Design Around 9: Keeping the Golden Oak

cawapsDecember 17, 2011

Since many people have time off over the holidays, we thought that now would be a good time to tackle a topic we have been talking at for a while: How do you make golden oak look good?

This is a common design problem faced by kitchen remodelers. Golden Oak was ubiquitous in the 1980s, and now many people are facing the choice of whether to replace these cabs or remodel around them--and many of the cabinets are still in good shape.

The color of golden oak is challenging, with color ranging from pinkish through orange to golden. I've seen many kitchens that try to pair the oak with neutrals, but it can be difficult to find neutrals with the right undertones to really work (Palimpsest calls it the problem of uncorrellated neutrals).

After much discussion, we chose specific doors as the basis for the exercise so everyone will be facing the same color challenge. The idea is to make the color work, so no painting, no staining (even though these are the more common choice in real life).

While someone keeping their cabinets probably doesn't have a big budget, I think this exercise is already challenging enough, so no explicit budget restrictions.

Here are the cabs. These are Kraftmaid oak doors in Honey Spice. You can use either the square or the arched panel; both were very common.

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Ann Sacks tile
Nevamar Laminate countertops
Our door with black appliances
Forbo Shitake bordered in Blue Dusk
F&B Skylight wallcolor, vintage art
Black Thonet Chairs, Oak Table Meyda Tiffany reproduction pendant
Mostly black handles with some blue earthenware knobs thrown in.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 1:11AM
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I may have broken the rules since I didn't keep track of my brands but I promise they are all stuff I found in the "shopping" option on google.

I took a weird approach by picking a granite that I thought was "over the top" in an effort to make the cabinets disappear into the background. Then I ran with the countertop as a springboard. My thinking was that if a real homeowner was doing this, they may paint or stain the cabs later on? I know I would.

So, humbly I offer my first crack at this challenge. This one was a LOT harder than the animal print...didn't think you'd hear someone say anything was harder than an animal print kitchen!

our cabinet (although I would choose the square door if I had a choice, but if we had the choice of cabs...we wouldn't be doing this challenge) ;)
tigereye granite countertop
hammered hood
orb faucet
hammered light fixture
soapstone sink
black or pewter AGA stove and fridge
bamboo flooring
tin backsplash option
cream glass tile backsplash option
hammered knob and leather knob options
wall colors


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 1:23AM
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Pal, my sister's kitchen looks very much like what you did! The only difference is that she has 1 x 3" mosaic BS while you have 1 x 1". Her counters are blue but some variation of Corian.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:13AM
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Bob and Janie own a 1968 home in Oakland, CA. The home is mid-century modern, and Bob and Janie have generally chosen furnishing from that era or in a similar style. The kitchen, however, has been a sore spot. It suffered an unfortunate update in the 80s (under the previous owners)that defintely ran more traditional with arched golden oak cabinets. Bob and Janie overextended themselves on the house, but are finally ready to make some cosmetic improvements.

They like bright colors, which seems especially hard with golden oak. But Janie found a pink and orange fabric she liked on and decided to run with that color scheme. She found a pink-and-orange Candice Olson wallpaper on that she loved. She used it throughout the kitchen, covering it with plexiglass for the backsplash. She found harware to match on (Atlas Junior Pink Daisy knobs). For the counter, they used laminate: solid dark pink Bouganville from Abet Laminati.

Appliances were a splurge--Big Chill refrigerator and range in orange.

For the dining area, Janie found a dining set with glass table and orange chairs for a great price on She got a 1970s rug with big pink and orange flowers from Over the table they hung a mod orange pendant light from LampsPus. She bought Alpha kitchen stools at Sears, but reupholstered them with a striped fabric from

Finishing out the kitchen was a pink terazzo floor from Daltile and a retro pink giclee ceiling light from LampsPlus.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:29AM
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I recently did a small refresher of my golden oak kitchen. I started with a combination of the oak with faux blonde woodgrain formica countertops, some deeply ugly tile backsplash, a loathed double ss sink with the old faucet cartridge frozen in the sink, and lots of honey pine finished trim.

I added dark formica countertops, faux copper backsplash panels, a silgranit sink, and track lighting. Is it my perfect kitchen? No, but it solved some problems and will tide me over until we can do a total renovation. When we do renovate I will replace the range with a gas cooktop to the left of the sink, move the sink into the corner, and replace the range with a wall oven. Don't know what the new cabinetry will look like, that's too far in the distance.

My total budget for this project was $1200.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Two BFFs live in the same 1980s suburban neighborhood. They are stay at homes, with only 1 income, so their updates are budgeted. They both decide to keep the builder's cabs that were put in orginally but they want a more now vibe.
Bailey wants a a young hip city feel with her kitchen so she has decided to only use the lower oak cabs and remove the uppers and replace them with oak slab shelving. She wants a dark moody feel so she picks dark blue tiles that will cover the entire wall behind the shelves. She uses a white speckle corian for counters and has opted to use two sinks next to each other with only one faucets so she can have the best of a single basin and a double basin all in one.

Zoe, also keeps her oak but she keeps the uppers too. She has opted to use strong greens, hoping to overpower the oak's presence in the room. She loves kermit the frog and is apparently not concerned about resale:). Her kitchen turned out to be a bit over kill ,I think, but here it.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:08AM
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Oohhh, I want to be friends with Bailey and Zoe. I like both of those.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:30AM
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Backsplash in Chemetal Meteor laminate
Silestone Lavender You quartz
Our cabinets, a stainless range
Forbo Linoleum in Ararbesque
Farrow and Ball Calluna wallcolor
Wishbone chairs in lavender, white and chrome pedestal table
Wood veneer pendant light in "oak" finish
Lavender aluminum cup pulls.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 12:09PM
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Since their golden oak cabinets had been custom built by the PO with lots of great interior details and were in very good shape, Emma and Ed decided to keep the cabs, which left them a good chunk of money to spend on other items for a high end kitchen.

Emma liked this Motawi tile as it included the cab color and also the blues and greens of the pine forest outside their kitchen windows.

The tile became the inspiration as Emma tried to blend the cabs and tile with their more contemporarily-designed house. Using Mexican Talavera tile as the inexpensive but pretty aqua field tile allowed the purchase of Vetrazzo Floating Sky for the counters. The slightly gray background of the counters tied into the un-panelled SS appliances (range, DW, unseen hood, fridge)--keeping the cabs didn't mean they wanted any *more* oak panelling!

The sink wall had no uppers, just the windows overlooking the pine forest. The sunlight made it easier to see the golden brown glass, which matched the oak tolerably well, in the counters and in the lighting.

The adjacent breakfast nook:

Motawi 12x12 $500 (EACH!)
Talavera field tile $4sqft
Vetrazzo $100sqft (never thought that tile would make Vetrazzo look inexpensive!)
Viking appliances pricing in line with other pro-styles
Kohler Dory sink
oversink lighting $160
Kohler Simplice (I think?) faucet in SS
awesome Boos table $1600 (not bad at all!)
over table light $120
chairs (sorry don't remember)

Too much aqua? Not enough green (remember the windows show aLOT of green)? Too much mishmash of styles (I tried to keep it simple but maybe still not a cohesive design aesthique)?

These design threads are very fun--thank you to all who are starting these (with all the emails ensuing) and those contributing and those critiquing so I can see explanations of what works and what doesn't.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:20PM
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    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Grey crackle tiles in a more random pattern than shown.
Soapstone countertops
Our cabinets and black appliances.
Amtico tile in various weathered oak finishes checkerboarded
Wallcolor and art
DWR chair/Industrial cabinet/Hacienda Iron Works hardware
Zinc Table/ Zinc pendant from Restoration Hardware.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:05PM
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"O my Gawd, don't you people evah design anythin nawmal?" said Sherri in Natick. "I have these awful cabinets like my mothah and I don't want people to notice them, I just want them to blend in. I think Marcolo's idear is wicked cool, it reminds me of a Stahbucks."

Shying away from teal here, trying to make the cabs blend in. It's a caramel colored kitchen.

Tile is Ann Sacks Elements in the Chevron pattern but the colors shown.

Fratelli Onofri apparently makes a cheap-ish caramel colored stove. I'm not sure the Jenn-air matches it; it does in some photos I've seen but not others. No worries, stainless fridge will do.

Also the Schumacher window fabric (probably the most expensive thing in the room per square foot) reads differently depending on the photo.

Countertop is Cambria quartz; floors are darker-stained oak.

The whole goal here was to put together something that a person who was actually going to leave golden oak unpainted, unstained and unreplaced would actually be likely to do.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 7:59PM
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I love my lavender version, even though I wouldn't live with it myself, so I did a correlated green-neutral version of an oak kitchen including using granite, thinking along the lines of Marcolo: what someone who was going to live with the oak cabinets might be more comfortable with than lavender :)

Daltile backsplash would be studded with bronze 1" tiles shown with the door hardware.
Verde Tropical Green Granite
Manningon Adura Tile
Wallcolor with some art
Table and Chairs Tango from Ethan Allen.
Fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, Knobs from Schaub
Feature bronze from Ann Sacks.
This one would need some pattern in some fabric, but I think this would be an accessible enough starting point for someone with oak cabinets.

I want to try one more full-neutral one, but I find as the concept gets more toward the middle the execution is a bit more difficult to pull off, without starting to look dull.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 8:38PM
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Kimberly and Kayleigh are sisters only 3 years apart. Kimberly is moving out of the dormitories in Anytown, USA where her state land grant college is located. Her sister will be joining her at the University of the Heartland shortly where they both plan to do both undergraduate and graduate studies in business. With this in mind, their parents did a little research and decided to invest in a duplex where the girls could live for their college years and then depending on the market, the family would either sell the property or continue to maintain it as a rental after the girls leave Anytown.

Anytown is a mix of college aged students from UOTH, state government employees and retirees. The previous owner, a single widow, had maintained the duplex meticulously but the motif of blue geese just had to go!

