Design Around 9: Keeping the Golden Oak
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.