frustrated with how the kitchen is turning out and oak bashing

LottieSDecember 7, 2011

This is really two concerns. Re oak. I have the "hated" cathedral golden oak cabinets and I put them up in 1993 myself. I liked the warmth of them and the fact they were solid wood. We started out here as a partial remodel-knocking down a wall between our small kitchen and dining room so we could add a peninsula, open it up and have room for more than one cook at a time in the kitchen. I had almost no counter space and bending over to bake etc on the kitchen table was hard on my back. I wasn't planning a dream kitchen just trying to do some low cost remodeling for function. We're doing it ourselves and money is a concern.

I would have really really liked to have removed the soffits and put in shaker style cabinets to the ceiling. Long story short we ended up with my DH refinishing the existing cabinets to save money and because he really still likes them. I could not convince him we could use different wood for the peninsula. Before this site I'd never thought that grain was a problem for so many. I kept asking why the need to bash oak? At first I wondered if it was generational-reminded people of their parent's kitchens. It can just be so vehement. I never hear it about maple or cherry or ash or pine. It's an interesting current cultural phenomena at least on decorating sites.

My kitchen is turning out to a not really working whole but I'm feeling too sensitive to post pictures for help! I know this is my problem-and its kind of funny that I've becme so sensitive about my kitchen! People on this site are so generous with advice and good ideas.I've been helped many times and really appreciate it. I love the wealth of ideas here and how it is expanding the way I look at design. But there are also responses that surprise me.

My problem in the kitchen is that things do not go together and I do not have the gift of pulling it all together. I wanted both sparkle and warmth. Its really the problem someone previously posted of liking and putting in different things without the vision of the whole.So I'm going off now to make some pea soup and corn bread and hopefully I'll develop the courage to post some pictures and get your needed expertice.

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LottieS, I can totally empathize with how you're doing the best you can with a limited budget. I'm there, too. I also have a kitchen full of golden oak cabinets that will be getting new doors and then painted. If I had to, I could make do with them for many more years. It's not like I have movers and shakers coming through my kitchen on a routine basis. Everyone else in my neighborhood has the same kind of cabs, probably most people in my town whose houses were built in the 80s and 90s. And it's not like I live in the sticks. I also have red oak floors, which I love, including the grain. Maybe it's the horizontal plane that makes it look better.

I'm tired mostly of the color of my cabs. Staining them darker didn't appeal to me, at least not the uppers. Another thing is my house, like many others, is a cookie-cutter low-end ranch style. My kitchen looks like everyone else's. I'm kinda looking forward to changing things more to my liking.

I might engage in a bit of light-hearted oak bashing, but honestly, they're not the worst thing that ever happened to me. :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Meanwhile, hugs headed your way. When you're ready to talk about it, I'm sure people will have some suggestions that will help you make your kitchen as functional, warm, and sparkly as possible given the limitations on your project. There are a number of us DIYers here who have nothing but empathy when things don't go the way you planned.

Personally, I like oak just fine. It's a lovely wood. There are a number of really nice kitchens here which have oak cabinets. You've done an oak peninsula? That should be beautiful!

P.S. Pea soup and corn bread sound lovely for dinner!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 5:49PM
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What did he do to them? You said the refinished them....not clear what that means.

In my bathrooms that have the same cabinets as in my kitchen, I went with the gel stained look. They are very dark, show grain and look brand new. I paired them with different hardware, but all are satin nickel and look very updated.

This look can be married with sparkle and still be warm. I'll post some pictures of them to give you an idea.

Please post pics of what you have going on so we can help. And not everybody hates the look of oak. They are still selling the heck out of it in central PA, I know, I'm twisting my KD's arm to get my painted maple kitchen! He's used to doing oak kitchens.

Here are some pics of my vanities:


Hall bath:

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 5:50PM
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((((((((((((((((((((((cyber hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))

First off I am very guilty of posting fancy kitchens for
people to peek at for ideas but the truth is I have a
simple, basic, tiny kitchen that I rarely (almost never)
post pictures of. I too am sensitive about sharing my kitchen
for critics. I am not saying there are critics here I am
just being honest about my personal insecurities.

Fear of being judged. Especially when money is an issue for
me too. There are 100s of lurkers who are intimidated or
insecure or stressed or embarrassed or frustrated by
their own space. I know I am Queen of this club.

I am not going to suggest you post pics for that is not what
you need to hear but I am going to suggest you embrace
your oak. If you loved the oak before you
can love it again. Maybe it just needs a gel stain not
necessarily darker maybe just brighter. The way many get
highlights to accent their hairdo.

One trick I do, (And I am no expert) is choose three
different colors. (For me wood is a color) and focus
on the three colors and a balance of those three. Others
may detest my ideas but this is what I have found for
me to pull a space together.

In my kitchen I chose White, Stainless and soft sage green.
Then I added chocolate almost black oak floors and accents.

With Oak, you could add two other colors. And then a 4th
or 5th color, texture, element. Sometimes narrowing down
to just three and slowly pulling items back in that are
not in your three makes it easier to pull a room together.

Thinking of you, and hoping you know you are not alone.

(the queen of insecurity in her own kitchen style)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:13PM
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Oak is fine and will probably come into favor again, as cherry and darker woods become less popular. Everything goes in cycles, right? Golden oak can be beautiful and like any other wood, a lot depends on the colors and finishes that are used with it.

What do you want to use for your countertops? Backsplash? Wall color? You said you like warmth and sparkle...well the wood will give you warmth, as can some of the maybe the sparkle is a glass backsplash and/or shiny hardware?

Please take the plunge and post pictures! I'd like to see your progress and get a better idea of what you want to have in your finished kitchen. Best of luck with the project and remember...this is for YOU and your family, not the GW :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:18PM
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There is the reason why we LOVE this site so much!!

Beekeeperswife, those cabinets are so beautiful, it makes me want to move mine around and re- use them! That would make DH a very happy man! we must know how you did that. please.

Boxerpups, I had NO idea! I thought ALL those kitchens you posted were Yours!

My new(fingers crossed) kitchen is awash in golden oak, floors and all, so NO oak bashing from me, although I hope to be able to change AT LEAST the oak ( laminate) floors!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:48PM
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Oak is making a comeback -- mark my words.

I love my red oak floors -- even though my designer friend told me that "no one does them anymore".

