X-post: Why the hate?

sundance510June 12, 2014

I posted a few days ago about my kitchen with orange oak cabinets. I think in the end, I have decided that I need to paint the cabinets to be really happy with them. I always wanted a white kitchen. However, several of you commented that I already have a really cute kitchen. This got me thinking.... why the hate towards orange oak? I have seen so many young bloggers announce that they are in heaven now that the "horrid, orangey oak" is gone and covered with "dreamy" white paint. I truly have a love/hate relationship with my cabinets.... does the hate part only come from blogland brainwashing? Do people think it looks cheap? Is it the actual color that is offensive? Is it because there is not a color of appliance that looks wonderful with them?

My kitchen:

I have included a picture of a kitchen that I actually think looks quite lovely, even though there is probably some photoshopping going on. It has me wondering if a change of counter and sink, simple subway tile and new appliances could change the entire space. I'm not sure that the orange oak works with the sort of coastal-inspired look I have going in the living room (not open floorplan), but this picture really has me thinking.

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I, too, think your kitchen is pretty. I don't know who started the phrase "orangey oak", but the actual term is "golden oak". (See how just one word connotes a negative?) I can tell you, if I had your kitchen, I'd add more light (maybe there is, but you can't tell in the photo), especially under the cabinets. I would probably add a white subway tile backsplash, too.

I love white kitchens, but function follows form in my house. I live by "If it's not broken, don't fix it!"

Btw, I really love your juxtaposed island and table. Very interesting.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:09PM
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I don't think yours are bad. I had those in a former house and I don't dislike them. My mother has something similar.

This is the ugly oak-- fake wood/oak with a greenish hue! That is not just ugly, it is hideous! ðÂÂÂ. I could show you more, but I'll spare your eyes.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:19PM
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In my opinion - my opinions rarely shared by 'the masses' - paint is a "preservative", used when NECESSARY to preserve 'something'. There is very little in the world that is more appealing to the un-jaded (or unbrainwasnhed) human eye than the infinitely variable pattern of wood grain and color. The pleasure of looking at natural wood is the same as the fascination of looking at the ever-changing campfire.

People lead around by their noses by the likes of "Jersey Shores" will follow any fad their 'idols' tell them to.

How's that for a little "hate" right back at those that "hate" wood.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Just wait ten years, when all these people are horrified by chipped up, grimy, greasy x-white cabinets. Then we oak-ies will have the last laugh!!!

Beautiful, grainy hardwood rules! There is no depth to paint like there is to a beautifully finished natural wood. And golden oak hearkens back to the turn of the century and early 1900s era when many homes used an orange tinted varnish on the hardwood trim throughout the homes.

Don't listen to the haters. Listen to your inner voice....

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:28PM
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I don't think it's the oak itself or the color....I think it's because of the association with cheap and common builder's grade cabinets that were prevalent in the last century. Things have changed a lot since then and oak has made a resurgence. Much of this has to do with the rise in popularity of shaker style cabinets (like yours) which have clean simple lines and are attractive and the use of quartersawn wood in cabinetry.

I actually collect golden oak arts and crafts furniture and my last kitchen was done in quartersawn golden oak. And those cabinets were beautiful!

Your kitchen is lovely and I think you have a lot to work with. If you decide to change the color. There was one poster a while back who gel-stained her oak cabinets in a darker color and it was stunning. The one thing about oak is because of the grain it's a whole lot easier to stain than it is to paint. Or there are ways to turn the oak gray, which could look coastal. There's a lot you can do.

All your ideas are very good and it would be fun to see you put them into action!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:32PM
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I think there are a number of reasons oak kitchens have fallen out of favor. The first being that the look was overdone and often poorly executed with low end materials. In our area they were the norm in all the condo and apartment complexes that mushroomed in the '80's.

I think young homebuyers may associate them with their parents' kitchen and want something they see as fresh and different.

The mass marketing, blogs and sites like Houzz further drum in the idea that oak is orange and passé.

All that said, I have seen and still love some nicely done golden oak kitchens.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Obviously the internet will 'brainwash' you that this or that is better. It's your home, do what YOU want. My opinion, that ugly blue table should be in a dumpster.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:42PM
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The challenge of golden oak is that it has a strong colour that is classic, but not neutral.

Carla Aston has a great article (link below) about the colour of wood being "the boss of your palette". There is nothing wrong with that. I have oak floors throughout the main spaces of my flat and I love the gold/orange colour that they bring to the room - but I do have a lot of neutral elements that complement them.

If you have oak cabinets that you want to keep, decorate around the colour. Here I show your cabinets along with Farrow and Ball "India Yellow" colour schemes, for example.

Here is a link that might be useful: When Wood Becomes The Color Of The Room

This post was edited by feisty68 on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 18:46

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:43PM
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I agree with amck and jerzee. My old golden oak cabs were cheapo builders grade with doors I didn't care for. They looked a little beat. Calling them orange is just piling on. They weren't helped with a big fluorescent fixture and tile counters with thick gray grout.

After getting a white kitchen, I realized that I actually love oak, but not the kind I had. I'd take quarter-sawn oak any day over white cabs, as long as there's ample natural light. I refinished a golden oak desk I thought was butt-ugly, but it was just the wrong color. It's darker now and I love the grain.

Edited to add: Greatly relieved that "why the hate?" referred to golden oak, not surly posters. :p

This post was edited by linelle on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 18:50

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:48PM
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My kitchen cabinets do have an orangish gold tone and I do not like them, although I will say they bring warmth to the room. I liked them when we bought the house in 2000 because they were different from what I was used to and a nice change, but I soon craved a brighter kitchen. Unfortunately, the cabinets make the dark room even darker.

In the previous homes I've owned since the late 80's, when I have been able to do the kitchen to my tastes, I have always had white kitchens. So, my dislike for oak isn't due to the general disdain shown for oak kitchens online. I also love my quartersawn, cherry stained oak bedroom set and my grayed oak entertainment unit, so I don't dislike oak generally. For me, the color and heavy grain of the kitchen cabinets is the biggest reason I want a change.

I don't watch Jersey Shores so can't comment except to say not sure how that's relevant and painted wood doesn't seem to be any more of a fad than stained.

This post was edited by juddgirl2 on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 19:00

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:50PM
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I think real oak wood is fine but as has already been said it is the fake, badly manufactured, mass marketed stuff that really did in oak.

I had fake (as in plastic like) "oak" cabinets. I really hated those.

I remember my parents saying in the 70's, "they have oak cabinets!". Like it was the greatest thing.

I think that oak became the holy grail and everyone had to have it. So everyone did. Whether is was real oak or some cheap imitation.

I like your kitchen and your black appliances : )

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:53PM
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This post was edited by jstell2008 on Fri, Sep 26, 14 at 20:08

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 7:40PM
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I am getting new soapstone countertops and have been thinking all along that I'd like white cabinets to go with. But my husband threw such a fit and reminded how we used to look at homes and wonder why people had painted over that beautiful wood. Then he adds that it is my home too and I can do what I want . right. So now I am questioning my desire to paint. I really just want it to be lighter in there. My cabinets are really dated, with the curves at the top and bottom of every door. I like the curves though.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:19PM
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"I think there are a number of reasons oak kitchens have fallen out of favor. The first being that the look was overdone and often poorly executed with low end materials. " from amck
this is the exact reason i hated my golden "oak" and hate all the fakey oak kitchens in my neck of the woods. they aren't real oak and they aren't real pretty either!
that said i love real actual oak furniture and arts & crafts style houses with genuine wood trim. i loved some of the quarter sawn oak cabs in my search but in the end went with a dark cherry looking maple which in 15 years may be the new "golden oak" haha

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:27PM
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I'm not sure really, I dislike painted white more than other colors probably because I have only owned it in 20 year old, been painted once or twice already form. Not a huge golden oak fan because all of it that I owned in cabinets probably wasn't real to begin with, but also because I'm used to seeing it used with a very sort of normal or traditional look. To be fair, I'm into modern and my opinion on a traditional look is what someone who likes that would think of what I adore. We're all different from each other.

