Painter comes next Friday, not sure of kitchen cabinet color!

momto4boysJanuary 13, 2010

My kitchen cabinet saga has been going on since the day we moved into this house. Many of you have been right there with me the whole time (probably the ones who refused to open this thread, lol) We've always wanted to paint them. They're not in bad shape. House isn't only 6 yrs old. I'm just not a fan of the builder grade, honey oak. I dream of painted cabinets. Plain and simple. It's what I'm drawn to. It's what I'd be doing in my dream house in a heart beat. So, why can't I just commit and paint the ones in this house?? Stupid resale! It's always in the back of my mind. But now..I simply don't care!!! The market here is horrible. This was the year we wanted to sell, and it's looking like it'll be more like 2, or 3. The house next door, which is slightly bigger just sold for 25K less then we paid for ours 3.5 yrs ago. We can't take that kind of hit. So, it's game on! I'm going to have the kitchen I want even if I'm only here a couple of years. And I'm dead set on NOT worrying about my resale. Instead, I'm going to make it the cutest kitchen on the block :) Set myself apart from all the other cookie cutter homes in my neighborhood. All with the same cabinets, counters, etc. I'll be the one people remember. Good..or bad :)

We've already replaced the counters, dh put in a subway tile back splash. And I no longer have that feeling of dread. I'm excited now :) (ok, still feeling some dread, lol)

Sooo, now the big decision. COLOR!! Always wanted white. It's what my eyes and heart are first drawn to when I flip through magazines. And pour over decorating blogs.

But, I'm seeing more and more black that I like.

Yes, we have the white appliances. And they're staying. And it's what keeps me from being 100% sure on either color. I've seen the white appliances work well with both colors. And I've seen it tank pretty hard, too.

We get a LOT of light in there. So, that's not a concern.

We're either beefing up the molding, or dh is building something above the cabinets. Open boxes, that serve as open storage. We'll put up beadboard behind the bar, and end of cabs. Under cabinet lighting. And dh is trying to convince me to put hardwood floors through out the kitchen and living room.

Oh, and we also plan on putting glass inserts in a couple of the cabinets, just not sure which ones yet.

I'm leaning towards black cabinets right now. If the painter came today, that's what it'd be. Distressed? Not distressed? I don't know.

But, because we decided to hire out the job, I'm more confident about the idea of having them painting. I just didn't want to mess it up, and regret it.

I need opinions, advice, reassurance :)

Color ideas? Which doors to have glass in? At first, I wanted to leave the doors off of a couple. But, I think I'm over that. As much as I love that look. If we do black, I think having some glass to help reflect some light a bit would be good.

As always, thanks!!!!

and this is what this hot mess used to look like about a year ago :)

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IF you were to go with white, I would highly recommend BM Cloud White (not White Cloud) to you. We love it. I can't recommend a black, sorry. The day we put primer on our cabinets was the most liberating day of the renovation.

If this helps you a little, a neighbor of mine who is a realtor, told us one of the immediate turn offs for buyers that she notices is stained oak cabinets. So go for it, enjoy it and know that you are having a custom finish added to your kitchen!

Good luck and congratulations.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 2:36PM
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Momto4boys, I can't really tell you which I think would look best, because both would be fabulous, which is why you are having a dilemma, but here is how I decided to go with white.

I sat down and really looked at the kitchen I LOVED, I narrowed it down to about 10 to 15 kitchens and then I poured over every little detail to try and figure out what it was I loved about each picture.

Was it the doors I liked?

The hardware? Light or dark? Hidden or exposed hinges?

The windows?

The faucets?

Inset doors or overlay?

Counter etc.

Did I love the picture because they had great accessories, or soaring ceilings or unlimited budget?

I really tried to do an honest evaluation of whether or not THAT kitchen would be what MY kitchen could be. Kind of like taking a picture to a hairstylist. If you have curly hair and you take in a picture of a cute bob on someone with poker straight hair will you really look like that for more than the day you have it done and they straighten it? Probably not, so it's a similar concept for choosing elements in your home.

I found that by doing this I kept coming back to 3 or maybe 4 really strong points about each kitchen. They all were white, even though I loved the black, they all had inset doors and drawers, they all had latches on at least some of their cabinets, they all had dark countertops, they all had hardwood floors, and they all had unusual light fixtures. They also were all kitchen that I thought were close to my budget or just slightly over. That way I wasn't going to have to explain away my GE Profile appliances or have something that looked like an AGA stove really "should" have been the appliance of choice...hope that makes sense.

The one question I will ask is are you keeping your current counters and flooring? They have you held up samples of your paint choices next to them? I know that is a dumb question since I'm sure you've done this at least 100 times, but which one looked the best with those?

Good luck!

Kat :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 2:37PM
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Kat's advice about analyzing kitchens you love is very good. I would particularly encourage you to analyze those photos where black cabs and white appliances either succeed or fail.

My first choice would not be for black cabs and white appliances, but that is just me. I think I'd split the difference and go for a soft gray on the lowers and white with lots of glass on the uppers. I'd start by pulling a gray out of the counter, light enough to make a contrast with the counter itself.

