Ideas for Nip/Tuck: 1988 Kitchen Redone in 2002 (Pics & Album)

kikoFebruary 28, 2013

Our house was built in 1988, we bought it in 2005 and the kitchen was updated in 2002 by prior owners. I hope I don't sound too "whiny" about the things I want to change because we actually have a fairly nice kitchen, and I know a lot of people have terrible kitchens. We spend virtually ALL of our time as a family in this room (we have two kids, 10 and 7), and I use the kitchen A LOT. First I do have to say that I am AMAZED that this kitchen was built in 1988 (all the cabinets are original oak) because whoever designed the kitchen had some great ideas that still work well today. Anyway, in 2002 a prior owner painted the oak cabinets (including the hinges ... frowny face), replaced the pulls, installed granite counters and a travertine backsplash, refaced the fireplace in travertine, installed new appliances, installed under cabinet lighting and pendant lights on the island and installed plantation shutters. Since moving in we have had the original "orange" oak floors handscraped and refinished, replaced the french doors (they were in bad shape), replaced both skylights (for energy efficiency) and installed a new Hansgrohe faucet (prior faucet broke). One pic below and link to album under the pic.

These are the things we are thinking of changing but I would love any advice or input on changes you would make:

Repaint the cabinets. I'm guessing we should pull a color out of the granite? Open to doing lowers darker and uppers lighter? "Penisula island" a different color? Greys or whites?? The current color works well with the travertine backsplash but we want to replace that.

Replace existing cabinet hinges. Currently the hinges are mounted on the outside and were painted over previously. The paint has scraped off in places.

Willing to replace cabinet pulls if different ones would look better?

Considering putting glass in some of the uppers to break up the "wall of cabinetry"? I think the four upper cabinets to the right of the fridge might work (pics show with the doors open for a "test").

Change the existing 6" inch square travertine tile backsplash to something more current. I would guess we would need to keep it simple becuase the pattern on our cabinet doors and countertops are both busy? Subway tile of some sort? Would love something like the arabasque tile in beekeeper's kitchen but, sigh, I'm afraid that wouldn't look right here!

Replace the existing Thermador electric cooktop with a gas cooktop and probably replace the existing undercabinet Broan hood? We'd love a "freestanding" hood but I don't think that would be possible with our existing cabinetry set-up.

Willing to replace existing three pendants if something else would look better. But I do like how "streamlined" the existing pendants are because they don't obstruct anything.

Repaint entire room and trim (we've hated the "pinky" beige since we moved in 7 years ago). Ideas for colors?

Install window treatments. The glare is terrible in late afternoon but I do NOT know what to do with the large picture window, french doors and trapezoid windows combo that are currently "blank". It's very confusing!

Remove popcorn ceiling. Open to installing a plank ceiling with beams or some other ceiling treatment? The ceiling is extremely high and large and could use some "interest". We have 16 can lights in the ceiling currently. Would also be open to installing additional ceiling light fixtures if needed.

Need to replace the espresso leather bar stools. These are 7 years old (the Pullman from Crate & Barrel) and are starting to show their age.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Pics

This post was edited by kiko on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 20:46

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Those cab doors are WILD! I'm really not sure, but I think I love them. I grew up in a MCM house, and that's the vibe I'm getting from your cabs. A really bold color could be very cool, but I don't think the travertine would like it. Sorry, no real advice from this decorating dummy, just wanted to comment on the groovy cabs.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:00PM
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I love your kitchen. It's bright, the layout looks great, and those cabinet doors are a fabulous unique feature. I'm not sure that I would change anything in it - maybe the gas cook-top, if you're really not keen with electric?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:11PM
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robo (z6a)

The travertine I definitely don't love. I think you're right that arabesque would be too busy. What about a grey glass in a tone from the granite?

The trim on the top of the cabinets is really bothering me for some reason. It feels wrong with the cabs I think - would you consider replacing with something plainer?

You're right to get rid of the pinky beige and paint the cream cabinets. They're fighting against each other and with your granite IMO.