Kimberly and Kayleigh convinced their parents to update the kitchen with a trip to the nearby Ikea. They maintained the relatively new golden oak base cabinets and lower end stainless appliances. They got some brackets to do open shelving instead of uppers so they could lighten the space since there's only one window. They reworked the countertops, and added some new kitchen furniture, dishes and a rug. It was a steal and now the gals have a hip little college pad. The only thing they didn't get at Ikea was their cute little oak folding chairs. The pad is a real hit with all their friends and it's infinitely more resaleable when they graduate! They just can't decide whether to paint the walls a light grey or a pale blue...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:07PM
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I love my lavender version, even though I wouldn't live with it myself, so I did a correlated green-neutral version of an oak kitchen including using granite, thinking along the lines of Marcolo: what someone who was going to live with the oak cabinets might be more comfortable with than lavender :)

Daltile backsplash would be studded with bronze 1" tiles shown with the door hardware.
Verde Tropical Green Granite
Manningon Adura Tile
Wallcolor with some art
Table and Chairs Tango from Ethan Allen.
Fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, Knobs from Schaub
Feature bronze from Ann Sacks.
This one would need some pattern in some fabric, but I think this would be an accessible enough starting point for someone with oak cabinets.

I want to try one more full-neutral one, but I find as the concept gets more toward the middle the execution is a bit more difficult to pull off, without starting to look dull.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:20PM
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Sorry don't know how that happened

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:21PM
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Hey Palimpsest - do you have a source for those gray crackle tiles?

I have a golden oak kitchen - PO put it in and although I don't love the cabinet colors, I think they knocked it outtah the pahk on the layout (I'm near Bahston, save the Rs).

I really, really like the zinc lighting & those tiles. I sorta need to get me some, since we don't have a backsplash & we had to replace the stove & OTR micro when the old one died suddenly. I think those tiles will even work well with our laminate counters (also - not my first pick but I love the layout so I'm dealing with it).

And hey Mabledingeldine - I like the laminate you used. I keep thinking that if our current laminate ever dies I want to re-laminate with a dark "soapstone-esque" kind of look. That's a nice update, I'm sure it will serve you well for many, many years. Did you take the doors off the uppers, or were they like that when you moved in? Do you like them better without doors or do things get dirty? I'm always amazed at how quickly our range hood collects dust & think, "Thank God the dishes are behind doors" but maybe there's something about our range hood that is a dust magnet?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:30PM
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EngineerChic, The laminate is Formica Basalt Slate in the matte finish. I love the way it looks with the oak, it made it look a lot better. The only caveat is that scratches show up pretty clearly.

The upper cabinets had no doors when we moved in. We added the OTR microhood and the cabinet to the right, stolen from the bathroom. The addition of the externally vented microhood helps with the dust and grease, but it is a problem. We extended the peninsula and added a dishwasher, so we regularly just run the cab contents through the DW. The kitchen is so small, however, that I don't think I'd add doors as it would feel even smaller than it is.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:52PM
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I am really liking these kitchens. I think Dogonegardener's and Marcolo's brown kitchens would really work in alot of todays homes!. The golden oak looks much nicer next to brown.

Wow Pal you are quick, after two kitchens with the same element, I run out of ideas but you keep coming up with elements that work and each offer a different end result!
I like your lavander kitchen alot too. I can see it working well with one of my own aunt's aesthetic.

Cawaps your orange kitchen, tho a bit bright is fun and out of the box!

Mabel wonderful budget remoldel.

Jerrilynn, I like the simplicity I am just not sure how I would like the wood on wood combo IRL. It looks good on your board tho.

Mtnfever, I like your aqua elements:)

Engineerchic, You just might owe Pal a commission:) How cool it would be if someone truly is inspired to use any of the ideas on these threads!!!!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:54PM
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The Grey Crackle tiles are Ann Sacks Fire and Earth

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:57PM
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Jterrilynn and Pal, how funny, the two kitchens you just showed are similar to what I have in mind for our upcoming kitchen reno! Both DH and I love natural wood and are considering oak ( or cherry) (rustic and unstained) for our cabinets. And will likely do a flagstone / bluestone / limestone etc tile floor. So I like both of those you just showed.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:30PM
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This one should be appealing to a wider variety of people than pink & orange.

Ben and Francine love, Love, LOVE golden oak. They were thrilled when they recently bought a 1984 house with a pristine, original, golden oak kitchen. And it has a fabulous view, to boot. The photos below, from the real estate listing, show the back exterior and the existing kitchen.

The kitchen needs some updating. The tile counter has to go. The white color scheme seems a bit stark, and the white appliances are showing their age.

Ben really liked the brown and oak kitchen doggonegardener posted on GardenWeb. Francine found a couple of fabrics on that picked up brown, a golden-oakish tan/orange, olive green and an orangy red. They checked Heath Ceramics and found tile in similar colors--persimmon, lichen and paprika. They used the 3 colors in 2x12 tiles for the backspash. They replaced the cabinet hardware with Calcrystal Artx knobs, and Hot Knobs Swirl Collection pulls in black/opal orange, both from Knobs4Less.

They chose brown appliances, a Viking range in chocolate and a Jenn-Air brown range hood. They chose a brown, slightly stripey, porcelain tile for the floor (Daltile Fabrique tile in brun linen). For the counter they chose Marron Cohiba granite.

They found a pendant lamp with a drum shade, and a contemporary mini pendant on The Domitalia Matisse dining table is from The Ava side chair came from Bassett Furniture.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Evan and Nial like their 1988 contemporary and were disappointed that someone updated their oak kitchen with ORB and granite. They decided to "un-update" it. They are tragically hip and like irony.

Backsplash in ziggurat-like pattern
Dove Peach Jade solid surface
Our cabinets with upgraded appliances
Ann Sacks Quarry Tile
F&B "Setting Plaster" wallcolor, Art
Parchment chairs, Maitland-Smith Table
Glass disc pendant/Peter Pepper Clock/Memphis Vase
Edward Fields Rug
Dull brass wire pulls and Kohler Karbon faucet.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:09AM
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On this assignment I am going to be exceptionally vicious in my critique. Perhaps the cabs put me in a mood. Be warned.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:14AM
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The solid surface is by Dovae. They still make some very "historic" shades. I did the backsplash before I found the Memphis-Movement vase but it must have been in my mental Rolodex.

The artwork and furniture of this period definitely has a collector's niche market.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:16AM
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marcolo....marcolo....marcolo....(like a soccer hooligan chant)

I can't wait to hear the comments. It's just so fun. Let us have it!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 1:18AM
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Kenmore range hood from Sears
Viking range in Viking Blue
Zodiaq counter in Saddle Brown
Fabrics from
Amerock hardware
Oak hardwood floor
Price Pfister Rustic Bronze faucet
Samsung fridge, stainless.
Tile is Circa from Ann Sacks in Blue Slate
Rhone oak dining table from
Bastide dining chair French oak from
Lighting is Modella Collection from

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:36AM
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"I admit, it's not exactly a chick magnet," joked Jon. The two men stood shoulder to shoulder, taking the full measure of Jon's kitchen in his first home.

His father Bill nodded. "It needs some work," he agreed. "But those golden oak cabinets are a prize. They don't build 'em like that anymore, good and stout. Why, that finish will last forever."

Jon agreed. He could feel the woodsy manliness rising from the bullet-proof cabinets like a morning mist on the opening day of hunting season. "Trees," Jon said. "We need trees. And something the color of old shotgun shells."

Jon marked off the oak floor and painted every other square black. The old white appliances were replaced with no-nonsense black.

"More manly metal," said Jon. "Metallix Corian Copperite for the counters. A nice earthy texture for the backsplash...a gray-green slate. Hand-hammered copper lighting and sink. And, some heavy bronze accent tiles to punch it up."

"Finally, I'll throw down a chunk of Calacatta marble for the island, but I'll have to find the right slab with lots of gold. Simple black chairs, nothing frou-frou," said Jon.

"Great job, son," said Bill, putting his arm around Jon's shoulders. "I always knew these Golden Oak cabinets would make your kitchen. Let's go grab a brewski."

Wallpaper: Trees and Twigs Raised Ink Print in Browns and Metallic by Antonina Vella - Seabrook Designs
Copper art tile behind range:
Woodfired saltglazed ceramic teapot:
Rug: Momeni Gramercy Copper Rug
Bronze backsplash accent tiles:

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:47AM
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Mudhouse, too funny! I laughed so hard I cried.

I wasn't sure if accent tiles of any sort would be considered manly, but I think they work in the final board.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:03AM
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I think you "nailed it". The only thing I don't like is the accent tiles, not only because they aren't manly, but because I think the very concept of "accent tiles" dates a kitchen.

But what I like about your moodboard is that it represents a 2011 kitchen but still uses golden oak. To my eye some of the other kitchens looked a lot like how a golden oak kitchen might have been the first time around.

You updated the golden oak with things that are very au courant - namely the terrific marble, and the gorgeous floor.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:18AM
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cawaps and mtnrdredux, thanks very much! You're both right about the accent tiles on both points (funny how it's so obvious after being pointed out!) Jon is just relieved he didn't get busted for owning a teapot.

I have read so many stories all over the internet about how some husbands love the golden oak, while wives want to change it, so I wanted to show the gender side of the issue.

Off to study everyone's boards. I am sooooo slow with these things, and I am blown away by how you're all able to keep coming up with great variations in such abundance!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Can you believe I actually dreamt of this thread last night? As some of you know I'm helping my son with his new place and although a new kitchen is not in the budget now my mind is still on overdrive with future modest budget kitchen ideas. The great thing about all these boards is that for all us visual learning people we can really justify some of our personal tastes. I am of the minority on really liking oak cabinets here at GW I think (in the right kitchen). As beautiful as many of the boards are though I am now really sure I like a simple oak kitchen without a lot of noise in the backsplash or countertops. To me the grain of oak is such that that it needs a less is more hand. When there is a lot going on around the oak it looks as though an attempt at distracting from it was made and the result being that it stands out like a sore thumb. For me I like to think of oak and its grain as organic art that should stand on its own proudly. Saying that though I do not like a whole oak kitchen from top to bottom either because that is to me organic art overkill.
This is a great thread with some great ideas...just wish I could turn it off while trying to sleep.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Rorah, I love those two kitchens -- well, maybe not the green Corian, but everything else....

