Kitchen Cabinet Help
Jamie Grenoble
June 13, 2014 in Design Dilemma
My husband and I are purchasing this home (closing next Friday!) and I absolutely hate the kitchen. The cabinets look like they are from the original kitchen when the house was built in 1968. I've seen some people on here that have had similar cabinets and I have a few questions about how to upgrade them. My goal is to make them dark - expresso colored if possible. We can't afford completely new cabinets so that is out of the question.

1.) I have attached a picture from the realtors website but the kitchen cabinets are now painted white. It looks as though they just painted over the color in the picture. Do I have to completely strip all of this off before I wanted to restain the cabinets? And can I even restain them? If so, what would I use?

2.) Some people mentioned buying new doors for the cabinets and keeping the frame. Was this really expensive? And if I go this route, then I'm still going to have to redo the outside of the frames of the cabinets because those are also painted white.

I'm just trying to figure out what the best route is here! I also hate that the stove doesn't fit in that gap. Any solutions?

Thanks!
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Jamie Grenoble
Anyone?
June 13, 2014 at 8:20AM   
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Jamie Grenoble
Also, there is another completely blank wall in the kitchen that I would like to put cabinets in if possible. I'm thinking it might be best to buy all new doors for these cabinets and then buy matching full cabinets for the opposite wall.
June 13, 2014 at 8:22AM     
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Jamie Grenoble
Here you can see some of the blank wall.
June 13, 2014 at 8:23AM   
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Kevin Strader
I like the idea of painting the cabinets espresso. New hardware would look good. You would have to fill the existing holes on the doors first If you can find the same backsplash tile you could take the backsplash all the way to the bottom of the cabinet over the stove. Move the stove against the cabinet and put a metal cart wide enough to fit in the space on the other side.
June 13, 2014 at 8:27AM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Jamie Grenoble
Oh that backsplash is going to go as well. I'm thinking of a mosaic tile with some orange, dark brown and cremes in there. Do you think I could paint the cabinets expresso? Or should I strip them, and then try to stain them? There is easily 2 good coats of paint on there already.
June 13, 2014 at 8:33AM   
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Kevin Strader
Trying to strip them sounds like a major nightmare. If they already have two coats of paint on them then I would go with paint. We did a mosaic in our kitchen remodel. Lowe's has it. You might want to give it a look. Olean makes it and it is called Emperador.
June 13, 2014 at 8:52AM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Elite Designs Unlimited
I would not go crazy.. I would paint them ,More of a cream color .. change the hardware, Add some crown molding I can see you changing your cabinets some day,so limit your spending ,You could look into changing the doors & drawer front? .. Cabinets on a budget is hard to do.. update the lighting to some can lighting, what about a island ,this could be a project you could do Elite Designs Unlimited. biz . Other then that try to live with it a bit and think about your goals?
June 13, 2014 at 9:20AM   
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Engrav's Decorating
The problem of painting over other peoples work is you don't know if they did it cheaply. In other words, did they wash the cupboards down to get all the airborne grease off. Did they prime them after washing them to give the paint the best adhesion.
Did they use a quality paint. If the answer to any of the above questions is no then you will have put in A LOT of work only to have the finish wear off or come off because of what the other person did. Its a problem in that your cupboards and look nasty in 6 months or a year.
June 13, 2014 at 9:25AM     
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Engrav's Decorating
Look into the cost of a partial or full renovation and save towards the day when you can have what you want.
June 13, 2014 at 9:26AM     
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makaloco
I agree with Kevin that stripping the cabinets would be a horrendous task. Normally I don't care for espresso, but in this case it looks like it would blend well with your floor and counters. For the stove area, it's hard to tell how much extra space there is, and is that a range hood of some kind centered over the stove? How hard would it be to move? One possibility might be to place the stove toward the left and build a skinny vertical cabinet unit on the right side for baking sheets, etc. You could also do it on the left, but it would be harder to deal with the countertop.
Trish Namm
Urban Loft - Storage Solutions
June 13, 2014 at 9:27AM     
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Jamie Grenoble
I won't be able to tell anything about the condition of the cabinets until we can get the keys next Friday. I have a lot of vacation time set up so I'm not worried about taking the time to do some DIY stuff with the cabinets. After researching all this morning, I'm thinking that painting and new hardware would be the best route if I can manage it.

