Do these cabinets look dated?

citycolorAugust 31, 2012

I am a long time lurker and a first time poster! We moved into a new home a little less than 2 months back.

A lot of things in our new home work wonderfully for us except the fact that the family room/kitchen area gets almost no natural light! This completely depresses me and we are trying to do what we can to get in more natural light.

We put a solatube in the kitchen and are planning to put interior clerestory windows between the formal living and family room to get in more natural light. I hope that works!

Meanwhile our kitchen cabs are cherry (I think?) in an orangy darkish shade. We intend to change out the hardware to brushed nickle and will change all the lighting too.

The question is should we paint it? Honestly my dream kitchen has stained wood but in a modern way with modern cabs. Although I do love many white kitchens very rarely does one make my heart skip a beat.

I do know tho that my cabs will never look like the stained wood cabs that I so love and that a white or cream kitchen will completely open up the space! Also I don't really hate these but they do feel dark sometimes.

My question to you all is

Do you think these cabinets look really dated? Do they NEED to be changed? Will more modern hardware make a difference?

The part I really dislike about the set up now is the front of the island(not really an island..what is it called?) that has those ugly ugly streaks! I was wondering if it will look okay if I leave the cabinets as is and only paint this portion either white to match the trim or the wall color?

Your thoughts are so very appreciated.

P.S. These pics were taken before we moved in by someone else. I know it looks nice and bright here but for some reason it really doesn't in person!!

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Another picture...sorry I couldn't figure out how to add more than one in one message!!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 2:01AM
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In my opinion, no, the cabinets are not out of style, but the hardware and light fixtures are. That is not a reason to change them of itself, because people like all different styles and there is nothing wrong with this one; but if you want a change, then those would be what I would start with. But do bear in mind that I almost never want to change something just because it isn't being sold to many people right now. :)

As for cabinets, I wouldn't do anything until you have lived there for several months and decided how you like the layout. You might find that you don't like the cooktop on the peninsula (within reach of any children sitting there) and that you want a vent hood -- or it might suit you fine the way it is.

Since your wall o'wood is on a peninsula (connected to the other cabinets) and not an island, I do think it might look odd painted a different color than the cabinets. Hard for me to call that one. Maybe try some nice distracting stools or a built-in bookcase (if no room for stools) in front of it?

Are your cabinets oak? The end panel that I can see is, so I presume they all are though I can't tell for sure in the photos. Plain sawn oak is definitely out of trend in many parts of the country so you might get some responses that yes, your cabinets are out of style. I consider wood species trends to be cyclical so I personally wouldn't worry about that if they are in good condition and the layout is working well for you. I will link the Design thread for oak cabinets for you, in case you are interested in some suggestions for decorating around them and making them look great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Design Around: Keeping the Golden Oak

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 2:31AM
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Oops, I see now that you said your cabinets were cherry. I am wrong about that end panel, then. Don't mind me, it's late, I'll go quietly away now. :) (Cherry is very much in style right now from what I can tell. It's always pretty, anyway, whether it's "in" or not.)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 2:35AM
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If you don't love a white kitchen, I don't know that you should paint the cabinets.It's a ton of work! I think they look really nice. I love how spacious your kitchen is. Changing the hardware and lighting will make a big difference. So would adding a backsplash. I think it's ok to paint the back of your peninsula, even it you leave the cabinets as it. I'd go with wall color.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 7:31AM
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I think those cabinets look nice! There are certainly a lot of them.
You should talk to the electrician about some can lights to replace the fluorescent square. That will really help.

The drawer under the oven looks like the house was not dog- proofed, LOL.

Nice looking house!


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:05AM
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The only thing I would change is the light fixtures, especially the main ceiling fixture, and even add more light fixtures in the kitchen space. More light will brighten things up.

I'm fine with the hardware... which is a personal preference thing.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I think you've got a great kitchen!

I second the idea of different hardware and definitely a change in lighting.

I think I see where all that light came from in the photo. Flashes, that big slider, and that nice window over the sink. But, for some that's not enough. I like light, but hate the sun. Get that. Anyway. Where is your solatube? What's it over?