I think for most, they're probably still a bit tired of how it was used seemingly everywhere from the 1980s to early 2000s. It'll be back I'm sure, it's not a one off thing like the stained black cabinets from the '70s or pink picked oak.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:30PM
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"The pleasure of looking at natural wood is the same as the fascination of looking at the ever-changing campfire." -- wow, that's a little over the top

The reason people don't care for it is that it's simply out of style. It was incredibly popular in 1986 and has declined in popularly, albeit slowly, since then.

It's like asking "why doesn't everyone like my avocado green refrigerator--it's in great shape." Not only is it not the current trend, it reminds people of trends long gone. Oak cabinets to me conjure up memories of linoleum floors, white tile countertops, and mauve carpeting.

Just because people don't have the same taste they did 30 years ago doesn't mean they been "brainwashed." The important thing is to choose what makes you happy--what do you want to look at when you walk into the kitchen every day?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:58PM
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For me, white painted cabinets are permanently linked in my mind to rental homes, so I would choose golden oak, given the choice. Even though golden oak is not my favorite wood, I would probably prefer it over my current kitchen cabinets, too. Golden oak instead of my 70's medium-dark stained cabinets would update my kitchen by a decade or two. :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:27PM
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I believe that a lot of people who had oak cabinets with the cathedral shaped doors didn't really like them. They looked expensive while being cheap. The alternative was cheap looking melamine, or very expensive woods. So they were freaking everywhere. If you take something that you only kind of like, and then see it everywhere, you begin to hate it. If you really like it to start with, then you don't ever hate it. You might get bored of it, but it doesn't evoke the "get rid of it!!!" emotions.

The finish also yellowed over time, so even if someone liked it when it was installed, it changed into orange. I had those cabinets in my current house and I got rid of them. (I'm one of those people who never liked them to begin with.) The colour on the inside of the doors was much nicer than the outside of the doors.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:33PM
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ChrisInSD, I think blindly following trends *is* a reflection of media 'brainwashing'. You're not 'with it' unless you have the latest thing in countertops, the color-du-jour paint, and stoves that do all but cook your meals.

I don't think oak is "out of fashion"; don't think it will ever go out of fashion as some of the latest trends will do. I just bought a used set of oak cabinets - "pink pickled oak" mentioned above. That *was* a trend - and I fully intend to paint them!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:33PM
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ChrisinSD, what is funny is that retro colored fridges are all the rage now. And how many people here are looking for the perfect white counter? And linoleum is certainly very hip with the environmental crowd. So really how much as actually changed over the years?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:40PM
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I will preface my comment with some background. After my grandfather retired from the Air Force, he became a high school shop teacher. I slep in the cradle he made when I was born and used the same cradle for my first two kids. I have the hand turned candy dish he made sitting in my kitchen. My father has followed in his dads footsteps. He has a 2000 sq ft shop filled with woodworking tools. My toy box, dresser, bed, bookshelves and curio cabinet were all designed and built by him.

I was raised with a belief that paint is only used to cover up cheap materials or shoddy work. Why on earth would anyone cover up the beautiful grain of real wood?

Add to that the fact that the only white kitchens I have ever seen IRL have all been cheap, shoddy kitchens where the white paint was the proverbial lipstick on the pig and my dislike of white kitchens is pretty much cemented.

Now, regarding your kitchen, I do think it is a lovely kitchen and I don't (personally) think it would look right painted white. Some sort of aging/distressed look would work quite well for a coastal theme.
I don't like golden oak because I have just never liked woods in that tone. Give me a much lighter wood like maple or white birch, a pine or cedar with its interesting grain pattern, cherry, rosewood or mahogany for their beautiful rich tones with red undertones and I'm happy. Particularly the dark rich red tones.

As a side note to anyone reading this who has a white kitchen, I have NEVER seen a white kitchen on GW that I thought was shoddy or cheap, it is just a bias I have for any place I am going to live.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Bear with this rather lengthy reflection. I'm really interested in this trend. There seem to be quite a few people who still like unpainted cabinets (not necessarily "golden oak" though.

I certainly didn't start this thread to imply that there was something wrong with painted cabinets. I am simply interested in this vehement aversion on many blogs and forums to "orange oak"... almost to the point that ANYTHING is an upgrade. What I find most interesting is that this feeling seems especially prevalent among young people (I'm 25 and have several friends who felt this way). I've done a lot of searches regarding painting vs working with golden oak. There are very few bloggers who kept their oak and many, many in the 20-30 age range who chronicle their painting process.

I understand that most young people cannot afford a true remodel (I know I can't). However, many commented on here and on my x-post in the decor forum that perhaps the aversion to oak was many living with it in their parents' kitchens and wanting to get away from that. To which generation does that refer? My parents have lived in the same house for the majority of my life with painted off-white 80's cabinets (with wallpaper inside!!). They were like that when they bought the house in the late 90's. I honestly don't remember the kitchens of family or friends.... they mostly had newer houses, so I have no idea what the trends were at the time. I do know that I do not have a negative aversion to painted cabinets just because I grew up in a painted kitchen that many here would probably regard as a total tear-down.

Great perspectives from everyone!!

Here is a link that might be useful: X-post in decor forum

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:25PM
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I do associate the common shade of "golden" (if only it were) oak with cheap apartment cabinets.

But, also I just don't like the color. I don't like orange, or orange-yellow in most things. Orange juice is the exception! For example, I dislike Stella d'Oro daylilies. I don't plant orange flowers at all.

Golden Oak that has aged to the orange side is very ugly, to me.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:36PM
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tomatofreak - no one is "blindly" following anything. People go with what they like, which is informed by design and fashion trends all around us that are constantly evolving. It is quite obvious when you walk into an older home that has not been updated that the home is just old--it's builders must have been "blindly following" the "media" driven trends of their era instead of being so forward thinking. I'm glad you don't think golden oak is out of fashion--your contrarian streak is a nice addition here.

Debra--I'm not saying that old trends don't come back around. I'm just trying to respond why many people don't like Golden Oak. It, In my opinion, has not. Count me proudly along the blog people who would paint it straight away.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:48PM
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"...--your contrarian streak is a nice addition here."

LOL, thanks - I think! I really do have a contrarian streak and rarely follow lemmings off a cliff. However... I am struck with the current trend to shades of gray and I'm having a hard time with paint colors.

I am certain that people *do* blindly follow trends; otherwise the Kardashians would not be household names!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:25AM
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sundance- with regards to backlash against our parents style, I suppose it is possible.

My home was my parents home that they built in 1994 with custom built golden oak cabinets. There is also golden oak trim, solid core golden oak doors, pretty much if it is wood in this house, it is oak.

I ripped out the oak cabinets and my parents are actually reusing them in their new place because they both love oak. Pretty much everything my dad builds is out of oak because he just loves the grain pattern and the color. If the layout had been good for me I would have just stripped and stained them. I don't mind the grain, its just the color I don't like.

The curio cabinet that he built me when I was 12 is built out of oak but I begged (and got) a darker stain, walnut I think. The bed he built me when I was 15, is built out of oak but I once again asked for a darker stain, it matches my curio cabinet.

When my dad built a cradle for my kids, out of oak, I requested a cherry stain.