You will also need to think about the insides of the uppers. Do you want the contents of the cabs to show? If so, then you'll probably want to paint the insides. If not, a frosted glass will make life easier. I actually think it's fun to have clear glass and a fabulous color on the inside, but it takes effort to keep things presentable.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 2:52PM
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I also wanted to add that being a bit weird and standing out from all the cookie cutter houses really helped us sell in a dismal market a couple years ago. I say get what you love. Someone else will love it, too! And you may be there longer than you think so you should be happy. :-) Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 2:54PM
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Just some pictures for perspective. We had our oak cabinets painted white. We kept the white appliances (except fridge)So if you lean in that direction again, maybe these would help.

Before - oak cabinets, low ceiling, bright yellow paint

After - white painted cabinets, new crown, raised ceiling, medium brown paint

And, not to confuse the issue, but I think black or espresso cabinets are beautiful in an open kitchen. I never considered it because our space is small and I lived with it being a dark cave for so many years. Good Luck! We don't regret painting ours since new was not in our budget!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 2:55PM
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Another thought, you can always add a light rail at the bottom of the cabinet for even more detail and more custom features.

And here's a little bit more courage:

Here's my before and "during", since we still aren't done:

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 3:35PM
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beekeeper, is that a softer, less bright white? Because that's what I'm hoping to go with if I do white.
My other concern with yellowing. Have you seen that as a problem?

Kat, thanks for all the advice! And you're so right on. There are so many kitchens that I drool over, that I don't even bother clipping because they're not reasonable. They're just way too grand for what we have to work with. But, just as soon as I see a cute, little white kitchen that I think I can get close to. I see another that's so dreadful, I fear that'll be what mine looks like. I am more encouraged, knowing I'll have a good paint job (I hope)
The counters are new, and staying. And the floor is up in the air. I know wood floors would look much better with whatever we do. Just not sure if I want to go there money wise.
Oh, and you brought up something else. Cabinets soaring to the ceiling. That's one of the reasons we're adding something up there. Because every kitchen I cabs that go to the ceiling. And it's the height of mine that drive me so crazy! I can't stand it!

Amy, we thought about a gray. But, because our kitchen is open to the living room. I don't think we could pull that off. Not a single gray color in the house. If we went with black, I intend to add more black in the way of furniture, or accessories to tie it all in. With white, I don't have to worry as much. With all the molding throughout both rooms.
As far as the uppers, I'd actually like to paint them a color :) Probably a green. I want to give it a little punch of color behind my all white dishes. Least that's the plan. And we'd put glass, or leave doors off over the dishwasher. Do you think that would look funny? Another thing I'm not totally sure on :( I know I want something like that. Just not sure if it'd look right or not.

Katie, had to go and do this to me :) I see yours, and instantly my heart starts to skip a beat. Seriously! I love your kitchen! Did you add something at the bottom of the cabinet under your sink? I love how it sticks out there. Making it look sooo costum! It's the little things like that I want to achieve. What color paint did you use?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Congratulations on taking the plunge and deciding to paint your cabinets! I so want to do this and paint my oak cabinets in a glazed creamy white finish, but I have the opposite problem - my appliances are all black and I don't think it would look the way I want unless I switched them all out to stainless steel (or if I already had white appliances). Since my appliances still work and I can't afford to replace them all, I'm stuck with oak cabinets :-(

There's a blog I like to reach called "The Lettered Cottage." The homeowners painted their cabinets a distressed black and they have white appliances. They also have some glass doors and open cabinets with baskets inside. It looks great! I just checked and it appears their home (and its kitchen) is featured this month in The Nest magazine.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Lettered Cottage

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 3:55PM
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beekeeper, just stunning!!! But, now yours made me realize I just can't get THAT look. Maybe close...but, the size, the stainless. Not to mention that beautiful floor!! All sets me back. Do you have one set of cabs painted black?? That was another option when we were picking counter tops. Black lowers, white uppers. But, now I fear with the appliances, it'd all be a mess.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 3:56PM
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Honestly, I don't think they look bad now. I've seen some really ugly oak cabinets but yours are nice. But if you really want to paint them I vote for a soft white over black.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Ohhh Judd, I'm a huge fan (stalker) of the Lettered Cottage Kitchen :) Like so many others that read her blog, I think that's what set me on the path to doing black.
Even with the white appliances, I figured with my white backsplash, and enough other "stuff" I could maybe distract from the white GLARING fridge and stove, lol. I don't even notice hers when I look at the pics. I just see open shelving, glass doors, cute accessories etc!

here are a few that I've either taken pics of off of the TV, lol. Or snagged from blogs.


not the style I'm going for. But, white appliances.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 4:06PM
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happy, you're right. They're in pretty good shape. And there are some days, I'm pretty content. Then I see a kitchen that has painted cabs. And I'm all a flutter again :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 4:08PM
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Paint your cabinets, you'll love well spent! I can see why you love the black cabinet idea from the pics above, but I wonder if IRL it's lovable/livable! Don't know, as I've never seen black cabinets in person. Whatever you choose, I admire your chutzpah. Painting over the oak will be a winner, whatever color, imo!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 4:52PM
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I am voting for white. I love both white and black but think that black may be very dark with the dark countertops. We have white mouldings in our home te color is BM White Dove. It's just a tad off bright white. I'm sure you've seen it mentioned on this forum. I love painted cabinets and think you will be happy. Go for it!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:27PM
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Maybe get a large piece of black construction paper, or something like that, and tape it on a cabinet or 2, especially surrounding the appliances. See what you think.

