Glass cabinet insert(s) in this kitchen?

rovoSeptember 22, 2012

Hello again, gw gurus! Now that the granite countertops are in, our budget kitchen facelift is moving along to its next phase: painting the kitchen cabinets. I know many here will find them hopelessly outdated even with a paint facelift, but we are happy with their functionality and really could not justify new despite the lack of drawers, etc.

I got some great advice here on paint colors and was hoping some of you might give input on whether replacing some of the upper insets with glass might help alleviate the oppressive, heavy feel somewhat? It's such a small space, and there are just so darned many of them, but I do love the storage. My thought was to replace the center 2 doors (on the bank to your right, in this photo) with glass, but friends thought that would look disjointed. Not sure I would like the look of the entire center row in glass, either. Here is a picture of the kitchen from the adjoining nook. Hard to get a straight shot into this small space:

Cabs will be painted SW repose gray. Hardware will be Amerock Rochdale pulls in graphite. Floors will be medium cherry, bs plain white subway, and ss vent hood soon to replace OTR microwave and cabinets above.

Would adding glass be the equivalent to putting lipstick on a pig in this kitchen? Your thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated!

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I can't wait to see your cabinets when painted, they will make a huge difference. If it were my kitchen, I would remove the middle doors and do open shelving, with the inside painted the wall color or an accent color. And since you are painting you could add some kind of trim on the top inside of the cabinet and maybe glass shelves.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:25PM
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I'd do the 2 flanking the cabinet you refer to,on L and R of it. And I'd not paint until you do the glass inserts. I like the cabs- do the glass and new hardware and wait on the paint,for my leaning.[what is nice-not sure if you realize it]-the stain on maple that you have many times yellows with normal UV from windows and years later the cabs get a yellow cast.Yours,however with the window so high up has mitigated that it seems,and assuming the cabs have been in situ for some time-doubt there'd be any more yellowing-I like the color. I'd get a stainless microwave and do something to the back of the peninsula. Backsplash will continue your upgrade as well....the counters are fabulous-I'd not like gray cabs truthfully....maybe do the base cabs [only] a more medium gray...I don't know-I just like it the way it's going.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:42PM
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The answer would be dependent on what you have in the cabinets and if you would be happy with what's in there to be on display. If not, maybe a frosted or ribbed glass so that the contents are somewhat diffused. You don't have to go with a divided glass. A solid panel would look fine too.

For me, I would put some glass in. I like herbflavor's suggestion of the two cabinets on each end of the run instead of just the center. I don't think it would look disjointed. As it is, when you put in a vent hood and pull out that cabinet over the stove, it's going to break up the run of cabinets anyway.

We re-did our SoCal "maple kitchen with white tile counters" last year, although we went darker instead of lighter. The orangey maple was just too much plus I hated trying to keep the grout clean. We have a bank of cabinets by the fridge that, to me, really needed glass. I was unable to sway DH and the cabinetmaker to get behind my idea, so we still have the wall of wood doors. For a kitchen that had glass put in, search for silvergirl1207's kitchen. I think hers was a reface, but they did swap out some solid doors for glass.

Keep in mind that if you are painting your cabinets, you can do some reworking if need be. We built in cabinets around our fridge, and converted lower cabinets next to the stove to long drawers. We had a cabinetmaker do the modifications and bought new doors/drawer fronts for them. You could probably do the same thing or have someone do it if you decided you really needed to change something. We did it with stained wood, but it would be much easier to do with paint. Love your granite!

Below is the link for our kitchen, basically so you can see the difference putting in the range hood makes. Good luck with your project.

Here is a link that might be useful: AnnaC's kitchen

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Here is our glass bank - I only did 2 with a seeded glass - this was before cleaning, glass shelves, and lighting - love the finished look - but have to wait for final pictures until kitchen is complete... T- 1 month!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:03PM
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I am very jealous of all your storage space! And that window! And the ledge above! I adore the layout and the space: it seems like it is the perfect size for preparing meals without taking too many steps.

From the picture, it doesn't seem oppressive to me, but obviously it can feel very different when one is actually in a space; I understand your sense that the thirteen (or more?) identical cabinet doors might be visually monotonous. What is across from the wall with all cabinets? It looks like it might be the main entry path to the kitchen, but it seems like there's no focal point on that wall. Especially if the row of cabinets is what you're seeing as you approach the kitchen, it might be nice to have something different that draws the eye. Do you have enough storage room that you could afford to give up those two cabinets and have open shelves with decorative items?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I'd be tempted to do the center two like you are thinking. I can't see it looking disjointed at all.

a2gemini, your seeded glass is drop dead gorgeous!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:28PM
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Taggie- thanks. Hope to post finished pictures next month. Even prettier with the glass shelves and LED lighting.
Can't wait to see your updates!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Good to see you back and kitchen progressing.

For what ever reason, I notice that many, many kitchen pictures have glass door uppers on either sides of the cooktop/range. It is so common that it as though it's imprinted in designs. From a cleaning point of view I find that strange-all those effluents wafting up. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Great ideas! Thank you all so much!

herbflavor-Thank you for the kind words about the cabinets as they are:) Most of the feedback I've gotten from other sources is about how awful they look, so it's nice to get a different perspective (and I never saw them as hideous myself). I did consider leaving the maple cabs in their natural state, but when we replaced our dishwasher with a nearly new panel-ready Asko Craigslist find, we realized how much the maple had yellowed/oranged despite the lack of direct sunlight. Plus, these cabinets are absolutely everywhere throughout the house---every bathroom, storage closet, laundry room, you name it. The real problem is that I think they might be too warm for the cool grays in the granite. So, I'm thinking paint would be the answer. I was not sure about gray paint on the cabinets, either, yet something is calling me to try it. It's only weeks of hard physical labor, right?! When you suggest the right and left flanking cabinets for glass inserts, do you mean both cab doors on the right and left, leaving 2 solid center doors? Or just the single far door on each side? Also, you mentioned changing the back of the peninsula. Do you have any suggestions? I think it needs improvement but have no clue here.