Mudhouse, I wish I'd seen your plan before my kitchen project! We thought long and hard about a copper sink, but decided against it as I'm hoping someday to do a Circuspeanut copper countertop and was afraid it would be too much.

These threads are great.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Oh, and Palimpsest, I love that blue Ann Sacks tile in your first post. I think I've found the new paint color for my Living room next to my kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Applause to everyone. These are really amazing and creative. I really like them all!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:42PM
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Circus Peanut

When Magda set her latest batch of the Moosewood Cookbook's ratatouille burning hot right onto the old avocado formica, it finally got an obvious burn mark they couldn't fix or ignore. "Oops! Maybe it's time to fix up the kitchen?" asked Magda, "And add a few things?" "Mmm hmm" agreed Jon, engrossed in the latest Utne Reader. "But nothing trendy, none of those cliched Design Within Reach knockoffs," he added.

Magda nodded sagely. She, like Jon, had graduated with a degree in Art (as it was then called) in the mid '70's; her thesis was entitled "Bourgeois Bauhaus: Exploring the Roots of Modern Design Oppression".

Since the kitchen they owned had been cherished for almost 30 years, Magda didn't see any need to change it too much. The new counter did need to be something more resistant to her culinary efforts (not to mention that night when Alan Ginsburg got so stonkered and kept stubbing his cigarettes out on it).

She located a color of engineered quartz that most closely resembled the old avocado. "This stuff is bombproof, they tell me," she said. "Mmm hmm" said Jon, "That gives it at least a few years in this household."

Magda liked the washability of a tile backsplash, and thought she'd go with a simple frosted ceramic from Status Ceramics:

... but she wasn't totally in love. Somehow the matte finish didn't work, it was a little dull and reminded her a little too much of the spartan Eastern European kitchen of her childhood. Magda nibbled at her fingernails, feeling guilty for worrying about things like tile gloss level when people were being killed in Afghanistan every day. On the other hand, she and Jon were vegan.

Then CindyLou, a good friend in their college Department, stopped by with some suggestions. "Why not add some pop with glass mosaic tile?" she asked. Magda frowned. She loathed the word "pop" (she couldn't even pronounce it correctly) and had a tendency to find most shiny things suspect -- in life as in politics.
"No, no, no" said CindyLou, "Trust me. It's subtle, really, and has gorgeous avocado and honey colors - plus the shine resonates with your vintage Poul Henningsen copper light fixture. It'll be a good contemporary update."

Magda left most of the lovely solid arched honey oak cabinets where they were. Besides, the arch looked so good with their Danish chairs. She used a green dye stain to transform the ones lining the peninsula. But she wanted to take down the uppers on the far wall, and they still needed more storage for her enamelware. What to do?

"I can build more open teak shelves, just like the ones I made in our tiny grad school apartment, remember?" Jon contributed, "Your Catherineholm bowls will look stunning displayed there, too. But wait 'til I've finished reading this month's copy of the Nation."

The wall color was not difficult, nor the floor. They found paint and marmoleum to suit each. But all that smooth paint rather bothered Magda, since she was a very tactile person. Then one night while knitting and watching old Romanian propaganda films, she hit on it.
"Grasscloth! I'll use it on the far wall where we don't prep; it will be a brilliant backdrop to the warm teak shelves, and it really vibrates so well with the grain of the oak cabinets."

A fabulous orange faucet by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen, a subtly arched dark gray silestone undermount Elkay sink, and the kitchen was complete.

"Do you like it?" Magda asked.

"Mmm hmm," he enthused. (She could tell he was enthused not by the tone of his voice, which never changed, but by a certain wrinkle that appeared around his nose when he was especially pleased. The last time she'd seen it was when TruthDig published his response to a column by Chris Hedges.)

"And doesn't the sink look great with your collection of Dansk cast iron trivets?"

"Yes, yes it does. Now if you'd only remember to start using them," rejoined Jon.

Floor: Forbo marmoleum in Evening Meadow, #3614
Main counter: Quartz from Yasta Stone
Additional counter: DIY copper sheet from Storm Mountain Copper
Grasscloth: Waverly
Green wood dye stain from General Finishes
Glass Tile: Sicis Glimmer Mosaic Avocado 6903
Copper light fixture: vintage Poul Henningson
Chairs: vintage from
trivets by Dansk, enamelware by Copco
Faucet: Vola HV1 Mixer by Arne Jacobsen
Sink: Elkay Harmony E-Granite Undermount Sink in black

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Circus: Love it! I can even hear Magda say "pop" incorrectly. In my mind's ear, just a tad closer to "pup" than it should be.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 1:07PM
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I like the mudhouse one.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Well, circus, your narrative may be droll and your design adequate, but I'm afraid it is completely undone by your failure to include the vintage Marimekko fabric that Jon picked up at Design Research back when he was in Cambridge at the GSD:

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:22PM
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sorry ,no back story on this one. A couple people said brown goes well with golden oak so Formica Dark Chocolate Microdot or Warp countertops. Someone else talked about the color wheel and it looked like blue was opposite orange/yellow so blue wall color. The backsplash tile is coffee brown like the counters and orangey-yellowy like the cabs.The floor is tan/yellow tile with chocolate colored grout.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:57PM
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I know this kitchen (jaymiele's) is mission and quartersawn etc and oak but is it golden oak? The cab *color* looks very similar to me to what's being called ''golden oak'' in this thread but what is it really? thanks.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:08PM
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DH owes you all dinner, in a BIG way!! We are buying a house that I call
" golden oak from hell" , and silly me ,I thought I needed an entirely new kitchen. thanks to this VERY timely thread, I have been inspired to redo my plan to include some of those lovely golden oak cabinets(since the new house needs electrical and AC work and we are buying it as is....).

That Vetrazzo was more than I could stand!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:22PM
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mtnfever: If you go to the old Finished Kitchens Blog, this is what jaymielo has listed regarding her cabinets:

"Amish made of quartersawn white oak with miniwax Red Oak stain"

I don't think I would say her cabinets are golden oak. I don't find Golden Oak as offensive as most on this forum. Even if her cabinets were golden oak, it would still be one of my favorites.

Here is a link that might be useful: jaymielos kitchen on FKB

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:28PM
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White Thassos 3/8" mosaic tile, Ann Sacks
Designer White Corian (or White Zeus Extreme Silestone)
White Electrolux range
Fabrique tile by Daltile
"White 0711" by MB Thielhelm - Superordinate pendant - "Nothing" by Joseph Havel
Oak Profile Chairs and Oak MAPP table
White Hide rug by Kyle Bunting - Wolf-Gorden Laurinda Spear wallcovering - Ripplefold drapery
Black Powdercoat hardware for the cabinets.

1 Like    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:48PM
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thank you, joyce_6333! hah, I must be hanging out here too much, since I read the name as Miele rather than Mielo! Ok, so those are red oak, and in the FKB closeup of the range BS, the cabs do look much more red in that lighting than in the other pic that I posted. thanks.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:49PM
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I had an epiphany today. I hate tile. Not all tile, but little flat squares or rectangles with a zillion grout lines. Hate them. In my designs I'm much more likely to choose a solid backsplash (laminate, glass, wallpaper, linoleum...). When I choose tile, it is usually large format, or a relief tile where the reilief breaks up the pattern of little squares, or it is patterned in a way that draws the eye away from the little squares. The Ann Sacks tile I used has circles. And I don't really like the Heath Ceramics backsplash I used but I wanted to pick up those colors, so I went with it but still chose an elongated tile to look as little like checks as possible.

I don't like plaids or checks in textiles either.

So what I am leading up to is that, for reasons that have nothing to do with the overall designs and everything to do with my abnormal loathing of little squares, I dislike all of Palimpsest's designs except the lavender one, which has a laminate backsplash.

Now that I have that off my chest, I will try to come up with something more constructive to say about Pal's and others' designs in another post.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:38PM
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Hmmm I am not sure why mine got singled out...the only ones that don't have tile are ones you and I did. They all have tile. IRL I've only done one tile backsplash and all the rest have been something solid. Only in here did I learn the necessity of the tile backsplash.

I don't dislike tile all that much, just that most installations I have seen around here leave a lot to be desired.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:03PM
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cawaps - I don't think I've seen that circa tile before, hmmm. And surely you don't mean that you dislike the Heath tile that roarah posted? I love it. I never use it, but I love it. But I don't much like little tiles either.

I think that everyone has done a pretty good job, better than I could have done. I'm not a big fan of most the colour schemes though. My plan would be to eliminate the oak uppers and do some fabulous shelves, then hide the rest with some kind of island. Black hardware. I haven't gotten any further...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:19PM
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(and coincidentally no tile back splash)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:21PM
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Chemetal backsplash (weathered aluminum)
Silestone Satori quartz
Verona Range
Daltile Union Square
Wallcolor and period-appropriate art
Great Windsor chairs furniture
Tole fixture - gateleg table
Acorn hardware.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:29PM
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I don't dislike tile all that much, just that most installations I have seen around here leave a lot to be desired.

I have a tile backsplash. I'm off to write three long emo posts about you bashers.


pal, I don't like any of your designs either. I couldn't figure out why, but the only problem I can come up with is that you are using the cabinets correctly. Meaning, you use the cabinets to represent the appropriate point on the color wheel, but that just draws attention to them. "Hi, I'm the orange element. Over there is the blue one, see." Since I think these cabinets are just plain ugly, I dislike anything that draws any attention to them at all. Some of the more analogous schemes, or the ones that pair the cabinets with a different orange, seem a little more pleasing to me. "Pleasing" is entirely relative here, you understand.