My favorite Minnesota designers/architects, Todd Hansen and Christine Albertsson,
used oak cabinets in their own kitchen (bottom photo)
and in this lovely two-tone kitchen:

traditional kitchen design by minneapolis architect Christine Albertsson and Todd Hansen

It is hard for us all to post pictures of our kitchen --
go ahead and give it a try and you will be amazed by the help you recieve.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:56PM
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I also love oak and have used it repeatedly in my new build. It has been repeatedly "bashed" in recent years and I was concerned about putting in so much oak in new construction and having it instantly "dated", but I decided that I have always loved oak, most of my furniture pieces are oak, and I will probably still love oak 30 years from now. This is my house and as long as I am happy with it, that is what is important.

We used oak for the flooring, doors, all trim, bathroom cabinets and some kitchen cabinets. It is updated with a slightly darker stain and mixed with painted cabinets as well. My pictures are embarrassing because we are trying to live in the space, with many things undone. This picture is missing all trim, some wall cabinets, sinks and countertops, but here it is:

By the way, I am also in my 30's, so I don't think it is necessarily a generational thing. I know that many of my friends prefer a more contemporary aesthetic and I can appreciate how nice it looks in their home, but also know that it is not a style I personally want to live with day in a day out. I think you need to do what works for you, your budget and makes you happy!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:59PM
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Lottie: Oh, my gosh, you should not be embarrassed to show us your kitchen. Bring it on girl, and let the great people here help you out. I'm sure you are one of many who read this forum and have exactly the same thoughts about their oak kitchens as you do. They like them, but are embarrassed to say so. I honestly don't understand the negativity about oak. I wonder if people comment negatively about oak because it is what is "expected" on these forums. I will honestly tell you that if I had a choice of a white kitchen or an oak kitchen, it would be oak hands down. I love a beautiful wood, and oak is beautiful. Our new home has oak doors, oak trim, and many dark stained oak built ins. And the floors and kitchen cabinets are hickory. Lots of wood grain in my house.

Mmmm...pea soup and cornbread!! What time is dinner!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Hey Bee, what kind of gel stain did you use? Is there are lot of prep involved? I still have oak vanities in my bathrooms and would love it if they looked like yours, esp. with new pulls.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:10PM
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I am one of those people who don't like oak BUT I don;t like anything that, to me, is busy. I don't like frous-frous, or patterns or lace or .... I never criticize those things because I recognize that others do like them. That's why there is a myriad of choices out there - different tastes for different folks.

Please post pictures. I think most of us can appreciate trying to update on a budget and I've done it before as well.

I do have a new kitchen but, like boxerpups, am too insecure to post it. It's a white kitchen and you think oak kitchens are slammed here, try having a white kitchen! But I love it and I embrace my tastes and accept that they are not the same as everyone else's.

So embrace your tastes and post your pics please.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Lottie, I completely understand what you're talking about. I hope the soup and cornbread have worked their magic and you're ready to post some pictures so you can get some help. There are obviously a lot of caring and talented people here who are not going to bash your oak.

blfenton, just a peak? Please?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Insecurity and indecision are poor bedfellows to hang on to out of pride. You're not asking strangers about which plastic surgeries to have with full nude photos attached. It's only a kitchen. If you want help, there is plenty to be had. Embrace it.

Or not. But don't pretend that everyone that dislikes oak cabinets is putting knives into your ribs personally and calling your mother ugly to boot. It's disingenuous.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:04PM
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linelle, and springroz, I used General Finish, in Java. Followed Celticmoon's instructions that can be found in the "New to Kitchens" thread. Although I didn't do the two colors, one achieved the look I wanted.

I also have used Old Masters gel stain too on another project.

Very easy.

Sorry for getting OT, Lottie.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Thanks for posting that picture of the white/oak kitchen. I have a tattered copy from some magazine but was never able to find it on-line. It's my inspiration pic!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Can you change out just the doors, drawer fronts to the shaker style you like?. I think the cathedral fronts make it look more dated than the oak, especially if you can then paint or stain. I think people on GW have mentioned Scherr's as a place to buy replacement doors.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:49PM
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Ah, we're just so invested in our choices. People who choose what they like and only belatedly find the crowd is chasing something else altogether just have to buck up and make their own declaration of independence--from group think.

Oak IS a great material, after all, exactly the same material it was for the decades when many, many would have nothing else for their kitchens. In those days the vehemence-prone loooved oak and haaated those awful old painted cabinets THEIR parents had. You know, the kind half the people here these days are going in debt or raiding their retirement savings to install? Not you guys. Now, isn't that something to pat yourselves on the back for?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:53PM
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My first kitchen was metal cabinets which I covered in "woodgrain" contact paper. My next kitchen was woodgrain laminate with grooves routed out to look like wood planks. I, too, was thrilled when I finally had my first REAL WOOD, solid oak doors with the beautiful oak grains. And, I love oak furniture and have a lot of it and still love it.

Not sure what it is about the honey oak kitchen cabinets -- maybe they were just overdone and were seen everywhere. Will we feel this way about the OTK someday?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:56PM
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There are pros and cons to everything, including internet forums. There are tons of people on the forums, and they all have differing personalities, priorities, and tastes. There are people like beekeeperswife and boxerpups (and others!) that go so far out of their way to help anyone figure out how to achieve their goals. There are others that do bash oak, or OTKs, or whatever. There are some that dislike a particular style or material and they make comments that can be taken as bashing due to the lack of emotional context available in a posting.

Last week I put myself out there and posted pictures of my super messy and super oakalicious kitchen. No one mocked me. Many complete strangers were kind enough to donate their time, skills, and vision to help me.

Put your kitchen out there, explain your goals and concerns, and I bet folks will do the same for you.

With regard to your oak, I can understand frustration and fear since sometimes it does seem like many regard oak as the most vile thing possible to have for cabinets, or trim, etc. It's hard to find a home decor-type blog that shows a home with oak trim. My oak trim frustrates me, but only because I love blue walls, and blue makes my trim look orange. Orange is my absolute least favorite color.

I contemplated painting my trim, but decided that a)the work is not worth it for me, b) dh really likes it and I'd like him to like his home, and c) 95% of the houses in my area have oak trim and cabinets. It may not be my favorite thing but it can't be the most horrible thing ever if most of my peers have it too.

