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can you have too much wood?

Posted by runningirl (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 13, 10 at 13:32

Hubs and I are in the final stages of building our little dream house in the woods. Brick outside....lots of wood inside...wood plank floors in "butternut", ceilings in light stained ash, and lots of pretty wood trim. Right now everything is just perfect-- but we have a BIG kitchen cab dilemma. We originally wanted quartersawn oak (little darker than med) and soapstone countertops. However, since flooring has been completed... we feel that the wood cabs might turn our rustic scene into something akin to the basement of Noah's ark...or worse, the inside of a coffin. So now we are considering a painted/glazed such as a sage/olive green (trendy?)or glazed off white. (We won't even get into the range hood or island...babysteps.) Would like to keep the soapstone...any ideas, comments would be greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: can you have too much wood?

I'm sure there are folks who would disagree, but, yes, I think that there is such a thing as too much wood. I remember seeing photos posted here of a kitchen similar to what your kitchen would be with wood cabinets. I think it was the wood paneling that put it over the edge for me.

I think painted cabinets would be lovely, and sage green would be very pretty with what you described. Trendy, maybe, but I think if you choose what you like, trends don't matter much until it comes time to sell. And you could always repaint the cabinets 10 or 15 years down the line, when you've recovered from this building project.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I think if your gut is telling you that it is too much wood, then listen to your instincts.
I truly love wood and think it adds character and warmth to a home. I also have seen some instances where it is too much and it loses its specialness. I am not fond of the kick parts of stairs being in wood (I forget the term) and some kitchens with wood floors and wood cabs seem like a bit much. I have seen others who worked the wood/wood combo and made it look nice.
A lot will hinge on color/tone and grain. Some woods look good near each other and some are not a good mix.

Now if you are decorating a ski chalet or German restaurant, I say go crazy and do wood everything. I can't imagine either with little to no wood.

I would set up a board with the different surfaces you are considering (including hardware) and see what combo feels right. You can even photoshop the different elements onto one page fro each grouping and see how each combo looks.

Pics might help us here do a more educated "vote". I find that by asking opinions, it makes me more aware of what I am hoping to hear, therefore telling me what my gut is trying to get through to my head. Sometimes it takes a roundabout route, lol.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I definitely got wooded out in our last house so this time since we have a timber frame with wide plank flooring we painted doors, trim, wainscot and cabinets and I am glad we did. I also saw someone that had timber frame with the trim and cabs painted sage green and it was beautiful.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I also feel that there can be too much wood in a room for my personal taste. If you are feeling like wood cabinetry will be too much wood for your tastes, you should listen to your instincts. I think either sage/olive or cream painted cabinets would be a lovely contrast with the wood floors, trim, and ceilings. Soapstone sounds fabulous as well. In my opinion, having too much and especially too much different wood varieties in a single space can be overwhelming and loses some of the oomph that wood elements can bring. By having painted cabinets, you can allow each element to stand on its own and highlight the beauty of each: the grain of the wood, the yummy color of the cabinets, the natural depth of the soapstone. And if you find in 5-10 years that you no longer like the color of your cabinetry, you can always paint them another color.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I know someone who has light oak floors and walls covered with light oak bookcases, with light oak, mission style furniture. I joke about it being a squirrel's nut store, but with the shelves full, paint on the walls, some Persian rugs and brightly colored art, it really looks fine.

I don't remember what your floor is. If you have some contrast with the cabinets, it'll be fine! I've seen a lot of wood kitchens with wood walls and wood floors in wooded glades, and done right they actually look fantastic! Very easy on the eyes, and all the wood inside doesn't compete with the views. Instead it makes them come alive.

The green would be pretty too, though I think white would be distracting if you have a lot of windows.

I know how you feel. I have vertical bamboo, and put cabinets wherever I had a wall. I was worried it would be a bamboo forest and considered painting the pantry. My GW friends called it "gumby" (it was just computer generated green). I didn't do it. There's a lot of bamboo, but with all the other finishes, it doesn't loom, and isn't overwhelming after all.

My advice? If you still love the oak, get the oak. And choose a contrast wall color (such as the green), and put some bright accents in, maybe some shiny or light colored hardware, and enjoy it!


