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How should I brighten up my kitchen?

Sharimac
8 years ago

I am getting really gloomy being in my kitchen. As much as I would love to paint the cabinets, it is not an option. They are all custom cherry installed in 1998 by previous home owner and cost over 15K, plus the kitchen opens up onto the living room, which has the same dark cherry cabinets throughout. My home was built in 1885 and has the original layout and wood trims (all painted white, as was original). I really don't even know where to start since I feel like nothing will match these cabinets.
{{!gwi}}From House

{{!gwi}}

This post was edited by Sharimac on Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 12:32

Comments (145)

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    If you can take the lacquer off, they will start aging by themselves, or you can speed it up.
    I tried taking off the lacquer by boiling in salt water, but honestly, the only way it worked was to use elbow grease and steel wool. You could also try soaking it in lacquer thinner overnight.

    I wouldn't use ammonia. That stuff is nasty. But you could try vinegar or holding it over a flame (gas flame). Or check out the commercial product below.

    Here is a link that might be useful: brass darkening solution

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Hooray, drywall is finally up and first coat of mud is on! We updated all the electrical outlets and light switches. I will paint that green ceiling and I have some of the house's original gilded crown molding up in the attic that I am going to try and put up as well. I have the ceiling 85% done in the kitchen, but since I have to share the ladder with DH, that middle section is still needing done.
    {{!gwi}}From House
    {{!gwi}}From House

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  • badgergal
    8 years ago

    Wow you are some incredibly fast DIYers! Cant believe what you have accomplshed in 2 weeks time. Most would still be trying to decide what to do and where to start.
    Looking great so far. Can't wait to see the end result

  • bellsmom
    8 years ago

    OOOH, you make me smile.
    I do hope the hard work is a pleasure to you, and I hope the results will be a reward.
    Do share.
    Sometimes, I live vicariously. This is one of those times.

  • CEFreeman
    8 years ago

    WOW!

    You didn't drywall that stair space, did you? This is the perfect opportunity to plan a closet, or an under-stair little office!

    There's so much hidden in your house. Gold crown molding OMG!

    Pics. Keep 'em coming.

  • hosenemesis
    8 years ago

    Watching with bated breath.

  • likewhatyoudo
    8 years ago

    following the progress!

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Well, I don't feel like I am going very fast. Living vicariously would eliminate all the body aches! I am excited for the end result though and don't mind the work involved. We did cover up the staircase empty space, but that is because we would open it up from the other side which is in the foyer. It would open that space up quite a bit and make a cute little nook area. I have the ladder all to myself today, so I am back to working on that tiered ceiling in the kitchen. I will post as soon as I get it finished. Thanks for all the encouragement!

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Oh I just couldn't wait, so I am posting kitchen ceiling. Just the tray areas needs the second coat. It feels bigger and taller.
    {{!gwi}}From House

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    Great! You're on a roll. Are you using the same color for the walls? can't wait to see it.

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Walls are going to be hard to decide on. These are a few of the samples I picked up, but DH and I can't narrow it down just yet.
    {{!gwi}}From House

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    A sample of some of the original trim I found in my attic.
    {{!gwi}}From House

  • julieboulangerie
    8 years ago

    Re: paint: I like the two on the left of your photo, the one second from the left best.

    Maybe it's just me, but I really dislike pinkish-beige colors. And I think looking at your countertop that you already have some of that, I'd be reluctant to add more.

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Julie, I am glad you could see the pinkinsh/peachy tint in the photo. They really show the pinky tint against white. Just picking them up in the store they didn't seem so pink. Because I hate painting and don't want to do it again and I don't want to waist money on gallons of paint, I am going to buy a few samples to actually paint on the wall and then check it out at different times of the day. I found a Benjamin Moore color I like online, but will have to get a sample since I am sure it will look different in person.

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    Also check out BM Linen White.

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I was looking at BM Natural Cream but I like your suggestion of Linen white better!

  • bellsmom
    8 years ago

    Sharimac
    Thank you for sharing the 15:47 ceiling image.
    I am not a professional. You have no idea how concerned I am when I share a PhotoShopped image that I might lead someone astray. That I might show it wrong.