Come to terms with your realities of budget and your dh's preferences, and you'll have an easier time swallowing your fear and pride. I bet you'll get the help you need then. And I bet you'll be happy with your final product, even if it never gets featured in a shelter magazine. :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:02PM
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Hey Lottie,

Don't worry youself over the oak bashers. It is purely a style thing and oak is just currently not favored. Oak is actually a wonderful wonderful wood, very strong and takes stain beautifully. I agree with others that it is only a matter of time before it is back in force. In fact it is already happening: quarter sawn oak is hot and 'cerused' or 'reclaimed' wood is ganing ground at Restoration Hardware and the like - that look cannot even be done with a tight grained wood like maple. Oak will definitely cycle back 'in' - whatever that is worth.

I gel stained my very tired oak slab door cabinets 5 or 6 years ago and I have been happy with how it came out. Very dark though, and not the right look for everyone. (Info is linked on the 'read me first' thread)

Know too that many (most?) of the folks here are not owners of high end kitchens. Some of the best threads have been celebrations of budget renos and 'low end' materials.

It is likely that this thread will take off and bring out a lot more of us 'budget' folk. Power to the frugal!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:07PM
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I'm one that does like oak. I'd be sooo happy if I had golden oak in my new place instead of the pickled stuff. It looks pinkish in pics but really isn't in real. I still don't like 'em!

my sister put oak in her new build a few yrs back - and I looove them. I wanted to get the same ones for my new place - I love the grain in it. Then I decided I wanted turquoise cabs. oh well, I'll really end up with whatever i can get cheap. I'm going to check the restore place. I mostly just want drawers on the lower part.

Please don't feel bad about posting your kitchen pics. Many of us have and have had really nasty kitchens. the one I have now is so bad I won't use ANY of the cabs for food or dishes. I use 1 drawer for wire stuff - ext cord, speaker wire, phone parts... I only have 3 drawers anyway, the sink cab and 1 maybe 18" door cab on the lower. that's it. my uppers are the size of those normally over the range hood. I don't use those either. too high, I can't reach them.

If we see it, we can better help you with ideas. maybe somethings you'll need to space out to get done. figure out want you want done first w/whatever amount of $s you have... then plan another part for next yr. little by little!

I think maybe the dislike for golden oak is because the builders used so much of it in every kitchen across the country for a decade or more. It's everywhere.

my sisters kitchen -

my kitchen to be - this is the only pic I could find - it's seems I've lost the whole folder I had the pics in on my computer... ugh!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:21PM
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Sorry you're frustrated with you kitchen. But please do post photos! Maybe someone will have an idea that will be "just the thing" to turn your frustration into hope and then into the kitchen you are excited to be in.

I do understand the hesitancy to post photos though. I'm currently putting in white cabinets and soapstone ... there's plenty of bashing of that going around this forum lately too! When it's all said and done I hope I'll have the courage to post it anyway, in case it can help someone else on their journey to a kitchen they will love to be in. I've always enjoyed seeing other people's kitchens, even when the style and choices are different than my own.

FWIW I love cornbread and pea soup. Sounds fantastic! I'm a bit less enthusiastic about oak cabinets in the kitchen - enough that I probably wouldn't choose them for my own kitchen, but not enough to bash it in someone else's! There are lots of really lovely kitchens with oak cabinets. Hang in there, I'm sure your current kitchen frustration can be turned into kitchen love again!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Flat cut oak from across the room is one color black open grain almost stencilled on a yellow brown background. Cherry has shadings of browns and reds in different lusters with subtle graining to give dimension. The more you look, something more is there to see. Rift or quartersawn oak rotates the angle of the cut to get rid of the open grain. Much better use of red or white oak but still a little muddy compared to other woods like mahogany, walnut, birch or some tropicals.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:32PM
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Thanks for all your messages and understanding. Bee I loved what you did with your bathrooms. My DH loves the golden oak look and stained the cabinets the same color they were before! Boxerpups the pictures you post are a gift. I'll try to figure out how to post pictures after I finish the cork install this weekend. We ran out and the new planks came in today-only 2.99 a sq ft on e-floor! So far I love the feel and warmth of the cork I put in last week. The color just doesn't go with the back splash which doesn't go with the rest of the kitchen. Thanks for the kind words for oak. It really did take me by surprise the strong feeling it evokes. Perhaps it is because it became so ubiquitous. I feel much more fortified now.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:34PM
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Uh oh! I seem to be the most recent person here with a thread whining about my golden oak.

Ok, it's true. I do not like my golden oak cabinets. However that is not because there is anything wrong with oak. Actually, I prefer the warm feeling that medium tone woods convey -- more than any other look. Nonetheless, I am tired of oak in my kitchen. Apparently you've noticed, I'm not alone. There are others here who are tired of their oak too. Also, there are those who are tired of their white kitchens (OMG), or modern kitchens, or rustic kitchens, and on and on. If we were content we likely would be out skiing or something rather then trying to remodel.

After 20 years of looking at over 100 running feet of golden oak base cabinets, and nearly that many oak wall cabinets I'm really, really, ready to be surrounded by something else. Like a favorite pair of jeans, which were kept too long and worn too often, I'm overdue for a change.

I could be happy with staining my oak a deeper warm brown, I could be happy painting it any number of colors even though I think painted cabinets will be chipping, peeling and going out of style long before solid wood cabinets. I am willing to go there because I want to feel exhilarated in my space.

My husband doesn't understand either. He would be thrilled if I were willing to have golden oak for another 20 or 30 years, he's been saying all day, "Oak is eternal!" so I know that if I die first he'll be sure to bury me in a golden oak casket!

Regardless of how tired I am of what I refer to as my "miles of oak" I can't afford to put in something different. I can come here though and vent my frustration with my own situation and seek ideas for how to change what I have without going bankrupt.

It's a big community filled with so many wonderful people -- all with our own kitchen demons. We come here to learn, to share, to cheer each other on, and to offer a shoulder to cry on when it just all becomes too much. So please do not fear putting up your photos, there's nothing we love more here than pics. We will be happy to join in with any ideas we can and offer encouragement along the way.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Okay---I'll chime in on the oak, too. We also have the golden oak cabinets which, although nearly twenty years old, are still in very good condition. DH loves oak, but it's never been my favorite---less so now than when we first bought our home. I think my main objection is the very busy look of the oak, while I prefer things a bit more simple. Also, I'd rather insert extra bling somewhere else (i.e., backsplash or counter tops) rather than having it come from the wood grain.