At first glance, I'd paint the back of the peninsula. However, that picture from the inside of it is really nice. I like those cabinets a lot.

What's your flooring?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:19AM
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I like your cabinets and would keep them. Is there undercabinet lighting? If not add it.

For the peninsula wall, Could you paint some paneling and attach it to see how it would look first?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Here's what I think I would do. Most of it has already been suggested.

1. Consider new hardware. Oil rubbed bronze would be a good accent.
2. New Lighting:
A. Nice pendants over the island that match/echo the new pulls and knobs.
B. Under cabinet lights.
C. light or lights over the sink. Maybe sconces mounted on the sides of the cabinets (not sure this could work)--or a pendant that continues the ORB theme.
3. A hood over the cooktop is a necessity unless you cook very little.

If it were mine, and if the overhang is wide enough (doesn't look as if it is, unfortunately), the back of the peninsula would become a bookshelf.

Here's a quick PS mockup with the back of the peninsula painted wall color. Might help you evaluate whether or not to paint.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:25AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Part of your peninsula looks as if it was an add-on at a later date, with a different material for backing (or at least a different stain.) Painting would unify the appearance, or as debrak suggests, a new layer of paneling would do the same.

The cherry is very nice! Several GW members have gel-stained wood cabinets to darken the color, and have been happy with the results. Maybe someone will share some advice, but in the meantime I'll post a link to a google search:

Here is a link that might be useful: gardenweb gel stain search

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:36AM
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I agree that your cabinets are not dated. I would work with what you have. I do agree that your light fixtures are dated and would consult with an electrician to add more recess lighting and probably some pendants.
I think a beadboard back on the side of the peninsula along with beadboard over the desk area would add a lot.
I also think you should do a nice creamy white subway backsplash and a pretty floral window treatment to add some color. Also, the hardware change would be a good idea too. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I agree with Bellsmom, I like your cabinets, but I would do something across the back of the peninsula. Either shelves, barstools, or even beadboard paneling. Something to cover those stripes. What bothers me about that back is not only the stripes, but the end is darker.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Agree with the others that lights and hardware are a good place to start. Painting the back wall of the peninsula looks good in Bellsmom's mock-up. But that won't lighten things up much while you are actually in the kitchen... which is part of the problem if I am understanding correctly. Another thing to consider would be to remove the upper cabs on the wall with the window and slider. I think that will open things up a lot. Not only will you get more light but you will remove some dark. You could even expand the window that way. The countertop is also not a light one and would probably be the last thing I would consider changing due to the cost. Oh, and I don't think the cabs look dated. They are a pretty cherry. :)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Could you remove the soffit above the window? I see some of your soffit holds heating or lighting stuff. If there is nothing in that area your could remove it and put in a bigger window. Just removing it will make a difference.

Sometimes I find a room will look blah, dreary, dark, etc. but what it really needs is a pop of color. Without changing anything else sometimes just adding some color changes the feel of the room.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Keep the cabinets. Change the lighting. I would change the granite, too busy and looks too 90s add a backsplash. If you haven't installed the Solatube, look into installing a large skylight. Sola tubes are of limited light value because they are narrow and provide no light bounce.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I am so relieved that you don't think it is dated..have been having sleeping nights going back and forth about the painting in my mind.

I must add that the kitchen cabinets are of great quality and since this was a custom house 30 years ago there are some really nice details there. Like a built in spice rack, pantry drawers and a bread box.

The reason why this part of the house gets no light is because of a porch off the sliding doors and the neighbor's huge trees right off that. Our yard is to the side.
So even tho it faces the East we get absolutely no light!! I think those pictures were taken in spring so the lack of leaves helped and also for some reason the room photographs better but believe me when I say it is daaarkkk!
As you can see in the picture I took this morning at 10.30am the light stops at the porch and nothing enters the room.

The Solatube replaces the square light fixture and after about 10.30am (when the sun hits that part of the roof after climbing those large trees) I can finally walk around in the kitchen without turning on the lights. I still need to turn the lights in the breakfast area and the family area to just sit around.

