our company line is: paint! Here's an example of a kitchen facelift we did just by painting the cabinets and replacing the pulls with pieces from Restoration Hardware. Go with a color you will love! Good luck :)
February 20, 2013 at 11:09AM   
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Mahoney Architects & Interiors
While it is tough decision to paint over nice wood - you really need to love your kitchen! So, don't feel guilty about painting the cabinets. Good painters know how to strip the door and drawer fronts and boxes. Just be sure you work with a painter who knows what he is doing and have him leave you some touch up paint!
February 20, 2013 at 11:15AM     
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misterhoyle
If you have enough money to even consider swaping out the cabinets, then you should seriously consider having a professional cabinet builder come do the painting--at least in the kitchen. I know it is a pricy option, but if you live in the kitchen and entertain there, you will be forever pleased with the results and the quality. If you don't mind the "aged and worn" look of shabby chic, then do-it-yourself is an okay option--but don't say you weren't warned! :-)
February 20, 2013 at 11:16AM   
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carrie
Thanks for the photos and ideas. When I spoke with our contractor, he said they could do a glaze on the hickory but staining them a darker color is very labor intensive, so it's not worth the cost.... That's how we moved on to paint. But, I'll check into it again. One painter I contacted who specializes in cabinet refinishing said that he puts a urethane on top of paint for protection. Is this the standard? Good idea or bad?
February 20, 2013 at 11:23AM   
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libradesigneye
Good idea- then you can scrub them / clean them w/out getting into paint. Sorry url didnt post as i thought it would- go look at my ideabook for the link.
February 20, 2013 at 11:30AM   
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carrie
Thanks. I'm off to look at your ideabook!
February 20, 2013 at 11:42AM   
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mlizzy
Maybe a duck-egg blue, with pretty little brass knobs? There isn't too much detail on the doors so I don't think you'll find they look dated when painted. The paint is worth a shot in my book!
February 20, 2013 at 11:49AM   
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Aegean Designing Whims
I'd definitely vote on painting. It's much more affordable than replacing, and I think your color ideas are good ones. Go for it. Chrysteen
February 20, 2013 at 11:51AM     
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Comforts of Home
I had custom cabinets built and then painted them. The cabinet maker was moritified. That was 18 years ago and I have painted them 3 times since. Right now they are 3 shades of buttermilk. The most important thing for me was to use self levelling furntiure paint. Olde Century Paint makes such a thing. I didn't distress them because I like to change things too often. You can see my cabinets on my face book page. Sorry don't know how to post pics. Happy painting:)
February 20, 2013 at 11:52AM   
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carrie
Great color suggestions. Thanks. I love the taupe idea and the blue sounds interesting too. The style of the door isn't too bad so I am hoping that by getting rid of the color and grain ( that reminds me of oak), they will appear more updated.
February 20, 2013 at 12:00PM   
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carrie
Thanks Sherry. I love your attitude.
February 20, 2013 at 4:36PM   
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stitzcrew
I would try the hardware you like and see if that makes you happy before painting. I agree that hickory is not the best wood to take paint like poplar or maple. Oak even though its not great for painting would be the one wood I wouldn't think twice about painting. You might want to buy a small piece of hickory and paint as a sample to see if you like before trying it on the cabs. GL
February 20, 2013 at 4:45PM     
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sharpkl
Look on Pinterest for gel stain. You can apply it over your lighter cabinets and you don't have to strip. It would update them tremendously. Then get some updated hardware. You will be amazed.
February 20, 2013 at 4:56PM   
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sharpkl
Here's a picture from Pinterest
February 20, 2013 at 4:57PM   
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gapsue
I just redid a kitchen at my vacation home and used KraftMaid cabinets because the old cabinets had to go. Go look at their cabinet COLORS at Lowes. You can then get the paint department there to "special match" any cabinet color you like. I used "Biscotti/Biscuit" with a chocolate glaze along with a Sage Green island with the same glaze. Paint them, using the KraftMaid colors as your guide.
If you want to stay married to the same husband you have, you might want to HAVE them painted rather than doing it yourself!
February 20, 2013 at 5:06PM   
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carrie
Wow...thanks for all the great comments and ideas. I was told it was to difficult to stain without stripping so thanks Sharpki for the idea and photo. That dark stain looks great. Gapsue, thanks for the tip about using the cabinet colors as a guide. Believe it or not, we just looked at that biscotti color with a chocolate glaze and LOVED it. We also loved the Sage Green. Your kitchen must be beautiful. Yes, I'm hiring a professional since I want a nice finish and I want to keep my husband. Ha!
February 20, 2013 at 6:12PM   
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