Oak Cabinets and White Appliances-- Can anything cheap be done?

ekatielMay 20, 2010

Hi-- I'm new here :), and I'm hoping you guys can help me with my new kitchen. We're buying a house that has oak cabinets (they are fairly light-- a bit lighter than honey) and white appliances. It has very basic finishes-- laminate counter tops, linoluem flooring, etc. The house is fairly new (built in 2001), and I'd like to put in some nicer finishes in the kitchen without spending too much money. Is there any granite that will look nice with oak cabinets and white appliances? DH is really opposed to painting the cabinets (I'd like to paint them white and install a dark granite). Thanks so much for your input! --Katie

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doraville

Some pictures might help. I didn't do my pictures until the end, but wish I had had them for advice during the remodel. If you are new, be sure to read the post that says to read me if you are new. It is a long post full of info. One thing you might do is go to the finished kitchen blog, select categories, and then select something like "light cabinets" to find pictures with cabinets similar to yours. Enjoy exploring.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:06PM
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pepperidge_farm

we moved into a house that had numerous touch-ups done to it... but overall had honey oak cabinets, a white laminate counter, rose sink, yellow walls and a laminate wood floor over horrid grey floor tile (that was also on the backsplash).

This was a multi step improvement for us as there was SOOooo much else we were working on in the house (moving walls, reno 3 bathrooms, replacing windows and a new septic and well) and we are still not done with our "touch up".

As we are not doing a whole reno to the kitchen, I needed to love it anyway. I don't love oak, but it went with the style of the house, which made it easier to live with.

1- we started with coutertops. Ubatuba, or something like that, green laminate looks like granite counter, with new white cast iron Kohler sink. New faucet. New paint on walls- baby turtle BM paint.

A few months ago we redid the lights- there was not really any appropriate light, so we put in a few recessed cans with some undercabinet lighting.

Added some ikea stainless steel shelving.

Made a HUGE difference to me. But I still am nuts about the grey floor tile backsplash.

Ripped it out 2 weeks ago and we retiled this weekend with some white subway and clearance 1" x 3 row slate mosaic trim.

The kitchen is totally livable. I am so thrilled.

The last 2 touch up spots are the floor... wood over tile, hmmm, and I do plan on trying to stain over the cabinets- can't decide how dark to go, walnut or espresso....

Need the next burst of energy to rip that out. Had hoped to reno the whole kitchen, or at least plan it by now, but clearly not in the books for the time being, so very happy with the overhaul.

We tried not to spend too much on anything as our intent was to rip it all out. Custom cut laminate counter was ~$700, with another piece of butcher block ~$100, faucet ~$150, sink ~$200?, backsplash ~$100 and lights ~$200.

I like the green counter with the oak cabs.

What style is your home?? that may make a difference!

Here is a link that might be useful: PF's kitchen mini redo

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:52PM
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pinch_me

pepperidge_farm, That REALLY turned out nice!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:09PM
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jb1176

Honey colored oak works well with dark green granites, red/brown granites, and white granites. There are a multitude of choices that you can view at your local granite warehouse. For greens I'd suggest any of the Labrador greens - Ubatuba, Butterfly, and Peacock. For the red/browns you might look at Tropic Brown, Tan Brown, and possibly some of the Giallos like Napoleon, Veneziano, Vicenza. For whites/grays or light creams you might look at Golden Antique, Bianco Romano, Colonial Dream. and perhaps River White.

How much light do you have in your space? Do you have long runs of countertops that would lend themselves to a stone with movement or are your runs short where you might want a more consistent stone?

Cambrian Black Antique finish is beautiful with Honey Oak and emparts a calm elegant appearance.

Your best bet is a trip to the granite warehouse with a cabinet door. A new sink, hardware, and carefully chosen paint color will really make your space look refreshed.

Happy searching!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:42PM
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boxerpups

I too would love to see some pictures of your space before
I make any specific suggestions. There are so many things
you can do to be economical and creative.