I have black cabinets and black counters for one cabinetry run. I obviously went for a more eclectic look.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:28PM
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stinky, I worry about the same. How liveable ARE they? I know that the tops of the oak doors gather dust that drives me nuts. What is black going to do? But, worse..white! With four boys, and 3 dogs. I'm not sure of anything, lol. We painted white in the boy's bath. Yes, it shows dirt, toothpaste, etc. But, it comes off pretty easy. And I am a bit of a neat freak.

dawn, I wish I could match out our molding to a color for the cabs. But, then again..having to work with the appliances as well. I think that is one of 103 reasons not to go white. Too many shades, and things to match it to.

malhgold, how awesome are those lights over your island!!! Love your kitchen!
We tried the construction paper thing. But, we did it back when the kitchen was red. And the backsplash was GREEN! ack!! I'll have to dig some up and try that again. Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:55PM
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well when we finally get new cabinets i want the off white glazed distressed look!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:15PM
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I think painting will add value to your home. My MIL painted some of her oak built ins in her family room and the room looks so much better! I would paint all white (BM white dove) or bottoms distressed black and uppers white. Not sure about the black with the granite and flooring. I would double check that.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:19PM
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If you're thinking of resale in the long run I would rule out black. I think more buyers would be attracted to a white/light cabinet than black. You could consider doing something very light, like a taupe on the outer edges of your cabinets and do the doors a light cream or white. Your new kitchen will be beautiful!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:39PM
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So, lets take a look at those three kitchens and see what works and what doesn't.

Kitchen #1 (Lettered Cottage) She has done an amazing job with that kitchen and there is a lot going on that is very attractive. Buuut, IMO, if you really look at those white appliances, they just stick out. I also don't understand the color choice for the counter but maybe there is more in the room that justifies it.

Kitchen #2 (Contemporary with Apple Green) What I like about this is the way they balance the chunks of white with more and even larger chunks of white. The wall opposite the dining counter, the chairs, even the large expanse of white on the ceiling. It reminds me of a Mondrian painting with all those blocks of color. Looks like white was a choice, not a compromise.

Kitchen #3 (Painted Oak) I think what saves this kitchen is the white counter. It ties in the appliances in a way that your mid-tone counter will not.

Katie's and BKW's kitchens make a great argument for all white. They look super! Mahlgold, what can I say? Your kitchen is heart-stoppingly beautiful to my eye!

As for open shelves, I think it would be fun, especially since you have all white dishes. (I have a mish-mosh so it would never work here!) Try it and if you don't like it pop the doors back on. Don't fill the holes for the hinges until you decide.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:54PM
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If your painter uses oil based paint, it will yellow.
I have white painted cupboards with white appliances and the difference between the cupboard white and the appliance white really bothers me. The appliances tend to be a very blue white.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 8:11PM
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mom ~ I remember when you had your new counters put in and your DH lovingly installed the white subway tile. Then you painted your walls because you were so tired of the red and having your kitchen feel like Christmas year round.

I agree with your DH about the wood floors, but that's for another time ;o) That being said, I would go with the black for the cabinets. Black is classic, timeless and it will anchor the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I love white painted cabinets, but I think the contrast that black will bring in to the kitchen will be beautiful with your counters, appliances and tile. White will also show any scuffs, marks, nicks and dings. Black is more forgiving because if black gets nicked it will look distressed rather than damaged. White will show the dirt and fingerprints more (not that I'm suggesting there will be much of either LOL) and black will show the dust. I'm also thinking that the black will complement your beautiful counters. I envision the cabinets in black with your white tile backsplash and appliances and the effect will be striking and different...eventually those wood floors will look stunning!

This might sound crazy, but ask yourself this: if you flipped a coin with black being heads and white being tails and once the coin hit the floor and heads (or tails) came up, what would be your first reaction? Would you be a bit disappointed with how the coin landed, or would you know that "heads" or "tails" was the absolute right choice?

My vote is for a beautiful matte black.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Picture this ~ Black cabinets, mottled counters with black, cream, white and gray (if I remember your close-up photos correctly), white appliances and backsplash with your current floors (in the beige family) and your wall color, which is in the beige family. Those three basic, white and beige...that are a classic combination and beautiful together. I think that white on the cabinets will overwhelm the eye. Black will balance the other colors and elements and ground the room. It will be a very cohesive and seamless look.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:32PM
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I agree with mrsmarv. I think you'll love the black. I think white cabinets, white appliances, and white backsplash is too much.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:49PM
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How about grey? I think black may be too stark against the white appliances.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's some inspiration

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:25PM
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From someone who just had her cabs will love it!!

My vote is pulling out the greyish/greenish color out of the countertop for the bottoms ~ maybe even the uppers, too. You have the white backsplash to relate to the appliances & you mentioned white dishes. Take some doors off or add glass to some of the uppers & paint the inside a totally different color that will set off your white dishes.

I'm afraid white to match the appliances will make the floor look dingy.