Putting up bead board of shelving at the back of the peninsula is a fabulous idea. Maybe we should try that.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Your cabinets are dated if you are looking for a more comtemporary style such as slab or frameless.
Even for traditional- the rails and stiles are too thin. Raised panel with thin rails is poor design.
They also don't work for a Shaker look.
The wood and the grain color variation is beautiful and hasn't darkened from UV exposure as cherry will do if exposed to sunlight. You can see why cherry is a premium wood choice when compared to flat cut red oak, maple or alder.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:55AM
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A raised panel door with a solid wood insert is usually a flat panel on the reverse. A local cabinetmaker could take apart one rail or cut or route the inside of the rails and stiles along the inside edge that retains the panel. Then and flip the panel over to give you a flat panel exterior. You could then add some detail and extend the width of the exterior rails and stiles with cherry moulding applied to the inner edge of the rails and stiles. Because of UV exposure you may have to restain and refinish.

Alternatively a place like Walzcraft could make replacements. The site is good for design ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Walzcraft doors

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Might sound crazy but.... do those trees need to be trimmed or thinned out? Depending on the situation maybe you could offer to pay to have a professional trim or weed out the trees.

Also how about skylights in the enclosed porch? or do you even want or need that porch? You could turn it into a deck with a retractable awning.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:20AM
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"Do you think these cabinets look really dated?"

"Do they NEED to be changed?"
No, they can be fixed.

"Will more modern hardware make a difference?"
Not enough of a difference to make you like your kitchen.

"I was wondering if it will look okay if I leave the cabinets as is and only paint [the peninsula] either white to match the trim or the wall color?"
Painting a peninsula on one side the same color as the trim might look a bit odd unless you also paint the wall of the sliding doors the same color as well. You could use the existing wall color. I don't think you actually like the existing wall color - just a guess.

You already have a kitchen you don't like. Why not show us a kitchen of your dreams, so we can help you get there if possible?

Your kitchen is dark because you have a sunroom in front of it cutting off all of the sunshine (see your own image 2). If you place skylights in the roof of the sunroom just above the sliding doors, you'll get a lot more light than a sola tube can give you. Changing the wall paint to a more reflective color (like Ralph Lauren Petticoat White below) will help that light fill your space, as will adding a light reflecting backsplash, like the Mother of Pearl tile, below.

Your kitchen has great bones and raw material, and with a few small changes, can go from ugly duckling to swan. If you love stain, stain them! northcarolina thought your cabinets were oak. I'm pretty sure they are too, with a stain like the minwax cherry below, possibly with cherry doors that were added in a subsequent renovation. The only reason that matters is that different kinds of wood take stain differently.

Even though you want to lighten the room, I would choose a darker, cooler tone for the cabinets to better match you granite, and bring out the creams and browns (your current stain makes your stone look green) like walnut below. If the doors are actually cherry, you might want to go with a stain like Rosewood to bring pink undertones to the oak boxes. These are Minwax Gel Stain colors:
Walnut Rosewood

It would be helpful to have a closeup image of your granite, cabinets, and wall paint to choose the right stain (and wall paint). My guess is that it's Delicatus Cream, or something similar.

These types of choices, put together, would look like the image below. If that's not your dream, post a picture of what is. It will be beautiful in the end.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:24AM
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I agree with the earlier posts. I think the cabinets are nice. For now it is fine.
I would change out the light fixtures , maybe some recessed lighting and an accent pendant(s) over the peninsula. You could also change out the cabinet hardware.
Maybe once you have lived there for a bit you can consider changing the countertops, do a backsplash, different paint color, change out the flooring and appliances. I would take your time though because ideas evolve and I found what we initially thought we would do has changed drastically now that we are renovating our kitchen 10 years later.

It is a very spacious kitchen with tons of storage space!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:59AM
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I agree with all the previous posters. I don't think it is dated, in fact, it looks like a nice transitional kitchen as far as styles go. I would do the hardware which is cheap (relative to other changes, paint or reface the back of the raised countertop, and switch out a couple of light fixtures. If you like the countertop, I would also add a tile backsplash.