My thoughts were for the kitchen - to do expresso colored cabinets, a mosaic backsplash with oranges, browns and cremes and then a cream colored floor of some sort. The current countertops are awful as well - they have flecks of gold and it looks like they are also original with the house. One of my friends made concrete countertops for her house and they looked awesome. She told me she would come show me how she did it so we may do that as well.
June 13, 2014 at 9:30AM   
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groveraxle
Yup, this kitchen is pretty awful looking. On the plus side, it has a decent footprint and looks pretty functional, so you can probably make it decent looking without too much expense.

If you want to stain, you definitely need to strip the paint. I suggest that's probably more trouble than it's worth. And I would stay away from orange in the backsplash; you already have an orange floor. I'd eliminate all the orange you can, starting with the oak trim.

Do you have a photo of the cabinets painted white? It might be useful to see how the kitchen actually looks right now. Kevin's paint job on your cabinets above looks good; the right backsplash and paint color might make you actually like this space.
June 13, 2014 at 9:41AM     
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groveraxle
Concrete countertops would be awesome. If you are replacing the floors and counters, then you can do anything you want with the backsplash. I would go chocolate brown to latte to cream, and skip the orange.
June 13, 2014 at 9:44AM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Jamie Grenoble
Sorry it took me a few minutes to look for pictures. All I had was a video on my phone that I was able to take screen shots of so I apologize for the lack of quality. Here are the cabinets painted white. And the second picture is the super ugly gold and white countertops.
June 13, 2014 at 10:03AM   
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Jamie Grenoble
Sorry only the countertop showed up. Here is the cabinet picture.
June 13, 2014 at 10:04AM   
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chanitroy
you might be surprised how just by changing the bacsplash and hardware to more modern ones, may make the cabinets look 1000 times better
June 13, 2014 at 10:46AM     
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groveraxle
Dark cabinets, greige paint, new floor. Old hardware and tile gone, but no new backsplash yet. These things take time.
June 13, 2014 at 10:59AM     
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GN Builders L.L.C
Jamie,

The best thing you can do for that kitchen is to replace the cabinets, give kitchen nice paint job, crown molding, etc.
Not only it will be an investment it will be the money well spent, not to mention it will be a beautiful kitchen for many years to come.

Just think about it, you will be staying in that house for a while and your kitchen is one place in the house where you and your family will be spending most of the time, and not only day to day bases, but during parties, when you do entertainment this is the place where everyone hangs out.
Don't waist money on painting it will not change anything it will be just a band-aid, this house looks like was built in the fifties, and that kitchen seen better days.

Good luck with your new house.
June 13, 2014 at 11:49AM     
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
If money was no object, there are a lot of great ideas already posted here. But it sounds like you, like most of us, have a smaller budget in mind.

People tell you to wait, save up and do it once/do it right. Well that's right, in theory. But hey, if you know it's going to be awhile you're still going to want to live comfortably in the house until that day :-)

So let's see what you can do now :-) Yes, easier to paint over than strip off the existing paint to restain. Who knows what the wood's like under it anyway? Painting, will buy you several years providing it's done well.

You can also paint the backsplash. Lots of tutorials online to learn the proper steps/products, etc for that job.

I too would paint away the orangey woodwork....if not the entire house, then at least the kitchen. It looks exactly the color we had in our former 1955 house. Always wanted to paint it. Only got one bedroom's windows painted...then moved. But definitely since you're working on the kitchen now, paint the wood trim out.

There are many countertop paint products and kits out there. Paint those too! Or you can again go to online tutorials for a really DIY version. Rustoleum has a countertop paint kit that can make your counters look like granite. They also have a simple countertop paint that comes in about 24 colors...this is just a one-color finish.

Oh....also I would paint the soffit area above the cabinets the same color. It'll give the illusion they go all the way to the top. Paint over that wood trim above them too for a more unified look.

