Natural Maple Shaker Cabs

marcia59February 13, 2013

I've been thinking white shaker, white shaker, white shaker. I love kitchens with white shaker cabinets. (Original, right?) But now, for various reasons, I'm thinking maybe natural maple instead.

I feel like I haven't really seen pictures here of kitchens with natural (or close to it) maple shaker cabs and I'm not sure if it's because hardly anyone is doing it or because I just haven't been focused on them.

If they're really not popular here, is there a particular reason? Do they scream 2002 or something? Are they wildly impractical for some reason I can't quite imagine?

And if you have done a kitchen with the natural maple shaker cabinetry, would you mind posting pix? (I've been looking on, of course, but I always like to see what the GWer's have come up with.)

Thank you!

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Follow this link to the finished kitchen blog with a selection made for Natural Maple, there are several with Shaker doors.

Here is a link that might be useful: finished kitchen blog

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Given my dark stained floors and limited ambient light, I have looked around at natural maple cabinet doors and drawers as an alternative to painted doors with future cracks. Maple fronts are interesting in some ways: the grain is more consistent than cherry, and the wood is lighter (but be aware, it still darken some from UV exposure). Maple takes a stain nicely too (ginger, spice etc). Maple looks great I think with a dark counter, like soapstone or dark granite. Make sure you choose "select" maple if you go this route and study the door/drawer construction details. I like the five drawer option with simple door, just to dress it up from slab drawer. Natural maple always leaves open the option of painting down the road, with a good product like waterbourne Murelo or BM Satin Impervo if you tire of the natural wood. I wish natural cherry didn't darken as much as it does over time as it's an inherently beautiful wood but no doubt it is darker naturally than maple. Good luck to you with your decision.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:24PM
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We were going to do natural maple, but it looked just a bit too light for our tastes. We decided to tone it down a bit with a light brown stain. (Well, actually, a light brown tint to the varnish.)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Also look at alder- we have made several natural alder kitchens and I love the look of the wood.

Travis Alfrey
Pinehurst, NC

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:18AM
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I wanted creamy white painted cabinets and for similar reasons we decided to go with almond stained maple cabinets with a light chocolate brown glaze. The kitchen is about a year old and I still love them. It was a great compromise for me. I actually like the grain of the maple and think it makes the cabinets more "interesting".

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:28AM
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I am under the impression that maple with clear finish is used mostly for contemporary designs, so if yours is more traditional, you probably would want to stain it, like PP did. I am not a KD or ID, so it is just my 2 cents, fwiw. :-)

Also, the "blond" look has been "out" for a few years b/c it was so "in" for quite some time before. Perhaps, it is coming back?

I think maple is really good if you want to paint or stain it later on.

That been said, I LOVE the look of maple and I think that is what I am ordering (have not yet placed the order). I wish I had pix to post but my kitchen remodel just gets delayed and delayed. :-(


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:02PM
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I have Natural Maple Shaker Cabinets - KraftMaid - that were in the house we bought 11 yrs. ago. I was so pleased w/ them because I was coming from a home where I'd lived 20 yrs. w/ dk. wood stained cabs, which in 2002 seemed so dated.

I'm considering having them painted when we get a new range and replace the OR/MW with a hood. Several things give me pause, though. The first is that in many ways they are the "Golidlocks" of cabinet colors. They aren't too stark here in the New England winter, and they don't feel dark and heavy in the summertime (as my old cabinets did).

They are very forgiving in terms of upkeep. I have white cabs at our lakehouse & they need more attention to remain pristine. My DD's black painted cabs are beautiful, but any dust at all, or pollen from an open window, is highlighted on them, as are fingerprints. I clean my maple cabinet faces regularly, but I never feel I have to check to see if they're "acceptable" when I'm expecting company.

Little dings don't show, and there's no issue with cracks or peeling paint.

The flip side is they can look pretty blah. In my case, the wood floor is nearly the same shade as the cabinets, so there's a lot of neutral wood going on.

I think if you have some other color going on with your flooring and countertop choice, you may be very happy with natural maple.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:19PM
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We have natural maple shaker cabs. Or had, rather, until we painted them about 2 yrs ago.
Our house was only 3 yrs old when we bought it in 2007, but already the natural maple had turned an awful orange-yellow color, which is pretty much the norm as I understand, due to sunlight or what have you. The insides of the cabs were still fairly normal, but the outsides, not so much. Very hard to find a color that coordinates with orange-yellow when looking for paint. Yellow or green were really the only possibilities, so realize that before you choose natural maple. Anything with a cool undertone, ie the grey family, clashed horribly. I did find that the look seemed dated to me as well, sort of an 80s or 90s contemporary look.
Thankfully, the shaker style is still beautiful. We considered staining them a dark espresso, but contrary to what another poster said, maple is notoriously bad for taking stain. Does not accept it readily at all, and does so unevenly when it does. We ended up going with a nice creamy white. The kitchen looks much brighter, more stylish, and I'm not limited in my color choices whatsoever.
Unless you love the orangey-yellow color scheme, I'd advise against natural maple, but that's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:42PM
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The way maple cabinets turn yellow is due to the finish put on them. You have to get a water-based finish in order to keep the color true. Any oil-based finish will turn yellow.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:49PM
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