Of course, your '80s scheme is just morally wrong. It's like a woman with big hair and shoulder pads listening to Morrisey. Wendell Castle is out to get you now.

Well, now that I started, I might as well offend everybody.

Doggone, I like your scheme overall. What is that backsplash? It belongs in the Golden Oak Recovery Program. But I'm not liking the black next to the near-black browns.

cawaps, your first scheme wants some aqua to make it "go." But I think these very man-made looking colors rub up against the semi-rustic look of these cabinets in a weird way.

roarah, given what I said to pal I shouldn't like your first scheme, but I do. I tried putting a photo of peacock blue fabric next to your tile, but it was a no-go: the fact that's it's a sculpted tile seems really important for making it work, for some reason.

mtnfabric, I have the same issues with your scheme. The blue is an almost direct complement and really focuses attention on the cabinets. At the same time it doesn't seem to want to play with the semi-rustic angle to me.

cawaps, that green in your second 'splash is not making me happy.

OK rather than continuing to whine, let me say that there is a lot to like in circus's design, and not just the prosy setup. It's partly the way the colors distract so much from the heinous cabinets, but also the way they flow with their chunky, bulbous semi-rustic feel. It's all so vintage in a way we rarely see vintage.

What's the next one, so I can stop seeing these cabinets every time I close my eyes?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:37PM
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Roarah, could you please point me in the direction of that cool strap hardware??
Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 9:56PM
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Marco I feel so left out...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:02PM
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I won't say which of mine I particularly like or dislike, because they are probably not in the order than anyone else would put them.

Again I did a series of experiments and tried to adapt versions of specific styles rather than doing a bunch of versions of "transitional", because I think that transitional has the weakest viewpoint--it seems kind of non-committal, and lack of commitment weakens a lot of kitchen designs, imo. I feel like most of the designs done in this exercise were full-on transitional because no one liked the starting point all that much. I don't think you can ignore the cabinets or suppress them very much because they just are what they are.
So, #1 (blue) is actually kinda transitional.

#2 (lavender) okay, I already said I like this one. This is a girl kitchen. Someone buys a townhouse and doesn't want to remodel, just wants to update it and make it look "cuter." Shoots "resale" in the foot.

#3 (grey)--loft, urban, industrial vibe.

#4 neo-Craftsman, correlated palette. I think this one would be accessible to a lot of people but I find it a little predictable.

#5 Miami-Vice-Golden Girls. I took what I don't particularly like about this type of oak and went with it. My other period muses would have had black lacquer (Patrick Nagel) or pastel laminate (Etorre Sottsass-Memphis Movement).

#6 (White). These minimalists would do everything white and then look at those cabinets and at least reface them in walnut.

#7 Colonial - this analogous scheme I think holds together pretty well. It's probably the one I find most livable if I had to live with oak cabinets

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:10PM
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jterrilynn, I really like your mood board, but I'm not entirely buying it somehow. Meaning, I don't know if the golden oak cabs that I have seen in real life would have the cool factor to stand up to your other choices. Looking at your board, it's hard not to read into them something much more authentically aged and hip than actual Goak.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Sorry to be unclear in the way I laid that out. I will try to remember to label things next time rather than just do a list at the end.

That really busy chunk of stuff over the top of the cabinets is Tiger Eye granite countertop. For the backsplash I had the plain cream colored glass tile or the tin. Couldn't decide. Didn't REALLY like either of them. With that Golden Oak Recovery countertop I might just paint the backsplash and leave it plain.

Lastly, no offense taken. This is a FICTIONAL thread and simply a fun exercise. Nothing personally invested. Tear it up. And, I agree, can't wait to be done thinking about golden oak cabinets. I just tore them out of my house and thought I would never consider them again. This challenge was really hard, but I think people came up with some interesting stuff.

I did particularly like the avocado theme.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:12PM
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So, what's on the table for number 10? Ideas? I wanna cheat and start ahead... ;)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:20PM
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marcolo's best golden oak scenario:

''Pay No Attention to the Golden Oak Behind the Curtain!''

(oops, sorry for my non-photo skills, the cab is apparently stomping on Toto)


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:24PM
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I really like jterrylynn's solution of tossing out a few uppers and replacing with a different vibe. It is a reasonable thing to do that could change the look without costing an arm and a leg. In other words, it could provide a real solution.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:26PM
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I imagine a large flaming head in a kitchen would sufficiently distract from the Goak. Maybe not.

Where is that list of other ideas?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:28PM
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Marcolo, ha you are killing me lol. I think I have an idea for you to get in touch with your oaky need a good roll in the hay!!! So, grab your partener and swing him or her around.
Angie, why thank ya!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:44PM
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The last two were based upon a material and a specific "theme" so perhaps the next one should be a specific house/kitchen or era.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 11:17PM
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How about a small 1952 ranch tract house? *cough*

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:32AM
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Sorry, Pal for singling you out. It was in part a result of you having posted so many examples, and partly a result of your format where you lead with the backsplash, so that critical first impression is not a good one (for me, because of my tile appreciation defect, not because there is anything wrong with the designs).

And no, I didn't mean Roarah's Heath tile with the ovals. I love relief tiles in general and anything with curves to break up the rectilinear thing in particular. No, I meant the heath tile I used in my second posting (red, brown & green 2x12s).

Marcolo, I agree with you about the rustic oak with the mid-century brights. I also agree with you about the green tile. I thought it worked when I put it together, but every time I've scrolled past it I've thought that it needs to be more of a greenish mustard color, rather than a green, something closer to the drape fabric.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:45AM
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Okay, finally got around to systematic comment. Hope I didn't miss anyone.

Pal #1 (blue). Tile notwithstanding, I find the blue on this one to be a bit overbearing. And I keep focusing in on the lavender in the stained glass lampshade, which doesn't seem to correlate with anything.

Doggonegardener (browns/blacks)--I like this one, and unlike Marcolo, I'm not bothered by the pairing of dark brown with black. I prefer the tin backsplash to the cream .

Mabeldingeldine--The black counters made a world of difference. Nice job!

Roarah (blue/brown)--I really like this one. I love teal, and my rejection of little flat rectilinear tiles doesn't apply to oval dimensional tile. I'm not completely sold on the table, but I really like the chairs.

Roarah (green)--This one doesn't work as well for me. I like all the green elements, I just don't really like them with the oak. Put them with something else and I'd love it. Or stain the oak. The eating area is great.

Pal #2 (lavender)--This is one of my favorites of yours. I wouldn't have thought to put lavendar with golden oak. And I'm not sure why it does work, from a color theory standpoint.

Mtnfever (Motawi tile)--The blue in the Motawi tile is a different hue than the turquoise used elsewhere in the kitchen. Since the Motawi tiles are the centerpiece, I'd like to see the turquoises shift more blue to match. I'm not sure whether Vetrazzo has a blue the right shade; giving it up would be a shame.

Jterrilyn, I like yours but found it to be a bit of a cheat in that you posted that beautiful kitchen that has a great, non-golden oak look. Yes you pasted in a door, but I was still processing the appearance of the original cabs in the photo, and not really processing what it would look like if it was all golden oak. But I like the stainless and the industrial spin.

Pal #3 (grey industrial)--The gray tile read more as blue on my monitor, and didn't gel with the floor for me. I did, however, like everthing below the floor in your post (art, cabinet, chair, table, lamp, hardware).

Marcolo (caramel)--I like it. It seems like it would have pretty wide appeal. But why is there a disco ball in the kitchen? What aren't you telling us?

Pal #4 neo-(Craftsman, green-neutrals)--I was going to write something and then I read your comment: "I think this one would be accessible to a lot of people but I find it a little predictable." That's pretty much what I was going to say, in a nutshell.

Doggonegardener (Ikea/blue). I like this one, and find it really appropriate for the people in your story. But that chair looks really uncomforable.

Pal #5 (Miami-Vice-Golden Girls). Apparently I am tragically unhip, as I really don't care for this one. I thought I liked irony until I saw this kitchen.

Mudhouse--still my favorite story, and one of my favorite kitchens on the thread. It emanates woodsy manliness, and we can use more of that on this board.

Circuspeanut--I really like this. It reminds me of the color scheme in my Mom's house, though, circa 1960. I especially like the chairs and the grasscloth.

Mtnfever--Your blue paint is a bit too bright for me--it justs makes the cabs look even oranger than thy already are. While I like the Microdot Formica, I think it is a bit too hip for golden oak (kind of like my pink and orange). The Warp works better, I think.

Pal #6 (White). I was surprised by how much I like this one. I often see golden oak paired with white, and tend to think of it as the refuge for people who can recognize the pitfalls of non-correlated neutrals but can't come up with a creative way to avoid them. Your design, however, holds up in its own right. I really like the chairs and rug.

The wall covering was completely invisible on my work monitor when I looked at your post earlier. I literally could not make out any pattern or distinguish the color in any way from my white screen. Now that I am on the laptop, it's all clear. I knew the color rendering wasn't great, but sheesh!.

Pal #7 Colonial--I think this one holds together pretty well, although I don't really feel it makes the golden oak work. It works in spite of the golden oak, but it makes me want to stain or paint the golden oak to make the rest of the design look better. This one and Roarah's green one made me feel that way more than, say, Mudhouse's or Circuspeanut's, where I really felt like the oak was integral to the design.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 2:56AM
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Springroz, I found the pull on a blog after googling bronze hardware that works with golden oak. I am sorry I can not find any other info on it. I will give you the blog's link maybe the blogger has more info for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: pic of pull

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:31AM
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cawaps, sorry for the small picture of the disco ball. I picked it for the colors and the link to the chevron backsplash. Here's a closer look.

It may still be a bit too Travolta for you.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:40AM
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Thank you, Roarah!! I will keep searching, but they might be too big, anyway......