Can't wait to see the results!!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:35PM
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How about painting the lower cabinets black, and the upper cabinets white? I have seen several kitchens recently with white uppers and dark lowers (either painted or stained), and I think it looks good!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 1:33AM
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One other bit of advice...if you're really not sure of which direction you want to go, reschedule the painter. The last thing you want to do is rush into a decision you aren't 100% comfortable with.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 2:05AM
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I think your cabinets will look very pretty when you paint them. Personally, I like either painting them all distressed black or the suggested idea of painting distressed black base cabs and white uppers.

I think it would look nice if you put glass in all the upper doors on the side of your kitchen w/the dishwasher (looks like it would be four doors) and I recommend choosing a glass that will obscure the contents--it will be more forgiving :-) If you have glass around your stove, it might require more cleaning than you want to do.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 2:30AM
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Black on bottom, white on Top. Can't wait to see the finished results! Also, love the idea of glass. Not sure which ones to have glass. Like the idea of the four doors above your dishwasher. I guess I would glass in the doors that would hold something pretty to show through, bowls or glasses.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:13AM
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mom-wow this thread took off.

Haven't seen any yellowing yet. I sort of "planned" on it and went with the brighter white of my two choices, knowing if it yellowed a bit it would still work. The BM guys told me that the yellowing wouldn't happen too fast. Better not, I haven't painted the trim yet!

It is really like an ivory type of white, if I hold up something stark white to it, you can see it is creamier and warmer.

The dark cabinets are ones we ordered to be added to our kitchen--they are Kraftmaid Cherry in Peppercorn.

I think you have fallen into my trap--the room only looks big because of the white cabinets! It is only 12' wide. But with the way we rearranged it, it works so much better and looks so much more open.

You are getting lots of great advice here.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 11:12AM
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momto4boys: Thanks! I love my 'new' kitchen too. I know it's not for everyone, but it's pretty small and our house is 27 yrs old in a modest neighborhood. We wanted to keep costs down, so we painted.

Since we raised our ceiling all uppers came out but lowers were painted in place. I have always been attracted to the look of a sink bump-out and furniture feet on cabinets. That spot you asked about was our sink cabinet pulled forward 3" and I ordered a furniture valance (like you see over a window attached to side cabinets) that was painted and cut to finish off the base that was now sticking out. It's a little detail that still makes me smile :) and the extra space it gave me behind my sink was a nice bonus!

We are in Indiana, so Porter Paints is more commonly used here by painters. The color is called "Accolade". I picked a few colors, taped them to the side of the cabinet and looked at them everytime I was in the kitchen for about two weeks until I was able to choose. There are A LOT of white colors out there! For some reason BM marshmallow or something like that seemed to be close to the color I picked, but now I can't find it in my notes. sorry.

As to DH's request for hardwood floors, we went from a tile look (old kitchen) to Brazillon Cherry in the kitchen and dining room. It's a commercial grade laminate. We didn't think our home value could support the cost of wood. (sob) and it really warmed up the kitchen and made a huge difference. Good Luck and ask me anything. We are looking to purchase an office building for DH right now, so I'm usually hanging out here in the mornings to relieve my stress by ohhing and ahhing over everyone else's changes! haha

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 11:16AM
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Thanks you all so much for your replies and opinions! I had a HUGE response, addressing each and every one of you and I lost it :( :( I now have carpel tunnel, LOL.
So, I'm going to just say this has given me more to think about. I'm beginning to think white is my third choice now. Black being first, and lower black, upper white as my second. I still love the idea of lowers a green/gray, uppers white (morten, that kitchen has been one of my inspirations for over a year!) I worry most about resale when going with something that's more of a "color". And working with my open living room, and dark olive color couch. That also holds me back on that!

I'm also thinking the four doors on the left, glass. The two door cabinet near the fridge..leave the doors off. And throw some baskets in there. BUT..that's my pantry. Like, the only place we keep food (other then fridge and some cans in lazy susan) I think the smart thing to do would build some kind of pantry here. When we bought the house, the realtor said one of the big turn offs to other buyers, was that there wasn't a pantry.
We'd have to relocate the light switch (not sure how $$ that is) And I've looked at the stock pantry cabs at Lowes. And they're too deep. So, dh would probably have to build something, and attach to wall. Or, perhaps find an old cabinet or something. Although my kids would be crushed. Obviously, that's kind of a kid zone. All have a basket, they toss stuff in. Over flows and becomes a mess pretty quickly, though.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 6:05PM
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"I worry most about resale when going with something that's more of a color."
Try not to worry about resale because you dont know who will be buying your house, when that will happen, and what they will like (of course, if they have any taste they'll love your painted cabinets :o))

You have to live there until the time comes to and you have to enjoy your space and decorate it the way that makes you happy. You just can't please everyone and it's an exercise in futility to try. Relax, have a glass of wine, dream of painted cabinets and the right choice will make itself clear. I do agree with the poster who said that if you're not absolutely clear on which color to paint, reschedule the painter untill you're sure.
And don't forget...give us an update and we want pics, pics, pics!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:15PM
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I agree that you should try not to worry about resale unless you're definitely selling soon.