Having said all that, we have no intention of replacing, painting, or putting a darker stain on our cabinets. First, they are structurally sound and still look pretty good. I'm afraid of painting cabinets and fear the finish wouldn't be as durable as what they are now. And, living in the PNW, in the middle of evergreen trees, our house can be pretty dark, so the last thing I want to do is make my cabinets darker. I'll stick with the current finish, which is medium.

The time has come for a facelift in the kitchen. While a part of me would love to redo the entire thing, the practical side is happy to make it mostly a facelift. Also, we will be doing things piecemeal so that we can pay for each step of the way and not charge/finance anything we do. So the plan, so far, is: (1) paint, (2) replace flooring in kitchen/family room , (3) replace countertop. Step #3 will be the most expensive, as we will be replacing laminate with quartz, and we will also replace the cast iron double sink with a single stainless sink, as well as needing a new gas cooktop, which will go in at the same time as the new counters. Then, of course, there will be a backsplash to install. We're finalizing our choices so that we will have a unified design in mind as we proceed. In the process, I've learned that, if I'm going to keep the oak, I need to "embrace" it, not keep fighting against it.

My parents have lived in their home for over fifty years, and they have only replaced the floor in their kitchen once and, of course, the appliances when they would break down. I feel it's an incredible luxury that we will be able to update our kitchen as much as we are planning. We really could get by doing less than what we have planned, but I'm excited to do the extras---as long as we don't go in debt to do so.

Sometimes I read descriptions here of all the fancy materials and gadgets and find myself thinking I need all those things to make my kitchen acceptable and make me happy. Then I take a step back and think what is practical for my situation. I will be happy with the changes we plan to make and, for me, I'd rather have a more modest outcome and no debt. It's amazing what a difference just little changes can make. A couple years ago I read about the Never-MT soap dispenser and got them for our bathrooms and kitchen. No one who comes into my kitchen/bathrooms knows they are there, but I love that I have them.

Ultimately, what matters is what goes on in our homes--the hospitality, love and warmth in the family. I'm excited that I can add some perks/improvments to the surroundings, as well.

So, once again, if you're keeping the oak, try to actually embrace it. Just because it's not everyone's cup of tea doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate (even valuable) material in our kitchens. Once I got over the feeling that the oak was holding me back from doing what I really want to do in my kitchen, I've been able to find things to coordinate well with it and make a cohesive, (hopefully) lovely kitchen in the end.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:54AM
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Well, I'm just finishing up my white and oak kitchen, and I think it looks spectacular. So no worries from me about oak!
I think oak kitchens can be quite easlily up dated. It's often the accompanying fixtures (lighting, hardware, backsplash, flooring and counters) that really date it in some kitchens. The wood itself is timeless.
There're a few threads on 'apartment therapy' discussing how to update an oak kitchen without painting it.
If I recall the consensus ended up being black/soapstone counters, pale gray walls, brushed nickel hardware and white subway backsplashes. But there are many options out there that could be spectacular.
For inspiration check out the sites with belgian oak kitchens or british "bespoke" oak kitchens. Not that ypu'd want those exactly, but they can be a good source of ideas and reassurance that you're on the right track.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:00AM
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Lisa, I was intrigued with your summation of the consensus regarding how to update the oak kitchen. I found that I was having difficulty initially because I was so busy thinking of ways to make the oak invisible that I neglected to think in terms of what would actually look good with the oak. Once I started thinking in terms of what I LIKE that would complement the oak, it was easier to make decisions. True, I had to give up some things I would have liked but wouldn't look good with oak, but there were still many other things I could do.

Interestingly, many of my choices coincide with what you found listed on Apartment Therapy. We are putting gray slate looking tiles on the floor, which also have some tan in them, tan/khaki paint on the walls, black quartz counters, and either white or tan subway backsplash. The only difference is I'm thinking of using black iron hardware, although I need to bring some samples home and see what I think. I really like the idea of the nickel hardware, but my cabinets have weathered bronze/brass (I think it's bronze) hinges which my DH steadfastly refuses to change, so I think the nickel would look strange. I'm going with the black wrought iron because we have black iron curtail rods and will be replacing the chandelier over the kitchen table with one that is also black wrought iron.

Anyway, you have certainly offered some good ideas to consider for the OP, and I appreciate them, as well.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:32AM
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Hi. Im in Europe and in my neck of the woods, oak is very popular. I have a new house and every cabinet exept the kitchen is oak. the kitchen is white ,that was cause for a very long time I had wanted a white kitchen. I love oak. Had in also in my first home. Oak ages so well. We have also oak floors and kashmir white tiles. Im sorry your are feeling this way and please post photos so we can see. My oak is like the island in the second photo francoise47 posted. The doors are plane. I can find you a photo if you like but best is for people here to see what you are working with.
Best regards

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:01AM
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We put in new oak cabs and floor. It's really affordable right now through custom shops--used to be expensive when we redid old kitchen forty yrs. ago! Oak is durable, timeless, economical, and strong. And American-grown. What's not to love?

Just gotta remember that oak has personality. But then, so do tiles, stone, etc etc. etc.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:45AM
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Hope you'll post pics.

I think the oak "thing" can be compared to "mom jeans" -- it's not about oak, it's about how it was used. Denim isn't out of style, but denim jeans that span from neck to just above the ankles are. When people lament their "oak" kitchens, it's more about disliking their 80's or early 90's kitchen than about the oak.

Here is a link that might be useful: SNL

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:43AM
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kris_ma: You nailed it. I wear jeans everyday, but I did eventually get rid of the acid-wash and zippers at the ankle.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Thank you for this thread, it's an eye-opener about how we state our opinions.

We inherited oak floors in this house, which I was not crazy about. When we added more hardwood, I wanted to rip up the existing and put down cherry, but we decided that was too expensive and excessive, so we continued the oak, and had them stain it something that semi-successfully disguised the oak. When we just recently added even more of the flooring, I realized that I didn't like having a semi-opaque stain on my floors, so we had them sand it all off and put a clear coating on it all. IT LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER, and honestly DH and I both LOVE our oak floors now. Whereas before I saw this or that characteristic as offensive or a flaw, I now see the entire floor as beautiful, warm, cheerful, yes and it is a natural yellowy-orangy color and we love it.

