Does ANYONE like builder grade oak cabinets?
Kind of a random question... I was looking at my kitchen cabinets and I thought I'd get a conversation going about this.
These days, it seems more and more common for people to want to paint their builder grade oak cabinets (kitchen and/or bathroom) and there are a lot of blog entries and message board posts which walk you through the process and make it seem very doable. For several years, I wanted to paint my kitchen cabinets white, but my husband has been opposed to the idea. I just finally convinced him to let me paint a bathroom vanity (an espresso brown color), and it looks great. However, it's making me wonder about the wisdom of doing all my kitchen cabinets - even with proper cleaning (TSP), thorough sanding, a good primer (Glidden Gripper), and a durable latex paint (Behr Ultra Paint and Primer in one), the cabinets don't seem all that durable. They still feel a little sticky on some days. My husband accidentally smashed the corner of something into a (fortunately less visible) part of the cabinet, and in my attempts to touch it up, I realized that everything - including the Glidden Gripper primer - peels right off. It seems like if you manage not to get a "hole" in the paint, you're good, but if something happens, it's difficult to touch up in such a way that it looks good as new.
(Home Depot paint guy claimed that they no longer carry any interior oil-based paint, and exterior paint should not be used inside, due to issues of off-gassing.)
Anyway... after a few years, I actually decided that I kind of like my kitchen cabinets. Everyone always refers to cabinets like these as "fake wood," but the doors, drawer fronts, and face framing of the cabinets are all real wood. It's the cabinet boxes themselves - sides, bottom, top - which have the fake wood laminate. So, in a group of cabinets, only a very small visible portion - ends - is fake wood. I found a creamy yellow wall color which really complements the wood tone, and added sort of wrought-iron tone (maybe slightly lighter) hardware to the cabinets. I've brought other colors into the room with hand-hooked rugs, artwork, and pottery. The room gets lots of natural light, and there is a patio door in the kitchen, which goes out to a natural-toned deck. The house is on a slope, so the kitchen and deck appear to be on the second-storey. The house is in the woods, so from every window and door, you see trees - green most of the year, autumn colors in autumn, or snow-covered in winter. Overall, I have decided that the wood color is actually perfectly acceptable.
Just to add - my cabinets are more of a "shaker style" - rectangular recessed panels, not arched at the top, and not with raised panels, as some builder grade cabinets have. (To me the less "ornate" panels look less dated.)
Is there anyone else who has gotten creative with hardware, wall color, and other accessories, who has found that the builder grade cabinets actually look GOOD? I'm interested in whether there is anyone who is really giving these a chance. (A lot of times I see that people didn't even bother to add hardware, which I think makes a huge difference.) I'm in a wooded setting, and I know these cabinets are decidedly NOT urban, and they're not "upscale" but they can actually seem cozy and homey for a more laid-back suburban or rural house. (Of course I wouldn't choose them in the future, but I don't know that I need to rip them out, or paint them, either.)