There has been a recent trend to paint oak cabinets white.
Painting oak can be time consuming and challenging.
Oak has texture and even the lightest oak has a hearty
quality to the wood that makes it tough to stain as the
grain can get darker. Gel stains have been beautiful on
garden web as painting oak white.

To help you think about different options if you do keep
the wood here are some images below that might help you
visualize. A link is below too of painted oak kitchens.
Enjoy your plannng,
~boxerpups

Verde Peacock Granite

Bianco Anitco Granite

Bordeaux Granite

Brazillian Black by Heritage Stone Co.
Looks a little like Black Galaxy

Azul Aran Granite also by Hertiage Stone Co.

Mahogany Blue Granite

I do not know the granite in this image but a light
granite like Venetian Gold or Santa Cecilia would be similar

Kitchen Island Google images (grantie unknown)

Here is a link that might be useful: This is from about a year ago a thread on painting oak.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:20PM
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brookelizabeth

I wanted to say that light fixtures can be spray painted in baths, halls, kitchens and they will look great. I did this all over the last house we had. You don't touch them a lot so no worries about the finish chipping. I dusted and they were fine.

Painted one black and others bronze, the bronze looked better. Rustoleum makes a spray can painted called Bronze metallic that sprayed nice and looked great.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:29PM
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overourheads_sf

Boxerpups - thank you for all these photos! I'm in a similar situation as ekatiel w/ oak cabinets I'd love to paint white. I'm new to the forum and not able to find last year's conversation on painted oak - could you please re-post the link? Really appreciate it! (that link is directing me elsewhere)

Ekatiel - curious what you decide, I'm still in the planning stage as well!

thanks!
Maia

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 2:24AM
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ekatiel

Thanks for all the input, guys. The pictures really helped. I don't have pictures of the space b/c we haven't moved in yet, but they've already taken the property off of MLS, so there's no pics online, either :(. As soon as we move in, I'll get some pics up. I really like the way that darker granites look with the oak cabinets, but I'm worried the white appliances will look funny with the darker granite. Anyone have any pics of oak cabinets with darker granite and white appliances? DH is ok with using a gel stain on the cabinets-- I've been lurking around here and noticed that some people have gotten really good results with gel stains, but others haven't. If we were to stain the cabinets darker, and put in a light granite, would the white appliances look OK? Darn these white appliances. . . ;). Thanks again for all your input.--Katie

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:44AM
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boxerpups

overourheadssf,

I started a new link in the link below.
I did not want to hi-jack Ekatiel's original thread.

Hope this helps,
~boxerpups

Here is a link that might be useful: New Thread OverOurHeads SF

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 6:41AM
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florantha

In understanding of others who have written on a GW thread saying "how dare you knock my taste" I am feeling defensive here. It is not unusual for GW posters to badmouth oak kitchens and yet they are today's most affordable quality wood cupboards and they are a very American product. I will be installing a new oak kitchen and am feeling sad that it will be so out of fashion right out of the box. Well, that's the way of the world.

There are some good suggestions on this thread, esp. dealing with colors and textures. Those condemned to live with unpainted oak cupboards are cheering.

I would add that removing the center of some cupboard doors and inserting glass would give a "tired" cabinet a very different flavor. There's a thread about this right now. Consider a solid colored glass panel or a decorative glass panel. It would give a lively and very different feel to the kitchen. A downright personality in some cases. See the examples at Bendheim for example. Give it some time,scroll carefully, click to enlarge, look hard. Personally, I keep returning to "Spring Leaves" and imagine what cupboards with this would look like. Then I look at the Italian fibers style. Then I look at them all, again and again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bendheim Cabinet Glass to jazz up cupboard faces.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:50AM
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pepperidge_farm

Oh Florantha- I was just trying to look that up- thanks for the link on glass- where is that thread, or what is the tag I can search for?

I think that what you may notice is often it is the design of the door or the shade of the oak stain that dates the look of these cabinets.... not the oak.