You never know--you might live there longer than you think! That's what happened to me...we've almost been here eight years, and eight years in a house you don't like is a looooong time.

Having a pantry makes a huge difference. In our pre-remodel kitchen there was no pantry. We put one in and it's the best thing ever. :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:24PM
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Yea, this house was only in our "2 yr plan". Approaching 4 this summer. So, I think that IS why I decide to just bite the bullet and go for it!
I've asked the painter if he happens to have a couple of painted doors to bring over to hold up.
We'll see if that helps! :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:30PM
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I agree about having a pantry. Our house is modest (read: small) and our kitchen is an eat-in with not a dining room in sight LOL. We have a pretty good size pantry that's located under a staircase in the kitchen. You'd be surprised at how much stuff I can fit in there besides foodstuff. Some small appliances, recycling can, liquor, appliance manuals and a few of the cookbook overflow exists peacefully besides all our canned goods and dry goods. If there's someplace you can squeeze a pantry definitely do it. It doesn't even have to be in the kitchen proper.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:04PM
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LOL--you're 2 going on 4 and we're 5 going on 8!

Please do share your after photos, I would love to see the transformation :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:34PM
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I vote a definite yes for adding a pantry. My kitchen has 2 large pantries and I still run out of room after those Costco trips!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:48PM
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This is a link to the kitchen forum detailing how she painted her cabs black....beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: black cabs

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 5:51AM
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Honestly, looking at all your elements (and I really think you need to stand back and look at the whole again -floor, countertops, appliances whole shebang) I think the white or black is going to be fighting with something always making it look just a little bit off.

I would forget about resale (I know easy for me to say) and go with your original vision of mouse's back on the bottom and white on the uppers. I just think the colours will go best -particularly with floor and counters. You want it to flow. And this is coming from someone who loves her black and white cabinets. I just don't think they are going to look best in your space.

Mouse's back has a lot of green in it and I think would look lovely with your sofa.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:25AM
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The kitchen shown by elle3 is beautiful, but there are black appliances. I would not combine black cabinets and white appliances. I just think it will be too jarring.

Here's something I've done in the past with situations like this. If you have a printer, print out two copies of a photo of your kitchen. Sit down with a black colored pencil and a white colored pencil -- color the cabinets in one picture black, and in the other picture use white. It will help you to visualize how it will look. (I guess this would be considered caveman-style Photoshop!) ... Or find someone who's willing to PS it for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:44AM
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I have been following this thread and I will add that I can't think of anything more classic than white painted cabs with the white subway tiles and dark countertop! Add in a new nickel faucet and nickel bin pulls on thr drawers and you would have a kitchen that would be easy to market on the resale end! Classic never goes out of style!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 9:01AM
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I, too, have been following your kitchen saga since you first posted. I am in almost the exact same situation. I have builder grade honey oak cabinets that I just cannot decide on a color for, and it has been over a year since I began making the changes that force me to paint them. We installed oak hardwood in the kitchen and throughout most of the downstairs. I love it but it definitely clashes with the honey oak cabinets. We replaced the counters with verde butterfly granite (a dark green/black with spots of white) and will most likely be going with white subway tiles for the BS. I added a large crown moulding to the top of the cabinets and a light rail under, and it makes a huge difference! But, those mouldings are unfinished oak, so they are a completely different color from the honey cabs, so I definitely have to paint everything now.

I have gone back and forth on what color(s) to paint for a loooong time. My first idea was to go with all white, and then I came across the white uppers and mouse's back lowers after seeing it in the same blog you found it in. In fact, I think I saw it the day before you originally posted it on GW ;) So I thought that was what I would go with. But, after really thinking about it and getting input from friends whose style and judgement I trust (and from my MIL who is a realtor), I decided that it may be too taste specific for resale, and also something that I will tire of too soon. (BTW, we don't plan to move for 2-4 years).

Then I started thinking about black. I really liked the idea, but decided to wait a while before committing, just to make sure I didn't change my mind. Sure enough, I am back to doing all white now, and I think that will be my final decision (I hope, I am so ready to end this misery!)

My reason for deciding on all white is that, besides resale, which is not my primary concern, all the kitchens I see on GW and in magazines, on tv, etc, that I love are white. There is just something timeless about white. Although black looks great in some kitchens, I just don't know how I will feel about living with it every day. So I have come full circle back to my original vision. I think I have committment issues!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I'm in a very similar situation. FWIW, I would also go with white in your kitchen, or white uppers and black lowers if you really want black. Or the mouse's back lowers. Just not all black. IMO, I also think your husband's idea of installing hardwood is a great one. It really warmed up our kitchen (our previous tile was just like yours). It made a huge difference and I think white cabs will look great with a medium/dark hardwood. IMHO, I think the black will just be too jarring, especially with white appliances. We have stainless, but even still I think the black would be too much. But, that is just my opinion. I hope my rambling helped in some way! PLEASE post your pictures as soon as they are painted. Mine are supposed to be painted in 2 weeks, and I will post as soon as they are finished, too. Let's see who gets theirs done first (I have already rescheduled twice with the painter, so my money is on you ;0) Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 2:29PM
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A poor attempt at PS but it may give you an idea...