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:42AM
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Circus Peanut

Dishing it out in turn:

Pal #1 (blue, mission): the Tiffany and mission table throw me off here. Blue wasn't unknown in the mission style, but it wasn't quite that tone, was it? Seems dyssynchronous to my eye, even though I know this isn't meant to be a historical reproduction. The inclusion of that stove just makes me sigh at the near impossibility of coming up with any palatable style using the normal appliances available on the US market.

doggonegardener: this works, but somehow the cabinets feel stranded - so much lighter in tone than everything else, perhaps? This one could actually use an animal print!

cawaps: pink & orange bliss. This is a retro style I'm not personally fond of, but it works really well with the cabs. Something about the shade of the floor seems off, though, and I fear it would pull badly in real life when seen in the proportional expanse it is.

mabelgeldine: I have always greatly admired what you could do on a minimal budget - how's the makeover wearing for you over time?

roarah: of the two, I much prefer the green. The window treatment fabric is genius and really works with the oak, seems to even refresh its feel.

pal: lavender love. The colors work very well, but the more modern elements seem at odds with someone who would put in lavender in the first place. I can't see my mom, in her 70's, liking the lines of that chair at all, nor the shine of the pulls and table (too hard to keep smudge-free).

mtnfever: LOVE the Motawi. (I'm headed to Michigan for the holidays and will be visiting both Motawi in A2 and Pewabic in Detroit.) It works brilliantly with the oak. Not sure about the brighter aquas, although it's refreshing to see someone use something other than matte BROWN with those tiles. Really a clever look overall.

jterrilynn: I like it, but find the cold steel clashes with the warmth of the oak. Or maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough.

pal gray: I could live with this one, but then I'm a huge orange fan.

marcolo: it works well, but I still don't like it. But I wager you'd find few people who'd object to it when buying a house. Yawn.

pal: green neutral. Nice, but where would it be if the artwork caught on fire? Would the subtlety get lost the second someone dumps their colorful life on the counter?

doggonegardner #2: blue ikea. It's IKEA. 'nuff said. Glad I'm not in my twenties any more. I find those colors too elemental and jarring these days.

cawaps: I like yours the best, although that may just be vanity since it's the closest to my own ideas. I actually think that the Golden Oak works best with an avocado green, not the starker forest/hunter green it was most often paired with in its heyday.

pal: I applaud the hipsters' intent, but am having bad pastel flashbacks to my college dorm in the '80s.

cawaps #2: like Marcolo's with the nice addition of dark steely blue. It adds something ... but not enough. Meh. Those fakey oiled bronze Chinese lighting fixtures cannot go the way of the dodo fast enough for me.

mudhouse: dig the narrative. I too think the tile decos are too much, and I'm not sure about the tile backsplash overall. Paint might work better, less busy? The stained oak floor is genius with the cabinets, well done!

mtnfever: I'm valiantly resisting the immature joke about the beaver tile fitting better into your Man's Kitchen above.

pal colonial: I'd hate that brick tile floor in a kitchen. Too much grout. This is another one that I'd call brilliant ... if it used totally different cabinets. Hrrm. I think it's that the colonial elements are actually too authentic to jibe well with the fake colonial of the cabinet style.
my own Avocado Progressive: confession: it's actually what I have in my own house. I have burnt orange/avocado/teak everywhere, the dansk trivets, copco enamelware, grasscloth and homemade wall shelves are also mine. I struggle, not combining it with 1980's golden oak, but with the 1920's craftsman fir of my bungalow. In this kitchen, I'm not sure I like the glass mosaic tile any more than Magda -- I certainly wouldn't put it in my own house; maybe it's too much of a bow to contemporary 2011 tastes?

This has been an inspiring thread, thank you all for the many hours of thought invested.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:36AM
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Circus Peanut

Addendum: marcolo, love the marimekko, of course, but I'd choose a more contrasting color, like a darker brown. I'll take your "adequate" to be a compliment, much like a friend in grad school who celebrated when her advisor scrawled "not entirely wrongheaded" on her latest dissertation chapter.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:42AM
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LOL! The "adequate" was in your clients' voice, of course. I'm glad you found my design boring. I achieved success! My goal was to change the vibe from nausea to mere tedium.

Looking back on all the designs, my personal takeaway from this thread is that Goak cabinets can be ameliorated, but never redeemed.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:51AM
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Marcolo, it isn't that I don't like the disco ball, I just never would have thought to put one in a kitchen. It wasn't immediately apparent to me that it was a lighting fixture (I thought it was JUST a disco ball). And if anyone else was wondering, it is 18 inches in diameter.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:22AM
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Hi cawaps, yes I did cheat a bit to make my point but only because I felt I needed to in order to get my point across. I wanted people to try an look at oak in a new way. I could have really cheated much more by using the many European oak kitchen examples. People have a very hard time not thinking golden oak cannot go in a different direction due to all they remember about momma's golden oak. Golden is just color, it might not be everyone's color but it's still just a color on nice organic wood. I also wanted to show how one could keep it simple but add art. The bold art was a computerized version of organic flowers to fit with the design. Now I do have to admit that the look I was after would not be very nice if the golden had a high sheen to it. A low or no sheen would be best.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:29AM
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My personal favorite is roarah's 1st design. All the designs are nice but I like the colors and the break-up use of oak shelves on top in roarahs.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:36AM
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I think there is a strong case for a bit of visual tedium with the materials and finishes in a kitchen, unless the countertops are habitually kept empty of contents.

There has been an increasing trend to fully decorate a kitchen as if the backsplash and countertop are the End Point of what is going to be happening in this room, and this just isn't true. There are going to be appliances and containers and things like this on the countertops, in front of that backsplash a fair amount of the time, and toaster ovens and coffee makers generally aren't decorative objects, particularly with the current trend I've noticed of people keeping their toaster oven until it's too dirty to use and pitching it.

To me all this fancy background is like hanging DeGournay Scenic paper and then hanging school pictures on it, or covering your wool and silk Tabriz with throw rugs from Home Goods. It just creates visual chaos, and the expensive backsplash makes your toaster look ugly and vice versa--they diminish each other.

Comments on comments:

My green one is kinda dull and predictable because I was thinking along the lines above.

The white one works because all the whites are very similar and everything with the exception of the countertop is textured. You can't do this with sorta close neutrals and no texture or the wrong kinds of texture. That said it would still work better with walnut cabinets.

There is a lot of decent 1980s architecture muddled with 1980s interior design like this. There is good 80s stuff, it just looks oppressive when it's all together. That table is tesselated stone and the chairs are covered with goatskin (the frames) The upholstery is all wrong and the combination of it all is insipid (intentionally) but in isolation some of the pieces are really beautiful. And you have been Seeing them in design magazines for a few years, but interspersed with a bit of everything.

I'll stand by the Colonial Revival one completely. I think it just works, even with the oak cabinets. It would look better with different cabinets, but so would everyone else's.:)

I am intrigued by all the support for yellow-based greens --as long as its not a sink, bathtub or appliance. What people embrace in one mode, they reject in another...
I am not against avocado or harvest gold appliances per se, but they were often a part of pretty horrendous schemes. But I had a client whose kitchen really looked better when she still had the remaining colored appliances. The black that replaced them was intense looking, white would have been too white, and stainless was not something she wanted.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Your colonial effort was my favorite as well.

I want to hear what others really, really think about the material now. Look: I understand everybody can't afford to rip out perfectly good cabinets, or don't want to live through the hassle. Check. And you can make these things look better. But does anybody here honestly think Goak cabinets are a Good Material?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:04PM
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I think that way back in the 70's, the cabinet manufacturers had the foresight to insert in every GO cabinet door a chip that would signal to Home Base when that door was painted. As soon as the last door receives paint, the KD industrial complex is going to proclaim Golden Oak as The Next Big Thing.

More seriously, some GO cabinets are timeless. I would take the ones mabeldingeldine posted above in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:41PM
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"Good material," she mused.

Hmmm...I think that the golden oak cabinet has a combination of four things that both make it a cliche and make it hard to work with:

1) Color. Orange is hard.
2) Grain.
3) Door style. The raised panel and particularly the arched raised panel, when combined with (1) and (2), seem very dated.
4) Shinyness. I hadn't conciously processed this until Jterrilyn mentioned it, but it's true. These cabs are a bit shiny. The shinyness is a bit at odds with the rusticness of the grain, which may be one of my subconscious problems with the material.

All four of those things together, I don't count as a Good Material, in the sense that it is not user friendly. Too many issues together. But I wouldn't call it hideous either. Just very difficult.

I can work with subsets of those characteristics. The orange and pink kitchen would be much improved if the doors were replaced with slab doors, even if they were shiny orange oak.

Roarah's green and Pal's colonial (two among many) would be improved if the cabinets were a different color.

Jterrilyn's would work better with less shiny oak, and probably a different door style. But the color and grain are okay.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Aw, HBK! I am not in love with the oak cabs, that's for sure, but the base cabs are stick built and won't come out without completely destroying them. They are also solid wood/solid 3/4" plywood and solid as a rock, so there they will stay until all the other expensive infrastructure projects are completed.

What I would like to do someday is paint them and replace the base doors with drawers, just tweaking the layout to move the range to an external wall. Otherwise, the kitchen is small but works, and the cabs are in excellent structural condition. I just can't justify removing them, so I'm trying hard to embrace them. The darker countertops helped make the oak more attractive.

All the great designs posted are sure helping with that goal. I find something to like in all of them.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:03PM
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This isn't exactly about "golden" oak but the thing I find most interesting about "oak" is, it is at the same time my least favorite (face-cut, cathedral-cut, golden oak), and my must favorite, (french-oak flooring, rifted white oak, smoked or fumed, quarter-cut and reclaimed oak beams). I am using three different oaks on a contemporary project right now. The cabinets and doors are the rifted white oak running horizontally. Wide plank french-cut oak on the floor and a bleached and dyed Italian quartered oak on some of the other cabinets.