    This image made me go--OK, that one was pretty much RIGHT!.

    And, FWIW, I utterly love the old trims you found in your attic.

    Knowing your response to the wonderful old door hardware, I know you will treasure this and use it wisely.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Sandra

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Sandra, your Photoshop image made me know in my gut I wanted bright white for my ceiling. I absolutely love how it turned out because it makes the kitchen just "feel" bigger and taller, even out of peripheral vision.

    I bought a gallon of wall color paint that DH and I agreed on and thought it was the one, but now that I painted a small section, I am second guessing since it seems too light, but will give it a chance to dry completely and look at it in daylight (it is dark out now).

    DH just finished up sanding drywall in DR, so the big test will be paint.

  • robo (z6a)
    8 years ago

    The ceiling looks amazing!!

    I'm worried if you get going with a yellowish wall color that the contrast will REALLY bring out the plum in your countertop.

    Would you consider a cooler grey-toned wall color or even a grey with violet undertones like BM Silver Fox? Not that I want you to end up with a wall color you hate!

    Personally I'm a green-grey lady at heart, but I did just paint a room Edgecomb grey and in my light it is a beautiful taupey grey with just the slightest lavender undertone (in no way reads purple on the wall). Looks great with dark woods too!

    This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 19:42

  • hosenemesis
    8 years ago

    Those gilded trim moldings are exquisite.

    Your kitchen already looks brighter and prettier!

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Robo, grey tones are actually the direction we are going. I bought a gallon of Pratt and Lambert Zephyr Hills (actually cheaper quantity wise to buy gallon than quart). It is just not quite enough contrast with the white trim, so we are going a few shades darker with Phantom which has a slight green undertone. I will just use that gallon I purchased as first coat on the virgin drywall that way it isn't wasted. I am waiting to see what the Phantom sample will look like at different times today, but it does look nice against countertops and the cherry cabinets, we just thought it would be too dark, but after going "safe" with the lighter shade, we realize that a darker shade will be better.

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I got the bridge cabinet removed in the kitchen this morning. I really made a mess of it, so I can't change my mind now!
    {{!gwi}}From House

    The finalists for my wall color. They are a bit more gray than they appear in the photos. Both photos are the same samples, they just look different in different light. {{!gwi}}From House

    {{!gwi}}From House

    This post was edited by Sharimac on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 16:02

  • DutchMom
    8 years ago

    New here. Wonderful work. Have you done anything about the hardware? If not and still thinking about it, I would like to recommend trying Rust-Oleum (spray). My husband and I have used it to cover metal boat parts; airplane parts; and our home doors and windows hardware. He even used it to paint the hood of his '90 CRX - don't ask. It is our go to product when it comes to covering/painting metal parts in a budget. Part preparation, paint cure time and temperature are important to longevity.

    Something you can try is buying a can of Rust-Oleum and spray one part. Let it cure and do the scratch test.

  • angela12345
    8 years ago

    The ceiling helps so much !! Before you paint the walls, I really think you should do your lighting and the floor grout first. Both things are going to affect how the walls look, the brightness of the room, and the paint color. Especially the lighting will make a huge difference in your choice of paint color. Who knows, you may even decide to keep the wall color once you have more lighting in there. In the pictures, the wall color does not look like that bad. And also, from the pictures, it doesn't look like there is very much wall to even paint ?

  • Gooster
    8 years ago

    It's been so great to follow along. You've made amazing progress in such a short period of time.

    I'm glad you removed the bridge cabinet. I hope the surfaces/stain underneath look OK! Not blocking the light makes another huge improvement in the room.

    I do think you need to proceed with painting the walls, once you paint the dining room. Getting a more reflective color on that wall next to the door/windows on that one wall will help bounce even more light into the room. (Or get something else that will do the same effect).

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Dutchmom, I actually played around with some Rust-oleum paint in a metallic finish called aluminum. Surprisingly I love how they turned out. The finish looks like dull nickel, or even a pewter. The paint is very durable too. I was actually really amazed.