And I hope you got the chance to read about outdated white kitchens... it will be the style of the cabinets that is likely to date some of those kitchens eventually, rather than the white itself, IMHO.

Katie- I think the success of gel stain, or paint, lays with the meticulous prep that needs to go into the process. All the buildup of dirt and grease needs to be removed, and there is some feel for applying and wiping stain. I am hoping to be doing the same, and I have definitely improved over my many years of trial and error. If you are not experienced, you may want to get some simple pieces of wood and do some practice staining and coating to see if you like how it looks by your hand! Remember the old wood will be a little different.

Oh, and I have a newer stainless DW and black/stainless range from the previous owners, but alas, my fridge is alive and kicking and still running after 18 years, and it and the microwave are white.... just waiting for them to die :-( It really looks OK with the oak and green. Not magazine. The mix is what really drives stinks! I thought last year the fridge had died, and DH went and fixed the darn thing.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:26PM
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lazy_gardens

Suggestion: Live in the house for at least a year before you start ripping things up. You will have a much better idea of what really bugs you and what is worth keeping.

And during that year, keep a clipping file of ideas, and a list of things that bug you about the house ... and evaluate them at the end of the year.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:43PM
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jterrilynn

I agree with florantha and think oak gets a bad rap. Although I am taking my stock cabs out due to the fact that most my cabinet sizes are unusable, drawers & boxes are falling apart and I have no counter spaceI actually like the earthy organic look of the oak. I wouldnt recommend anyone get the cheap ones I have though if you want them to last at all. However, I really think most people can not get past the image of 60s or 70s kitchens when thinking of oak. Saying that, my new kitchen will be different because Im ready for a change and am really ready to get that stinking pantry out for some counter space and other layout usable storage solutions.The big honking frig is already gone & replaced with a counter depth, its amazing how much a difference 3 1/2 inches can make when you have a small kitchen. But please people, dont knock oak.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 1:04PM
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flwrs_n_co

Ekatiel, I agree with Doraville, pics would definitely help generate ideas to help you. I probably won't be of much help since I'm in the early planning stages and don't know much about different granites but I can post links to a couple of good granite sites (they're on my other computer so I'll post those in a little while). Lazygardens makes some great suggestions--live with it awhile to see what most bugs you and where you want to spend the $$.

Florantha, it makes me very sad to think that you feel your dream kitchen is being knocked. Presonally, I have cheap builder grade oak cabs that are falling apart so there's no doubt I'll be replacing. I've always loved maple so that's probably what I'll go with (not a common choice at GW unless it's painted) although I haven't done any pricing yet. However, if I had the right style of house, I'd do oak (med. to dark) in a NY minute! Oak cabs can be beautiful--you can't beat the character of oak grain. Unfortunately, mine are anything but beautiful :( If they were functional, I'd be restaining and keeping them. I look forward to seeing your finished kitchen--please be sure to post! My favorite kitchens on this site aren't the ones that you would see in most kitchen magazines, but the unique out-of-the-box kitchens. And thanks so much for the link for the glass--that site is great!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 1:43PM
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florantha

Not hoping to hijack this thread, but to augment it.

My "dream kitchen" is not being knocked. I don't know what my dream kitchen is like. For 8 months, I've lived with an evolving reality. It's my _compromise_ kitchen that is taking a few whacks by proponents of upscale interior design fashion. DH and I are the contractor and DH is the sweaty equity labor source and the home equity line of credit and the neighborhood home values are the other part of the compromise. I'm trying to work out how to do a good, functional, emotionally inviting space that will work for me for twenty five years to my mid 80s and won't rule me in the meantime. DH has definite opinions with regard to money, oak, and design, which have driven some of the original and now fixed decisions in the whole process. DH looks at the "before" pictures here and thinks they're the "after" ones.

The comment about oak door styles is an accurate one. Routed-out designs with arched tops are two common elements which seem to have peaked in popularity, reaping them scorn from those who are tired of them. There are also a lot of people living with "country colors" and honey oak and teddy bears and gingham trimmings, which I agree became overpopular and therefore common. I think there should be more threads like this on how to update their oak kitchens instead of just throwing them out. There are a lot of people living with oak who would enjoy some simple, affordable changes that have tasteful power.