So I guess you can't say "no matter how you slice it it's still oak" because it is all about how you slice it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Cawaps, I have to say I do not think my green board works as well with out the oak. I am not that fond of my green design so I tried it with a dark wood and a white cab and I like it even less. I think the elements are actually enhanced by the oak. Here is a quick example, sorry I used cabs I had for other projects.
With darker rosewood

With white, this is not that bad but I am as strongly opposed to white cabs as marcolo is to oak so I do not like it solely because of my disdain for white cabinets,

I feel, each board is weaker in design than my orginal.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:16PM
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True, John, it's not all equal, which is why the door had to be specified in the project :)

Marcolo, do you feel like picking the next one as a reward for weathering this thread without blowing up the server?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I'm sorry to be late with comments. Holidays and life keep interrupting my thinking, so this may be spotty. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who posted in this really fun thread!

I thought many of Pal's themes would provide a very workable starting point for someone trying to work with golden oak IRL, but I still love the purple one the best. Whether practical for resale or not, I liked the way the stainless color slipped easily into the pale lavenders, and I secretly want the artsy lavender aluminum cup pulls. I like how purples/lavenders calm down the yellowy oak.

I think I could actually enjoy living in the minimalist oak scheme, and would have liked to have had the time to play with lots of whites/blacks along with the oak in another board myself, having the oak be the only real color in the room. However, I just read your comment about how this would be better with walnut, and now I can't get that nice vision out of my head.

My favorite of Cawap's was Ben and Francine's kitchen, I could easily live there among the brown prints, and the great backsplash colors. I'd only change the drapes, but purely because I have an irrational response to really retro fabrics, maybe I was abused as a child by sixties drapes? I also liked the kitchen with the blue Viking range, but I kept thinking I'd want the floor to be more different from the cabinets. Somehow.

I agree with others, mabeldingeldine, what a great difference the new counters and sink made! I have the same sample of Formica Basalt Slate in my pile of possibles for my someday kitchen project.

Roarah, I might pick Bailey's kitchen over Zoe's, but I think Zoe's might work better than some would think in real life, when the amount of oak in the kitchen outweighed the smaller amount of strong greens. I had hoped to do one with overpowering reds myself, but ran out of time! I liked the glass pendants in Bailey's kitchen, and even tried to use the brown/green one in my board, but you used it best.

Jterrilyn, I laughed because I dream about these boards all the time! And now I seem to be absentmindedly following women with sparkly leopard handbags, to get a closer look!

Mtnfever, I liked to cool crisp aquas with the oak, and thought the tile colors worked well together. I would be intimidated by trying to figure out how to work with a tile that expensive in real life. It's beautiful. I thought the recycled glass countertop was gutsy and interesting. I liked it.

Liked Marcolo's browns, could easily live there too, but then again I don't mind Starbucks either. I think Sherri should buy the stainless fridge because I think it would work well with the pale gray in the chevron tiles. Only thing that bothered me was the disco ball, but I figured that was because I was Not Sophisticated Enough. Yet.

Circuspeanut, loved the writing so much, and I wish I could meet Magda and Jon. I also wish I could see that Arne Jacobsen faucet with that sink and countertop in real life...with that great fixture overhead! Zowie.

I'm sure I have missed some folks, which is unfair since I have really benefited from everyone's contributions. Thanks to all.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:22PM
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I hope it's OK to comment/critique even though I haven't had the time to offer up designs of my own. I found this particular exercise really interesting, because I had grave doubts about whether anyone could come up with a GO design in those cabs that was really great. I don't particularly object to oak per fact my old house is full of it. But those particular '80s cabs, well....

I really like four or five of the designs: Mudhouse's, Circuspeanuts' Marcolo's, Doggonegardener's and to a somewhat less extent Cawap's Ben and Francine scheme. All feel like the oak cabs are an integral part of the overall scheme and not just working around them.

I was surprised by how much I also liked Pal's first scheme with the dark blue. It wasn't an obvious choice to me, but I think it does work.

And Mtnfever...I love using the Motawi tile as a jumping off point to bring in a bright color that works with the oak. (Of course, I love Motawi tile, having used some myself). But it seemed to me that the modern look of chair/table/ aqua sink didn't quite work. To me, they needed to be something more organic in feel, though perhaps still modern in lines. Also, the Vertrazzo is too busy to work well as a countertop with heavily grained oak, IMO. I'd like to see it as the table top, maybe? And some of the blues were not quite right, but could be monitor issues.

Jterrilyn: I really like your idea of blending the oak with the pared-down modern steel. But, the style of the cabs
doesn't work for me. In your pictures of other cabs, one has slab doors and the other seems to be some kind of old commercial or industrial piece, with inset slab drawers, no? I never would have thought of pairing the steel with the vintage cabs...but loved it.

Looking forward to seeing more!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Is golden oak a Good Material? Recent discussions here have reminded me how wide and varied a group kitchen owners are (of course) so my first thought is, if you like the warmth/tradition/grain/durability, it's a good material.

But I notice that when I think about the kitchens presented here, mine included, I find myself saying "I could live there..." but not saying I would personally choose it, over other options.

I tend to think a really Good Material should either be inherently beautiful (of course, that's a judgement) or malleable enough to be taken in various directions depending on the goal of the designer/owner. Golden Oak is acceptable, to me, but not inherently beautiful on it's own. And I surely don't think it's very wants to be what it wants to be, and you have to adapt other materials around it.

I don't think it encourages creativity, so if you want to put your own personal stamp on your kitchen, and think outside the box, it can be a drawback.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Couple of good observations--Goak was part of the Golden Age of polyurethane, when people were still smitten with it and didn't seem to notice that all their furniture and woodwork had become coated with candy. They were just relieved by the End of the Age of Waxing.

And other forms of oak can be quite nice.

Since it's the holidays, and all our thoughts are turning toward spit-roasted boar, bowls of wassail and mead, and swordfights over dinner, I think the next challenge shall be:

Tudor Revival

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:41PM
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Circus Peanut

I believe that this same reaction against the yellow character of oak led to the very dark 'fumed' finishes of Mission and A&C. Also see: from Notes on the Morris Exhibit At The Foreign Fair, Boston, 1883-84:
"Oak, however, when polished or oiled, has a very unpleasant yellow color, quite unfit for combination with colors that are usually considered beautiful. To correct that yellowness, a little Prussian blue should be dissolved in the polish used for finishing. As much blue as will give a greenish tone to the polish in the bottle is sufficient."

Honestly, in my opinion the avocado green doors I 'dyed' in Magda's kitchen don't look half bad. It seems the strong grain works much better with colors OTHER than yellow for some reason? Yes? No?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 2:19PM
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Wasn't golden oak really prominent in turn of the century (or thereabouts) Victorian style furniture from America? I'm under the impression that it wasn't used much in Britain, but because of the availability of oak on this side of the pond, it became very common here. I certainly own some of it, including a dining room table with carved lion's paw feet.

And I agree with you circusp...plain sawn oak often looks great with the darker fumed finishes and I've seen other dyed, green, red...that look terrific.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 2:39PM
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IMO, yellow is the worst color with golden oak. A few years back I wanted soft yellow walls with the existing mid-gray tile in my bathroom. My inspiration was a bar of soap that looked wondrous next to the gray. What I had somehow overlooked was the golden oak vanity in the bathroom and the fact that BM Philadephia Cream was hideous anywhere near it. I actually think the paint was worse than the oak itself. Make that is, since both offenders still reside in my bathroom, serving to remind me that it wasn't the end of the world and that it's really the least of my problems.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 3:06PM
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As a lurker, I think one nice outcome of all your work is that we can/should use this as a reference thread. It'll be like that old joke where the jokes told in the small town are simply numbered, not repeated. Here is a future GW thread:

OP: "Help, what can I do with my Golden Oak, cathedral arch cabinets?"
plllog: I think you should use Pal #2.
Buehl: I think cawaps #2 would go better with your floor.
Marcolo: Balderdash! You would be a fool not to use Mudhouse in an exurban neighborhood.
Pal: I would think the tones in Circuspeanut would best complement the adjacent DR.
Dianalo: you could get rid of a few uppers and either use Jterrilynn or go topless and use Roarah's Bailey.

etc. What a timesaver! (I really do mean it when I say that the thread would/will be useful in that way.)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 3:16PM
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"I don't think it encourages creativity, so if you want to put your own personal stamp on your kitchen, and think outside the box, it can be a drawback." (Mudhouse)

I kind of agree, kind of don't agree with this statement. I would rephrase: To put your own personal stamp and think outside the box on a golden oak kitchen, you need to be VERY creative. Less creative people (or people who are not comfortable taking risks) are likely to be thwarted by the limitations of the material.

Roarah, having seen your two alternative color schemes, I agree that I like the golden oak better. There may still be a better choice-- a more golden (less orange) golden oak? Natural oak? And perhaps I stated my case too strongly to begin with--I do like the kitchen, just not as well as your first. I've painted my kitchen chartreuse, so I must like it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 3:18PM
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Roarah, I really like the green combination. I've seen those colors in my kitchen supply searches, but passed right over them. The way you've put those features together is appealing.

In fact, right now I'm telling myself, "you wouldn't. No, really? No." And I suspect I might. At least hunt up the samples of the countertop and the backsplash.

I also enjoy these design challenges, and how creative everyone is in putting together their mood boards. So thanks!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Late to the dance, but here's another alternative: work with the ugly and make it pretty by comparison.

I was inspired by a classic C. Jere owl sculpture of mixed metals. Hmmmm.... an industrial vibe, concrete and metal---but not sleek and shiny---or "pretty". Brutalist.

I envisioned a concrete loft. Floors, walls, ceiling. Instead of trying to obscure it, work with it and highlight it. Grind any high spots and put a sealer on it. Concrete counters. A vintage concrete laundry sink with well used brass faucet.

Take the doors off of the uppers and create zig zag display shelves with more oak. Use hammered brass pulls for the lowers.