In our last house (before we switched to glazed white) we had orangey oak cabinets, which came with white tile countertops & backsplash and oak floors. For about ten years I decorated around it with blue and white accessories, and thought it looked quite charming, warm, and cheery. I was always supposed to secure some blue and white painted tiles to intersperse into the backsplash and on the countertops, but never did get around to that.

Let's face it, in decorating we are talking about fashion, as others have already said. I still firmly believe if YOU love it, that's all that counts. When and if it comes time for resale, I also think people like to come in and re-do the kitchen the way THEY like it. So fear not about any of this, just you and DH be yourselves and enjoy your warm oak kitchen. I know the people here who are good at putting things together will be glad to help you.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:44AM
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1. I love shaker style cabinets - but they're really edging toward the Uba Tuba / maple cabinet of the 2010s (with uba tuba and maple being the look of the naughts (2000s)).

2. I love oak, love, love love. One of my favorite looks is the cabinets found in Belgian kitchens. All oak - but a very different oak we see in 90s builders cabinets.

3. The kind of oak you're talking about has a lot of baggage. One if you grew up in the 80s/90s this was the kitchen your parents put had. It was also the wood of our first apartments and for the most part these cabinets are plain sawn (not my favorite cut).

4. Personally I'd paint them, I know people say "but you'll see the grain" while reaching for their pearls so they may clutch them - but it's wood, it's supposed to have some amount of figuring.

Anywho, just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Come on now, let's all put on our big girl pants and stop letting ourselves get bummed by some imaginary style-clique (pet peeve alert: that's "style-cleeek", not "style-click") who don't approve of something we like, or something we've got, or something we can't change.

If you read the discussions carefully you'll see that even the priciest/ highest-end kitchens under review here always have compromises, be they for space, economics, pre-existing materials, etc.

For every oak-hater, there's at least a few of us bemoaning the ubiquity of the OTK (aka all those white shaker with soapstone clones). Not because they're ugly (any more than oak kitchens with soffits and arched doors are ugly) -because they are not.

But the coolest, most attractive kitchens are those where you can see the mind and taste (and not necessarily the checkbook) of the designer/owner at play. Use what you like combined with what you've got, and use it in a fresh, authentic, personal way.

Pictures here enable you to tap into a deep creative vein of ideas; but none of them should be taken as exclusionary definitions of what a great kitchen must to be.

And posting your own pictures contributes to the shared capital of ideas and discussions.

No kitchen that produced pea soup and corn bread could ever be a bad kitchen; inconvenient, possibly, but too-awful-to-be-seen, never!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:11AM
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BTW, the thing that I don't respond to in many oak kitchens is the yellow of the oak. By it self, I think of unfinished oak as quite light, not yellow in the least. That yellow often comes from the ambering of the finish. So I wonder if you could sand and restain them. I'm sure it would be a lengthy process but hey, it's winter, we have nothing but time now.

The second thing I don't respond to in these kitchens is that I find the woodwork to be really heavy. I tend to like really streamlined things.

That being said, the best way to get help here is to post a picture. Not worth getting upset though, it's just opinions on the internet which are worth exactly what you paid for them.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Personally I'd paint them, I know people say "but you'll see the grain" while reaching for their pearls so they may clutch them - but it's wood, it's supposed to have some amount of figuring.

Thanks for mentioning this, because I have never understood this either, and have seen it come up often in threads where the idea of painting oak cabinets pops up. When oak cabinets are painted, does the grain have to be obscured because we're trying to make sure nobody ever knows they're really...(gasp) oak?

Laminates countertops are sometimes criticized for being imitations of the "real thing." Many of us warm to the idea of using "real" materials instead of resorting to "fake" imitations. So, why can't painted oak cabinets be applauded for being what they really are...painted oak, with the distinctive oak grain pattern being part of the recognizable character of the wood?

Please note I'm not bashing the oak bashers (I'm not really even sure that harsh-sounding group exists anyway.) I've just always been genuinely befuddled by this "you'll see the grain" question.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:37AM
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If you are visiting this board, then some part of you cares about how your home looks and wants help with those issues. If you want help, the best way to go about getting help is to ask for it directly without the pity party. A lot of the more emo driven contributors may thrive on drama and hand holding the hand of the timid, but it just turns most adults off.

The lashback against oak--and white--kitchens isn't about the lack of style or popularity so much as it is the lack of creativity that went into making these kitchens. People come on here and want a new kitchen, but they are afraid of creating a space that stands out too much. They feel safer copying someone else's creativity. Look at how many posts use a "inspiration pic" to create their new kitchens----and still get it wrong! They pick out a "kit", to use Marcolo's terminology, and stamp out any small voices that might exist in their heads that they actually might like something else.

If you want a kitchen that is a successful expression of your own design aesthetic, you first have to figure out what that aesthetic might be. And then you have to be willing to make the brutal choices to achieve that aesthetic. Any original design is more about keeping the bad choices away as it is including the one of numerous good choices.

That means that you can LOVE a gazillion different things, but you only bring home the ones that match your vision. If you love warm fall colors and dark woods for your home, you don't go and buy a pink sofa, no matter how much you love it too. You edit and restrain that love and channel it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Lottie, I hope you're feeling better about your oak! Lots of oak lovers.

I agree that sometimes people might state opinions in a way that doesn't take into account what other people have. I remember a thread titled something like "Am I the only one who hates granite?" and I thought, why dis the counters of all the many many people here who have granite? OK so you hate it... you still don't have to announce it, knowing how many people have it.

Now I want you to look at your cabinets in a different way: reusing and keeping things, rather than sending them to landfill, is very GREEN, very environmentally kind, and THAT is very trendy! (I wanted to replace my oak floors with bamboo because of the eco factor. Then I realized, D'OH! keeping what I had was way more 'green'!)

So there you go. You are skipping the environmental impact of cutting down more trees, sawing them into boards and transporting them. That's alot of fuel you're saving!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:52PM
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Funny about being afraid the oak grain will show through the paint. The interior doors in my house are painted builder's grade 6-panel hollow core. I'm not sure how much real wood they're made of, but they have faux oak grain. I never even noticed the grain until I started reading about the horror of oak grain showing through when painted. I then realized I was looking at it every minute of the day and it didn't even register. Evidently it was stamped on the material to give the illusion of solid oak. Too funny.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:16PM
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I'm really enjoying reading everyone's posts, as I am in the planning stages for a modest redo of our kitchen with (gasp) oak cabinets. As mentioned above, we are keeping the oak cabinets for a variety of reasons. I found that when I finally gave up the idea that I had to somehow hide the oak, ideas began to come more easily.