I don't think I was having backlash against my parents, it has just always been my style. Even as a child, I remember inheriting my great grandmothers chest of drawers which are a deep rich wood and it has always been my favorite piece of furniture. I got it when I was 5. If my house were to burn down tomorrow I would probably be seen trying to cart it out (after making sure my family is safe of course)

While I am sure some people are having a backlash against their parents style, I truly believe I am not one of them. I have ALWAYS had tastes that are almost exact opposites of my parents, my brother however has a similar style to them. Its just who we are. I'm 30 BTW to give you an age reference.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:51AM
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So to me, "golden oak" and "orange-y oak" are NOT the same thing. I've been in houses with both varieties. Our 2003-ish built house came with "golden oak" cabinets - it was one of just 5 choices that we had from the builder. They were fine for what they were - a "starter-type" new home. They wouldn't have been my choice if we would have had more appealing options, but they were certainly WAY better than what we had in the apartment that we were living in prior to buying the house. And even today, with all the talk about oak being out, I look at photos of them and say that all in all, they weren't really a bad looking cabinet. We put black appliances with them, and we had a cute-ish tiny kitchen back then.

Now, moving into our current home, which was built in the 1950's - the red oak hardwood floors were finished with the polyurethane that turned that much-less-than-appreciated orange oak. The floors were in amazingly wonderful shape when we pulled the avocado green carpet out from the house when we bought it...but they certainly needed redone. This color was vastly different from the honey oak cabinets we had...and it was much less palatable....we still have it in our 2nd floor, but luckily, the 1st floor is stained a much more pleasing color to us now.

Back on course, the OP's kitchen is a cute kitchen. One that I think can get some inexpensive to moderate cost updates and look like a lovely place. In addition to the other things that the OP mentioned about doing to update, I think that a beefier crown molding would benefit - the cabinets may not still reach the ceiling in the way that seems to be most favored now, but the heavier crown helps to make the inspiration kitchen look more upscale and "finished".

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:55AM
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I can't speak for blog land. And I'm older than that anyway (44). But I don't much care for oak. Just personal taste, I have always preferred pine or walnut or chestnut (swoon, only available in antiques) or well, any other wood. That's the grain. As far as the color goes, I dislike orange in general. It is my least favorite color. So the oak that has aged to an orange-ish shade has two marks against it for me.

Staining it covers only the color. Painting it also helps with the grain. I painted my builder's grade 1970s (the year was on a piece of paper we found when we lifted off the old countertop to replace it) cabinets in our first house in 2000. I went with white because it was a tiny kitchen and we bought new white appliances (to replace the black dishwasher, white refrigerator that was too big and partially blocked the back door of the house, and brown range). I felt like less contrast was better in that tiny space. Also, I like white cabinets. Did then and still do. :)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:01AM
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I have nice quality cathedral oak cabinets. I don't care for the cathedral arch, and don't care for the orange shade. I could have lived with the color and just polished and added hardware. Since we installed new floors throughout the house that are hickory provincial brown, which has gray undertones, the cabinets look blazing orange against the floor and I just couldn't stand it. We are planning an addition in ~5 years with a new open kitchen / dining / family room (floor is installed under cabinets). The current kitchen / dining will be a 2nd master. With the orange and the wondering if the 5 year plan would become the 10 year plan, I decided to update the cabinets. They are too good to throw away, we don't want a huge investment in a semi-temporary kitchen so I am saving the planet and the pocketbook by using what we have. We don't care for painted cabinets. I was also raised with the "paint covers bad materials" mindset, and my husband's dad is a woodworker so my husband definitely dislikes paint. We stripped and restained a brown gray which I really like with the oak grain. They aren't what I would choose if buying new, but I also would not choose shaker white doors... some white kitchens are beautiful, but I'm very tired of the same look everywhere. I like the variation of natural wood. I also try to think of function over form, and try to ask myself why I like something... do I really like it, or do I just like it because it's what I keep seeing?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:52AM
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I have to jump in here and say it is possible to work with what you have. We are finally finishing up the "project from heck" and not ready to post a reveal but so darn excited with my granite and bs we put with our 20 year old kraftmaid harvest oak cabinets hat have darkened a bit with time. It was VERY difficult to blend the old with the new but it is possible.
Some may remember my Updating Country Kitchen posts I started back in January when removing the wall paper. It became so stressful, I stopped posting while trying to figure out what to do. More than once I was sorry I even started the project.

I started out to get new laminate counters. That did not work due to our shady contractor so ended up with beautiful Absolute Cream granite from a reputable company. Complete story will follow with a reveal post when the kitchen is complete. Toe kick not on, need to decorate but thought it may be beneficial to see an update keeping the oak cabinets. Everyone who has seen this thinks they are new cabinets! Used "statuary bronze" hardware and looks so pretty.
Not sure how to post several pics so will do a couple of posts.
Blending the old and new is not recommended unless you have nerves of steel!!

This post was edited by tinker1121 on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 6:09

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:02AM
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Another shot. We did get all new black appliances and they are a beast to keep clean. They smear and paper towels will scratch the surface so only us microfiber clothes.

I will post a better reveal when it is complete as do have to officially thank all who attempted to assist.

Couldn't take all the country out of this kitchen but glammed it up a bit and just finished up yesterday.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:05AM
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Tinker, that rules! What a terrific job you have done and I look forward to your reveal thread as I remember all your posts. We are both now members of the ABT club! That would be: all but toekick!

You are going to really enjoy this fresh, updated gorgeous American Oak kitchen for many years.

And... you will bond with that sink just fine, and have fond memories of the blue one.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:27AM
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Thank you.
Lol, the infamous blue sink! I was heartsick for a couple of months after selling it on CL but loving this new Swanstone low divide sink and pull out faucet. Out with the old and in with the new. I think I have aged a couple of years for each month this took!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:21AM
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@tomatofreak - not a follower here either. The regional trend is a formal/colonial look and I like the exact opposite. Not that we're moving but if we were, our place would either be unsellable or would sell instantly because there are hardly no other modern houses in the area. If you want it, you have to build or rebuild it yourself it seems.

It's funny how our upbringings affect how we deal with the kitchens we have now. Where and when I grew up white cabinets were typically found in rentals that had been a rental for a while, and then in two houses I've lived in. In both they had been painted over (poorly) and were impossible to keep clean. I blame the type of paint more than anything. Since I have only had bad experiences with it I'm not such a huge fan, personally. Same sort of thing with white appliances - I'm used to the handles and plastic parts turning beige while the painted parts still looks new so I never was a fan of them.

My parent's place had cabinets from 1974 with oak doors that were not golden, contact paper on the inside, cabinet interiors painted black and all that stuff. Nothing in that kitchen had been changed in over 30 years by the time they got around to redoing it and it was in pretty bad shape. The cabinet doors still looked new though. It's probably a more forgiving finish.

Maybe that's why I have a personal bias towards wood grain showing on kitchen cabinets. I also think the super glossy, modern white cabinets are REALLY cool, but didn't go that route because it would have been crazy expensive for us to have used that finish.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:03AM
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Jerzeegirl "I don't think it's the oak itself or the color....I think it's because of the association with cheap and common builder's grade cabinets that were prevalent in the last century. "

Sundance: "many commented on here and on my x-post in the decor forum that perhaps the aversion to oak was many living with it in their parents' kitchens and wanting to get away from that."

Both of the above ... harvest oak, honey oak or golden oak was the ubiquitous builder solution so it isn't "aspirational decor". It's not old enough to be vintage, it's just outdated. And common.

