Which Cabinets?

ktwpFebruary 28, 2013

My husband and I are in the process of having our house built. The home comes with knotty alder cabinets in a stain of your choice. I like the dark walnut stain as shown. But, I've always wanted a white kitchen until I saw these! I guess I feel like I'd be crazy to paint over such nice cabinets and that's basically what's deterring my decision. The builder said they could do white painted cabinets if I chose. My question is what is your opinion the cabinets pictured? Also, we have a 4 month old and I've read concerns about white cabinets getting pretty dirty with kids. What has been your experience with this? Thanks to all!

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This is so personal. I have a white kitchen but can see the beauty in wood.
That said, I don't like knotty woods. It's great that you have a perfect example in front of you. Only you can decided if this is the choice for you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:37PM
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I like these, but I like stained wood cabinets. Both stained wood and painted cabs get equally dirty. The difference is that when cabs are painted, you are looking at the finish, so you are more likely to see not only dirt but also any dings or imperfections. With wood, you are looking through the finish at the grain of the wood, so imperfections on the surface are not as noticeable. (This is not original - my cab maker put it that way.)

That being said, wood or white is just a matter of personal taste. Look at a lot of pictures. If you are truly drawn to white over and over, if a white kitchen is more in keeping with the decor of the home, then have white.

Also, these cabs have a strong pattern in them. I would probably have chosen a quieter backsplash and possibly different granite so the interesting wood could be the star. The combination shown is a little busy for my taste. (I'm hoping that's the model home.) But in the end it's all personal taste, and I'm no designer.

Oh- and see if you can get more drawers in the lowers. This is all cabs.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Ginny20-I rarely see a white kitchen I don't love and white would keep with the decor of my home more. I am afraid that white won't last well when my little one starts walking. I guess what's making my decision hard is that everyone keeps telling me how crazy I'd be to paint over wood cabinets. And yes, this is the model home. I agree, it is too busy! Thanks for your take!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Is the builder going to paint over the knotty alder, or is he going to substitute factory finish white cabs? Just getting white cabs isn't crazy.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:15PM
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They will use alder cabs without the knots if i choose white. My husband thinks we should keep the stained then paint them white when our son is older and not so messy. I think it would be a pain, though, to do it and have the knots filled in.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:40PM
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I think a mix of the 2 would look great. What about white on the perimeter and a stained island? BTW, white cabinets don't get dirtier any faster than stained wood. They just show the dirt more. :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Alder is a soft wood. It has enough issues as a stained wood, which is why it's often used for rustic cabinets. The extra wear and tear add to the "distressing" for the look along with the knots. It would NEVER be my first choice for paint. Especially with a family with active children. Hard maple for paint is preferred.

It sounds as though they have a "custom" cabinet maker who isn't and only does site built cabinets his way.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:01PM
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I agree with you, I don't think painting them later is a great plan. If you can't get painted cabs done in maple, as live wire suggests, probably the stained alder is best. Can they give you a quote on an upgrade to painted maple?

Angel411's idea is interesting. That's a very popular look now, and it is very attractive. And if they do charge you more for the white cabs, then it minimizes the upcharge.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I've been stressing about this for weeks. You guys are right. I've read that alder is even softer than pine but I think I've been in denial about how they'll hold up being painted because I do love a white kitchen. Angel411-I do really like that mixed look. I think I've finally made up my mind. If we can't get maple or if it's too pricey, I'll stick to the stained alder. It's amazing how talking it out helps so much. Thanks for the thoughts!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:37PM
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I do really like that look. Have you ever been on Houzz.com? Put in a search for white cabinets and stained island and you will see tons of examples. Glad I could help!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:30AM
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I couldn't resist looking for some pics myself :)

Traditional Kitchen design by Atlanta General Contractor Renewal Design-Build

Traditional Kitchen design by Minneapolis Architect Murphy & Co. Design

Traditional Kitchen design by Calgary Design-build Stephens Fine Homes Ltd

I would do some research about what painted Alder looks like...like LWO said above, it's not going to be a smooth surface like maple. Good luck and let us see the results!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:36AM
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This is a very personal decision only you can make based on your style. I personally despise rustic looking knotty woods, but that is my personal style.

That being said, based on the last photo in you posted, I don't think the style of a rustic knotty wood goes with the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:41AM
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First, I do like the stained if it would go with the house. Don't want you to think I have a bias against them. But, we upgraded from alder to maple with our cabinets because alder is so soft. We are clumsy and lazy, so I figured we would be dinging and denting in no time. And my only "child" is 37 (DH). We are getting stained maple.

But if you like white, go for it if you can get something normally painted. I've read enough here to know I, personally, would not like the reality of painted cabinets at this point in my life, even though they can look fantastic. Maybe next house, will have to see. If you want painted, I wouldn't shy away from painted just because you have kids, I'd shy away if they can't get you a suitable cabinet to paint with a good paint finish.

Just my 0.02.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:40AM
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My daughter lives in a rental with her pre-school son (and her DH, but he doesn't make messes). The cabinets are white. These are not cabinets you'd ever want - I, personally, prefer doors that close and stay closed - but just looking at the white painted surface, there really hasn't been a problem. These cabinets don't have knobs so they get a lot of handling, and they're fine. Mister has discovered that his snack bars and raisins are in the pantry with no knobs, so he has to work at it to get the doors open. Still, the white is in good shape.

The point about your cabinets being knotty alder is a good one; they do have a reputation for being softer than other choices. I also agree that they don't really play well with the style of the house - moving from sleek elegance (those windows!!) to rustic kitchen doesn't really work for me. If this were my house and I had the choice, I'd go for a sleeker style of cabinet in a painted maple or a stained cherry. And absolutely with lower drawers! I'm guessing you're paying a pretty penny for this house and I'm wondering why the builder is trying to pass off 1980s cabinetry as appropriate for this property.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:06AM
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I don't understand those cabinets in that house. I have white cabinets and 4 destructive kids. I'll touch it up as necessary and get over some imperfection.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:56AM
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