    Angela, I am going to have to paint the walls now since I used them to clean my roller after doing the ceilings, but I had planned to paint them from the beginning. You are right, it isn't a bad looking faux finish on them, it just kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. I really am trying to get the three rooms to flow into one another, so I always suspected changing the walls in DR, LR and kitchen would be necessary. I am looking online at under cabinet lighting. What we have now in the ceiling pretty much has to stay. The recessed lighting can't be changed out with anything that has a profile because I wouldn't be able to open my cabinets. I now have an open space above my sink and DH wired in a place for a light there, so I will need to think about that.

    Gooster, where I have been cleaning my roller is right next to the sink area and the window, and just that makes all the difference in the world. I am so excited to get it all finished.

    Dining Room has first coat of primer. The difference is unbelievable. The picture is a little darker than it really is, and, no light on. We still have a lot of work to get everything finished up, but seeing how big a difference just painting has made, I am excited and that is keeping me motivated, and all you of course! {{!gwi}}From House

  • angela12345
    8 years ago

    LOL @ using the walls to clean your roller !! Love it. Too funny. Yep, no turning back now. You guys make me feel very lazy. House was finished 20 months ago and we haven't even ordered the backsplash. And it's not like we haven't known exactly what we were going to use since a couple years before construction even started. Good job ! It's looking so great.

    If you want a very inexpensive way to do undercabinet lighting, you can look at the ultra slim fluorescent lights at Home Depot. They come in different lengths and are linkable. Nice warm light, not like normal fluorescents ...
    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?keyword=GE+super%20slim%20fluorescent&selectedCatgry=Search+All

  • Lake_Girl
    8 years ago

    It's fun watching your progress and hard work. At first glance, the thing that stands out most to me is the grout in the tile, and the grid look. So I'd try to tone that down if possible. Also, I love the vintage look of your door knobs. If the picture is accurate, I'm not sure I'd want to change those. You are rockin and rollin, and I can't wait to see the end results!

  • oldbat2be
    8 years ago

    Suggest you make much larger paint samples before you decide (2-3 feet wide by similar tall) so you get a better idea of the color. Try to get near edges too so you can see how the color works with the cabinetry.

    It's such fun to watch your progress!

  • gr8daygw
    8 years ago

    Girl you're a doer! I love that! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will have exactly what you want. Love that you took down the cabinet and it is all looking so great now. It will reflect "you" in no time. You will feel comfortable and happy in your space when it's to your level of taste. It's a beautiful home and you have lots to work with. Thankfully it's just the cosmetics that need a little tweaking and can be done without too much reliance on contractors!!! I'm impressed and can't wait to see it when you get it all done, in the meantime, fun to watch your progress.

  • DutchMom
    8 years ago

    I second oldbat2be. I test my color choices by priming and painting a piece of leftover drywall. I place it next to furniture, curtains or just stand next to the wall to see how the sunlight/lamp reflects the color in different areas of the room.

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Update photos

    Dining Room walls and ceiling are painted. I ended up going one shade darker than what I wanted thanks to DH's input. When we first started rolling it on I was freaking out thinking it was way too dark, but DH said to wait until it was daylight out and I LOVE it. It's called Gray Moire by Pratt and Lambert. We are working on painting the trim now and crown molding and ceiling medallions are supposed to be delivered tomorrow. Sadly I did not have anywhere close to enough original crown molding to put up, so I will save it for another room. I picked out a simple egg and dart molding with a similar egg and dart pattern for the ceiling medallions. {{!gwi}}From House

    Kitchen walls are the same as the DR, kitchen sink is fixed and light installed over the sink. That crown molding going across above the sink is an issue for me, DH likes it, but the ceiling drywall was installed after the cabinets were hung (back in 1995 I am guessing), so the crown molding is hiding a 1" height difference between ceiling and the ceiling above the sink, so not sure what to do. {{!gwi}}From House
    {{!gwi}}From House

    Will update again when next stages are done.

  • bellsmom
    8 years ago

    WOW!
    I went back and compared your ''new'' kitchen to the old one. So much better.
    I like a pendant light over the sink.

    A suggestion regarding the trim over the sink:
    Can you tape white paper over the trim so you can evaluate the difference visually?