Sometimes the dreams we have for our homes (or specific rooms) aren't going to 'play nicely' with the house because of the year it was born, without doing some major reno. Rather than fight it so much, work with it for now. When the money's in place, then you can do the kitchen over more to fit your dream :-)

People tell you to redo the kitchen because it's dated. Well it is....but so is the rest of the house ;-) Trying to do a fabulous redo on a kitchen or bathroom in any older home without also attending to the other areas of the home, to me is like buying a beautiful new dress and wearing old tattered shoes. So I do think there are ways to update your existing kitchen and still be happy with it now.

Can't wait to see pics of your redo!
June 13, 2014 at 12:27PM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Jamie Grenoble
@ Connie Nikiforoff Designs, do you mean paint the expresso color of the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling? That just seems like it would look funny. I want to try and see if I can take that wood trim above the cabinets out. I really don't understand the purpose of it.

My goal is to paint all the trim in the entire house. I DESPISE that color. I'm going to try and paint the trim white? I'm thinking that would look best in all of the rooms. (But that a lower priority on my list as of now).

I'm not too sure what color to paint the walls of the kitchen either. I'm planning on the expresso cabinets and white countertops so maybe a tan/creme or white? This room is going to drive me nuts until it is finished! The rest of the house I can deal with but just not the kitchen!

I will look into that countertop stuff too! Thank you!
June 13, 2014 at 12:44PM   
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Kevin Strader
We were in a similar set of circumstances when we moved into our house in 2001. The cabinets were painted . . . are you ready for this . . . teal. The counters were laminate that looked like orangey brown leather (I kid you not) and it had off off white with sagey green plaid wall paper. We couldn't afford to do the full renovation so after 2 years we painted the cabinets, walls and put new laminate counters in and that made it more palatable until we could do the full renovation. Waiting and saving is nice but spending a little to update it as a stop gap measure might make it easier to live with until you can go all the way. I know it worked for us.
June 13, 2014 at 12:51PM     
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Kevin Strader
If you do the cabinets in an espresso then I would look at a tan color that gets away from the yellow tones that are currently on the walls. Think light taupe.
June 13, 2014 at 12:53PM     
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
Well if you're set on espresso for the cabinets, maybe not paint it all the way to ceiling...might get pretty dark. However I think a wall paint color that's not too light will look nicer with your planned dark cabinets. But that's my opinion because I personally like the cabinets to blend rather than stand out.

What I'm reading is that you really don't have a full-on plan for your kitchen. Do you have some inspiration photos? Do you have a color scheme in mind? I've learned the best 'rule' is to have a full plan in your head before you begin. Cuz if you do one thing first, for certain some other aspect won't work out unless you've chosen all the elements of the room up front. (I'm not saying it has to all be done at once, if budget restrictions apply. Just have that plan in place and work towards it.)

As for that wood trim above the cabinets, just paint it espresso too. It will look like it belongs to the cabinets (maybe even act like moulding?) when painted the same color.

Before you paint, fill the screw holes from the handles. Sand well. Then go buy the handles/pulls you love. With the holes filled you won't have to find some that fit the old holes and they can be installed in a more updated direction...instead of that diagonal one that exists. Doesn't that just say 1960's in a reallllly loud voice! Hahah! :-)

Can you post pics of rooms you like? I think that would be helpful.
June 13, 2014 at 12:56PM     
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Jamie Grenoble
This is more of what I'm envisioning. I like the dark cabinets, white appliances, white countertops and some sort of mosaic brown/cream/tan backsplash. The more I think about it, the more I am thinking a cream color for the walls to make everything look clean. The flooring is going as well. It is just cheap sheets that look like tile.
June 13, 2014 at 1:03PM     
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Kevin Strader
Valspar has a color called Cincinnatian Hotel Hannaford in their Historic Color collection. That's the color we used on the walls above the chair rail. It sounds like it might be "just right" for you. It's not quite as gray as what the sample below looks like.
June 13, 2014 at 1:11PM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Jamie Grenoble
Here is the back splash that I really like!
June 13, 2014 at 2:12PM     
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Elite Designs Unlimited
My idea's were more of a Band aid, The darker you finish the old cabinets , all the flaws will show up.. I would put as little money as possible into a kitchen you do not like.. Save your money.. even when I was a depot Design Dude, your looking at min. 12 to $15,000.