I wanted an industrial looking range, but not one of the prettier ones. It needed to scream function first, but not be too high of BTUs. Premier fit the bill. Then a home created copper patchwork vent hood for a recirculating insert. (No real ventilation in this loft.) A couple of crown ceiling fixtures will provide general lighting.

For the eating area, a giant piece of MDF was laminated with copper, similar to Circuspeanut's counter, but vertical. It was then flamed and acid treated.

The Phillipe Malouin concrete and brass wire table, while a designer find, could be replicated by casting a slab and creating a base for it. It rests on a plain tanned whole orangey cowhide rug for the only softness in the design.

A classic Brutalist brass chandelier hangs over the table and a pair of Lulu orange chairs that echo the orangeness of the oak in both wood and upholstery.

It's an urban hipster vibe and would be difficult for most people to live with, but it does make the oak look nice. :)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:33PM
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Major colors are red-brown and mushroom. Make curtains of this "Brick" Kelora fabric from Hancock Fabric and pull the colors into the decor items. Use this small print faux fossil countertop from Formica, then add ET2 Lighting, a mod hood from Futuro Futuro, lotsa stainless steel appliances and a Kohler Stages sink and Karbon faucet, Zuo stool, Forbo "cement"[I'd prefer "greige" but it won't copy properly] with trim near perimeter of room in "henna" , CKP "Zen Brown" glass knobs

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Been busy with the holidays, so I'm late to the party. But I wanted to post before marcolo has the thread yanked out of massive affront to his sensibilities.

No time for a backstory, but the green lamp-like thing that hangs over the brick-colored Aga Legacy is a recirculating hood from Ikea. It's a bit of a cheat because they're only available in Europe, but I was so intrigued with it I decided to include it. Patchwork tile is from Tre Sorelle, pale blue armoire to pick up the blue in the tile; oak table on the side, fabric with oak leaves in the same colors as the tile; green ceramic knobs from; countertop is Silestone Santa Fe Brown; floor is dark cork, color called "Burnt," I think.

Being firmly of the opinion that most oak kitchens would be improved by losing the oppressively heavy upper cabinets, I turned them into oak shelves and stacked them with Fiestaware. It'd be better in colors that tied in more with the tile, but I had to take the images I could find online.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:50PM
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lwo, very clever idea. I'd sit in that apartment and cry in existential despair, then notice the cabinets and kiss them, remembering the '80s when I didn't have to look at that apartment. As you can see, I'm not a fan of brutalism. A very famous brutalist building took a small chunk out of my arm years ago. True story.

Florantha, you've gotta use the cabs in your board. It's a cheap trick to show very nice items and then just "assume a can-opener" like an economist so you don't have to show them in their full orange glory.

anna, what's that on your lip, snotty? ;-ppp

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:07AM
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rorah, what sink did Zoe pick? I think I like it!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:14AM
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Sorry, Marcolo. I missed the memo about how to build a proper mood board; this one is laboriously handbuilt from code.

I could use a how-to including how to include the photo of the cabs.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:22AM
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There was a how-to in one of the previous threads. I just use PowerPoint. Some get a lot fancier. Sochi it called olioboard? Or is that the name of a butter spreader? Anyway, you can just right-click on the cab and get the image.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:27AM
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There's something on my lip? Heavens. Let me wipe it with my gen-yoo-whine damsel-in-distress lace hanky.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:27AM
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I knew there was life in this thread.

LWO, that Brutalist chandelier scares me. It would totally take a chunk out of someone's arm. I had never heard of Brutalism until this board; not entirely sure whether I like it, but I like your board.

Anna, nice job of photoshopping with the Fiestaware! For all that I was complaining about square tile and grout lines earlier, your backspash reminds me of a quilt and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Florantha, I agree that it's a cheat not to show your choices with the golden oak. It's hard for me to put it together in my head.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:30AM
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cawaps: Thanks...isn't that lovely tile? When I ran across it, I had one of those "oooooooh" moments. Now I'm wondering where I can sneak into my own house.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:48AM
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I use olioboard to create moodboards. You can save photos off sites like this to olio board. I also use Flickr, right click on pic, save as jpeg, upload to Flickr. I'm sure photo bucket is similar. Anna, what did you use for your last board?

Clearly loosing the upper golden oak cabs is key. Good effort everyone. I wimped out on this one.

Florantha - a Karbon in a golden oak kitchen? Surely if you can afford a Karbon you can paint the cabs?

LWO - and I thought I liked brutalist design. I like the owls and the funky open cabs, but the light fixtures terrify me.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:51AM
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Sochi: I use Photoshop.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:58AM
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Anna, that is a great tile. I didn't really appreciate it fully in your board.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:58AM
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This is the only one of these I have attempted, as I always think about what can happen with specific rooms rather than around specific themes. Also, it turns out that the mechanics of a mood board are beyond me.

But I do have a story: Marcie was in her mid-thirties and making good money as a mortgage banker. She sprang for a late 1940s Cape Cod in a newly desirable close=in leafy suburb -- the kind where small older houses are known as "scrapers," because they are immediately demolished for something grander.

Anyway, with the mortgage upheaval, Marcie lost her job and saw little chance of getting something remunerative in the near future. So she put the glob of money she was going to use to renovate the house in the bank to meet her monthly expenses for a year. With a tiny budget, she tackled redemption of a medium-sized kitchen with GO cabinets and white appliances in reasonably good shape, mauve laminate counters and matching sink, too shiny oak floors, and lots of teal and mauve accents. With the $1500 she had designated and untested skills, she decided on the following approach to a homey but not Donna Reed kitchen.

She would:
-- rough up the floor and paint it red and off white checks, running diagonally.
-- following the Rotometal video carefully, cover the laminte counters in zinc sheets, rough them up with a hammer, and add bolt heads along the edges
-- install a beadboard backsplash, painted off white
-- trawl craigslist for a narrow table, two chairs, and a used cast iron sink
--trawl ebay for cheap black matte pendants for over the sink and the table, and black cabinets pulls
--buy ticking from ebay for roman shades
--buy a clock from cafepress

The only bit that didn't work was the zinc countertop. She ended up ruining a whole sheet of zinc and had to hire a grown-up person who was not ADHD to complete the work, which was another $500.

She can live with the result for awhile. She is trying to find a Toulouse Lautrec print she had in college. She would like to replace the clock with a black and white one that has a tiny the silhouette of Harold Lloyd hanging from a fake pendulum, but she cannot find one of those anywhere.

She dreams of white shaker cabinets stacked to the ceiling,

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 2:32AM
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I nominate Live wire oak for having the #1 Best overall vision on looking at golden oak differently...and pulling it off. I think this is the best example!!! Ok, I may not love the light with the set up but who knows maybe it could be pulled off if the ceilings were very high.
I do like honorbilts as well because it would be a very doable update. And, it looks happy.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:27AM
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Mudhouse wins first prize in my book. I absolutely love that kitchen, hideous oak* and all.

* I do not think that all oak is hideous; some I love, such as QS oak or even golden oak when the grains are put together well. Love my white oak floors. Love my old QS oak table. And I can't imagine anyone hating what the Yurpeens do with oak on the Belgian Pearls blog, for example.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Oh yikes forgot to mention Pals last design. I could really live in that kitchen. I like it because if you are going to have oak... let it shine. I think the soft surroundings mixed with the organic-ness of the grain would make me feel very comforable. Of course I personally would take advantage of the less fussy style of this kitchen to display art work. I'm actually mentally picking art as I write.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:45AM
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CP, lol! THe tile is really a bear standing on grass, which is easier to see here in the larger version but hm, yes, might be too suggestive for a normal non-manly kitchen??
and BTW I'm completely jealous that you're going to Motawi!

marcolo, THANK YOU for the tip on Powerpoint! So much easier than what I'd been doing.

cawaps, sorry, but lots of tile in this one. I would do bigger tile if I could find it as cost effective as the 4x4.

pal *especially* but all those who posted multiple designs, THANK YOU !!

ok, while there's a breath of life in this thread and before Marcolo completely subsumes it in his design #9 (non #10--trying to wipe out this thread?) tudor revival, here's another try without blue, with brown and motawi, and green that is adjacent rather than opposite orange on the color wheel. 'Mudslide' quartz counter. There is no wall color on the cooktop side (other than the tile). I tried to make these more realistic but not sure if it worked.
Cooktop side of the galley:

Sink and window side:

Thank you all so much for your designs and feedback!


    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I'm using Olioboard, never heard of it until you folks mentioned it. Some sites don't allow the Olioboard "picture grabber" to work, and if that happens, I use the "Snipping Tool" that comes with Windows to snag photos and save them to my computer, then upload them to Olioboard to play with. I really like how you can easily move elements around in Olioboard, as well as resize, crop, flop, etc. (And I love that it's free.)

Thank you Anna.

I really like the gray-green, red, and black color combo in honorbiltkit's room above. I even tried to find a Toulouse Lautrec poster for Marcie, but failed to find the right one.

The brutalist kitchen should get an award for Most Creative Thinking. I actually like raw-looking materials, but both of those light fixtures creep me out.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:06PM
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Here is a bird and butterfly themed kitchen. I'm using a fabric that I used in a previous thread (but I found it doing golden oak research). I really wanted copper appliaces for this one and found it freakishly difficult to find any. I was nostalgically wishing for the coppertone appliances of the 60s and 70s and even tried to find photos of vintage ones. No luck. Found the contemporary Bluestar range and paneled a fridge to look the way I wanted.

Here are the details:
Counter is a Granite called Jacaranda Wood
Backsplash is Chemetal laminate, Plume pattern, in chartreuse
Floor is Marmoleum Green Melody
Lighting: George Kovacs Apple Green Glass Pendant and Soleil Olive Green Bronze Tech mini-pendant, both from LampsPlus.
Panel-ready refrigerator panelled with Chemetal laminate "Striations"
Harware are Hickory Rain Forest knobs (found on Knobs4Less) and Liberty KitchenWatercolors Pinwheel (found on MyKnobs).
Bird and butterfly drapery fabric from
DiningTable "Vanessa" by Bartoli and Ercol Butterfly chairs.
Best copper rangehood from A.J. Madison. Bluestar copper range.
Elkay gourmet collection copper sink, Danze Opulence faucet.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 5:00PM
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Cawaps: Cool! I did not know about Chemetal laminate, so I went and looked it up. I am planning to do a patinaed, copper-wrapped, panel-ready fridge IRL. I was just planning to use copper flashing, and patina it myself. Maybe your solution is better. I like the rest of your palette a lot, too.