I think I would also remove, or repurpose the side office desk space. IMO that is the only thing that dates the kitchen since they are not as popular right now. You could repurpose it into a buffet, however, since it looks like it is next to the eat-in area (sample picture attached.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 12:43PM
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The frig wall is dated-is that large fridge possibly quite old in fact? if so,and time to replace it, I'd go for a nice french door/bottom freezer model. And get the built in look along with it-side panels/upper cab/graduated depth cabinet to the left-and agree-remove desk the basement?? Maybe you could remove the soffitt on the fridge wall and do more interesting/contrasting cabinet up to ceiling as in above pic...a good space to be creative. Does a dining table get placed adjacent to the peninsula under the brass fixture? You could coordinate a table/chair/new fixture with cabinets with more character on desk/fridge wall then.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 12:59PM
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I too think your cabinets are fine. The backing on the peninsula - is that like panelling? If so, if you paint then it will now look like painted panelling. If you don;t like the look what about putting another panel over the current one, or putting a sheet of gyprock on top and then painting. Completely smooth out that wall.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:10PM
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No new ideas here, but an image for you to consider.

Consider putting in the biggest window you can over the sink. Maybe a garden window?

What if you remove the little backsplash of granite, put in something like what EAM44 suggested. A backsplash with some reflective shine to it. Then pendants, again with some reflective shine.
I crudely drew in new pulls also. They don't need to be expensive ones, as senator13 said.

Lighting, as you said, is important. Maybe a ceiling fixture you like, more can lights, and 2 or 3 pendants on the island.

Not necessarily lots of money, and.....

FYI: The only thing I lightened in this image compared to your original is the ceiling.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:17PM
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I totally agree with the above posters who said to live with the house before making any major changes. We made some changes before moving in this house and found that some of them didn't work at all, and now after 15 years we can finally afford to change it back.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:25PM
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dan1888, wow you are right...the cabinets look sleek and nice on the back but I think that project is beyond our budget at this point! The cabinets are made by QuakerMaid which I believe was pretty good 30 years back.

debrak_2008, unfortunately none of those trees are ours and I don't think my neighbors would ever want to do anything to them since they offer a ton of privacy to their house.

EAM44, what great ideas! I understand it will never look truly modern but I just wanted to know if they look awful I guess! I love the back splash you suggested.
In the future we plan to extend the house out to the porch area. So till then I am not sure we want to touch that part of the house. I do think that skylights will certainly help tho...just wondering if they will make the space very cold during the winter(since we are planning to do the extension).
I have close up pictures of the granite, cabinet and the inside, trying to figure out how to post more than one picture in a message.
meanwhile here are some kitchens that I do like..
These not too much

Sorry about the links..will figure this picture thing out soon.

You are right..I don't like the wall color. The kitchen right now has no personality. I have never decorated a an open floor plan so I am unsure about where to start! We do have a new breakfast area set since our dining room table is too large for the space.
This is what we got
I know, probably a crazy choice for this space but it actually doesn't look too bad!

We are planning on changing the flooring soon, to a lighter wood than the cabinet color.

senator13 wow, nice transformation! I am not sure my DIY skills are that good! Nice idea tho, will keep it in mind.

herbflavor, we do have a new fridge, a fantastic 4 door! Love it! I want the cabinet pulls to mimic the door handle.
I could also maybe remove the soffit and add a glass window there?
blfenton, no it isn't paneling, just looks like really ugly wood?

Bellsmom, I do like the lighting options!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:08PM
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This is how they look inside.
How can I tell if they are oak or cherry? The wood is smooth to the touch.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:11PM
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The granite...sorry about the multiple posts!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:12PM
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That grain is definitely NOT oak. I would guess cherry, but I'm not a wood expert who can tell cherry from some other similarly grained woods.

I agree about modifying the desk area. We use ours for recycling bins (PO put in an upgraded kitchen that I like, but I hate at the same time).

I like your cabinets and would not change them. With the money you "save" by keeping them, you can put hardwood floors in the room if you wanted to (:

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Beautiful cabinets. Do not change would need $30 grand to buy new ones. Instead, I agree with everyone else to:

a. new an electrician
b. new backsplash
c. maybe new floor? I'm just not a fan of it...
d. new hardware for the cabinets

I think your cabinets are beautiful. Spend 3-5 thousand on all of these things, and you will have a great "new" kitchen.