Heres a Idea Try RTA Cabinets, .. (ready to Assemble)" Some people Shay away from them .. Remember once cabinets are in place unless they are really bad they are ok, Heavy use ,Kids or water , are the only bad things .. You really Hate the Cabinets go to Lowes or Depot ,get a credit line,buy them off the rack..
"The Kitchen Designer will do a free lay out " They want to help you for their sales!
with your Info, walls windows ,door ways, Wait for instock sale, lots times 10 % .. Then get the credit card for , 10% more But be aware in most case you get 36 months to pay IN FULL or you pay All the interest.. is charged..If nothing else Get a Shopping list ,pin it on the wall save & Dream!..

Recap, Band Aid.. Or instock Cabinets on sale OR RTA Cabinets..
June 13, 2014 at 2:14PM      Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Elite Designs Unlimited
goes well with the color above!
June 13, 2014 at 2:14PM   
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
Ah....after looking at your inspiration pics ya know what I see? I see the dark cabinets going all the way to the ceiling :-) So I'm back to my suggestion about painting your soffits above the cabinets and that wood trim the same color as the cabinets. It will look like they're part of the cabinets. You can also add crown moulding to the top of your soffit next to the ceiling and paint that espresso too!

This is our former 1955 house kitchen. Before we added crown moulding and after. We then painted the cabinets, soffit and crown moulding all one color. We didn't use a very large moulding because it would have looked oversized in the small kitchen. You may be able to beef it up with a larger sized one. (Obviously ours were done in an off-white. But you'll get this same more cohesive look with espresso too.)

P.S. Yes there's a texture on the soffit. Sadly cheap crappy plywood was under the old wallpaper so I had to cover that. I used drywall compound for the texture. If yours is smooth, you'd get a much nicer look. But actually we didn't mind the texture because in our all white kitchen, it did add a little fun texture ;-)
June 13, 2014 at 3:04PM     
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Kathryn Tegreene Interior Design
I am with Jamie. If would be time consuming to stain your cabinets. Painting them would be quite inexpensive (you can sand out other peoples bad work), and when you can afford it, you could consider keeping the cabinets and getting just new doors and hardware, painting them the same espresso color and eventually adding new counter tops and it will look like a new kitchen.
Good Luck!
June 13, 2014 at 3:12PM   
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
I love your backsplash you posted! I see a sort of greenish gray in some of the glass there. That would be a very pretty color on your walls especially with the espresso cabinets. You may need to go a bit lighter though so the room doesn't get overbearingly dark. Tan is OK, but kinda "meh....." Plus it kinda looks 90's ;-)

Your inspiration rooms have white appliances and white walls. There's your answer to wall paint color :-)
June 13, 2014 at 3:14PM     
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Melissa Curcio Designs
My recomendation is don't put too much money into fixing what is there. You've already said you hate it and it is pretty dated. I would maybe put up a few coats of paint to get it to where you can live with it for a little while and then I would save save save and redo the whole thing. Replacing the doors can be close to the cost of new cabinets and it is really only benificial to someone who likes the layout of their kitchen and the boxes are in great condition. If a Total remodel is not something you want to get into for a very long time I would maybe consider looking at instock cabinets somewhere. You could get away with spending about $2000. This is a rough plan I put together for you with Lowes in stock cabinets, Color Cheyenne, There is also a darker color brockton. Hope this is helpful. :)
June 13, 2014 at 6:34PM     
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Elite Designs Unlimited
Holly cow.. wow is that not What I said .. Add Crown at soffit.. White Wammo .. No change the hardware .. Call it a day save your money.. done for a year!,,,,...
June 13, 2014 at 6:34PM   
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sstarr
These cabinets look homemade; or the way that cabinets were built in the 1950s. And so, I think there is no harm in painting them all espresso. I believe that making them uniformly dark will conceal some of the construction detail and give a better impression.
I don't think you should put any effort into stripping off finish, etc; these cabinets simply don't warrant the effort. Spend your effort on putting in a few updated touches, perhaps a new backsplash, to update the look.
Keep in mind that if you put in a backsplash now, it will likely have to be torn out when and if you do put in new cabinets.
Definitely remove the curly moulding over the window and replace the light fixtures.
June 13, 2014 at 6:52PM     
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jerryalan
I love the idea of painting the cabinets espresso. There is a paint for counter tops so paint those too. My neice painted hers and it is working okay. That would give you a new look until you can save enough money to replace the whole kitchen. Paint the backsplach a fun bright color. And I love the floor just like it is.
June 13, 2014 at 7:17PM     
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bgfuqua
is the blank wall for a kitchen table and chairs?
June 13, 2014 at 7:48PM     
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Jamie Grenoble
@bgfuqua, It is supposed to be but we are not putting a table in there.