Also, the stain and finish they used, when combined with the natural darkening of the oak, can turn overwhelmingly orangish over time. If you don't know how to deal with it in your color scheme, don't have the time and skill to strip and refinish, or just don't like the color, getting rid of it would be the reasonable thing to do.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:46AM
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The problem with oak is that it never went away. It has been used continuously since the past century to produce kitchen cabinets.

Do any of you remember the walnut furniture that was a staple of furniture in the 1960-70s? MCM gone awry. As a kid I had a bedroom full of it and I thought it was absolutely depressing and ugly. Like oak, also sporting a heavy grain that is difficult to mask with paint. Well guess what? It's totally back in style and what looked depressing to me in the 1970s now looks beautiful (my kitchen is done in walnut as is my soon to arrive vanity).

Had golden oak disappeared (like walnut did) maybe more people would be nostalgic for it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:03AM
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I just bought a used set of oak cabinets - "pink pickled oak" mentioned above. That *was* a trend - and I fully intend to paint them!

We have a couple of armoires that are the "pink pickled pine" that was the "southwestern" trend personified. The armoires are OK, and we need them because the bedroom has NO CLOSETS, but I need to strip and stain them , or paint them, because the color is so ugly.

I might be able to gel stain over the top of the pink pickes.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:12AM
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Here's my take on the honey oak thing - it was very very popular in the 1980's, seems like everyone put them in back then. And yes, some builders did put in cheap oak cabinets, and some with non wood fake oak veneers. Over the years, the top coat yellows and turned an orangey shade. But at the time they were installed, they were not orange, just a light wood which made for a light, bright and cheerful kitchen. Painted white is the big trend now, but I do wonder if in 20 yrs it will looked upon in the same way, simply because it is becoming so common. No matter what you choose, its eventually going to become dated. Well made oak cabinets are built to last, its a hard wood, not easily scratched or dented. I myself love the look of wood, I think the natural grain is beautiful. But I love the white kitchens too. By the way, tinker1121, I love your revamped kitchen! I remember your before "country kitchen" photos, the new look is beautiful. (I had a country kitchen myself!) It proves you can work around those honey oak cabinets with the right planning and materials. It looks fantastic! Well done!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Ugh. Pink pickled oak -- I remember those cabinets being popular for a few years in the late 80s, early 90s. I would take orangey oak over those any day! I think that the backlash to oak cabinetry has more to do with the generally poor quality of the majority of them. My own ~1987 oak cabinets were made of cheap MDF with laminate sides that aged to that terrible greenish hue. The drawer mechanisms were always breaking, and trying to screw in new glides would cause the MDF to disintegrate. Awful! The color itself wasn't my favorite, and was admittedly difficult to work around. The orangey hue actually works well with a 1970's earth-tone color scheme, avocado greens, harvest golds, browns -- think autumn leaves. But not everyone wants their kitchen to be reminiscent of the Brady Bunch!

I think that many people are gravitating to white because it makes changing decor easy -- anything goes with it. I lived with orange oak for 10 years in my current house, but I am looking forward to my new white cabinets, which I think will look more like they belong in my 1925 bungalow (in which the trim and cabinetry were originally painted white).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:24AM
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I love oak - and my Mom and Dad's house was loaded with it. They built their house in 1977, and the builder was also a cabinet maker. In addition to the kitchen, there are built-in drawers/cabinets in every bedroom; he built a sideboard in the dining room, and vanities in both bathrooms, a wet bar, and built-in shelves in the living room and family room. Everything was grain-matched.

Here are the built-ins in Mom and Dad's bedroom:

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Oak cabinets certainly do make more sense with the gold/avocado appliances. I actually have some nostalgia for that look :) . I actually got my neighbour to buy a (new) light gold AGA fridge to complement her (aging) maple Shaker cabinets - it looks amazing! A large block of black, white, or stainless would have disrupted the eye in her space.

One trend that works against wood cabinets in general, is that with the open concept kitchen trend many are extending wood (or wood-ish) floors into the kitchen. The look of wood cabinets *and* floors can be overwhelming and hard to pull off IMHO.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:28AM
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You are SO right! We went to great lengths to find a wood finish with enough contrast against the cabinets and it's also why the countertops and walls are white in there. I didn't want it to be overwhelming.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:15PM
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As a child of the 70's....I would LOVE to have an exact replica of the Brady Kitchen! (In the right house...like a California Contemporary). It would be the perfect 'warm fuzzies' kitchen for me! (Besides my white kitchen...lol)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Before I forget - again - jstell2008, I must say I love your cabinets *almost* as much as I adore that cat! Marmalade cats are a favorite of mine, but I don't have one currently. :-(

annkh, those built-ins are beautiful. I almost bought a house in a historic district once. It was built in the 50's and one of the features I loved most were all the built-ins in every bedroom. That, plus a completely original metal cabinet kitchen in perfect condition. I'm still nostalgic for that house.

Hey, lazygardens; I think we're one of a very few Southwesterners on here. Yep, I am thrilled that that design disaster seems to have gone away.

Great thread; I'm really enjoying it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 3:09PM
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Awesomeness Kompy :D .

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Having seen a lot of golden oak kitchens over the years, my impression is that it is a hard color to work with. The color is strong, and as a result it tends to fight against other colors. As a result, a lot of golden oak kitchens are all in various shades of neutrals. That can be a great look, but it has its own problems, especially if you don't have a good eye for the undertones in neutrals. If you pair the orangey golden oak with a pinky travertine and a gray with green undertones, it all goes south very quickly.

There was also the fact that raised panel golden oak cabinets, especially with the cathedral arch doors were EVERYWHERE for a really long time. And they tended to be associated with builder-grade kitchens, which brought in the snob factor.

One thing I didn't consciously process about the most common golden cabs until someone pointed it out is how shiny many of them are. Not exactly glossy, but almost.

I actually like natural oak cabinets, but I've never warmed up to the "honey" ones. I tend to like vivid colors, and it's hard to make them work with honey oak. The kitchen with the pops of turquoise works because the quantity of turquoise is small and it lets the orange be the boss (and also lightens everything with a dose of white). But if you tried to paint the walls turquoise (or a turquoise backsplash) I think it would just come off as clashing.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:22PM
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When I started my kitchen journey, I really loved the smoothness of maple. But, with no budget, I was picking up oak cabinets at reuse centers.

I spent a lot of time exploring grain fillers, because I knew I was going to paint. Not white, but I love painted kitchens.

I had this serious about face when I discovered how gorgeous weathered oak looked. That, and my success in recreating the look has me on a completely different course.

I've stripped (God bless Citristrip!) painted cabinets to weather them. I've taken the maple cabinets I was able to purchase occasionally, and weathered them. I'm now loving the different tones of the oak face frames on different banks of cabinets I've put together. I definitely stripped off the shine and used a matte varnish, but oh, the different oaks' textures are gorgeous.

Addressing the pink oak. Whitewashed, I think they called it. :)
I find if I use a gray stain on my raw oak, they turn pink. AWIK! However, a 2nd coat of my favorite Provincale or Jacobean brings them to that gorgeous grayed brown.

But, I only get that look with oak! Other woods are fine, but the grain of oak is incredible.

Oh - another thing I've seen done to give the ... inexpensive oak cabinets some heft, was to take a 1/4" (or whatever the depth of the back of the door inset is) piece of luan and adhere it to the back of the door. Another person just used heavier strips across the top and bottom of the back of the door's inset area. Really changed the entire feel of the cabinets!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:56PM
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Well, I am not sure now what color my cabinets are. They're supposed to be 'whitewashed' oak, but I thought they looked pinkish so I thought, OK, pickled oak. Not. They are much lighter than golden oak and have a warm tone. Gonna see if I can get a pic that is true to the color.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 1:47AM
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Sundance I keep looking at your kitchen and it is very nice. To paint those cabinets would be a shame. Maybe update by painting the wall color, new moulding above the cabinets, window treatment etc.