P.S. Save the can get a bs to match that....maybe creamy subway tiles or something...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Your cabinets are beautiful! I love the stain. They look like cherry or maybe alder. I agree that you should live with them for a while before changing them. With a few simple changes your kitchen will be a knock out. It is a great space.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:16PM
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They do look like cherry from the inside. The color though, I wouldn't wait for it to darken on its own, but if you do eventually get more sunlight in the kitchen, it could happen. That's still not going to help you with the peninsula.

Based on all the images you chose, you like more of a russet stain. How do you feel about this color with your granite?

Cabot Red Chestnut

Ralph Lauren Petticoat White is a great choice for your wall color with the granite - that is much prettier well lit and closeup. For a backsplash, you might want something reflective but a little simpler. Glass is great with a knockout stone counter top, and this mosaic is on sale.

Bellesmom's under cabinet lighting and pendants are a great idea. You'll have no problem with the skylights, but if you are planning further renovations and want to wait, lighting can help a lot.

Here's what it all looks like together. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glass Mosaic

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I don't think they look dated. I'd change the light fixture and the hardware. Personally I don't like gold tone hardware so I'd go with something that matched the appliances and faucet.

Even if the granite is not your favorite it goes well with your cab color and is neutral enough to go with many other colors you might have in your furniture or choose for your walls and window treatments. Not worth the expense to change that if you're eventually going to change your cabs. Looks like a nice layout and if the cabs are in good shape maybe you can even update with new doors and refacing. Could probably find panels to match the doors you have if you wanted to stain to match and add to the back of your peninsula. You could dry wall over it to match your walls, but since the wood of your kitchen extends beyond the peninsula maybe you could try restaining it in the same color to get rid of the stripes? With a table there is it even that noticable?? Like others said, live with it for awhile, see what works and save the big ticket items for your future dream kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Just looked at the links to the kitchens you like. All nice, but most look to be the same color or close to what you already have so I definitely wouldn't change the color. Also the styles are more traditional than contemporary so with that in mind i think you'll notice a big difference just by changing the lighting, hardware, paint. Baby steps. Nice table too! Please keep us posted on your updates!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:45PM
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No no, definitely not oak, I was thrown off by the grain pattern I could see in that one photo but I think I need to quit posting in the middle of the night. :) I am no expert but cherry looks like a very good guess to me. The wood is beautiful up close. I wouldn't touch it.

You don't "need" a tile backsplash since you already have the granite one. That's a style decision. Tile all the way to the counter is the current trend, so it's up to you whether you want to do that or not. There is no right or wrong there. If you want to lose the short backsplash, just be aware that it might be covering gaps between the countertop and the wall.

We put in a 14" tube skylight when we renovated our kitchen a few months ago. It does bring in a LOT of light. I can't say that the big bright circle on the ceiling is the most attractive thing I've ever seen, but our kitchen didn't get any direct natural light before so to me it was worth it.

Congratulations on your new house -- you do have a nice kitchen!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I haven't read every bit of the comments. I hope I am not repeating. Your cabinets are fine. Don't try to change the color. They have a good finish and I wouldn't ruin it. Lighting is most important. Can you pop in a bigger window or even take out some of the uppers and put in a really big window? Can you box in the fridge by taking out the cabs to the left, and moving the fridge into that space and putting the cabs tothe right of the fridge? You will need end panels, but they could be painted to match the paint on the peninsula. Definitely change out the knobs and maybe a bright rug. Skylights or light tubes would be great.
good luck in your new house.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:55PM
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QuakerMaid is a good company, that was thriving, didn't, was purchased, and is making cabinets today.

If the wood weren't smooth, you'd have a huge mess. It would probably be smooth with grease. That means nothing.

I think you need to slow down.
Take a breath. Live with stuff.
Live with your solatube. Before you build out onto the porch, consider the cave you already have. Blocking those windows will make it even darker.

Just take a breath.
You have a beautiful, well-made kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:24PM
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EngineerChic, MrsHanson yes new floors are in the plan!:)

island, you are right, the stripes are not as noticeable with the table..I just thought painting it the wall color might make the table more visible too.

