What color to paint the wall of closets?
klkorman
August 27, 2013 in Design Dilemma
My new to me 60's house has this awesome hallway of closets. They have a yellows, pickled wood look to them now and I would like to paint them. The walls are SW fleur de sel and ceiling is bright white. Any ideas?
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judianna20
White with new hardware, Great space.

August 27, 2013 at 4:47pm     
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J.R.McDonald Color and Design Consultant
Since they are wood, I would not paint them. Rather do a stain/varnish product over them to get them to a similar tone as the floors. With the light colored walls and uplighting that you have, it would make the space feel bigger.
August 27, 2013 at 4:48pm   
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gsweeney55
Wow. That is a lot of closets. Do you need all of them? Are they hiding windows? Just curious.
August 27, 2013 at 4:53pm   
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Keitha
Sorry but they look a little "homemade" and I would eliminate them. If you do not want to lose all the storage you could have shorter ones made in in a more traditional and custom style
August 27, 2013 at 8:27pm   
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Keitha
Maybe something like this along the wall
August 27, 2013 at 8:28pm     
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sharpei01
Shinny chocolate brown. :)
August 27, 2013 at 8:39pm     
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J.R.McDonald Color and Design Consultant
People, Kikorman referred to these cabinets as "awesome". As designers you should know it's important to listen to the clients needs and desires. So removing them or going to the great expense of replacing them isn't really addressing the question put forth- The question is what to do with the finish.
August 28, 2013 at 7:32pm     
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mkmort
Paint them your favorite color or colors!
August 28, 2013 at 7:41pm   
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JILL OF ALL~Kaarisa Blackwell
I agree 100% with J.R., as well as, mk....Do what feels right for you! If you want to paint them, use a color or colors that make you smile when you look at and walk by them. My suggestion with the beautiful dark floor would be warm yellow like Ripe Wheat...golden, but not orange. It would make that space look and feel sunny and warm even on dark days! Clean and fresh! Do what you will love. There is no right or wrong...and it's only paint, easy enough to change. Try out a couple of colors one on each end and see how they feel and look at different times of the day. Go for it and have fun!
August 28, 2013 at 8:10pm     
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Keitha
J.R. Is right, guess we get a little off track sometimes and lose focus of the real design question. Sorry about that @kikoman!. Since you do love the cabinets and want to keep them then I suggest that you add some simple trim to the flat panel doors for interest and paint them a nice crisp white or maybe a mid-tone gray. In my opinion staining the cabinets dark would only weight this long narrow room down and give it a heavy feel. It would be interesting to see the cabinets and ceiling gray, then add black and white photos along the opposite wall.
August 28, 2013 at 8:14pm   
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dacianak
I would take off the doors and add shelving inside to some spots and poles for hanging garments in others.Maybe keep doors on both ends of the hallway to conceal bath towels/household stuff.I would paint the shelving a dark color though.Maybe brown or black
August 28, 2013 at 8:22pm     
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JILL OF ALL~Kaarisa Blackwell
Really suggest keeping it simple, light, bright and airy. If you use a dark color it is going to feel and look like a long dark tunnel. Just my opinion.

Do like the idea of removing a couple doors and having open shelving for displaying some lovely art, vases, sculptures, books, or special collections you may have.

If possible could string some halogen under cabinet lights into the open spaces to show off special pieces and add more light to the hallway. May consider some rope lighting laying on top the cabinets for some ambient uplighting at night.

Also thinking if you are artistic and like painting...you could paint some fun designs or even stencil something onto the cabinet to create interest and dimension. Like Ivy and Wisteria? Or Palm trees and a beach scene with chairs and umbrella. Maybe personalize this area a bit rather than have it all one color?

There are some very cool wall murals that could be applied if not artistic. Maybe you know someone or can hire someone locally to paint a wall mural or scene from a photo or a place you visited and had a wonderful time.