My kitchen was not "all that bad" but yet I envied those I saw online so decided to "just get new counters and a floor". The project was so stressful blending the old and the new, finding the right colors and materials, and worse yet a person we could trust to do the work. It cost wayyyy more than I had thought it would when going into it and at some points wished I had never started it.

To each his own but I would make some minor decorating updates and color changes for it to seem different to you and fresh and that may be all it needs.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 5:16AM
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Several posters have mentioned that paint should only be used to cover shoddy workmanship or materials. That has left me a little confused as to my cabinets. They are definitely the dreaded "builder grade" that everyone has mentioned. They feel like particle board with a veneer?? I don't know anything about cabinets.

So.... would my cabinets seem cheaper if I paint them or would paint help cover up less than quality materials? They are 7 years old and the previous owner seems to have kept them clean and treated them gently. I am now confident that I can make either look work. I feel like either direction I go, they will seem cheap or like I'm putting "lipstick on a pig". I don't want to be confused for an HGTVer who wants caviar on a ramen noodle budget!

I value all of your opinions and I've gotten a lot of good perspectives on "orange oak".

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 6:37PM
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I'm not a fan of cheap oak cabinets, but I'm even less of a fan of painted cheap oak cabinets. I don't like the look of the grain showing through the paint. I don't like that you go through all that work and it will probably chip in a year or two. I don't think the typical oak door style works with paint, especially when it's an arched door. I don't like that the bottom cabs are seldom drawers, so it looks dated even with the white paint. I don't like how the over-fridge cabinets are too shallow regardless of paint. I don't like when people put expensive counter tops on cheap painted oak cabinets and lock themselves in for another X number of years to a poor layout. I think that's what I like least of all.

I think painted white cabinets is trying to make it into something it's never going to be--a modern white Shaker kitchen. But if someone is so depressed by living with an oak kitchen, I'd say paint it.

You noticed I used a lot of "I"s. That's because it's just my opinion, which means nothing. You may not like cats and vanilla bean ice cream. I love both.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:52PM
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" The first being that the look was overdone and often poorly executed with low end materials"

I agree with this. also that those old oak cabs had a terrible shine to them. I don't think yours look like that.

your kitchen is very nice. I know that doesn't help you if you aren't happy with it tho. I do like your island and table and the 2 together. the light wood on them gives a nice balance. One thing I would do (this is just my taste) is dry brush or wipe down the turquoise with black to blend in with the appliances. It looks more aqua to me on my screen - tho, much like a turquoise stone (I'm in the SW too). When I was much younger I often wore things that were the aqua color. As I got older I went more toward darker turquoise and even teal colors. Maybe it has something to do with age? lol!

If you have any of that paint leftover, you could do a test piece of wood to see if you like it without ruining the actual island. Taste on things like this is so personal.

In my kitchen folder I have a pic of cabinets that are a darker turquoise and look to be wiped down in blk or walnut. I love the look! even thought about painting my cabs like that - until I realized that just moving and unpacking exhausted me. I've been 'moving' and unpacking for 2 yrs now and I'm still not done with that. I don't even care what my cabs look like anymore. They look like a white washed something - more a hint of grey or blue than pink. They might not even be wood - but the insides of them are really nice - lol!

Keep us posted on what you end up doing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Not everyone can afford to rip out and replace their old oak cabinets. I think here on GW, while offering great ideas and inspiration, some with large budgets to work with forget that others have limited means to work with and are therefore looking for cost effective solutions. Lots of people paint their oak cabinets, and if done right (proper prep,quality primer and paint) chipping should be minimal, I would hope. If its a DIY paint job, you have the extra paint for touch ups too. I wouldn't hire someone to paint my old cabinets, because that wouldn't be cost effective Sundance510's cabinets look pretty good from the photo, at least they are not cathedral doors. (Although I suspect these are due for a comeback soon) If she is willing to do the work involved in a paint job, I say go for it! I would not spend a lot on expensive counters though, since eventually she'll probably want to do a full out redo of the kitchen, so why spend a lot for the granite? Get a nice looking laminate, maybe an inexpensive subway tile for a backsplash and it will look great without breaking the bank.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 8:06AM
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I had golden oak builder grade cabinets and cheap oak furniture my whole life growing up and in all the places I lived at. I am tired of it.

My client has beautiful quality solid oak cabinets in her kitchen with granite counters and no soffit and her kitchen is so pretty. I think it depends on the quality of the cabinets, the color of them and the style of the cabinets to be beautiful or a reminder of the past that we are trying to update.

I had wanted cherry cabinets and when I found out the price of new cabinets, I wanted to paint my cabinets white. Then I started to see the cost involved due to my cabinets not being solid oak and having the sofit that I wanted to remove for an updated look and more storage. I am still in the middle of some major things going on in my life and then I am going to get back to my kitchen cabinets and floors and hope to get this done before the winter time.

If my cabinets were full overlay solid oak, I would refinish them, remove the soffit and put crown molding on top of them, change the counters and floors and since I have all stainless appliances, I would be happy with the look.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:46AM
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I have to flat out say I'd be offended if someone were to try to watch my (lack of) money for me. I don't think people "forget that others have limited means to work with and are therefore looking for cost effective solutions.

I also take offence and impatience by those who feel the need to disclaim or apologize for their make-overs. I refer to the thread about standing up and being proud of your work. I digress.

I also believe that no matter how much $$ you have leaking out your ears, no one wants to pay more than they need to, or feel they've been taken advantage of because someone, some workman, some contractor, some neighbor or some relative decides they know how much someone has to piss away. Yes, I chose that word on purpose.

I believe whole-heartedly that people here generously offer ideas. It's up to the reader to decide if it's within their budget, if they could make it work, if they could save for it, or if they just find the option butt-ugly or just not worth it.

We like what we like. We don't, what we don't. We're entitled to change our minds. We're entitled to choose vs. be told to make do.

Properly prepped cabinets don't chip unless you run something like hatchet, bicycle, or something with sharper corners into them. Normal usage will not chip a properly prepped, painted cabinet. And I'm here to tell you I am not easy on any I've painted.

Returning to the OP's thread title, I also find it interesting that these cabinets seem to illicit such strong feelings. They're just cabinets. If you can't live with them, do something about them, but they're just not worth the energy in the scope of all the things that could happen in your life.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:05AM
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"Not everyone can afford to rip out and replace their old oak cabinets. I think here on GW, while offering great ideas and inspiration, some with large budgets to work with forget that others have limited means to work with and are therefore looking for cost effective solutions."

I knew this argument would be coming, which is why I said it's only my opinion. It's my gut reaction when I see painted oak cabinets trying to be something they're not. I would keep the oak and work with it rather than paint it. Oak wood itself isn't cheap, but often the construction or layout of the kitchen makes it look cheap. Paint doesn't change that. "Cost effective solutions"--what problem does it solve? I know some people hate a dark kitchen, so painting solves that problem. I think a lot of the problem is it doesn't look like the kitchens you see on Houzz or in magazines. Then the paint goes on the oak, the granite and marble backsplashes go in, and the lantern lights with the dripping crystals get hung.

I had cheap oak cabinets for 10 years in this house and it never bothered me until I started reading on GW about "that ugly orange oak". I never saw it as orange, but after that, all I could see was orange.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:10AM
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Actually, may_flowers, I have no contention with your likes, dislikes and opinions at all.

I take issue with the idea that someone who may or may not have more money that the poster should temper their ideas or suggestions based upon what they assume the poster does or doesn't have.