How willing are you to embrace the kitsch with those cabs? I could picture chunky square knobs...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Wow those cabs are wild! What color are they? It's hard to tell from the monitor. Can you post a couple more pictures? Maybe back up a little so we can see more of the peninsula and another from a different angle??

From what I can see the cabs, granite, stainless appliances, pendants and cab pulls go well together. The linear cab pulls go well with the geometric cab design.
What stands out as not a match is the backsplash. The color looks off and the grout lines add another clashing geometric. How about something solid? Backpainted glass? Not sure. Love the arabesque too, but totally wrong with those cab doors. I think less is more when it comes to adding more shapes, including the ceiling. The skylights are probably enough. Play with color on the backsplash perhaps.

I also would stick with 1 color for the cabs and peninsula. JMO, but if it doesn't look like a piece of furniture I think it looks better in one color.

Looks like you have a very functional space. i love a kitchen that keeps traffic and guests outside the work area.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Here's a link to an album with more pictures of the room:

I guess I forget, after 7 years, how funky our cabinet doors are! There are actually a few kitchens in our neighborhood with the same door types. Must have been offered by a builder in the area. Maybe I'm strange, but I like them. Our front door also has a square/rectangular pattern on the leaded glass in the door, sidelights and transom. And we picked a rectangle pattern for our French doors ( divided 4 light) which kind of matches.

Robotropolis, the trim is painted a darker color which may be making it look "weird". But maybe it is the wrong trim for the cabinets??

Island, the backsplash does look kind of patchworky in this pic, which I've never noticed in person.

The cabinets are more of a "travertine" color with a green undertone, definitely not cream. And they have to be repainted because they are quite chipped/nicked. Ive been touching them up but it's time for a fresh paint job!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Pics

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:39PM
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those cabinets are really cool! i would paint the island and/or base cabinets a dark blue or brown to make the counters pop more, maybe? your kitchen looks pretty nice as it is though..

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:08PM
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I think the walls would look good white or pale gray. The kitchen is pretty already, so I'd stick with the light color scheme.

I agree that a solid glass backsplash would be beautiful.
I don't think the trim at the top of the cabinets looks bad- I would like to see it the same color as the cabinets, though.

I fear a plank ceiling would be too much with your cabinets and countertop. Getting rid of the popcorn is great, though. I imagine that would do it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:01AM
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Those are great cabinets! At first, I could not figure out why the raised panel looked off, and then I saw the pattern. If you re-paint the cabinets, you might see if you can retrofit the doors to use a hidden hinge.

For a BS, you could try some sort of random monochromatic brick pattern, perhaps in glass, to echo the shapes of the raised panels. You just have to be careful of introducing too much pattern. I do agree this is the main element (along with the main paint color) that seems off. Switching the palette to emphasize the greys and taupes would update the look rather easily.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:10AM
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I think your ideas are definitely on the right track, and you've done a great job so far. Here's what I would do:

1. Ban anything with a pink tinge. Embrace the gray. Paint the cabinets white (not bright stark white, but white). Look to that great splotchy tree painting for a white or find an off-white subway tile and match that.

2. Definitely go for a plain tile with the busy doors and counter. I like the idea of a gray grout. I've linked a blog post about going from travertine to subway.

3. I would wait until the cabinets are painted to pick a room color. Maybe something like SW sea salt?

4. The pulls and pendants and ceilings are fine. I know the ceilings bother you, but I can't imagine the cost and mess to do anything about them. They are so high up I doubt if anyone but you notices them.

5. Concealed hinges would be a big improvement.

6. I don't think I would switch to glass doors. Your dishes are super-pretty, but it adds more busy even if they are all one color.

7. Not sure what to do about those windows. Look at Smith and Noble's website for inspiration. Don't buy anything from them, though, unless you have 40% off (sign up for emails and wait).

8. I'd think about changing the fireplace stone, but I'd wait until after the other changes are made to see for sure. Maybe something like lagos blue limestone.

Here is a link that might be useful: New subway tile backsplash

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:00AM
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Really like your cabinets! I think someone on GW has cabinets like that but unpainted. Trying hard to remember the name.

