Matching oak built-ins to kitchen cabs?

ainelaneMarch 2, 2014

I'm a first-time poster, but long-time lurker :)

I hoping for some design advice on what to do with the oak built-ins and mantle in my great room as I start my kitchen reno.

The kitchen section is being ripped out and replaced with white painted maple cabs, most likely with a raised panel door style. The countertops will be white quartz and backsplash will be white beveled subway tile. Floors are staying, they are Brazilian Cherry. Ceiling above great room is cedar and vaulted.

My dilemma - do I make everything in the room white, including the built-ins and mantle, by having them painted? Or should I stain them a darker color, maybe something like a very dark chocolate that picks up on the warmth of the red in the floor? And if I stain the built-ins, what should I do with the island and pantry?

I'm concerned on one hand that having everything white will be too much white; boring or not enough visual interest. On the other hand, would it be weird to have such a bright white kitchen and then the other side of the room is dark oak? And with the ceiling, floors and kitchen table all being different types of wood, would staining the oak yet another shade be just too much?

I really need help pulling all the different parts of this room together! Thank you kindly for any help you can offer!

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Is a new cooktop going in exactly where the old is in the island? This seems very awkward to me. It looks like it was an after-thought because someone forgot to design a cooktop into the kitchen. Can you not just extend the peninsula and put your cooktop there and remove that island? Since the pantry is in the kitchen, I would also do it white.

What are those cabinets left of the mantle? They look like they are re-purposed kitchen cabinets. The design doesn't match the built-ins right of the mantle, especially with the overheads and angled cabinets. I would remove them and put a piece of furniture in there, perhaps a chair. Then, you could paint the mantle and build-ins white to brighten the room. If you darken them, the room may appear "heavy" to the right.
That cherry floor is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Thank you for your reply!
I can't remove the island or either of the built-ins as this would change the footprint and mess with the floors (thanks for the compliment on them, btw :) )
We are going to change the island to be a rectangle, a bit bigger than it is now, and with a 36" cooktop centred.

As for the built-ins - I will be removing the upper doors on the left and try to make it all look more like bookcases on either side of the mantle.

I've been afraid of making any decisions that would lead to a dark feeling as I'm going for a bright and more open look! Thanks very much for your feedback on that, I'm leaning that way too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, if you use white in one side of the room, you need to use it in the other or the room will not be balanced. Or you could do quarter sawn oak lowers and white uppers with white pained walls in the other area to tie it in.

However, I would NOT do a kitchen remodel at all untill I could really address that island cooking station. It's beyond awkard and dysfunctional. It's actually unsafe. The floor isn't an issue. It can be matched and woven in by a pro. Get that cooktop to a wall where you can vent it properly! The whole point is to remedy problems, not just toupdate the aesthetic.

Post your layout and you can get some help in figuring it out.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:32AM
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Yes, that cooktop... I've never seen anything like that.

Is the room on the other side of the cooktop your living room?

I hope you post your floor plan.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:52AM
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Everything should be painted white, to brighten and lighten up the family room area. Would love to see your vaulted cedar ceiling. Sounds fantastic!

You could make your island a darker stained color to bring contrast to the kitchen.

Though you didn't ask about it, I agree with the others about that odd cooktop station. One of the strangest layouts I've ever seen and I agree that is one thing that should definitely be changed.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:29AM
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Thank you for your replies!

You are helping me to see that everything white would be a better option.

Here is a snap of the architectural plans for the great room/kitchen. There are some minor adjustments, for example the island is not exactly on that angle shown in the drawing.

I'd love to hear why this layout looks so strange and bad to you guys. Is it because the island is so far into the great room and far from the kitchen? The angle and shape of the island?
The shape has always bugged me and I was just going to make it slightly bigger and a rectangle to rectify that.
Also, the sofa is too big for the room and makes things look more cramped than it should, I'll be buying all new furniture for this room.

@deedles - the room on the other side of the island is the family room. We have a formal living room and also a TV room.

Thank you again and I'll look forward to hearing more about this island problem :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:16PM
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@ck_squared Thanks for your interest in the cedar ceilings. Here is a picture from the second floor which is overlooking the great room/kitchen.
The house was built in 1985 and I've been told that the ceiling is made from old growth cedar, which you can't get anymore.
They are referred to as "sauna ceilings" around here, which is meant to be a derogatory description. Some people in my neighborhood, when updating their houses, have ripped out the cedar and replaced it with drywall!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Aine - thanks for posting that photo! That ceiling is as gorgeous as I had hoped. Can't believe that other people are ripping it out!

Regarding your island - my issue is that it is impinging on your family room space. Plus, it's much too far from the rest of the kitchen. And I'm not a fan of cooktops in islands anyway. This set up looks like you could have a DJ spinning records overlooking a dance in your family room!

But, I'm not an expert and we do have some professionals here (and some amateur designers who are pretty darn good, too). Hopefully, someone else will chime in with a good solution for you. You might even post a separate thread with questions about your layout; might increase responses.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Your ceiling is beautiful!

Quickly, I would hate to cook on that island. It looks like people could be running laps around you while you are cooking. The sink is sooo far away. How do you manage carrying a pot of boiling pasta from the cooktop to the sink while crossing a major walkway?

I think you could have a much more functional and safer layout. Hopefully the resident experts will jump in soon!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:06PM
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I would compare the cost of building a new island with countertop to the cost of eliminating that island & adding new wood flooring & refinishing your existing floors. It would really open up your family room. You would also have more options for your family room cabinets, possibly saving some money there.
Wow, those ceilings are beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:25PM
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@ Aine
That ceiling is absolutely gorgeous too , just like your floors.

I'm not trying to be mean, but that island has to go.
Even if you changed the shape to rectangular, the cooktop still wouldn't be part of the main kitchen, would still be unsafe, would still be in the traffic lane, as hollysprings noted. AND you would still have to rework the floor . If you're changing the shape anyway, why not scoot it over to the peninsula.
Then, instead of a cooktop and wall ovens, you could do a slide-in range. No matter what you do, you still need a range hood! Then, a mw drawer could go into a nearby base cabinet. Ideally, I would put the range on the fridge wall, but that could be more difficult for rerouting the gas line if you have no basement.
By moving the mw and ovens from where they are, you would have a landing area for the fridge, along with an upper cab. for glasses and such. You could even relocate that pantry into the kitchen beside the fridge and have the dining room door in it's place. This would keep traffic completely out of your work area.

Now, the cabinets in the family room. No matter what you do, IMHO, they will always look like re-purposed kitchen cabinets, with those angled units. What about a piece of furniture there instead, perhaps a bar with glass shelving above? Straight, not angled.

Since I've already put in at least 50 cents worth of opinion, instead of just 2, I'm going to go for broke. I think that with that island removed, that sofa looks to be the perfect size for that space. For now, perhaps you could use the new furniture money toward having a functional dream kitchen and get your new furniture later. (that may have been $1.00 worth)

This post was edited by canuckplayer on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 16:20

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Thanks everyone for your well-thought out responses to the island issue. I really appreciate the feedback and it's given me a lot to think about!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:52PM
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