That type of assumption by a replier would be presumptuous and rather condescending, just as an assumption by a poster that everyone has more (of anything) then they, insecure and unnecessary. Why should/would anyone give a darn? That element is not anyone else's business unless someone clearly states their budget and is looking for ideas therein.

It's give and take, IMHO. Give what you have in ideas, sources, eye candy, whatever, and take what speaks to you. Or what you can use. Or not.

Same thing with oak cabinets. If someone is so wrapped up in looking cheap, it's up to them to do something about it. Be it paint, tearing them out, or putting rose colored glasses on to change the color. Ideas are ideas.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Thank you CEFreeman for such a wonderful post that I must read often.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:48AM
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Often the first advice given here is to paint the oak. Not everyone has the ability to do the proper prep to make it look almost new. We should just remove the stigma of oak! Now I'm seeing where even oak floors are being labeled too yellow and orange.

This whole budget argument is just off-topic. Besides, we already had that argument when someone wanted to have a separate budget kitchen forum.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:56PM
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I definitely wasn't meaning to start an argument regarding luxury vs budget kitchens. While I certainly don't have a lot of money to work with, I am still looking for suggestions to making my kitchen the best it can be.

That being said, I know my kitchen with its current cabinets can never be anything more than builder grade particle board/plywood. I must be realistic. This is a starter home in a starter home neighborhood. Our house itself will never be more than that. At this price point (120k), I absolutely cannot justify a full kitchen reno, even if we could afford it. The kitchen is extremely functional, for which I am incredibly thankful.

I'm mainly trying to understand the strong reactions towards golden/orange oak. In about 5-7 years, we will sell the house... most likely to a newlywed couple or young family just like us. I don't want my kitchen to be a "deal-breaker" because of my orange oak. Now, don't get me wrong.... I DO NOT have a strong reaction toward the orange oak, which is why I want to understand it better. I would be happy with either look (painted vs not).

So, if you were shopping for a house at this price point, would you rather see builder grade orange oak or painted builder grade cabs? I know this is very personal and that everyone has their own opinions. Let me emphasize that these cabinets are in great shape, but are not high quality.

This post was edited by sundance510 on Sun, Jun 15, 14 at 13:43

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 1:40PM
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If I was shopping for an older house, the first thing I'd be looking for in the kitchen is *flooring* that I can live with. Having replaced kitchen flooring, I know from experience how much work it is to update that. Unfortunately, I think that flooring is one of the elements that date most quickly too. Also, functional layout (including how the kitchen connects with other spaces).

As a buyer, I'd have in mind that cabinets can be restained, painted, refaced. That's assuming the cabinets are in good condition obviously (clean, no water damage, doors/drawers function). Counters can be redone in a day. Appliances are a snap to replace and I was amazed at how cheap high end appliances are on Craigslist in my area.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 2:04PM
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We are part of a homeowner's association of over 500 homes, built between the late 1980s and 2000. They sell from the high $200s to $500,000. Our street has young professionals in the high tech industry or that big athletic shoe manufacturer--good incomes but also raising a family, so lots of expenses. When I see a house go on the market, I look them up on Redfin, I am amazed that no updates have been done, whether they've lived here five years or ten years. Everything is the original Home Depot contractor pack quality. ALL of the kitchens are oak. Houses sell in 30 days, at asking price. However, these homes will have to be remodeled at some point, so I'm wondering when that cycle will start. Ours and one other are the only homes on our street with new kitchens.

I know your husband wants a new sink. That's a function issue. I'd replace the countertop with laminate if it's necessary to get him his sink. Put your money into things that you'll take with you when you move in five years--quality furniture, a good mattress, great pots and pans, etc.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 2:12PM
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It's not always about what one can afford but what is worth putting into a house. We had cheap builder-grade golden oak cabinets in our house and they looked cheap in person, no trim, and ugly plasticy end pieces. We don't have any windows in our kitchen and it was like a cave. The layout is okay, though, and the value of the home doesn't support investing a lot of money in the kitchen so painting was our best option, especially since it allowed us to easily have trim and upper and lower lighting added.

I'm guessing this is an issue for quite a few people...they want to freshen or update their kitchen but the layout is okay and putting in new cabinets would make the kitchen a huge over improvement for the neighborhood. Sometimes you just need a change!

I've seen gorgeous, high-quality golden oak cabinets (my mom has some beautiful ones, the door style is a bit dated but they are very nice, solid cabinets) and you really can't compare mine to those.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:42PM
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I don't understand people who find great homes in great neighborhoods and consider not buying it because it has the wrong counter or the wrong color cabinets. All that can be changed.

For me, what is most important in a kitchen is layout, counter space and light. Actually light comes first. If it works well and gets plenty of natural light, I can put up with a lot of things, including orange oak cabinets. Actually, and no offense intended, I'd rather have cheap orange oak cabinets than cheap java gel-stained oak cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 4:41PM
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"In about 5-7 years, we will sell the house... most likely to a newlywed couple or young family just like us. I don't want my kitchen to be a "deal-breaker" because of my orange oak."

Trust me; that will not be a deal-breaker. If you paint them and potential buyers *hate* the color - or the fact that they're painted - you will get the same reaction as you would if your home-shoppers hated the oak. You can't guess - or divine - what people want or like.

Your best bet is to keep what you have in squeaky clean, 100% functioning order. People will walk in and they may say nothing, but they'll be thinking, "I can change that." or "First thing I'll do is tear out that kitchen and put in ____ (fill in the blank). or "Gee, I love that kitchen!"

"Put your money into things that you'll take with you when you move in five years--quality furniture, a good mattress, great pots and pans, etc."

I agree with may_flowers. That, or take a fabulous vacation!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:20PM
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You asked, "So, if you were shopping for a house at this price point, would you rather see builder grade orange oak or painted builder grade cabs? I know this is very personal and that everyone has their own opinions. Let me emphasize that these cabinets are in great shape, but are not high quality."

Due to the real estate market crash and all our money being tied up in a Las Vegas house that we couldn't sell when we moved, we were buying in a price point similar to what your house sells for. When we were looking, I knew that I did NOT want a kitchen that someone had just redid or even "spruced up" because it would make me feel bad about wanting to redo it. So, when we were looking, the overall aesthetics and footprint to the kitchen really didn't matter to me. We knew when we were looking that we would be redoing the kitchen as soon as we could...which turned out to be a few years later. We put almost NO money into the old kitchen if it couldn't/wouldn't be reused when we redid the kitchen. But, if we were planning on selling within 5 years, we would have probably wound up putting in an IKEA kitchen...this being said, our kitchen was out of the 1960's-early 70s. Complete with an avocado range and non-vented hood. So, our kitchen would have been a preventative toward many looking to buy here. If it would have had a kitchen like what you have, we wouldn't redo.

If there area a few functional things that you can do relatively inexpensively and painlessly to make it more enjoyable to you during your time there, I would do it. A way to determine if it's "worth it", take the cost of whatever it is and divide it by the number of years you believe you will have it around to enjoy it...is it worth that cost to have it?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Certainly didn't mean to light a fuse on the issue of what people can afford! The ideas on this website are invaluable. The only thing is, when someone asks about painting their cabinets and gets suggestions to replace the cabinets, counters, etc it may be that they can't afford to do that, hence the painting idea. I think the reason people paint them is that they are unhappy with their current look, but cannot replace them at present. I love the amazing kitchens I see on this site, but practically, I know that many of them are out of my reach. But I do get inspiration and ideas as to things I could do in my own home, with my budget. Paint is the cheapest option, but gives a big bang for the buck. The original post wanted to know about painting her cabinets. There are a lot of painted oak cabinets pictured on this site, might be a good idea to look at some of them to get an idea of what it will look like. Most of the photos I've seen here on this site look really good, it transforms the look of their kitchens. It is a lot of work, as is any DIY kitchen project.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 9:04PM
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I don't see where anyone suggested she get new cabinets. The only time I would and have advocated for replacing cabinets instead of painting is when someone wants to put $4000 granite on 25 year old cabinets. At some point the boxes have lived their useful life. Or sometimes there are major layout issues which granite will lock them into. Sundance herself mentioned new counters so hubby could go to a single bowl sink. For builder grade oak, laminate is an appropriate budget counter choice.