EngineerChic, the thing is my kids actually use the desk area!! My son has a small table next to it and my daughter uses this are for her work. There are also built in file cabinets there so I think we might just use those as is for now.

EAM44, so this is something I found online about the paint color you suggested.
Chatelaine also offers up some categories and white paints that fall within them:
Pure (No visible tints): Behr Ultra Pure White(1850), Benjamin Moore Ultra White(CC-10), Para White(P1881-0)
Red (Flushed and warm. May look pinkish or even peachy, especially if yellow has also been added.): Ralph Lauren Petticoat White(WW06), Behr Billowy Clouds(W-B-100), Para Antique Linen(P1827-4)
Yellow (Creamy and warm. Some might have a touch of spring green, which is evidence of a blue tint.): Farrow & Ball Pointing(2003), Para Bleach Bone(P1883-4), Benjamin Moore Flurry(CC-100)
Blue (Cool, with touches of grey, blue or even a bit of turquoise [if yellow has been added, too] or purple [if there's any red in there]): Sico Beluga Whale(6209-11), Ralph Lauren Cape Blanco(SS13), Para Spirit White(P1883-4)

I have always wondered how one should choose a shade of color. I have never painted a dark area before. I would be very interested to know why you think this is the right one?I am sure it will help me in other areas too.

northcarolina, yes the solatube really helps with the light issue in the kitchen area after about 11am when the sun hits that part of the roof. I do wish we had done a skylight instead tho since I would have also had a sense of openness. We were worried about heat transfer especially in the winter months and also of course leaking. If I had to do it again tho I would go for a skylight.
CEFreeman, LOL, yes I do need to breath. It might help me go to bed before 2 every night! We need to build out to the porch also because part of it will become my studio, that was something we factored in while we bought this house. Perhaps we might think about skylights there then...lets see!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 1:20AM
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Gosh, I don't know if this is off topic but I have been trying to find some pendant lighting for the peninsula and also a chandelier for the breakfast area. We already have a fan in the family area which is nickle and brown.

I am assuming that the breakfast area chandelier should also be of the same finish since the cabinet hardware is mostly going to be brushed nickle( we will be trying out nickle and ORB tomorrow).

My usual decor aesthetic is actually somewhat rustic so my lighting etc. for the formal living and dining is going to be ORB. Is this okay? You cannot see the family and kitchen from the formal areas of the home since they are parallel to each other but will be it super crazy to do something so different in two part of the house? Like a split personality?

If we decide to go with ORB for the cabinets then I would love to get an ORB chandelier for the breakfast area since I think it would go with the rustic breakfast set (that I linked earlier) better. In that case would it look odd with the fan considering that you can see it all in a row?

I cannot consider changing the fan since we love it and it took my husband several hours to hang it!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 2:50AM
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citycolor - Congratulations on your new home! I think the kitchen looks like a great space.

You mention not liking the peninsula paneling. I wouldn't paint it. I agree with other posters about how different it will look with the right stools lined up all along. I should think these will really hide the paneling.

Also - you could also replace the panel(s) on the far left and color match the rest of the front.

Buy the stools first and live with them for a while! This was the advice we received when I was considering painting my wood island and we haven't painted yet... Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:15AM
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I think your space is a good starting point, but has the blahs.

The carpeting and flooring are soo close to the paint color, that with the neutral cabinets and low lighting it lacks that Zing Factor!

I think adding more sparkle as several other posters suggested with backsplash, hardware, and lighting, along with a more saturated (yes darker) paint color would do wonders. Wythe blue or similar value of "color depth" comes to mind as the easiest way to update and tie into the flooring, cabinets as is, and countertops.

Yes to the larger window if you can. If the soffit over the outside wall cabinets is empty, you also could replace it eventually with transom look windows to add more light.

I like the idea of changing the desk to a buffet and painting this out as posted earlier. Also like the breadboard. ( or mitered panels would be another option) painted on the back of the peninsula.


You want zing to make your heart sing!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:28AM
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I think there was one very limiting decision made at the outset to use a lot of 4' wide cabinet boxes, and now you are stuck with the 2' wide doors everywhere. That was a bad call, but nothing you can do about it but suffer through.
And yes, that's cherry in the close-ups.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:35AM
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I want to echo CEFreeman's comment:

1. Take a deep breath.
The cabs are beautiful. Leave them alone.
I, like several others, urge you NOT to change them until you have made other changes first.
Ponder your new studio.
Have a glass of wine.