I would post photos of my before kitchen, but we don't presently have a working digital camera. Unbelievably, one camera was run over at an airport by the baggage mover, when my DH's bag fell off the vehicle. Then, DH lost not one but two cameras on business trips. We recently decided to buy another one, but it was DOA, so we exchanged it for another. Guess what? It, too, is DOA!

Anyway, I can somewhat understand Lottie's concern about posting pictures. I've noticed that there are some who, when asked about using Item A or B in a kitchen, will immediately respond with, "Don't do that---you need to use Item C." I'm sure the comments are meant to be helpful, but they discount the fact that there's probably a reason why the person is considering Items A and B, and they shouldn't be ruled out so quickly. However, by far the majority of the replies are truly helpful. They may also suggest Item C, but not without discussing the relative merits of A & B. Or someone might post about a certain feature in the kitchen that absolutely cannot and will not be changed, and then someone will reply that the kitchen will never work/look right if that feature is not remmoved. There are plenty of valid reasons that something cannot be changed (i.e., finances, structural issues, a spouse who absolutely refuses to consider doing so), but which the OP may not mention. It can be discouraging and demoralizing when getting such responses, no matter how helpful they were meant to be.

Frankly, I always appreciate when others post less drastic renovations of their kitchens, as it helps to see how even modest changes can make a huge difference in the overall appearance and functionality of the kitchen. And I've noticed that many who have completed much more elaborate renovations will chime in with appreciation for what was accomplished. Of course, I also love to see the complete (even over-the-top) renovations, even if it's not anything we'd be able to do ourselves. I love hearing about the process that went into the multitude of decisions and selections. I also pick up little tips for items that I am able to incorporate in my own kitchen that I wouldn't have known about otherwise (like the Never MT soap dispenser). And I will forever dream of having a Tapmaster in my kitchen, even though DH thinks it's the most ridiculous extravagance. Even though I'l probably never have one myself, I enjoy hearing about how others are enjoying theirs.

So, Lottie, if you ever decide to post photos after all, I think you can see from this thread that you'll have plenty of support and appreciation for what you're doing---also benefit from the experience of others.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:12PM
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sail-away, you have an excellent point. I've posted where I've clearly said I'm essentially indigent and already own something, so I can't be buying something else. What's the opinion about xxx? and I get zzz. Thanks, but actually reading a post before volunteering is an idea.

Also, being told TO do something? weeellll... I try to ask if someone's considered, or looked at the idea of xxx, exactly as you suggested: valid reasons probably exist.

I've painted all my cabinets because none of them came together. I had a sad moment when I read about all that grain showing. Momentarily I felt I'd failed in creating a nice kitchen for myself, when I realized that was just plain silly. Granted, it might look like I painted it myself, but I did.

Shoot. After microwaving on a credenza I found on the side of the road, in a room without walls or heat, with no plumbing and a fridge where only the freezer part worked? My kitchen is stunning. When my BB countertop is done? It'll be AMAZING.

I will be putting together some cabs that I want to look more maple -- altho painted. Simply for a difference, not because I like it better. It'll also be beautiful and great storage.

So there. :)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:29PM
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About the oak grain showing, I used to be aghast at that myself. With this (white) kitchen reno I got a sample from one finisher, and so far it is my very favorite sample (in fact, I love it) because it's such a great finish, and guess what? It was done on an oak door, and the oak grain is clearly showing through. It kinda made me wish I'd had oak cabinets made so that they could look like that sample. To my eye it adds some kind of an authentic country French twist (and I mean that in a good way, not in an overused way.) I'm totally reversing myself on no oak grain showing through. It might get to the point where I could actually have a piece of oak furniture in my house! And now I can appreciate my (formerly hated) oak stair rail and newel posts.) Hey, thank you Lottie, for bringing this to everyone's attention, and best wishes to you on your kitchen project.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:58PM
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Okay, so this is a terrible picture generally speaking, but this is my parents' kitchen (and that's my mom, who is pretty much my house project hero) and they have managed to keep their golden oak cabinets that are now some ~20 years old, looking warm and inviting.

Cabinets are like a good picture frame, in my mind. A properly framed picture is such that 1. you do not actively notice the frame in particular as opposed to the entire image 2. the frame, though not drawing attention to only itself, should quietly enhance the image contained within.

So if the rest of the colors, textures, and lighting in your kitchen work together with the cabinets, it doesn't matter what the cabinets are particularly.

And my mom has spent years turning this kitchen into her ideal space - a travertine,copper tile, and earth-tone tile backsplash, a change in hardware, replacing the ceramic tile with a wood floor - slowly but surely, and I think has only enhanced the look of those oak cabinets over time. I will get a better picture if I can.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:59PM
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A lot of the time when Z is suggested for someone trying to pick between A or B, the problem is that A or B do not work with the other choices, Presumably, a poster would rather have the honest feedback that they are on the road to design disaster than people cheering them along that downhill road. Not everything that people have existing in their home or "just love" will work if you want a coherent design. And you simply CAN NOT make that goose with the blue bow you found at the thrift store and grandma's worn out braided rug work in your kitchen if you are trying to do a minimalist modern aesthetic. Telling someone that doesn't insult them. It educates them. If it's possible to educate them, that is.