I do think that oak as a design feature has been appropriated by the dark stained, mission/arts-and-crafts/craftsman style kitchen where the aesthetics of quartersawn oak are appreciated. But I would also like to see the aesthetics of lighter oak with a flame pattern to return to the fore. It is an amazing substance, almost too strong a design element in large amounts. In my peaked-ceiling living room, we have white walls and flaming medium-stained oak ON THE CEILING. My father, the carpenter, carefully matched the plywood pieces so that they compliment each other, much like the marble and granite connoisseur does with directional elements in the stone pattern. That room continues to be stunning and inviting 30 years after it was built.

Thanks to all for the images that have been posted that show oak without the warts of bad or hopelessly dated design elements. Keep 'em coming!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 2:21PM
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ekatiel

OP here. I'm loving all the suggestions, guys! I'm going to the house today to take pics of the house (I just couldn't wait three weeks until we move in!), so hopefully I can post some by this evening.

Lazygarden-- Are you sure you aren't my voice-of-reason DH posing as a Garden Web member ;)?!!

We probably won't have the cash to do anything to the kitchen right away-- I might get flooring soon (thanks to my poor ultra-allergic DS, who may have problems with the carpet in the rest of the house)-- we are looking at the Allure vinyl planks-- thinking of putting them in the formal dining, kitchen and living room, which are all connected. With two little boys, and a crazy life, we are not brave enough to try laminate in the wet areas (heck, ALL our areas are wet areas!), so the Allure flooring looks like a good compromise.

Florantha-- I did not mean to knock oak cabinets in my posts. They aren't my personal fav (especially mixed with white appliances), but due to budget constraints, we are probably going to have to make them work!! Maybe they'll come back in style right before we all go to sell our houses ;)!

The kitchen is only 9 years old, so it's not really dated, and the color choices are nice and neutral, so I can definitely live with it for a while, but I would like to upgrade the finishes some time in the near future. A bachelor lives in the house right now, so honestly, the kitchen looks almost brand new-- I think the microwave was the only appliance that got used ;)!! I'll be back this evening to post pics, and thanks so much for all the suggestions-- I'm off to click on the glass-front cabinet link!! --Katie

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:11PM
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rj56

My oak cabinets are a warm, medium stain. The doors are arched, but not as drastic as some. Most people that I ask for an opinion do not think they are that bad. They were installed in 1988 and weren't the cheapest, but not the most expensive, and have held up well. I would not feel right replacing them just because they're not "in." I think because oak has such a strong grain, it may compete with highly patterned countertop and backsplash products people are using now in higher end kitchens.

I find it interesting that wall paper use is discouraged, but people are still finding a need for pattern and they are installing products that are so much more permanent (and expensive) than wallpaper.

However, for me, it is more of a challenge to find paint colors, and countertop products to work with my 1980's oak cabinets. I can see why people like white cabinets, however, I can't see them in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:23PM
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pinch_me

-I find it interesting that wall paper use is discouraged, but people are still finding a need for pattern and they are installing products that are so much more permanent (and expensive) than wallpaper.-

Yes. I've been thinking that for a long time. I am in the process of the bathroom remodel planning stage right now. My oak cabinets will be rearranged. I will be using wallpaper on all the walls and vinyl on the main floor. I am one person who thinks painting nice wood is a sacrilege. Oak is nice. My kitchen cabinets are not oak only because I saw the hickory door sample while I was looking for the oak samples. I've subconsciously avoided every decorating trend I've seen here. But that's me. My kitchen is one of a kind. I hope my bathroom is, too.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 4:02PM
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ekatiel

OP again :). I'm back from taking pics of the house. Here are a few:
Kitchen Pics:



Light in the space:


I'm placing a link to the photobucket albumn if you'd like to see a few more! Thanks for any input you have!! --Katie

Here is a link that might be useful: Photobucket new house pics

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:02PM
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rj56

I'm no designer, but I feel the problem is more with the white appliances-the great contrast with them and the cabinets. However, if you draw some inspiration from boxerpups' photos for your backsplash, countertops, and walls, you could make your kitchen more suitable to your tastes.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:48PM
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pepperidge_farm

OK, so out on a limb, hoping not to offend anyone....
my personal taste is as follows...