    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 2:57PM
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I like the grey lowers more than black. OP is concerned about grey not working w/furniture. What about a warm grey instead of a cool grey? That would work better with an olive sofa :-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 5:32PM
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I'm still following this thread and there has been so much input, very good ideas and tons of responses.

Bumble, can you PS with black lowers and white uppers?

Personally, I still think the black would be striking, classic, timeless and yes, even a bit updated and unique. If I were looking at houses to purchase I would be reluctant to have the uppers and lowers two different colors, but that's just me.

Seeing them PS'ed, I still think black is the most cohesive and pleasing....continuing to watch this thread very closely with bated breath ;o)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 7:13PM
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Thank you all for your continued advice!! I really think I am leaning towards the black. I'm just so afraid of the white for so many reasons. Even though having a white kitchen is my first love, maybe I'll just cheat for awhile with this other. And perhaps we'll reunite in a few years :)
Elle, LOVE that kitchen! And agree, the white counter makes it. preference is not the black appliances. I think maybe I see a long term vision in my head. That I can only hope to get close to pulling off. It's just paint, right?? :)
And yes, I'd still love to do the green lowers. But, as my browneyedgirls stated, a bit too taste specific. And if I end up stuck in this house much longer, the green sofa that holds me back from so many things is a GONER! Then I'll be trying to match living furniture to something else again. And I don't want to do that! (I have what I do now because our counters were green! ugh)
Browneyedgirls, I can't wait to see your before and after! And with my indecisiveness...don't bet the farm on me just yet, lol.

Bumble, can't thank you enough for the PS! I can see where some may gasp, and shake their head at the all black option. put a smile on my face. Again, maybe because I can see past the jarring black and white. We shall see, though. It'll never be my dream kitchen. :(

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 12:07AM
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mrsmarv: I'd be happy to PS the white/black combo, but I'm on a borrowed computer for the weekend. I'll try to post on Monday.

momto4boys: you're very welcome! I've been following this thread for a while, as I am hoping to paint my cabinets next fall. I, too, keep flip-flopping between all white and a white/something else combo. I'd love to go all black - and I think the PS of your kitchen painted black looks fab - but my kitchen is way too dark. I do have a teeny butler's pantry that I think would look stunning painted all black, I just have convince DH. My only concern with the white combo is that it I'm afraid it may be too trendy. I really want something that can holdup over time and don't want to look at my kitchen in three years and ask 'what was I thinking' :)

Can't wait to see your results!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Hmm, I really like the all black in the photoshopped version.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:29AM
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"We shall see, though. It'll never be my dream kitchen."

Ahhh, mom, don't discount your kitchen just yet. It might turn out to be your dream kitchen, especially when you're sure of the color you'll be painting your cabinets. The Lettered Cottage and Layla's kitchen prove it ;o) I think you're going to be tickled pink (or black or white) when it's finally finished. I'm still of the thought that the black cabinets and white appliances will be a striking and timeless combination. For me, I love the contrast. After all, black and white has been a winning duo since I-don't-know-when.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:41AM
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I agree w/mrsmarv--you never know how you'll feel about the kitchen until you go ahead and do what you want :-) I didn't think our house could ever have a dream ANYTHING, but we remodeled the kitchen and it is very, very close (pretty much as close as we could get and stay in our budget). If you love the kitchen you'll feel so happy in it--our kitchen has made a world of difference for us. It went from being the most embarrassing part of the house to our proudest accomplishment.

Add the pantry and the glass uppers, paint the cabs the color you like best w/o worry of what a potential buyer might like, and consider yourself lucky that you had the opportunity to do what YOU wanted! With the changes you're considering, your kitchen will feel quite different. Seems like a functional layout already (that is sometimes half the battle).

I really don't think you can go wrong either way w/a neutral color. Since you say your kitchen has a lot of light, it probably won't feel oppressive (which is the one knock against black). Adding glass/open shelves to the uppers will create a feeling of lightness as well.

I tried to add glass doors and open shelves w/baskets to bd's black kitchen. My skills are poor but you get an idea of how it might look. Glass doors and open shelves add a lot of interest to break up black uppers and, IMHO, really complete the look. Go for it :-)

I can't wait to see the outcome!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:44PM
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bumle, I texted the pic to dh, who is out of town. his response "wow, you work fast", lol. He only WISHES I got all that done while he was away. He liked it, though. A lot ! Really helped him come to peace with it as well.

mrs, you're right. I shouldn't count it out just yet. If it comes out half as cute as it is in my'll be kind of like a little day dream, hehehe. Instead of a full blown one :)

Picturing extended mouldings. Glass fronts with all my white dishes on one side. All my little spice, sugar and flour jars that I've painted with chalk board paint for labels in the other. Open shelving with some baskets. Under cabinet lighting. Brad Pitt cooking me breakfast at the stove....:)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:44PM
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oops, that was bumble..not bumle :) or can I call ya "doodle"? :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:45PM
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"All my little spice, sugar and flour jars that I've painted with chalk board paint for labels in the other."

Pics to share? I love the idea and I'd like to see it IRL (if you could, would, please).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:57PM
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here's a not so great pic. have some more little ones, and some others to put in cabs.

and i did these for a couple of teachers for Christmas gifts. did little ribbon thingy around the lid, etc.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 2:09PM
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It just occurred to me that if you're going to slide baskets in/out of painted shelves it would be a good idea to put felt on the bottom so they don't scratch away the paint.