Has no one here bothered to read the "Design Around This" threads?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:30PM
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Okay, I have to admit I'm one of those individuals who can't understand why anyone would paint wood. I love wood in general and oak specifically. I think wood should look like wood. Although I admire the beautiful painted wood kitchens, I would never personally own any painted wood. Yes oak does remind me of my mothers cabinets, they're almost 35 years old and they still look great. However, with that comes the memory beef stew, cornbread and banana pudding. Embrace your cabinets and allow the brilliantly creative minds on GW help. I know they've helped me tremendously.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Thanks for the picture of your mom I love it! How to respond to the above comments? I was surprised some posters felt I was bashing individuals who dislike oak but do find the whole oak issue very interesting as "a cultural phenomena." The comment someone made about how people of my generation (50's) couldn't understand why anyone would paint furniture, molding etc brought forth images of my 20's when everyone I knew was stripping furniture and molding in their homes! Everything goes around. What I really need help with is how to pull my kitchen together and I realize I need to post pics for that. I'll find my digital camera and learn how to get the pics on the computer. In regards to pea soup-adding fresh lemon juice to it if it's a nonham soup is really wonderful! So is the angel bar or slice recipe in the Joy of Cooking. My friends and family call the time period between Thanksgiving and New Years Angel Bar season. I like using a smaller pan than the recipe.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:06PM
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I want to repeat what suzannes1
stated in the beginning of this post : "There are a number of us DIYers here who have nothing but empathy when things don't go the way you planned."
OPEN INVITATION to all DIYers: For those of you who are currently updating your kitchens let's pick a date in the future and all post our pictures on the same day/thread. I think this will give many people confidence in their unique material choices, non-matchy matchy appliances or their oak, white or maple, cherry or painted wood cabinets...
good luck LottieS

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Live wire oak, I think it's the way it's presented. Educating, "honest" opinions (kinda like personal friends) are fine, but frequently it doesn't come across that way.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:49PM
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I have to chime in. I've never bashed oak before, and hope I would never bash another person's kitchen, but in real life I bashed my old "oak" kitchen relentlessly. I say "oak" because I doubt there was a speck of real wood anywhere, but it was meant to look like oak: From Kitchen

Looking back at the picture (we're 4 months into remodel and that kitchen is long gone) it doesn't look that bad on the surface. But it was horrible quality - it was cut rate MDF that was crumbling from the inside out. Drawers didn't close all the way, cabinet doors refused to stay shut. Most of the storage was in the blind corners. Narrow doors made putting away larger items difficult. Every decision I've made in my new kitchen has been a reaction to something awful in my old kitchen.

I've always associated oak with my poorly designed, poorly implemented kitchen. I shouldn't, but I wonder if there are others out there like me, who really don't hate oak, but the crummy "oak" kitchens we've seen.

This thread has been an education for me - I've seen some really beautiful oak kitchens!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 10:52PM
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Cloudbase, you mother's cabinets are nice. Solid oak is nice as is rift and quartersawn oak. I just do not like my partial overlay builder grade particle board sides "oak veneer" cabinets that have the worse blind spot cabinets. I do like my pantry closet and my two lazy susan's a lot so the cabinets are not all that bad. I wish I had more drawers and full overlay doors with hardware on them and hinges hidden or at least not tarnished like I have now. Or I wish I had inset cabinets that I love the look of so much.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Here's a shot of our _unstained_ lacquer-finished new oak cabinets. Ignore the interiors of the drawers--that is birch.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 8:52PM
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LottieS, we're DIYing our kitchen, and I plan on QS oak cabinets. I have been in love with oak for as long as I can remember, and I've never had a kitchen with oak in it. Also we have the original oak flooring in pretty decent shape under old vinyl flooring. As our home has darker stained oak cabinets and a colonnade in the dining and living rooms, the kitchen cabs will be darker, with lighter (or natural) stained flooring.
Please post your pictures when you figure out how to; I'm sure you'll receive wonderful ideas from GW members.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 9:21PM
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Check out Senatore 13's kitchen (or is it senator 31?). She has gorgeous QS white oak cabinets that totally inspired me to go in that direction.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 12:40AM
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florantha I love how your oak cabinets came out. My husband stripped, sanded and restained our cabinets last spring the same color they were previously. I just looked again at Cloudbase's picture and realized how much that looks like my current kitchen. The tiles are the same shape and we have round knobs on our cabinets.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 1:32PM
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Lottie, thanks for the compliment! We did the floor and much of the trim in this oak also. The cabinet shop claims that the lacquer will prevent yellowing. We used Ace Hardware water-based Urethane on the floor, I think--recommended by another professional. The cabs have been in place 1.5 years now and the kitchen never reads "yellow" to me. The kitchen has a vaguely Scandinavian vibe (my taste) and is just what wood-lover DH was trying to achieve or so he sez.

A word of warning, though. We're in cold climate (Minnesota) and I'm unhappy with DH's finish on the Pella wood windows. I had tried to argue for fake wood and paint on the windows because of condensation. He did the finish on the wood (I suppose it's pine?) and was so proud of his stain and thin finish. Now, condensation is penetrating some of the sashes and he's become a maniac about swabbing windows, leaving shades open at night etc etc etc. I told him he'd have this problem but what did I know, right? There's nothing wrong with good sturdy painted vinyl or mdf at the windows if they're going to be wet all the time. And wet oak means black oak, so that would be even worse! Therefore, I say that any oak areas near water in a kitchen need plenty plenty plenty of top finish.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Lottie, I hope this picture will make you feel better

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 2:36PM
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This thread is a wonderful example of why I love GW.
Here's my two bits: Our cabinets are NOT oak, but the kitchen walls and floors are. The area was designed to match an adjacent (vintage) family room, also with oak walls and floor AND ceiling, even.
Some of my friends and even the GC wanted me to paint the walls and/or replace the floors in the new kitchen.

Oak is beautiful. (Look at the beautiful oak paneled doors that replaced the old white-painted ones in the long oak paneled wall! The same warmth and richness lies in good oak cabinets.) Give it contrast and you will love it. And the heck with anyone else. They may be trying to help. Hear their advice, evaluate it, and go your own way. You and your kitchen will be all the better for it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 7:46PM
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Ok, I get that everyone here is asking for free advice and that grown ups should be able to take comments with a grain of salt and let things roll off their backs in order to achieve the better good of honesty. I also understand that while honesty is valuable, so is tact. The two are not mutually exclusive. While no one needs to tip toe when they ask a question, neither should one have to tip toe when they answer. Fair is fair. However, in forums where people come together, tact can be exercised and people can still glean valuable information.

What I don't get is the sensitivity about word use. It's a word...from the English language.

"Definition of BASH
transitive verb
1: to strike violently : hit; also : to injure or damage by striking : smash often used with in
2: to attack physically or verbally (media bashing) (celebrity bashing)"

Origin of BASH
origin unknown
First Known Use: 1750

People use the word. Grown up people. It appears they've used it for some time. Even before Twilight and Twitter.

Let's think about kitchens and leave the rest out of it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:18PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'm old and I bash stuff. I bashed my oak floor with a bronze goat but it was an accident.