Just one random thought, your pantry doors look very plain compaired to the cabinets. Maybe something to dress them up....not sure.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:14AM
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The pantry doors look out of place with the funky cab doors (which I love!), but I don't have any ideas to dress them up.

I wouldn't replace any of the upper doors with glass.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:41AM
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robo (z6a)

I've been thinking about your pulls. There's nothing wrong with them, but I was thinking a very rectangular linear pull with squared edges would match the shapes in your cabinets more. I was thinking about something like ikea's metrik but then thought ikea's tyda might be a better fit.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:00AM
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I love your house. You are right the kitchen doesn't need too much.
1. Cabinets are beautiful, just repaint. Concealed hinges would be great. I think the existing pulls work very well. And, I probably wouldn't do glass doors, because the doors you have are so visually appealing.
2.I love the pendant lights and I think they work too.
3.Hate the backsplash. I would look at glass tiles, something calm and linear. You won't get to pick the prettiest tile in the store- sorry. The natural beauty of your house needs to be allowed to shine through and it can only do that if you don't add competing elements.
4) I could see your undercabinet hood being replaced by a chimney. The chimney would be a nice element to draw the eye up. Does your hood currently vent to the exterior? If not you may want to address that.
For color, you have tons of natural light so make sure you sample colors in your space and look at them at various times of day and weather. From the artwork in your house it seems you may be a green person and not a blue person. With your countertop, it is going to be easy to go to a gray color and grays often turn blue(or purple) so be careful. Personally I would paint out everything very neutral and let the house and your lovely artwork shine.
I would post on the home decorating forum too. They will give you great advice about your window treatments and colors.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Thank you everyone, I'm so glad I have a place where I can work these things out! My husband's eyes glaze over when I start to go through my list of things I am thinking about!

OK, I think I am going to narrow the things that I want to change. I am going to focus on finding 1) new simple (probably subway maybe glass) backsplash, 2) painting cabinets after replacing hinges, 3) test out some larger pulls ... but keeping them simple like the ones robotropolis linked to..., 4) removing popcorn from ceiling, 5) figure out something to do with those "plain jane" pantry doors, 6) switching electric cooktop to gas (and addressing hood if needed) and 7) begin looking for barstools. I am going to look at grays, whites and offwhites for colors initially because I like them and they should work with the granite. I feel like I need to make the backsplash and cabinet color decision together while also considering room color. Or at least have an idea of what I am thinking of for paint colors. Stark whites don't seem to look very good with our granite. But the prior owner installed white plantation shutters.

Does anyone have any ideas for the pantry doors? I don't think I want to mimic the cabinet door pattern ... or do I?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:15PM
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You didn't ask but I would do the ceiling first as its going to be quite messy. Maybe its just me but I wouldn't want to take the change of a ladder or such hitting newly painted cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I think you have a great kitchen. My first impression though was how plain the pantry doors are in comparison to the cabinets. Changing to 6 panel doors might fight with the cabinets, how about frosted glass doors for the pantry? Other than that, I think the wall color definitely needs to change and then maybe do something different with the backsplash as it doesn't really go well with your beautiful counters.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:37PM
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I love your cabinet doors. I think they would look good painted a true (but not stark) white or pale gray.

A solid back painted glass BS would look great in your space. Otherwise, I would use solid colored glass tiles in a subway or other simple linear pattern.

For the pantry doors, maybe a single lite French door, or just some funky cutouts, using frosted glass or resin to obscure the pantry contents.

Modern Entry design by San Francisco Architect Cary Bernstein Architect

Modern Entry design by Los Angeles Architect Bilden Corp

Modern Entry design by Seattle Design-build First Lamp

Modern Entry design by Minneapolis General Contractor Streeter & Associates, Renovation Division

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:41PM
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I like kaysd's ideas for the doors -- I, too, think they should be something modern -- if you wanted to save money, and if you're going to replace them anyway, you could try out a paint job that looks something like this:

Also, though I think the pendants are o.k. as is, I think with those high ceilings they could be one of the features of the room instead of just o.k. -- maybe with a pattern that pays homage to the doors, like this:

Or something like this:

I like the idea of painting your cabinets gray -- even a darker gray on the island would be cool. Also with green undertones would be cool -- again, using the art (the tree pic) as the inspiration piece.