Cute jars by the way--very practical, too!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Thank you! I have those same jars in my pantry. It started about 11-12 years ago when we had a (ahem, excuse the grossness) rodent infestation. This was prior to our kitchen renovation and there were entrances all over the darn house. Ugh. I found the jars in K Mart under the MSE line and they were very reasonable in price. I've been using them ever since.

Should I assume you blocked off the space you wanted to paint with tape and then sprayed away? I have some spray chalkboard paint in the garage...I hope you don't mind if I use your idea. I've been using a label maker to label the jars but some of the larger canister sized ones are out on the counter. They would look so much nicer with chalkboard "labels" on them.

Very creative and an excellent job ;o)

Here's part of the pantry with the jars. I should probably have bought stock in them LOL. There's been some re-arranging and re-painting since this photo was taken (the wine has "graduated" to a 29 bottle wine cooler in the den/office because DH and I have turned into lushes).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 2:47PM
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melle, we must have posted at the same time. Sorry, I didn't see that mock up until now. THANK YOU! Really helps to see this, as it's what I see in my head. If that makes sense :) And yes, the layout is pretty good. Not a huge kitchen. But, works for us. Thanks again!

mrs, look at all those jars!! lol. Awesome!!!
Definitly do the chalkboard paint. You'll love it. I liked the jars sitting out on my counter before. Then when I added the little square of paint, I liked them even more. I'm almost sad to move them up to the cabinet. But, I don't want to over do the chalk board paint look :)

I did tape it off at first. Then sprayed it. And I must not have done enough coats, as it was too thin. First time I wrote on it, it went through to the glass. After that, I just taped it off and did one coat. Took off the tape, because it peeled the paint when I let the first one dry. And sort of just free handed the second and third coats.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:03PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Momto4, off-topic, but...,

As a teacher, have to say that your idea of gifts for Christmas is THE best! Easy, doesn't break the bank, jar can be refilled and kept on desk for that oft-needed pick-me-up, and the perfect primary reinforcers-chocolate. Perfect.

Can't wait to see what you decide to do with the kitchen. So many grand ideas here!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:35PM
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I couldn't agree more, cyn. I'm not a teacher but I work in a K-3 elementary school as a Principal's Secretary. The faculty and staff are so wonderful to me and I like to bring them in goodies on occasion as a thank you.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 5:05PM
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momto4boys: you can call me (almost) anything you want! :)
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my 'handle' is borrowed from the cat - but jeepers, I must have tried 20 different usernames before one finally worked.. lol.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Thanks cyn! I thought it'd be a little different. And they seemed to enjoy it. :)

bumble, I hear ya about the handle. I really only have 2 boys, but all those usernames were taken. KIDDING :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Not trying to bump this up for more attention on the subject. But, rather wanted to update so this isn't one of those "whatever happened to..." kind of threads. (I received a few emails, asking about the progress.)
As my cabs should have been painted by now. BUT, our continued freezing temps, and SNOW has put our painter behind. He does some of his other work outside, and has fallen behind for that reason. He'll be coming for my doors in 3 to 4 wks :(
Which is fine, because I've got my hubby going on about 20 other projects. And once the kitchen cabinets start...he'll be overwhelmed with all the things I'm going to ask him to do in there :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 9:17AM
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Thanks for the update - looking forward to the finished product!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 10:22AM
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I'm in the process of painting mine black right now and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I have a fairly small kitchen but I don't care, they are gorgeous. I am doing them myself and they are NOT perfect by any means. I am distressing them so I'm ok with it.

You have to just go with what your heart tells you and to heck with what you think others like or what resale says.

I know my MIL and half the people that see my kitchen will think it's dark and the black makes it look smaller. I don't care, it's my kitchen and black is what I wanted. I say go with your gut.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 1:24PM
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As someone who just started year 14 with a kitchen I hate...(I hate the layout...and I'm not crazy about the look) if painting your cabinets will make you happy...


    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 7:30PM
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I am a big fan of painting otherwise solid cabinets! I don't know if this post is coming too late, but I had some old walnut (?) cabinets in a very small 12x12 space, and we weren't ready for the big renovation. New countertops, appliances, much improved lighting, and paint on the cabinets -- Cabinets are in BM Northern Cliffs (1536) - wanted fieldstone but it looked too blue. I ended up with BM Gargoyle walls (dark/muddy - but I love it) - not in this photo. The legs of the island are BM Dragon's Breath, and I am having a pantry custom-made in the hallway between the kitchen and the dining room painted the same color.

Good luck! You'll be amazed at how much your kitchen seems new without the massive effort!!!

BTW - beth0301 -- I agree that white/bright/white in a small kitchen does NOT make it look bigger. If we had bought new cabinets, we were thinking espresso/black! It looks chic.

Here is a link that might be useful: before & after pics

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 6:53AM
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So, are you going with white or black?


    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:37AM
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IF you are going for white applaiances -- I vote for the simple clean line of the white cabinets!

Remember -- Layla at The Lettered Cottage is hoping to replace all of her white appliances with stainless ones over the next couple of years! So replacing those appliances will make a huge visual change to her kitchen.