I think there's a difference in how a DIY painted cabinet looks in a photo versus how the finish looks in real life. If you ever see a close-up, you can still see the nicks in the wood, and the finish is seldom smooth. Most people won't go through proper prep for all those kitchen cabinets. The steps have been listed here a few times--wow! There is a post in Home Dec right now about painting vanities. When you go to the blog someone linked to with a gray-painted vanity, it looks good at first. But the finish isn't great in the close-up. Is it worth adding a granite or quartz countertop? (She didn't, but people do in their kitchens).

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Look at Tinker's cabinets. When she asked for help, no one suggested she replace them. We could see they were quality cabinets and well taken care of, even though they are 20 years old. So she put granite on them and they look great. Now imagine them with a DIY white paint job. Would her kitchen look as good as it does now?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:29PM
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I live in an area where many of the homes were built in the late 80s-early 90s. The kitchen cabinets are invariably oak.

My first kitchen, as a newlywed, had golden oak cathedral cabinets. They were builder-grade, tract home cabinets. The cabinets were in great shape. The drawers *really* sucked, but there weren't many of them. I had a white cast iron sink and white tile counters. I actually really liked to look of the counters but I couldn't wait for solid surface for ease of cleaning. The only thing I replaced/changed in that kitchen was the faucet. We lived there 4 years and sold it easily to another young couple. I think the house was built in the late 80s...

Our next house was a late 70s semi-custom with crappy oak cabinets. I ripped those babies out and put in cream cabinets so we wouldn't clash with the wood floors we ran everywhere, including the kitchen. I loved the tile counters in my hall bath so I meticulously painted those oak cabinets. I researched how to do it (on the painting forum, here) and I have not had a single chip, flake or blemish in 7 years of hard use (two rambunctious boys use that bathroom). I spent 40 hours prepping and painting those cabinets...one of the projects I'm most proud of. I painted them pale green on the outside and glossy pale yellow on the inside (it has Mexican painted flower tile. My husband called it Gepetto's workshop...)

I didn't hate my oak cabs in my first house, it was a starter home. I don't think you need to change them at all!!

I agree with a lot of other posters. Golden oak was/is everywhere and it can be hard to decorate around...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:27AM
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Proper prep is the key in any home improvement project. Its the most tedious part but will determine how good the finished job is. I agree that some paint jobs can look great from a distance, but close up you will see the little imperfections. But I do think, done well, it can look very good. Not as good as a factory finish, maybe, but still good. It is a lot of work though. I think Sundance510's cabinets look pretty good as they are, at least from her photo. It sounds like she wants white cabinets though. Tinker's kitchen looks fantastic, with her original oak cabinets so I do think you can work around them. However, if she really wants white, and is willing to do all the work involved, why not? But first, maybe get a sample door and prep and paint it, to see how much work is involved, and how good it looks. Its a big project. I know I myself have often jumped into a project without fully appreciating all the work involved to complete it. Honestly, though I don't think her kitchen is bad at all, yes, the honey oak is common and was definitely over done back in the day, but those cabinets still look good.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 6:41AM
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I just took an early morning look at your cabinets in the the first photo. Honestly, they aren't bad and with some updated hardware could serve you just fine for some time to come.

I know you didn't ask about the appliances, but I have to say. those big blocks of black are what I find really jarring. I know many people hate stainless appliances and love black, but I think they only emphasize the era of the oak cabinets. I think I'd want those gone before I considered doing anything to the cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:34AM
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I follow a blog of a really interesting lady out of MI, who sells a chalk paint product. It's very versatile, but the bottom line is it's not made for a factory finish. Someone wrote in and asked this:

"I have oak cabinets and donâÂÂt want to see any of the grain upon completion. I also donâÂÂt want to see any brush marks since I prefer professionally sprayed cabinet doors. Is there a way this can be accomplished?"

Now, IMHO, unless you want a somewhat imperfect finish, you'd better, probably go professional. I don't think many of us have the wherewithal to actually go through all the prep and grain filling steps. IOW, this chick is setting herself up for frustration with a one-coat product.

That said, it can be done.

Referring to the title of this post, I have no idea why there's such revulsion dedicated to oak, be it golden, yellowed varnished, or pickled. I think it's kind of a waste of energy to malign such a tried and true material. Oak is very dignified! Sure, it's been mistreated into some really weird finishes, but that's not the material's fault! :)

P.S. I beg to differ about the "whole budget topic" being off topic as it was introduced in reference to painting, replacing, living with -- or not -- oak cabinets. Now I do see where the topic has strayed from "the hate" to painting vs. not. As far as starting a separate forum? That's hardly the turn this thread has taken at all. Interestingly, may_flowers took hyny2's comment as reference to her post but I think may_flowers was the only one who did. T'wasn't 'bout may_flowers a'tall. Although I must say I find it interesting that may_flower's own view of her(?) cabinets, etc., was so influenced by online opinions -- or "the hate."

Who knows. I stand by my, "if you don't like it, change it." It's a shame if it becomes about what others think, vs. you, the one living with your own kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:57AM
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Why the hate? People have posted their reasons for the dislike of honey oak, and others are ok with it. My feeling is, if its my kitchen, and I like it, then who cares what other people think of it? What really matters is how you feel about your own kitchen. I personally think that Sundance's kitchen looks to be in good shape. I don't mind the black appliances either, I like black. True that you don't see too many new kitchens done in honey oak today, but back in the day, that was the most popular kitchen to have. Who knows, maybe in another 10 yrs everyone will want honey oak again, styles come and go.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Yes, the OP changed the topic from hating oak to whether she should paint them. Budget never entered the discussion until hpny thought my post of disliking most DIY painted cabinets meant I was advocating for her to break her budget and buy new cabinets. Instead, I was saying to embrace the oak and use appropriate finishes for the age and style of the cabinets.

Yes, it is interesting that I never noticed my oak cabinets being orange until it was mentioned on GW. I also never noticed my new vanity granite being "dog-barf patterned" until someone described some granites as such. We all have our likes and dislikes. I usually don't volunteer them unless the OP asks for opinions because it's bound to offend somebody.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Well, Sundance's original post said she has a love hate relationship with her cabinets. She also said she likes white cabinets, which is why I think the talk turned to painting them. She will find varying opinions as to what to do, embrace them as is, or paint them. I am still stuck on my indecision in regard to my honey oak bath cabinets, whether I should paint, gelstain, strip and restain, or leave them as is. Which is why they are still their original orangey color. I guess the questions for Sundance would be - Can you live with them as is? If you do decide to paint, are you able to do all the work involved in prepping and painting them? Will you be happy with the finished results? How much do you want to spend on it? Is hiring a good painter an option? On GW you will find beautiful examples of kitchens with oak cabinets painted, gel stained or left as is. Very creative and talented folks on this site to inspire you. Deciding which way to go is the hardest part sometimes.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:47AM
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hpny2, boy is that the truth. and maybe the greatest understatement in kitchen design! LOL!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:18PM
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My sister had her small-ish kitchen oak cabinets professionally painted (doors removed and sprayed offsite, bodies painted onsite) and it cost $1000. She is very happy with the results. But that's more than I paid for my cabinets (not including fronts though).

