Pickled Oak?

utherJuly 12, 2013

I always called my kitchen cabinets "white washed oak" but recently, my contractor called them pickled oak. Anyway, you can probably picture what I'm talking about...they are solid oak, but not stained the typical orangey-brown color. Instead, they are very light and whitish with a light grain showing through.

We're in the process of renovating the kitchen and I'm wondering if these pickled/white washed oak cabinets can be saved. They were custom built and all wood. They are quite simple (nothing to make them look dated) except the knobs which are easily replaced.

I'm open to painting or staining ideas to freshen them up. I'm also open to hearing ways that they might look cool when left as-is and surrounded by new flooring and counters. Please let me know your ideas. Thanks!

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I quite like grey oak kitchens and your finish is a bit like it. Here is one of my fave light oak kitchens I do not know where I found it for it has been in my DAT folder for a while, but if you google grey oak cabinets there are a bunch of options.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:17PM
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Pickled oak may be old to you but it's coming back and the look is great.

If I had those cabinets, I'd think about updating hardware, surfaces, appliances and wall color -- the link has some ideas I love.

Here is a link that might be useful: Limed Oak

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Ikea has a new oak kitchen in Europe.

You could try to go more greyish like the link rococogurl posted.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 6:33PM
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I think yours are something I had way back when....they are sort of pink-ish, yes?

Today we are seeing a lot of gray washed oak. Probably not too difficult to transform yours if you like that look. There are tons of DIY tutorials on the web.

You can always use a gel stain to darken them if you wanted to go that route too.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 6:46PM
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I love the look of the gray washed oak! My countertops will be marble (or a marble look-alike) and I think the gray oak would be a nice partner. I think I may ask my contractor to do this for me... would any of you recommend a certain product I should request he use?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:57PM
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My g/f has white oak floors, which looks same. There is a granite I like that looks like marble, all white with grey streaks. I really like it, and it matches your cabinets better. ARE YOU PLANNING TO put on SS hardware?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:10PM
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One problem is the op appears to have red oak, and the grey look is usually achieved with white oak, ....can be a bit more challenging.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Turning what you have into "limed" oak can be done, but it won't be done by the usual contractor, i.e. Cheap Charlie. You need a specialty paint finish artisan or cabinet maker. If those are factory finished cabinets, then getting the finish off to be able to change them will be expensive. It's tough and darn near impossible to do without a dip tank of very noxious chemicals.

Painting them a light gray would be easier (and cheaper) to do than attempting to get them the limewashed oak color. Because even if you can get that top coat off, red oak is tricky to remove the red undertones that give it that pinky look that gives everyone that visceral backlash against the 80's. Sometimes bleaching can work. Sometimes using a greener tinted wash can work. It depends on the skill of the artist involved. It takes time. Time is money.

Sometimes "saving" what's there is a lot more expensive than donating it and replacing it with something that suits your taste better.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:10AM
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I'm open to painting them gray. Do you think it would look nice to use a lighter gray and have some of the grain show through? I also like the sound of a hint of green in the gray. Then adding oil rubbed bronze or SS pulls.

Also, they were built by a local carpenter and were not factory finished.

Thanks again for all the good information and suggestions.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:15AM
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I had the exact finish in our first house. Are both sides of the door finished? I would experiment with different techniques on the inside of a door. I Googled and easily found instructions . You might want to consider adding some green to your finish as it should help counteract the pink of the oak.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to gray wash

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:07PM
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That link was very helpful deee! Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 6:21PM
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