So -- I vote for white cabinets. Especially with your white backsplash too! :)

If your DH is going to do more moldings around the cabinets -- perhaps he could create a wood "hood" for your exhaust fan area -- which would remove that upper cabinet there. Just a thought!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:53AM
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Wow, I hadn't realized there were other replies after I posted a couple wks ago. I only came back to check now to rehash my decision. Because no...I still don't know what I'm doing :( I'm literally past obsessing about it. And moved on to being plain, ol' DEPRESSED over it.
So much so, that I booked a flight to CA for Feb 26th, so I could go to Ikea and just waste some money on accesories. And NOT paint! At the time, I decided to just put glass in the doors, open up the other couple. Try to find something I really liked to go over the cabs. Nice rug, some under cabinet lighting, and call it a day. But, dh and everyone else knows that would only make me happy for about a wk.
So, we're painting. What color? Well, we'll decide that when the guy comes for the doors :( Seriously, I'm just going to flip a coin.
Last night I was set on all white. Figured adding some other color in a rug, painting the inside of the glass cabinets green, and adding other stuff wouldn't make it look so sterile. But, that darn floor and the white appliances keep staring at me. I could happily do white cabs if appliances were SS. OR..if the floor was wood. But, having both things against me. I've yet to EVER clip and save a kitchen with light tile, and white appliances. There's a reason for that. I don't like the look !

The black..sigh. I love black. But, since my first post I've changed out my living room quite a bit. It's taking on a lighter tone. And I worry the black is too heavy with it. I've had visions again of going green/gray on the bottom. Dh doesn't want to for resale. And because of how he thinks it'd look against the Lenox Tan paint on the walls.

Blue, I love the color you've done! I can totally see doing something like that to work WITH what I have. Not against it. But, again..the paint throughout the whole space would be hard to work with.

Dh suggested maybe going with the wall color, at half strength..for the lowers. White uppers. OR..back to black lowers.
It's quite obvious I'm all over the map still. And am thankful for all the snow. So, my painter can't get started yet :(

Here's my living room. Right off the kitchen. I need to make things flow. And I pretty much stink at this whole decorating thing, so it's a struggle!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:00PM
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I think you are doing the just right thing, taking a break and giving yourself some space. Sometimes, we need to step back and let the perspective come to us. Don't be depressed, this is all part of the process.

And btw, after that marvelous chair pick, you don't get to say, "I pretty much stink at this whole decorating thing" anymore! Your living room looks great and the kitchen will fall into place soon enough.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:28PM
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thanks amy :)
I still need to replace that silly little table, build shelves, buy rug, change out EVERYTHING on the
I know I'm not the only one that has a never ending "to do" list. I always have to have something going on. But, I'm sooo ready to have this kitchen behind me!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Momto4boys--You have a lovely Living Room! You are underestimating yourself. I've followed much of the thread from a while back, but I wasn't sure if you'd considered staining. Not necessarily a dark, dark stain, but something that would warm it up-with a honey undertone maybe? I say this, having similar oaks that I dislike in my own (2 year plan, but we've been here 5 1/2 year now) kitchen. I've considered white and black for ours as well, but have chickened out for now!

You've done the right thing, in walking away from it for a while I think. Take a deep breath and relax. You have a beautiful home. We all have things on our list to do, but you are so far ahead of some of us. It is a lovely home, that is inviting and warm. Enjoy your trip to CA!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 9:27AM
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I've been following your post for awhile now and I know how it feels to be so indecisive that you literally drive yourself and everyone around you nuts. You have made so many wonderful changes to your home and I'm so jealous of you with that awesome new chair! You know you're going to paint the cabinets SOMETHING, so if I were you, I would get a small can of dark stain, I would clean and lightly sand a door, and I would apply the stain. Gel stain is really easy to work with. With a dark stain, it is not as stark as black, but still really dark and may give you the effect you are going for. I think Candace Olsen did a kitchen with dark stain. You might be able to find it online. Anyway, stand back and look at it. If you hate it, you can always just have the painters paint over it. You cannot stain after paint. Once you paint, the option of stain is over. If you love it and it's easy, you can do it yourself OR have the painter do it for you. You're not getting a consensus here on what to do because either option will work and look lovely. But I do think you need to listen to your instincts on which direction to go. Remember, accessories can lighten or darken the space, or bring in other colors you want to highlight. You have made great choices so far.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:10AM
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Thanks mpmg! We did have a great time in CA. And was able to pick up some fun stuff for the kitchen. Not..just have to paint the sucker, lol.

joanie, dh wanted to stain at first. Now he also has his heart set on painting. But, I think we're going to try the gel stain in the master bath. Once this kitchen drama is over :)

Just wanted to know you've gone over the deep end. And are obviously VERY clueless and indecisive when your painter leaves without the doors. Telling you to call him in a few wks. Because he's not TOUCHING your cabinets until you're sure. This was yesterday morning.
Pretty sure I just lost him for another few wks :(

Now I'm waiting on a cabinet maker to stop by. Give me a price on making me four new door frames. As the painter wasn't comfortable with cutting out my doors and putting glass in them. Sigh.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:04AM
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