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Mick Mick

I don't have an issue with oak cabinets. I do believe they go better in some homes. I like your cabinets and if I had them I would work with them

Let me just say this. Who really cares what GW-at-large thinks about YOUR home? I doubt that this community represents the majority of home buyers or taste makers. I painted my PICKLED OAK cabinets white. Then I decided that I wanted new doors and replaced them with white shaker cabinet doors. I even got crown installed. The doors and cabinets were sprayed by my painter. I am pleased as punch with my kitchen. I receive a lot of compliments from everyone that stops by.

Can you see the grain on the boxes? Yes. Do I care? Not really. My thoughts on folks not liking it or thinking that I am trying pass off my cabinets as anything but oak? Well. If it is that serious that I have a GW-approved kitchen then I can set up a gofundme.com page for "sponsorship" for my kitchen remodel. Just say the word and it is done.

Ultimately we all have to live a life that pleases us. You won't get 100 percent agreement and that's ok. Do what makes you happy!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Divastyle, that's what I'm sayin'! All the darned time!
but I think I should have the gofundme page so I can entertain everyone with my thrift store finds.... LOL!

Feisty, while complimenting hero n her lovely cabinets, do you secretly think, "Man! What I could do with $1000!" I do sometimes, when I hear expenditures that I wouldn't choose. (How's that for PC?)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Y'all are cracking me up! Sorry I changed the topic at some point. The main point of this post was to delve into why some people have such a strong reaction to "orange" oak, using my kitchen as an example alongside another kitchen that *I* think looks quite nice. It is laughable to think that I need my kitchen to be GW approved or that it will ever be a "wow factor" in my house. My house didn't come with wow factors :)

I have always been partial to white kitchens. As I began to dip my toes into home design, I realized that orange oak was this horrible monstrosity that must be tended to immediately lest eyeballs are permanently damaged. Lo and behold, the house we bought has orange cabinets. But as I've lived with them, I don't find myself hating them (except those times I just wish I could live in a magazine... with a personal chef).

The main point of this thread was to investigate why some people have such a negative reaction to orange oak as well as the trend that demands everything be painted white. I am hoping some other young soul will stumble upon this thread when they feel like they're super weird and out of style for sort of liking the orange :) This thread has given me a lot of perspective about where I can make some little improvements to make my kitchen really cute.... not beautiful, but cute.... and I'm good with that. Thank you all!!!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:35PM
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CEFreeman - totally :) . She has a generous budget and *very* different priorities than me. Her home is looking good though - a little uptight and "decorated" for my tastes ;)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:40PM
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I get the sense that it's fair game to express our hatred toward orange oak cabinets but it's not okay to say we don't like painted oak cabinets. Linelle hates java gel-stained cabinets and even that got a pass. ;)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:59PM
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I think oak was just overdone in everything for over a decade and people (mainly those growing up in the 80's) grew really tired of seeing it. It was used for kitchen cabs, flooring, furniture, car panels, even my old washer had fake oak.

I like oak. I think it has a place. I have oak floors and would like oak floors again. It is a hard wood and the grain pattern hides minor flaws pretty well. I think it will eventually come back, because it is a good material, unlike certain color combinations. Now there is another material from that era that no matter how many time I read it is coming back, I will never have it in my house. It isn't a bad material, but everytime I see it, I think cheap builder grade crap. It is completely not logical.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 3:00PM
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Cori, is it the "b" word? My doorknobs are still that. The lights, knobs, and faucets are gone!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Get a lovely orange cat to go with those cabinets, like jstell2008. He compliments the cabinets beautifully!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Can I humbly suggest we retire this thread? Nothing has been left unsaid at least twice. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:03PM
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No. Sometimes they go on for three parts. We might try for four this time. If you've lost interest, there are other threads which might interest you.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Linelle hates java gel-stained cabinets and even that got a pass. ;)

may_flowers! Twist my words at your peril!! ;)

Did I say I hate java gel-stained cabinets? I said I preferred orange oak over java gel-stained orange oak. Now, I realize the thread title is about hate, but I didn't say I hated orange oak. So, no hate.

On the other hand, flesh-colored walls must die.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:22PM
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Oh sorry, Linelle! You never said hate.

Band-aid wall color. That's something I learned on the Home Decor forum. And don't use shutters unless they are wide enough to actually close over a window. That rule's been broken all over my neighborhood.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Band-aid is a better descriptor.

I don't do well with very dark things on the walls. Also, I had a bad experience with gel stain and it has clouded by objectivity.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Sundance, We bought a starter home in 1991 -- and stayed there for 21 years. I had great neighbors and a nice yard. The house was livable and the longer we stayed there the more we learned about how to make it work.

We updated the kitchen a few years ago and, like you, we knew we couldn't justify a full renovation with quality cabinets and stone counters. The home values in our much loved but not very pricey neighborhood wouldn't support it.

I thought about painting or staining our golden oak cabinets too. But, the truth is, I knew I was too lazy to really do it right.

Instead, I cleaned them and repaired the finish in a few places, then went looking for inspiration photos. That's when I hit the motherlode that was the Design Around This Keeping the Golden Oak challenge that I mentioned to you in your earlier thread.

I embraced the oak. We painted the walls a complimentary neutral (Glidden's natural linen color matched in Behr). My brother installed inexpensive Allure vinyl plank in, um, red oak, I think? We put in a new Formica countertop that kind of blended in with the cabinets and hammered some sheet copper for a backsplash. We introduced some pretty copper accessories too.

You know what? When we got a hankering to move to the lake a couple of years later and had to put our house up for sale -- that golden oak kitchen was actually a selling point! The new owners (a young couple like you) really like it and have no plans to change anything.

I am the queen of really awful photos. This one doesn't do that old kitchen justice.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:10PM
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edeevee, your oak kitchen looks very nice with the updated appliances and the complimentary backsplash and the new floors and counters. I can see why the new buyers liked it and it was an asset in selling your house. Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:37PM
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edeevee!!! I can't believe it!
I have chosen Glidden's 'Natural Linen' for my MB, along with Gldden 'Natural Wicker' for the MBR. I'll be matching with SW. I never thought anyone would know my colors! It took me weeks and all kinds of sample squares all over the place.

Interesting that these colors would complement the golden oak. I have to try it in my kitchen, where I swear the windows must have a blue tint. Everything turns turquoise. I'd love to use these colors there! It sure looks lovely in your kitchen. Your whole picture looks very rich!

I'm actually using Duron's 'Tinderbox' for my LR, with 'Natural Wicker' at 50% for the ceiling! My woodwork is going to be matched with BM's Cabinet Coat.

I know this is way off topic, but here: The cabinets I've stripped and weathered have a rich hue to them that I now think might look great with 'Natural Linen!' Yeah!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Thanks Lynn, and CEF - The Natural Linen was a great find! We chose it initially for the kitchen, because it went so well with the golden oak. But then we liked it so much that we used it in the living room, then the hall, then the PR. And when we needed a neutral for a spare bedroom, well, we already had a half gallon of Natural Linen leftover so ... When we were ready to put our house up for sale, I had to cover up the really sunny yellow in the MBR and the goofy caramel (with black cranes and bamboo) that my kids painted in the smallest BR. We looked at other colors but Natural Linen won again!

While our old house wasn't open concept, it was small and a lot of the rooms opened onto other spaces. The Natural Linen pulled everything together but each room looked a little different too, owing to the light in each room.

I loved it and I'm sure it's going to look great in your MB!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:34AM
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