Not keen on the wall treatment, that is probably the main thing I find unappealing, but also the easiest thing to change. That will change the whole look of the room all by itself.

Is that laminate on the backsplash? That may be more difficult to change, but I think the beige color palette on the very nice looking oak cabinets is less than ideal.

If done to my taste, would change walls and change counter/back splash if in the budget.

Not so worried about the white appliances! May not encompass your total vision, but it's not like they are an eyesore- they are appliances!

IMHO :-)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:51PM
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jterrilynn

Im not a white appliance hater but somehow it just doesnt work in that kitchen. My eye does not know where to land. I think the sponge painting look has got to go on the walls and the backsplash needs to come out/off. You could paint those areas and live with it for a while, sometimes its good to let things evolve a bit until you settle in. You may also want to consider glass doors in the wall cabinets on each side of microwave area. The pantry door needs to be changed to "other than white". You certainly have a lot of good things to work with though and lots of storage and countertop areas. Personally I would resist too much investment other than the above until you learn the integrity of the cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:22PM
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ekatiel

Thanks for the opinions guys. Here's my priority list for the kitchen so far:
1)Flooring-- I just don't like the linoleum-- it's also got nicks in it, so it's not even in that good of shape. Thinking of replacing it with Allure planks and possibly extending that into both the living room and the dining room b/c they are all connected spaces. We may just do the kitchen for now (we actually had allergy-prone DS roll around on the living room carpet last night, and he was ok, so we can wait on new flooring in the carpeted areas for now)
2. Remove the awful wallpaper. This would have been #1, but I know what a pain it's going to be to remove. It is original to the house and the wall isn't even textured underneath it :(.
3. Countertops/backsplash. Where did the man manage to get a hold of so much laminate??? Still undecided on whether to go dark or light-- I really feel like I still need a "vision" for this kitchen-- the white appliances seem to be tripping me up. When we do the counter tops, the sink will go and be replaced with stainless and we might replace the cooktop if it's in the budget.
4. Do something with the cabinet color and/or change the appliances. Once again, lacking vision for this kitchen, so not sure which direction I want to go.

Here's what I know-- I REALLY like the look of dark cabinets with a lighter granite. So, maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and try to stain the cabinets. The secondary bath also has linoleum flooring and oak cabinets, so I'm thinking I might start there by installing the Allure flooring and staining the cabinet. If it turns out terrible there, at least it will only cost me a few hundred dollars to fix! Thanks for the opinions about the kicthen (I am not attached to it in any way, so feel free to be brutal ;)!). --Katie

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:31AM
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boxerpups

Beautiful Kitchen space. Wow. You can do so much with this
kitchen and I like the functionality. First off embrace
those cabinets. Too many times people want the white
fantasy or the espresso dreams but the beauty is right in
front of you. Change other aspects first to really embrace
the wood. Because those cabs are pretty. Of course be sure
these cabs are sturdy and can handle the long haul.

May I pretend this were my new kitchen???
This is what I would do. Assuming the cabs are good.

The pony wall behind the kitchen sink would be knocked
down. Just the top section, so when you look into the
kitchen you can see the sink and faucet. No levels to the
counter. All one height.

I would change my counters to granite. I love granite. I
would also get a white undermount sink.
And I would chooose this granite...

Colonial Cream like this below

Or one of these...

New Venetian Gold is usually a lower priced stone and the
right slab can really look great.

Millennium Cream

Ivory coast

I would paint my kitchen walls a striking color maybe
orange or red. Sangria by BM.