It's not too hard to write critical things politely. Doesn't take much extra time to be civil.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:33PM
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My point exactly. Glad I'm not alone in that thought. Design Challenge #10? Can't wait for it to be decided on and begun. I'm hooked. I love to do them. It's creative and JUST the place for humorous, even snarky commentary. It's lighthearted. It's not real. Tear them apart, I say. No one will be offended in a thread like that since it's all make believe. Real kitchens in real homes owned by real people make it different, and it should be at least civil. Honest, but civil. Now, on to productive kitchen talking.

(Soapbox crushed and burned now.)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:51PM
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I have bashed my previous kitchens' oak cabinets but only because they were the awful pickled kind (not put in by us!). In our first kitchen, I liked everything but the finish on our cabs. The layout was nice, the size was good and even the seafoam green laminate did not bother me. I love the size and amount of the cabs. Dh liked the house instantly because of the cathedral ceilings, skylights, open layout, etc... I liked everything but the kitchen cabs and knew they were in too good of shape to justify taking them out. So, I dealt with them for 7 years and would probably still be dealing with them now 6 years later.

In our current house, the pickled oak cabs were small, the surface was wearing poorly, the layout was wrong and there were no pullouts or anything functional about them. When the pickled finish starts to wear on oak, it is a sorry sight to see. Other materials develop patina and character, while pickled oak looks diseased with age.

I have seen nice kitchens done with oak and may even consider one someday if we were to move (God forbid, after all the effort put in here, lol). I have also seen ones done poorly and done as the cliche of "builder's oak". I also feel that way about some of the new materials that all builders in our area are using (and I do mean "all"). Those kitchens look alike and all are brown wood with beige tumbled travertine, St Cecilia granite or similar, Tuscan type accents and a yellow/gold wall paint. In a few years, people around here will be bashing the heck out of those. Remember the laminate cabs with the oak strip on the bottom? They went from fabulous to hideous pretty quickly in popular opinion from the 80s to the 90s. See anyone using them lately?
Oak just needs some time until it becomes retro enough to be cool. Most things come back in time. Just be patient, and you will be ahead of the curve again ;)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:10PM
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I'll bet someone loved every single bit of this kitchen. Every element was a treasure and chosen lovingly. Together, it's awful. And it got bashed. Deservedly.

Take a lesson. Not everything that you love works together. No matter how much you love it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:31AM
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Doggonegardner thank you for pointing out the definition of "bash" I had not realized what a violent phrase it was. Interestingly it was also used as throwing a party.
"1. Informal A heavy, crushing blow.
2. Slang A celebration; a party"

No violence in the wording of the post was intentional. However I too have bashed-taking down the wall between the dining room and kitchen was a bash in both meanings of the word. Then again I could say I was silly about being bashful about posting my pics (my daughters are now cringing at that).

If you ask for help you have to be open to suggestions but if you genuinely want to be helpful you're honest but constructive-I appreciate suggestions because it helps me consider ideas I hadn't previously. Why else ask for assistance? After learning from a poster that posts can be removed I did think about asking for this post and the other one to be removed because I am concerned that when people google oak or cork these posts will come off and may have the effect of people being concerned to post when they feel they are not on the right track etc. I've printed the responses so that I can refer back to them. I don't want other bashful souls to be intimidated.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:00AM
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Fori is not pleased

It's also important for us all to remember that you can't tell all that much from photos. There is good golden oak and there is bad golden oak (my mom's had sticker sides instead of veneer, for example). It can be hard to tell from a photo if you're looking at the good or the bad since the bad is a knockoff of the good.

I'm afraid it's true that if one is presented with a golden oak kitchen, odds are better that it's gonna be bad than good. But when it's good, it's good.

I love my golden oak orangey floors. I have orangey 60s colonial rererevival maple furniture (not my favorite style but the color is great). I have an orange satinwood/misc waterfall bedroom suite. I have orangey mahogany trim and doors throughout my home. I have an orangey walnut stereo console. I have a kitchen with orangey birch cabinets that were refaced with vinyl faux brown wood. In other words, I WISH I had golden oak cabinets! (I prefer the amber-orangey toned ones to the lighter honey tones.)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:15PM
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"After learning from a poster that posts can be removed I did think about asking for this post and the other one to be removed because I am concerned that when people google oak or cork these posts will come off and may have the effect of people being concerned to post when they feel they are not on the right track etc. I've printed the responses so that I can refer back to them. I don't want other bashful souls to be intimidated."

please don't remove this post, there are many good ideas here which will be helpful to others.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:14PM
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We too had to keep the oak cabinets as they are so "good". - Wood Mode. To break up all the oak, we had glass installed in place of the panel that was there. Hopefully, this makes sense to those reading it. It's a lightly, frosted glass and breaks up the oak. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of having a furniture guy perk up the finish on the other doors as they're dull. The other thing we did to break up the oak - was install an island with different cabinets - all black. The black kind of matches the grain of the oak. But, I still dislike all the oak ;-). It will come back, though!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:32AM
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Greendesigns - Oh my, I've never seen anything quite like that!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Solid oak cabinets with the right accessories, hardware, counters, flooring, appliances, etc. can look very nice. But I have builder grade particle board fake oak cabinets and I dislike the fake look but I immobilized with my tiles sitting in the floor of my kitchen that has all new stainless steel appliances as all the almond ones kept breaking the last few years. I need to finish my kitchen. If they were solid oak cabinets, I would stain them darker or paint them but they have the thinest doors and may fall apart.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:26AM
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I had the "orangy" builder grade oak cabinets and I bashed them everyday and still do. I got a wild hair to tackle my kitchen myself. The end result (you be the judge). I like my new colored kitchen much much better but I hope to get new cabinets in 3-5 years...

Here is a link that might be useful: More pictures

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:35PM
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Mrs. Shayne, I have the same clock in my kitchen that I bought from Fortunoff before they closed their Northern NJ store !I still love it even after several years.

Your Oak kitchen with the copper backsplash was nice but your newly painted light gray cabinets and that gorgeous granite (loved the granite blog you posted) is beautiful and I love the changes. I also like the stainless steel appliances you picked out and your floors. The hardware also looks great with everything complimenting each other. Thanks for sharing the link and giving us all the details. I also love the red stools!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:19AM
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