Painted slab doors in a transitional/traditional kitchen?

northcarolinaMay 10, 2011

It's too soon for me to be thinking about finishes but I can't help myself... lol.

Is it possible to have slabs (preferably painted) in a kitchen that looks up-to-date yet is not modern in design? Does anyone have pictures of painted slab doors? (I find that I can't search the current FKB for door style... please redirect me if I'm wrong. I do see that that will be a search option with the redesigned FKB, and thank you all very much for that.)

I am not going to be aiming for a retro/vintage look (no steel cabs, no rounded/pillow edges), but MCM/modern/Euro is not really what I want either. I have been assuming I would use flat recessed panel (Shaker) doors on frameless ceiling-height cabs, with simple crown molding and possibly beadboard backsplash (we have BB elsewhere in the house). But slabs have no crevices to catch dust and drips, which I like very much about our current cab doors; plus they would be faster to paint. Could slabs on frameless cabs fit that sort of transitional look as well? Or would they look incongruous next to crown +/- beadboard, as I suspect? Our house is, um, architecturally neutral (read: no style) but the original interior doors are recessed flat panels (2 big panels with a cross piece), and most of the woodwork is painted white.


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I've only seen one picture like that that I recall (out of the BILLION that I've looked at) and I really liked it. The kitchen was done in green and terracotta and wood. It was very simple and beautiful. I will try to scan it for you this afternoon. So I think it can be done...why not? You'll probably start a new trend! :-)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:54AM
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You can sort of see the effect of a crown molding on frameless slab overlays if you look at the tippy top of this:

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Maybe this will help...

Not painted, as I wanted the woodgrain to show but I think they wouls have looked fine if I had wanted to paint. The ceiling was being prepped for painting when I snapped the pic for something else.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 9:53AM
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I think the choice of hardware is what will determine the look when using slabs. We went vintage with old hardware on ours and it looks like old metal cabs, yet they are actually Ikea Applad. I think that if you pick transitional hardware, you can achieve a look that works for what you are picturing. The slab front cabs are like a blank slate.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 9:54AM
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Check out Sarah's House on HGTV. The season with the backsplit, season 2, I believe. She paints slab doors in a kitchen. Very nice.

And for more eye candy, check out the kitchens in the other two seasons. Gorgeous!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 12:33PM
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Viola Park is a line a cabinets that is owned by Henrybuilt. It is made in the same factory using same processes but cheaper: they use fiberboard (not sure the exact name) instead of plywood and MDF slab doors. These are great quality cabinets also. Viola Park uses slab painted cabinets extremely well for stylish look. I think you should go for a fashionable color; grey with punch of accent. Viola park does these amazingly wonderful colorful accent pieces!

I have been looking at many many old houses recently to buy. Most older homes from 1920 to 1950s that still have orignal cabinets intact (which are many in Seattle!) have slab painted cabinet doors that are mounted over framed site built boxes. The almost all have vent holes in the sink cabinets. (why? they thought garbage needed airing!) I have yet to see an older home with original shaker style cabinets in the kitchen. They are however, in the original built ins... Perhaps, they thought they were saving money by not putting in the nice stuff in the kitchen. who knows.

I think you can't go wrong either way. I happened to really like the simplicity of slab doors.

My 1960s rental house has slab cabinets with framelss boxes, euro exposed hinges of that era and the cabinets are still being used. The are still straight and extremely functional and stylish looking and they work well in the house. They are currently painted white. I may paint them soft grey next time to make them look "modernized".

My dentist's office has turquoise/teal colored painted slab cabinets from 1960s with flat tongue and groove cedar paneling accent walls. The design is an amazing example of MCM! The dentist who has really good eye kept the design when he expanded. I know that you do not want MCM but I just wanted to let you know that the slab doors extremely versatile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Viola Park

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 12:46PM
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A-HA. Yes, Marcolo and wizardnm, that's the kind of molding that I was thinking about for modernist slab doors -- though in my fuzzy vision of our kitchen redo I had something slightly curvier in mind, like cove molding. (Moulding? Anyway.) The wall of plain white slabs is what we have now and looking at those pictures, I think I am ready for something different... though you understand that there is a big difference in that yours looks GOOD. [grin] Ours looks like '80's particleboard, which it is. Dianolo, I think I agree with you and if I stick with slab for ease of painting and cleaning, I will probably need to change out my (currently modern) hardware for something else and also use some glass doors to break up the expanse (which would negate the ease-of-painting thing). Geokid -- that's a cool kitchen, and I see that she used Ikea cabs boxed in with side panels (I have seen that on another post about her somewhere here). I like that idea. Kaismom, those are beautiful cabs in that link! And anna_chosak, if you find your picture and can upload it without much trouble I'd love to see it!

I have no problem with modernist or MCM or Euro styling, in fact I like it very much, but I don't think it fits our house's style (such as it is) very well -- at least not unless I had the budget to really do it right and carry it beyond the kitchen. I am happy living with more traditional styles too.

Thanks to all of you!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 5:22PM
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Painted slab doors were very common in kitchens through the first half of the last century, right back to the first built-ins. I almost went with that look for the same reasons (possibly even with press-release catches, so no handles to clutter the view in a busy room) but ended up choosing ready-mades that didn't require me to sand and paint and were less expensive. I achieved the same sort of updated workmanlike-traditional look and have no regrets, but painted slab was my first choice.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Rosie, if you had gone with slabs would you have gotten the round-over edges? That seems a more vintage look to me than square edges, probably because my parents' kitchen has them (mounted over long boxed-in shelves, just as kaismom described). I took a look at the Scherr's site just for fun and... oh my gosh, who knew there were that many slab door styles. haha. Shaker ones too.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Oh, just saw this. Yes, preferably gently rounded, as if a handyman took a rasp to the front edges (like an old kitchen I once had). One I was also looking at one of Scherr's I don't remember the name of, but it has a shallow inset center panel, and the inside edges of the surrounding frame have a rounded detail. Also reminiscent of everyone's grandparents kitchen and practically as simple as Shaker.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 7:32PM
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Our interior doors (the old ones) are a bit like the one you describe from Scherr's -- they have the big inset panels but the inside edges have a little detailing, kind of like an ogee. I will probably go for an inset panel style after all, now that I've thought about it. Whatever I get has to look right on a frameless cabinet, anyway, since that's what our existing cabs are and I am hoping to reuse some of them if I can (they are in good condition except for yellowing of the melamine door edges). A rounded-edge slab door seems like it ought to be partial overlay; probably I say that only because that's how I've seen it. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 9:20PM
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