I would keep my appliances white until they died and then
replace with Oiled Bronze KitchenAid or JennAir
not stainless as all the hardware in the kitchen is gold.
For me, Remember I am pretending this is my kitchen (thanks
again) Stainless means all hardware should match and this
can get pricey.

If the Refrig is able to make it another 5-6 years I would
get a kit to match cabinets and make it look built in.

Instead of replacing all hardware I would embrace the gold
tones and splurge on Oiled Bronze appliances. That
would rock this kitchen. And an Oiled Bronze faucet too.

And I would not gel stain or paint the cabinets. Instead
just clean them up and keep as is. They will match
the granite and the oil bronze appliances. They are beautiful as is.
If I felt the urge to paint.. I might paint the island a
lighter color but keep all the other cabinets as is.
This granite is bianco romano and wow it looks great.
I would do a backsplash just like this maybe a hint of gray to match your floors.

I would splurge on a hood or updated fan hood that you
have to match other new appliances. Or simply paint it a
dark color to match oilbronze stuff.

Expense sheet...
Paint $50.00 maybe $100 because red needs a primer
Granite $4000.00 (my estimate you might get it cheaper)
Appli $3000.00
Faucet 150.00
Backspl $1000.00

If this is still to high a budget. Keep those appliances
that saves money until they die and then replace them.
Or try to sell them Craig's list to get a few hundred toward
replacement.

Delta Faucet with white undermount looks beautiful.

I like the faucet not the ss sink. Moen

Paint colors...
Habanero Pepper by Benjamin Moore

Sangria Benjamin MOore

Sangria with the white trim looks awesome

And here are Kitchens with white appliances....

Thank you for letting me play vicariously through your
project. If you hate all my ideas, no worries it only
helps you to discover what you do love to make your space
yours. Enjoy the kitchen process and that space you
have.
~boxer

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:39AM
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projectsneverend

here's our before:

and after:

Pics taken from different angle. We gel stained our oak cabs. They were sturdy, just not my fav with the heavy grain. There have been several gel stain threads here, if you're interested in darkening your cabs.

We did the granite first, thinking it would update 'enough', but I still wasn't happy with the heavy graining. Then we did the gel stain - then we added additional painted cabs. Maybe not the ideal updating process, but it worked for us. Our white appliances were functional and not old - so they'll likely be here for a good long while as well.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:15AM
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ekatiel

Boxerpups--Thanks for the thorough reply!! You gave me a lot to think about. I like the last kitchen pic you posted. Do you have any idea what granite is in that kitchen?

Projectsneverend-- I actually bookmarked your thread this morning after searching this forum about staining oak cabinets!! Yours turned out wonderful. And I kind of like the idea of changing the countertop first, then seeing what I think of the cabinets. If I am still not in love with them, then I can try staining them. Luckily, we have a secondary bathroom to experiment on with the gel stain. I was really worried about messing it up, but your instructions seem like it's not too hard. Thanks for providing such great instructions on your thread!! --Katie

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:37PM
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boxerpups

I believe Ivory Coast is the granite.
Glad I could help you think about the possibilities...
~boxer

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 4:11PM
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chicagoans

I agree that you have a nice space there! I'd consider swapping out the brass cabinet pulls and white outlet covers for ORB, pewter, or brushed stainless - whatever you like best unless you love the brass.

FWIW I considered the Jenn-Air rubbed bronze appliances because I wanted something a bit different, but they would have been too dark in my space. Mostly what held me back was that I tested the sample sent by Jenn-Air and it scratched really easily. (And it would be alot more than $3k to get all the appliances; at least with the price quotes I got and what I see online.) I was disappointed because I really like the look. Maybe the finish has improved (I looked 2 years ago.)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 4:45PM
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doraville

I would remove the wallpaper, backsplash (whatever it is), and replace the countertop. I would go light with the countertop (and you've had several good suggestions)and let your paint color and backsplash be dictated by the countertop. Then I would live with it and see what else I had to change.