2. Fix the lighting. Ceiling lights, pendants, under cabinets. You need all three.
Spin a couple of times with delight at the change.
Imagine yourself in your studio.
Have another glass of wine.

3. Great idea to bring home some ORB and some nickle pulls and try out both. I bet either will go well with the fan you linked since the fan blades are dark.
Sit, sigh, and sip another glass of wine.
Admire that the kitchen grows more and more ''yours''

4. Live with it this way for a while as you look at backsplash ideas. I would wait on the wood floor. ANY WOOD FLOOR WILL DARKEN THE KITCHEN. Get more light in there before you make your choice. I put the lightest wood floor I could find in the mockup below. Some kind of natural maple could be lovely.

5. I put this last but I'd be tempted to do it sooner. Enlarge the window. Do look at garden windows. I don't think they let in more light, but they seem to do so. As I did in the second mockup above, I would lengthen the window down to counter level and widen it to the cabinets.
I can't quite see a transom kind of window above the existing window, but I CAN imagine the window I crudely sketched below recessed into the soffit.

Personally, I LIKE the desk area as it is. I would consider it a loss to paint it. I am ambivalent about painting the back of the island. I would definitely wait to do that until I had lived with things a while.

I envy you the big, potentially elegant and already functional kitchen and the beautiful quality cabinets. They are simple enough to work well with any decor,

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Wow, seeing lots of potential in Bellsmom's mock-up. I'm not sure about painting the back of the peninsula/island either. It's quite long, so it needs something. What about corbels or legs of some sort, maybe some baseboard trim also? I can't wait to see the direction and end results!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:14AM
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The best way to choose paints and stains is to buy small samples and paint a large wall square on different walls in your space, so you can see the color in your own light, night and day.

You see how the paint and light in your original images makes your cabinets look brassy and your granite look green? You are looking for a paint color that helps correct that. Generally, you want a tint on the other side of the color wheel from the unwanted tinge (i.e., red opposite green), hence the Petticoat White, that looks great with the granite in full light, and can tone down the brass and green tinge that your current pain is giving the granite. Ultimately, the color you pick will have to look good in your light. Just stay away from yellow undertones - they are death in a dark space. I really like the look of Behr Ultra Pure White, by the way. Take a look at Silver Sky (WF 510) and Snow Fall (WF 600) as well.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Secret to picking the right paint color? Wish I knew since what I like in general or in the store is often wrong when I get it home and see it in my light. I agree you've got to paint some samples and view it in different lighting situations and coordinating a color with the undertones of your existing surfaces and furniture is even more important. Maria Killam has a great blog and website on color. I've learned a lot from her newsletters.

BTW, I also like the desk. Maybe if I was starting from scratch I'd make it a hutch, but it's already there, it matches your nice cabs and it's a great feature to have near the kitchen if you have kids. I still see them in new model homes and remodels if space allows. You've got a great space to work with.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Your cabinets are beautiful - really gorgeous and well made - and most likely Cherry from the picture you have posted. I wouldn't touch them other than to change the hardware.

I'm not an interior designer by any stretch but I can't emphasize enough what a difference additional lighting would make in your kitchen. Take pictures of your kitchen and room measurements into a bona fide lighting store. They can help you with how much wattage - both in overall lighting and spot/task lighting you should have in a room of that size. That was the best thing we did 26 years ago and while our kitchen is large, it's sure not fancy. But it faces north and in the dead of winter I have plenty of light.

Also, there are some great LED replacement cans by CREE that they have in HD now that don't suck up the energy like the old cans. (Our electric bill has dropped substantially as we have been replacing our old light bulbs with LED bulbs as they burn out.) I mention that because if you have energy efficient bulbs in that room, you won't mind turning on the lights when the room is dark. Do a search for CREE the Lighting forum to read about them.

The good news is that you don't have dark countertops (which absorb light) so any painting or backsplash will help you if you use light colors as others have suggested. And I agree with the others to live in your house for a while before you take on anything major or expensive to get a feel for how you use your space.