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RE: can you have too much wood?

Goodness...i'm a newbie here and thrilled at all the lovely responses already! There probably won't be any persian rugs or art...but if hubs has his way, maybe a giant animal on a wall.
Thanks a million...


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RE: can you have too much wood?

Gosh, I really need to stop reading on this site until after my kitchen is done. It's making me a wreck. I went with lighter oak floors and a medium cherry cabinet. They started putting up the cabinets this week and I really can't get a sense yet of how this is all going to work. I have had concerns about the kitchen being too dark and the design using too much wood, but everyone involved has told me it will look lovely. My last kitchen was thermafoil white and I just hated it. This had a lot to do with my aversion to painted white or cream cabinets. I guess you go with what you really like. My problem is that I don't know what I like...or rather...I like all the other kitchens I see here, but am full of uncertainty as to my choices. However, I do have painted white molding and white windows and white patio french doors that break up the unrelenting wood colors and I continue the white doors and molding, etc through the rest of my house. So I guess you need to make sure that your design fits your house as a whole. If it does, then you should be just fine.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I don't know your layout but have seen kitchens that mix finished and it sounds as if it might be a great solution for your space. The cabinets will be darker then the floors. What if given the right layout you did bases in the wood with a mix of some painted pieces for somewhat of an unfitted look. For instance, bump out the sink base and paint it a sagey gray color. Ifyou're doing a wood range hood, you can do it in that same color. Just some food for thought


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RE: can you have too much wood?

attygirl, sounds like your kitchen will be beautiful. I'm doing dark wood floors (ipe also known as ironwood) and cinnamon colored cherry cabinets with tan accents. stop second guessing yourself and I can't wait to see yours.

to runningirl: sounds like you're after a rustic look so any of your choices will look great. if you're afraid of too much wood, I'd do the cabinets in sage, the soapstone and maybe put a butcher block island in if you have room. I also see nothing wrong with the darker oak if you use lots of colorful accents in your backsplash and accessories. I personally can see what you're envisioning with lots of primary accents along with greens.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I just put in Quarter Sawn Oak cabinets, in a dark finish, quite a bit of them (Kraftmaid "Kaffe"). My home is a 1915 Craftsman style, and the cabinets match the trim in the house pretty much.

Is it "too much" wood? Not for my home. It fits in perfectly. The way I am lightening up the feel of the room is by not using dark counters or walls and SS appliances. I've chosen Ceasarstone's "Jerusalem Sand", which is a tan/peachy tone. Walls are also a very light peach. My floors at this point, are going to be an Italian porcelain tile, dark slate with tones of brown, gray, black, blue, and peach in them.

The lighting of the room will help too. I didn't have a lot of natural light, so I took out a window and added a sliding door. That made a world of difference, and all new recessed lighting has helped not make it feel as heavy as well.

I love wood, but I agree it can be overdone if not done correctly. Some homes cry out for it (mine did) because of their surroundings - others, not so much.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

In regards to Sivyaleah...your place sounds wonderful. We absolutely love the QS oak...and will stick with it for master bath cabs. But since we have fallen in love with the soapstone (too dark with the med. QS?) for countertops, and have so much wood (floors, ceilings, trim) seems like all opinions (and our hearts) are steering us to painted cabs. Picked up a sample of Kraftmaid sage green with a cocoa glaze yesterday and really like it but hubs thinks might be too dark with soapstone (big sigh). Our awesome cab maker is patiently awaiting direction, bless his heart.
I agree with attygirl,I too, am a wreck. Big investment...better to be sure.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

Cpartist...thanks so much for your input. And I love the idea of butcher block island. The rest of our little retreat in the woods is exactly what we wanted...but took 6 years of planning...went through several houseplans and finally drew our own. So it's no surprise the kitchen has been a giant roadblock for us non-visionaries.
The whole idea was to "bring the outside in."


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RE: can you have too much wood?

As long as the wood is not all the same tone, you'll be fine. Painted cabinets might even look odd sandwiched in between the wood ceiling and floor. You just need the tones of the wood to vary for contrast. Even all-white kitchens are blah.


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RE: can you have too much wood?

I seem to be in the minority here, but I think QS oak sounds lovely for your setting!


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