Here is the 4x8 view of your "Striations" panel for the fridge, which is a more "fridge-like" scale:

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Sochi, if you think that a Karbon faucet is a mismatch with the golden oak cabs you're making a judgment that I don't think was in the original definition of the challenge. The goal was not to make a runner-up kitchen, but to use items that make the kitchen's golden oak look good. So why assume that they would need to be painted in order to deserve the Karbon faucet? Your biases are showing. So are mine.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:00PM
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You are right of course Florantha. It is hard (impossible?) to put bias aside entirely. I still have a hard time getting my head around these cabs and a Karbon though. They seem incongruent, but I totally accept that my non-objective views of the cabs interferes with my judgement here.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Thanks, Angie, I knew my scale was off but didn't find the large scale pic. Pal used Chemetal stuff in at least two of his kitchens in this thread (the lavender one with the Meteor backsplash was one); that was how I found them.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:32PM
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Forgive me, for this is my first time attempting this, although I enjoy seeing everyone's designs.

OK, so no real story here.
Cut out existing panels on base cabinets and removed doors from some of the uppers. Replaced base panels with punched tin.
Removed sink base and replaced with dry sink with custom soapstone sink liner and matching soapstone countertops.
Took hand hewed beams from fallen barn on property.
Restored oak icebox converted to electric.
Icebox hardware scaled for cabinets.
Old wood cookstove for warmth on cold nights as well as cooking.
Hand scraped pine flooring, heavily distressed.
Corrugated tin backsplash also from fallen barn.
Cast iron cookware hung from wall beside range and of course a cast iron kettle.
Off white on walls.
And an awesome gas converted to electric fixture over the sink (although I couldn't find one that matched this one in color, but homeowner had better luck than I did.
Rustic dining room table, but I forgot chairs.

Although it isn't matching, or even that attractive, it does have a bit of an 1880's farmhouse appeal to it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 3:33AM
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Schmelz, glad you posted. I almost didn't see the golden oak in your, and had to look for it after reading your description. While it pushes the boundaries of the rules for the thread, I think it is a great idea for someone really remodeling around golden oak. The overall look is very rustic, but I like it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:26AM
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I have loved this thread! I have attached a link to a previous post over in Home Decorating about my "awful" kitchen. My dh loves the cabinets and they are in such good shape it would be crazy to replace them and as stated in that thread, it wouldn't be beneficial in relation to home value.

I still haven't made any updates from this pic accept to go with the darker bronze handles. I am still on the fence about going with the copper mountain color or a muted beige. I have tried about 10 samples of a cream and nothing seems right with the cabinets. I appreciate any advice!

Here is a link that might be useful: Remember this awful kitchen

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 10:14PM
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O.T. camarod, your kitchen has a lot going for it. Learning to accept its "locked in time" aspects is tough when you see all kinds of mod things, but you CAN love a somewhat dated kitchen for being itself. Your kitchen may seem "awful" but there are many worse ones. In the thread you connected, you will note how nicely the suggested warm brown paint worked.

I don't know anything about your finances, etc., but in my world, functionality and lack of debt trumps needless change. In ten years a new kitchen will be dated, so you can't win that game.

Have you ever built a design on the green color with more green prints? Made it an asset? Currently countertop is the most domineering personality in the kitchen, now that the drapery is gone. Can you find something to dominate over the green, to put it in its place?

Look hard at the Golden Oak ideas above--which ones are doable on a budget? You will note that a distinctive print did a lot for the designs. (I had seen a strong drapery print at Hancock last week with a turquoise dominating and wanted to use that but couldn't find an image on the internet so I used a different colorway in my entry above. Try to imagine my design colors above in your kitchen.)

Get a bid on the countertops so you can think straight. Then you can decide what direction to go in.

Wishing you well--oak is not a curse and oak kitchens have produced a lot of good food and happy families.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:23AM
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Springroz, this is incredibly late, but we have the hardware that roarah linked to -- we got them at HD. They do look fab w/the golden oak cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabulous hardware

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:36AM
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I know there are rules about bumping an old thread, but I got here only because a recent thread about oak cabinets had a link back to this thread. Anyway, now that I've looked at it again, does roarah or anyone have any idea where I can find fabric like or similar to that in Zoe's green kitchen that roarah designed? I've called myself looking everywhere and can't find what I'm looking for, and that is close.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:52AM
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Hi gardenpea, the fabric is hip floral in the brown colorway and it is an outdoor fabric. I must admit the pattern is a bit smaller in real live, it is blownup to show the colors in my board.
I attatched a link showing the fabric more to scale.
Hope this helps:)

Here is a link that might be useful: brown with orange and green fabric

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Thanks, roarah, for your quick answer. I'm looking for Roman shade fabric for the kitchen. I am assuming this will work for that, right? I shouldn't be surprised it is outdoor fabric because that usually catches my eye since a lot of them are colorful, and I need some pep. Thanks again. I will check out the link.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:21PM
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In honor of a recent post about golden oak, white appliances, and flooring that was not tile or wood, I put together this design. White GE appliances with golden oak cabinets. Marmoleum flooring in Moon with Caesarstone Nougat quartz countertops and gorgeous Ann Sack's Perennial Climbing Leaf tile backsplash.

2 Likes    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I can't see your kitchen pricklypear?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:16PM
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I always said these threads are open for new designs forever, but I think this is the first time I've seen someone actually do it. Pricklypear, the whites and greens are really clean and really brighten up the golden oak. I'm not sure of the floor color; I think I want it to be green, but that would probably make coordinating all the greens more difficult. The other colors I think would work well are all grays [the poster who inspired this board said she didn't like gray; hence the white appliances instead of stainless]. Maybe Marmoleum Water Color?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Thanks, cawaps. I like your floor suggestion much better than the one I used. Gray would be my natural inclination, but as you mentioned, I was trying to shy away from it for the poster who inspired it.

Sochi, is it showing up for you yet?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Pricklypear: too funny, I just read through this thread yesterday! Imagine my surprise to see it on the front page today. haha... oh, what you did looks great, too!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 3:31AM
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That Brutalist brass chandelier is going to give me nightmares! :-)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:35AM
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So, this is my first attempt at a "design around" post.

Jack and Jill just finished their graduate degrees and finally have "real" jobs. With the help of their parents, they have been able to buy a small 2 bedroom condo, which has the dreaded golden oak kitchen cabinets with black appliances that are still in pretty good working condition. Money is tight, but fortunately, Jill's mom is quite handy. Following instructions in the Family Handyman, she has removed the wood panels from the upper cabinets and replaced them with glass panels.

At the local IKEA, they purchased:
Numerar counter tops in gray
stainless sink and faucet ( a better faucet will have to wait)
SS undercounter lighting
Thermosfar wire light fixture

Jack and Jill paint the walls BM Swiss Coffee and lay the
gray vinyl floor tiles that they purchased at Overstock.

Their favorite feature is the backsplash, which they made using a photo wallpaper that they put behind glass panels.

They still need SS knobs or handles but haven't agree yet on which ones to pick, which is ok for now since both options are currently on backorder at their local IKEA store.

They'll figure it out over a bottle of champagne.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Nosoccermom, congratulations on your first DAT design. Putting glass in the uppres really lightens up the look. I like the pairing of the oak with whites/light grays. (So often in real life you see it paired with beiges that don't quite work.) The backsplash is a creative and striking solution to a limited budget. I cracked up over "both options are currently on backorder at their local IKEA store" because isn't that always how it is?

I am happy to see that, a year and a half later, people are still getting something out of this thread. And still contributing new ideas!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I'm sorry I haven't figured out how to do these design boards, but was happy to see this thread revived and thought I would contribute an image of golden oak put to sublime use, in Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art. But the grain of the paneling is not like any oak I've seen recently: much finer. The restraint of the other materials tames all that wood panelling, and the wonderful light. I could happily live here.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:56PM
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nosoccermom - I love your first design! Very modern and cool.

farmgirlinky - Very pretty! I love the contrast of the cement and modern architecture with the oak and the fine art and formal rug.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:13AM
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That's rift sawn white oak, and it's still available today in many cabinet lines. :)

"Golden oak" is usually red oak, stained with a yellow based stain, and an oil based top coat. The combo creates that orangey-ness that so many people are trying to get away from.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Before/after videos online so I wouldn't have to post so many pictures. (First two of grandson, skip to videos 3 & 4) Https://
1. Experimented (Mar. 2013) inside one door; days later it passed scratchtest. Eight months later cabinets like new. I had all materials from previous project so cabinet project cost nothing.
2. Removed doors, drawers, knobs, very light sanding outsides only, very little ebony stain, one coat semi gloss poly clear coat. Took 4 days,
3. Bought and stained oak molding for soffet, light oak, then ebony; perfect match. Cut scallops off the over-sink trim, and tossed the railing on hood vent and soffet. Spent money on labor and material to finish project.
4. Blue storm laminate FX180; large pieces were costly but I had no expensive corner cuts (so no seams), saved $$ using plain edges, more realistic anyway. PS got moving packet from postoffice and used the included Lowes 10% off coupon (on countertop).
5. A friend removed and repurposed old countertop (no removal or dump fees).
6. Designed my backsplash and had it put over old laminate back splash. Large tile over stove was $300 display, I paid $50. Plus I saved on glass tile that would have been used instead.
My kitchen isn't as dark as it appears in videos. Hubby was very repentant for yelling that I would surely ruin the cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: none

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:07PM
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