Hopefully your creative juices are flowing now and you are inspired to do something fun with the space. Be sure to post the end result! All the best...Kaarisa
August 29, 2013 at 12:40am   
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klkorman
Thanks for all the comments, super helpful and much appreciated. The closets are part of the original architecture of the home and are drywalled in and wired so they have sockets and automatic lighting when opened and it would be a huge undertaking to remove them. Before I bought the house I had envisioned removing the closets and having a long gallery, but that would be very expensive and there is just never enough storage in a house! I do like the idea of taking some doors off. Thanks for the help everyone, it is much appreciated. I think I will experiment over the weekend with some different ideas.
August 29, 2013 at 4:54am   
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victorianbungalowranch
The finish is very characteristic of a 1960s house--they had a finish called Platinum, which was sort of a white mixed with burnt umber type wash that obscured most of the grain and then clear coat of varnish. You used to be able to buy it, but it isn't made anymore. My grandmother had it in her home, and I have it on my ground floor, circa 1962.

I think new period type hardware (thin or shaped silver or white handles) could look good--which you may have already. Might be worth stripping the hinges if they are painted--soak in an old crockpot and the paint will peel right off. Depends on whether you like the mid-century look or not. The floors and other things have been redone, which isn't really period. I would love to have plugs and automatic lights in my closets! And the narrow windows above are pretty cool.

RetroRenovation.com and AtomicRanch.com are good sources of period design and resources (tend to the funky side) . Save the Pink Bathroom is a good sister site if you happen to have one. A little education can help you appreciate a different aesthetic, and give you ideas or a market if you plan on tearing out original metal cabinets, gold fleck formica, groovy light fixtures or whatever someone else might like.
August 29, 2013 at 5:48am   
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chrisinky
A narrow trim at the top would make it look a little more finished. You don't want it too wide so it won't obstruct more light from those windows. I would attach it almost flush with the top of the cabinet.

As far as color, I think it needs to be light, but interesting. How do you feel about blue? Any lighter shade of blue would be good. You could lean a little to the gray side or towards a turquoise which I think would be really nice. It should be a color that blends with the surrounding areas in your house. Someone mentioned painting a mural on it. I think that would be beautiful if you can find someone to do it & the cost isn't an issue. I can't tell if your handles are new or not. I would go with a brushed nickel for the handles & hinges or possibly black.

A few colorful glass bottles sitting on top would make the light coming in the windows more interesting.

You said you can't remove them, but can take some doors off. I'm not sure if its possible, but if you can open it up enough in the middle somewhere, a built in bench would be nice. Again, not sure if that's possible.
August 29, 2013 at 7:09am   
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J.R.McDonald Color and Design Consultant
Also, "Howard Restore a Finish" is a solvent/cleaner that can remove the yellowed look and get the finish back to the original platinum color. Lots less work and expense. I've used it on some mid-century pieces with great success.
August 29, 2013 at 10:54am   
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Dar Eckert
Yes, sorry for the comment. I must have been in a surly mood that day. I think I would paint them the same color as the walls. You could get wild and paint each pair of doors a different color. Or the frame a different color from the doors.
August 29, 2013 at 3:43pm   
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Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design
I just skipped from the top paragraph and the first few suggestions. Stripping and refinishing will be a big job and to get it right you'll need to take the doors down and give them to a painter with shop space. Painting is your best route. But, instead of brushing and rolling, rent a sprayer. Sand and prep them with a coat of Wilbond. For really great results, sand, roll on Wilbond and let dry. Check the doors when the Wilbond is dry for imperfections and so forth. Spot sand or patch, and apply a thinned coat of your paint with roller. Then when dry finish by spraying your final coat. You can also do a top coat of clear for extra toughness.
August 29, 2013 at 3:57pm   
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lefty47
HI -- This is a common great feature that some mid century homes had with the wider hall and storage cabinets on one side - very smart and I would keep them . Get someone (cabinet carpenter ) to style the doors with hidden hinges and even touch latch doors . Then paint them and the whole hall the same color . I wish I had these ! PS: The great Architect Frank Lloyd Wright did this very thing in some of his houses I think .
August 29, 2013 at 4:01pm   
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nancy22032
How we all long for storage like this. How about choosing your favorite color in a very light shade then as you progress from closet to closet move to the next darker shade (like those strips of paint colors you get at the paint store) so that while it all is basically the same color, the shade of it darkens or lightens as you walk thru.
August 29, 2013 at 4:04pm     
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