I don't see anything wrong with the white appliances and would keep them. My next change would be gold hardware, replace with brushed nickel. I would not replace the floor until I decided to do all three areas. The money I saved by not buying appliances could be spent on a nice wood floor.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 5:56PM
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florantha

There's a lot to like in this kitchen. I don't mind the white appliances. But...I think I'd paint the pantry door and door frame. Perhaps paint them to blend in with the cabinets. That will delete the second biggest whale in the room. If you can trim the kitchen doors with oak, that would also be good.

Is the ceiling a mottled one? Does it match the wallpaper? Hmmm.

The room needs a deep tone, which will add some depth to the light color scheme. Dark terra cotta? Dark green? Warm chocolate brown? eggplant or purple? Use it in an accent color on the chairs (seat pads?) and on some rag rugs or something on the floor. Add some houseplants and your own dishes and things. If there is a way to do a knobs change-out on the cheap, you can add some color or depth there.

The recessed lights don't give you any interesting light effects in the upper story of the room. How about a ceiling light with some personality over the table? or a snazzy pendant over the sink?

A span of fabric over the kitchen window would give oomph to the room when seen from the next room and would carry the eye upward. If that wall were painted, the white shades and trim would become accents instead of a plain white wall.

Brown and white in the adjacent room is not complimenting anything in the kitchen. Do you have plans for some color coordination between the two rooms? As with the kitchen, nonwhite trim on those very special windows would give them a very different personality.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 6:19PM
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annierocks

First of all, live with it a while. I lived with my kitchen for 6 years before we remodeled, and I am glad I waited.
I would get rid of the sponge painted walls (& ceiling?)and paint the walls a medium-deep warm gray, change the hardware (you could embrace the white appliances by switching to white china knobs/handles), and swap out glass doors for a few of the solid ones. I think a pendant light over the island would help (as would under cabinet lighting). Don't know your budget, but granite countertops would be spiffy. You could paint/stain just the island.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 7:28PM
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snowjay

IMO those white appliances have go to go. Stainless appliances, lighter granite and some dark hardware on the cabinets will make a world of difference. I just did the same to my kitchen. My walls are a light butter color and I'm still debating back splash time. Everyone that sees it think it has really brought it up to date.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:14PM
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still_waters

I have a golden oak kitchen from 1992. I still like it a lot--I had to fight for it. We went for quality. The countertop is a sad pink & blue laminate. I have a white frig w/ black stove and dw. I'm going to re-do my counter with Santa Cecilia granite--it has a golden quality that just calms the gold of the cabinets. We had a large piece of similarly colored laminate under our toaster oven & coffee pot for a few weeks & we really liked it. We are leaning toward the granite tho. I'm going to first put in the granite & later pick out the backsplash to cover my outdated one. I'm sure I'll be really motivated when I have my nice granite & outdated laminate. I'll probably update my handles afterward too. I tend to visualize only one change at a time.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:55PM
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ekatiel

I've been looking on the FKB a lot, and I really like Drewb's kitchen (I'll link it below). What do you guys think it would look like with white appliances (yeah, not as good, but still ok??)? And could I really get my cabinets that color with gel stain?

I think I may play around with the pics of my kitchen on phoshop and see what I can do. . .

Snowjay-- I really don't like the white appliances, either, but we just don't have the cash to replace them right now, so they're going to have to stay :( for a while. I will be praying they die, however ;).

I also found some hardware online for less than $2 a piece, so the hardware's gonna go soon!! If I commit to staining the cabinets, I'll get satin nickel hardware, if I leave the cabniets they way they are, I'll get ORB. AAAHHHH! I feel like I have to make all the choices at once b/c they're dependent on one another!! --Katie

Here is a link that might be useful: Drewb's Kitchen

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:09PM
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ekatiel

Ok, I just photoshopped the cabinets darker. What a difference!! Nothing else in the photo is changed except for the cabinets. I think I'm going to start by staining the cabinets. It's cheap, and if it looks anything like this pic, then it will make a BIG difference!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:59PM
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boxerpups

I agree darker seems beautiful. Go for it!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 4:11PM
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ekatiel

Thanks, Boxerpups. Now if I can just get moved in so I can get my hands on that kitchen ;)!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:19PM
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pepperidge_farm

Oh that looks very nice!