Your kitchen is beautiful as is, but think highlighting the features in the room will make it even more so.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:05PM
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I can't tell from the pictures but I'm wondering if you don't have the same hinges I have. They are almost impossible to change out unless you buy new doors. .

Do you have a slot in the side of the door and a T cutout in the base of the cabinet?
They are an amerock single or double demountable hinge.
Or do they screw into the face of the cabinet?
That style door was very popular here in the the 70's.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Debrak, good point. I will definitely have the popcorn done first.

I think our existing Broan hood does vent to the outside. It has a large galvanized duct that runs through the cabinet above and out the back (which is actually the dining room...I guess it is going through the wall to the outside??). I am concerned about losing the cabinet above the cooktop. That's where I store all my cookbooks, tea kettle and pitchers. We do have an extra "empty" 11 inches to the right of the pantry cabinet that I've always thought would make a good spot for extra built in shelving. I have a little "mail center" cabinet from Pier 1 there now that is used for storage.

kaysd and kris_ma those are great door ideas but might be a bit funky for us.

kris_ma, I love those pendants but would they be hard to keep clean? Being a lazy housekeeper, I usually try to avoid anything that makes dusting more difficult. I am crazy about simple lantern lights and would love giant two or three foot high lanterns like these horribly photoshopped ones (minuse the candles and leaves!)?

Existing Pendants (originally had flat glass shades on them that I removed)
From Kitchen

Giant Lanterns?
From Kitchen

chloe45, I don't think we have those hinges. Ours have three screws on the inside and two on the outside but they've been painted over so they might be hard to remove.

Would any of these (horribly, horribly photoshopped) door ideas work? 1) Frosted glass, 2) Vertical four panel doors or 3) Doors in the same style as existing cabinetry From Kitchen From Kitchen

From Kitchen

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 3:28AM
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Just in case you haven't investigated the cooktop yet, I suggest you consider induction. I had always preferred gas but when we bought this time, I discovered induction thanks to the appliance forum here and really love it. (I have a range so I can't recommend a cooktop for you.)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Anyone have any thoughts on lanterns or pantry doors? I know the the bad photoshopping is cringe-worthy but that's the best I can do, tee hee.

crl_, I'll have to look into induction. I hadn't considered it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Just my personal opinion, I would do the frosted glass doors.

I just got a ton of help on the home decorating forum to pick out my dining room light. You might want to post there.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:04AM
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What are the interior doors like in the rest of your home? Would they look better if you matched those?
Or a simple raised panel like you peninsula base or frosted. I don't know. There is so much going on I'd take care of other things first, the backsplash and cabinet color if that's changing. Prefer your original light fixtures than your mock up. I still think less is more when it comes to this kitchen because the cabinets make such a strong statement. Make one decision at a time. Understand what you're saying about the glare, but I like your windows uncovered. Have you considered contacting a company that can add UV film?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:04PM
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I just have to say I love your kitchen! It is beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:24PM
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BIg vote for the frosted glass pantry doors! But that is assuming that you wouldn't be able to match the cabinets. If you could, that is the way to go, I think.

I would like to see the cabinets, island and walls in a warm gray, with green undertones, one that looks good with the granite; make the cabinets a darker shade of the same color as the walls. Paint before you do anything with the backsplash because with a change in color the travertine may look entirely different. In these pics, though, the travertine and the granite don't seem to be complementary in colors. If they aren't then you surely need to change the backsplash. I think simple glass would work best too(matching the new pantry doors?) , or stainless steel tile,

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:04PM
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I think you've gotten great advice so far. Only one thing I think I would consider if you are going to repaint is to bring the recessed cabinets above oven and microwave forward. Either replace the boxes for deeper ones and then reuse your doors, or add an extension to your current cabinets to bring them out. I think this will make it look more updated as well.

Love your space otherwise, you have a knack for decorating.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:36PM
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