I think we are going to look into whether or not any places offer no interest for a few years. The more we are thinking about it, the more I'm leaning towards us charging it and actually getting use out of it!

I'm going to get some estimates in the next few weeks and decide.
June 13, 2014 at 8:00PM     
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fredm51
As far as the cabinets clean, sand and paint, Remember that plywood was very popular at that time. If they are made of plywood start saving for new cabinets in a few years. I would go for fixes you can fix now with the help of family and friends. Like tile floors, vinyl countertops and painting. Do not buy new doors and new wood veneers on the cabinet boxes. They must be installed by a PRO and maybe thrown away in a few years. That should get you started. painting the doors, mark every door and opening so they go back to the same spot, take off all the hardware clean or replace. I would not do the backsplash yet. Oh if doors are plywood do not stain them. Paint them, pine does not stain well and the grain patent is ugly. Good luck!
June 13, 2014 at 8:34PM   
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fredm51
If the you do tile use "Ditra", You can see how to install on youtube. easier than cement board, it is waterproof and will save you hours on installing cement board. It is about the same price as cement board and save you a good day on the project.
June 13, 2014 at 8:41PM     
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pattimalley
Please, save yourself the frustration and renovate and get what you love. It pays off in the long run. Find a good contractor to work with and stay with him/her. Perhaps he can work with you to cut some corners or if your handy. Make sure your new kitchen has enough light to install dark cabinets. The kitchen is a big selling point in a resell. All want new cabinets and granite countertops. It's almost expected and some will walk out if they see a dated kitchen. It seems granite, hardwood floors, and new baths rule in home sales. (I had to rest all a lot! First house I've had to redo kitchen. I spent more money trying to save money. Get a great well respected carpenter/contractor and do it right, in my humble opinion. You'll never regret it.
June 13, 2014 at 11:44PM     
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pattimalley
Elite! Never put down another professional, wherever one may work. I've used Loew's in the past and found a great professional getting back into the business. Working in another's home, may take time and I'd expect a professional to keep my business to him or herself. No harm intended, perhaps you'll take my advice. Reputation is key! Best Wishes for your business. I love your choice of names. Elite is professional and catchy!
June 14, 2014 at 10:15AM     
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beachlily
Elite. Attitude will lose you customers.:)
June 14, 2014 at 11:36AM     
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GN Builders L.L.C
Here is another idea of what you can do, use two glass door corner cabinets on both corners, the cabinet will eat up some of the wall space on the sides and it will help to take the eye off from all that wall space on the sides, a few pictures and you have a beautiful kitchen.

Good luck
June 15, 2014 at 11:09AM        Thanked by Jamie Grenoble
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Florida Homes Designed For The Stars
A chopping block or cutting board on a moving island that you could move to range area for hot items when needed or move close to refrig. to cut veg....Storage under cabinets that match room.
June 16, 2014 at 3:53PM     
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gkcarr
Personally, I'd not get in a hurry to make a big change like this. Move in, put your stuff in, look at the big picture and live with it for awhile. You may completely change your design ideas with a little time, and be happier (and save $) in the long run.
June 16, 2014 at 4:03PM     
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pattimalley
I love chopping block idea FHDFTS! I am on the lookout for a moving chopping block ASAP! Thank you!
June 16, 2014 at 4:06PM   
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