Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kitchen Cabinets

While out refrigerator shopping today, the question under discussion was "how do you make it work in our kitchen?"

Now, my house was built in the late 1960s. The solid wood cabinets, brass "bamboo" looking hardware, and white speckled formica are original, although the cabinets were painted white before we bought it. A couple of years ago we had a yellow and white checkerboard linoleum tile floor installed, which I still love. "Not so steampunk", I hear you thinking, and you are right!

So what to do? I've dreamed about steampunk kitchens before -- all marble countertops and custom wood cabinets, sigh. Fundamentally, though, I am too cheap to get custom cabinets made, yet find most of the cabinets on the market today of an inferior quality to the solid wood ones that are currently in the house.

The best option I've come up with is to paint the existing cabinets. We happened to drop by some friends' today, and they were having their kitchen cabinets painted for around $500 (plus materials). This seems quite economical to me, and we wouldn't even have to do it ourselves.

The color I was thinking of was black. I'm a bit color shy, and black is definitely dramatic, so I went looking for some pictures of other's black cabinets to see how it might look. Here's what I found:

Nice, huh? I think the trick to keeping this looking good is the light colored countertops, walls and floor.

Probably more like what my cabinets would look like... not horrible, but not great. I think the key would be to stay away from a high gloss paint. (But maybe not???)

I found the above at a designer's site, and Ben loved it. Instead of going for light colored countertops, the designer opted for black countertops and light colored doors. An interesting idea, for sure.

In addition to just painting the cabinets, I thought that a painted/stenciled "frame" around each door might be nice. (The doors are entirely flat.) One possible design:

If we painted the cabinets black, I think I'd do this is a warm metallic -- aged brass, bronze, gold, copper -- to match the hardware.

To get something like the last kitchen picture above, we could paint the cabinet frames black, and then stencil the doors in brown or black on an antiqued background. (Ralph Lauren Paint has 4 different aging tints; wonder if that would work over our existing white paint?) Black formica or Corian countertops would complete the look, without blowing the budget.

I'd love feedback on this idea -- are black cabinets crazy? What about two tone ones? How hard is stenciling? Aging?

Bonus: This Old House has an article on painting kitchen cabinets.


Unknown said...

First of all, I just found your blog and I absolutely love it. My husband and I live in an old Victorian over in Georgia and I'm in the process of adding more steam punk and victoriana to the home decor.

I would highly suggest the Pottery Barn website for some inspiration, particularly as far as cabinets are concerned. I've made an island for my old apartment (that's now being used in my laundry room) and painted it a really high gloss black that turned out gorgeous. If you're really interested in painting your cabinets black yourself, I'll see if I can dig the paint up to find out what the color was called.

Anonymous said...

Hi there if interested in selling your countertops send me an email!!! Jeff

Holly said...

Awesome! I love that black/antique stenciled look. I've got a nasty 60's kitchen full of plywood cabinets, and I may end up doing something very similar. I think with some black gloss trim, a little faux finishing on the doors/drawers, and new hardware, it may be livable.

Sarah said...

Perhaps you have already done your kitchen remodel and my opinion is null, but I think that a high gloss paint would be preferable for ease of clean up. The glossier the paint, the easier to clean. If you're cabinets aren't totally ugly, I think that a stain would be preferable to paint though. And you would still be able to do the stencil detail although the actual stencil would probably have to be painted on after the stain due to the nature of the substance. Even if you decided to do your cabinets black, if you used stain rather than paint, it would give you a very subtle hint of the wood grain which would add depth and texture.

Cynthia said...

I LOVE this kitchen, so elegant, like the little black dress, it is elegant can be mixed with so many colors.
I enjoyed reading your article, thank you for sharing.
Let me know about the owner of the kitchen if you can, I would love to publish an article about it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

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