Gigi4321, I like the idea of an open cabinet with shelves or glass shelves, and I adore that look when I see it in other kitchens. I may try that first after removing the doors to see how it looks; my concern would be with keeping the items clean since that is where we keep our everyday dishes and wine glasses. I'm fairly clean, but would hate to feel the need to dust my dishes before company arrives:)

I love what you did with your kitchen, Annac54. Love, love, love the stain and the fact that you also DIY'd the majority of it, as we will be doing . It gives me hope. Btw, we had the exact same tile. Ten years of cleaning that grout spurred this facelift. Sadly,I still have the same tile in all 3 bathrooms. But that's a future post...

Thanks for the photo of your center cabs a2gemini. That is some beautiful seeded glass. I think I may need to copy that, if you don't mind. Can't wait to see the finished pics.

Artichokey, thank you! I feel so much better about my kitchen after reading your comments. It's easy to see these gorgeous, spacious gw kitchens and feel somewhat embarrassed by the fact that most of the butler pantries here are larger and nicer than my entire kitchen, nook, and family room combined. And I never knew that my ledge (as I always referred to it) was the dreaded and outdated "soffit" until I found gardenweb:). But with 15 foot ceilings and ample storage space, I could not see the value in reworking the entire space by adding cabs to the ceiling. I do love our kitchen and think it's functional and perfect for us. You asked about the area to the right of the kitchen, and here it is. This is the wall flanking the kitchen nook, on the way to the family room (open plan). Yet more cabinets, and a built in desk to boot (also an outdated feature, but yet again I do love its functionality). I've chosen a gray 2 shades darker than the "repose gray" for the main kitchen cabs (SW Dovetail) in hopes that it pulls both areas together while maintaining some continuity. Not sure yet about the desktop color...

Again, thank you all so much. I truly appreciate your thoughtful responses. Love this forum!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:30PM
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SparklingWater: our posts must have crossed. Just wanted to thank you for the welcome. You were kind and helpful with my last post, and as a newbie I'm grateful. I agree that glass on either side of the cooktop/ range would be a cleaning nightmare. Judging by the state of my cab doors in that area, I haven't even considered the idea. I store spices and various unatttractive items in those spots, so no worries, those spaces will be gladly enclosed by doors!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 8:12PM
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re:peninsula much overhang do you have-it looks like it would not be a seating area:is that right? If you can source your cabinet manufacturer-they have skins or panels,as in base doors. If you proceed with the painting,you could obtain the product unfinished and paint to match. I think,with the non seating nature I'd want the panel's always on view and the more finished approach is better. By now,people have discussed various art glass inserts-now I think because of the length of run,the height of your space to maybe do that entire run in glass of that nature. I was thinking clear glass doors for each cabinet on left and right of the center but art glass would notch it up-I'd really consider it-in a way I think just the one cabinet in the middle wouldn't look right--the solitary little orphan cabinet with the whole're saving money by keeping the cabs.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Ok, will consider doing the whole run, especially considering the savings we've had by keeping existing cabs.

You are correct, the overhang is standard. Chose not to make the peninsula a seating area as I like the separate nook dining area. Here is a photo:

Family room is to the right, separated by another pony wall. Like the idea of a panelled wall beneath the peninsula. I'll check into that. Thanks, herbflavor.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:06PM
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hmmmm-rove-now with the pics of the eating area I see why no overhang-it is not large-so perhaps omit the detail below counter-just not needed as the two sides-peninsula and pony wall opposite are in unison:I might just leave as is. Are you sure you're painting gray-the painting part I get,but the light from windows is not significant-concern that gray will make for a sort of dark cast over your space.The wall color seems warm-a lot of yellow in it-getting the gray to work???-are you doing a gray with brown in it-I don't see true gray as the best pick. However-an oyster white or oatmeal white would keep it light and fresh..and now seeing the whole space I do think yours is a kitchen for 2 toned cabinet colors-between the pantry/desk area and the largish kitchen you could really break it up nicely...maybe spend more time just looking at paint swatches with 2 colors in mind. light on uppers-darker lowers...I think you could even do a 3rd color for desk/pantry-or reface that in a wood stain shade. multiple finishes in kitchens are showing up all over the place-yours is a great one for it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:06AM
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Yes, two colors are what I had in mind from the start, and it was indeed hard to find a gray that didn't darken the space and still worked with the wall color. I must have 20 sample cans in my garage! Started with whites, but they were either too stark, too yellow, or too bizarre next to the walls.

The one I finally settled on for the uppers ( and possibly lowers) ,SW repose gray, is an oyster tone, nearly white in some light but definitely soft; pulls the countertop gray in nicely. The darker one I like, dovetail gray, is 3 shades down on the same color card. Looks good I think, on the pantry desk area, and I may do the lowers in it as well. Just wasn't sure if that would be too...too, IYKWIM.

Thanks for your input. Hopefully, I'll be posting an in progress pic soon rather than a paint distress call for help:) I'll keep you all posted!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:33AM
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