I just want to make an unpopular comment- I would leave the door white. If that room is open to the rest of the area, and the rest of the trim is white... I think it goes. I think it looks good with the dark cab's and white appliances too.

Katie- don't you feel less offended by them in that photo?
I think it was the combination of everything, rather than one thing alone!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:33PM
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celticmoon

You go, girl!

Before:

After:

Here is a link that might be useful: 20+ year old cabinets/counters revived

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:26AM
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boxerpups

Celticmoon,
I love what you did. Creative and elegant.
~boxer

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 6:35AM
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ekatiel

Pepperidge farm-- I am somehow less offended by the white appliances with the cabinet color changed. I just think something about the combo of finishes in that kitchen just wasn't working!

Celtic Moon-- You and Projectsneverend are my inspiration!! I had already bookmarked both of your instructions on staining the cabinets :). I'm glad you're both still on here, b/c if I mess anything up, I'm sure I'll be posting on here asking for help from you two!

Counting down the days until we move in. . .--Katie

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 8:27PM
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discoganya

Staining is relative cheap, so is pre-fab granite. Throw in a few cheap knobs and pulls and you have an updated look.

Before:

After:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 7:01PM
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ekatiel

OP back again. So, we moved in last week, and my oak cabinets are actually growing on me! I am really enjoying this kitchen (despite the ugly wallpaper-- which should diasppear tonight if all goes well!, the linoleum floors and laminate counter tops!)-- It has a TON of storage space, and it flows really nicely. We are painting over the wallpaper tonight (it was installed directly over the drywall when the house was built, and is even UNDER the cabinets, as far a we can tell-- so we're using Kilz on it, and then spray texture, and then painting it). I am planning on getting oil rubbed bronze hardware for the cabinets (the pulls are bright brass right now).
That leaves the floors and the countertops. We just got our escrow check back from our old escrow account, so we have about $4,000. Can I do floors and granite for that much? We're thinking of putting Allure floors down and running them into the family room. That should be fairly inexpensive (maybe $1000). So, that leaves me $3000 for granite-- is that do-able? We're thinking of venetian gold-- it's nice and creamy and will do well with our white appliances as well as the oak cabinets and ORB pulls. Any thoughts? --Katie

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 2:23PM
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florantha

Glad that the oak is working its magic! Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:01AM
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onedogedie

On the topic of oak cabinets, here is a photo of my parent's circa 1990 kitchen. They are not interested in trends. Unmoved by one of their offsping's urgings to get granite countertops. Baffled by same child's insistence of installing a new dishwasher (mom had to prewash dishes before running through old dishwasher - a habit she probably still does). The kitchen is missing the original owner's wallpaper. The original kitchen tile was popping up (one of these not well-built spec houses) and after my dad had a stroke we felt the floor needed to be replaced. All agreed a wood floor would be too much wood in this oak kitchen so we went with a stone look laminate. I regret I can't remember what brand this is and have found it a tedious process to try and find it on the bigbox stores websites. Personally I would have chosen a darker slate looking floor to go with the oak but my mom wanted a light floor. I do like the floor. I am one of those people who doesn't like oak. I think the only place it belongs is on the floor. But's that's just me! On the other hand I am a sucker for the wood cabinets of the 60's, minus the colonial hardware.

Here is a link that might be useful: oak cabs, black appliances, stone floor

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:57AM
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kayl

discoganya, what is the name of your granite????

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 3:22PM
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ceramictec

the diagonal slate back splash posted by boxerpups is actually from our website.

Ceramictec Tile Contractor of Tampa Florida did the installation.

glas it made it up with all those other beautiful back splashes and credit was givin on out picture :-)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 1:46PM
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