Good luck and enjoy those very pretty cabinets!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 9:31PM
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I would not change your cabinets... as others have shared; change your pulls - and maybe put hidden hinges on... update lighting and lighing fixtures. Will be like a new kitchen without all the cost! Good luck

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Thank you, thank you all! I have been hanging on to every word written here. So much wisdom!!:)

We brought home some pulls yesterday and the pull that resembles our refrigerator door handle looks quite nice in brushed nickle! Unfortunately we couldn't find any hinges, I am going to try to spray paint our existing ones before going on a hinge hunt.

Bellsmom...I could live in that kitchen! Oh wait, that is mine! How beautiful is that window. My husband and I were discussing that we could probably get that done when we do the studio next year. Also I love the pendant lights..where are they from? I am concerned about pendants with the stove there. I agree it will look fab but is it safe? I do a lot of cooking. yes no zing at all! The blahs start from the fact that the room just depresses me with the light issues! I think we will eventually put in a skylight over the family room side. I am excited tho.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 7:59PM
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1. Sorry, I don't remember where I found the pendant pic, but I changed it a lot for your space. They were long and narrow. I squished 'em. I have some links that I'll post for you that show pendants, though.

2. Search GW for pendants and peninsulas and pendants and islands. There will be lots of information here regarding spacing, I think. I do think you will need to change the location of the can lights over the peninsula if you change them to pendants.

A side comment about lighting: Can lights do not illuminate the cabinets and dark corners very well. They are basically task lighting, throwing a narrow cone of light downward. In your kitchen you really need both, and especially whatever they call light that is dispersed laterally.

Re: the window. I had in mind the window in the link I listed below. Scroll down to the 3rd pic. I don't care much for white kitchens as a rule, but this one is fabulous and the window is better than that.

Here is a link that might be useful: White zen kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:15PM
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I forgot to say I really like the idea of a pale wood floor in your kitchen. Something to contrast with the color of the cabs.

Here is a thread of suggestions given by GWers to someone who was searching for pendants to put over her island, I believe. Some nice ones show up here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mrs. MortarMixer's pendant search

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:26PM
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With a little more time, I played with the window. This is closer to what I imagined. Remember that the window is a big lack square at night. You will want good lighting there, and a pretty pendant that pleases you will make it glow in the darkness.

I promise NO more posts from me for at least a week!
But it has been fun to play with your kitchen.

Now you get to play with lighting, pulls, windows, and your studio.

Remember this should be FUN. Enjoy it.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Your kitchen is beautiful! I love your cabinets. Some knew handles and the window Bellsmom put in above could really help it a lot. Here is a wild idea from for the back of the peninsula, how about tile?

Eclectic Kitchen design by Los Angeles Tile Stone And Countertop Filmore Clark

If you are interested in breaking up the uniformity of the cabinet doors, here is a link to a very inexpensive DIY for dressing up the inside of a cupboard. The example is behind glass doors, but it seems like you might be able to remove a door or two and do the same in an open cabinet, if wanted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tater tots and Jello Kitchen Remodel Project

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:30PM
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citycolor make my kitchen look like a dream. I can't wait to get started on something! We bought more pulls today and a wood cleaner. So I will get to work on that tomorrow. I love those windows. We probably will do the floors before anything else. We returned the dining set today, it just didn't work in the place. I brought up an old table that I used in my old studio and we will temporarily do with that. I think we were trying too much too soon!
laughable, that is a great idea. I could perhaps use a wall paper that has texture but not that much pattern to create just the right amount of interest for the peninsula.
Nice idea for the cabs too, lots of things to think about!
sippimom, we have been looking into CREE lights...right now ours don't really cut it. Thanks for the info.
I forgot to mention that we do have under cabinet lighting which is a life saver. I do have to individually turn them on tho, so I use them as needed. With all the lights on in the kitchen I do find that it isn't too bad at all. I just don't like them on during the day.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:09AM
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Paper might work, and would give you a feel for whether or not you like the change. It might not hold up to the rigors of family life too well, but you could try it and see. : )

Best wishes on making it home. : )

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:39AM
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