    If it looks better, then maybe
    1. paint that section or more probably
    2. remove it and replace it with a plain, simple molding painted ceiling white. Preferably something significantly different from the cabinet molding.

    Just a consideration. I'd have to mock it up and think about it if it were mine.

    I love the way the DR looks. Beautiful colors.

    Thank you so much for keeping us posted.

    This post was edited by Bellsmom on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 16:02

  • Gooster
    8 years ago

    Everything is looking great! You two are speedy remodelers!

    Regarding the sink, you could use the crown to finish off the trim on either side of the newly exposed cabinets. If there is only a 1 inch difference in ceiling heights, I can't imagine it is anything more than drywall. Since you hung the light, what type of material did you find up there?

    For some strange reason, the recessed cans next to the sink and by the back wall seem to be much dimmer. It could be just the angle, but I was wondering if there was a gimbal trim in use there. Although it is a bit expensive, have you experimented with a high lumen (800) wide flood LED light in the cans? Because they are highly directional, they tend to have less loss in the housings than incandescents or CFLs.

    This post was edited by gooster on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 16:09

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Gooster, I have a wide variety of bulbs up in the recessed lighting at the moment, so I have a crazy light scheme going on. I will replace everything with a wide flood bulb since that is really is what is supposed to be in there. The regular bulbs and the CFL bulbs do not drop down far enough for the design of the can. We found ceiling tile above the sink. I am NOT saying this, but I could kill DH for putting up the small section of drywall without lining it up with the rest of the ceiling.

    Bellsmom, you got a good idea going with the white trim piece above the sink.

  • bellsmom
    8 years ago

    Shari
    We installed extenders in our can lights that screw into the base and bring the bulbs down a couple inches so that they are even with the ceiling. They made a huge difference in the angle of illumination and over all lighting. Not sure what they are called, but any good light store will know.

  • Gooster
    8 years ago

    Sharimac: Force that laborer to redo the work and do it right this time ;)

    Per what Bellsmom said, there are LED retrofits that have an Edison base and a long wire connector that can adapt to just about any can depth. There are even some that simply sit on the old hole.

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    This is just an amazing transformation! You must be thrilled.

  • caminnc
    8 years ago

    WOW, I'm impressed! BTDT, so I know how much work it is. Good luck with the rest!

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I am very excited, but in an impatient sort of way. Everything left to do is small tedious time consuming things. I just purchased my new faucet and that is supposed to be here on Friday. DH says I get to change it out, LOL.
    {{!gwi}}From House

  • angela12345
    8 years ago

    "remove it and replace it with a plain, simple molding painted ceiling white. Preferably something significantly different from the cabinet molding"
    "use the (removed) crown to finish off the trim on either side of the newly exposed cabinets"
    /\
    Agree

    And on another note ... THANK YOU for coming back to this thread to update us on your progress 1. So we can all continue to follow along, especially those who have subscribed to your thread 2. Instead of starting a new thread for every little step and question along the way. Good forum etiquette. : )

    The way I figure, this one thread could have been many many many threads without proper thread management...
    How should I brighten up my kitchen ?
    Show me your painted center islands
    Lighting help !! Chandelier and under cabinet lights
    Would you remove or keep this wallpaper
    Is brass hardware dated ?
    Laminate counters
    Look what I did while hubby was gone !! (dining paper removal reveal)
    Can this plaster be repaired
    I found a chimney ! Any ideas on how to keep brick exposed ?
    How to paint or refinish cabinet hardware ?
    Help me pick my paint color
    Removed the bridge over my sink - what to do with trim ?
    Dining room is done !!

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Angela, wow, I really did have alot of "side" thoughts on how to brighten up my kitchen. I guess I just thought since everything revolved around the kitchen, it was best kept here. Honestly, it really snowballed and I figured I may as well do it big. I did ask about what to do with the chimney in the remodeling forum in case someone had run across something similar.
    DH told our teenager son that if I ask for help demolishing anything he is supposed to call him immediately-LOL. DH works out in the oilfield all day, so I know he is tired and ready to be done.
    Doing this project has made me start thinking about upstairs bathroom overhaul!

    This post was edited by Sharimac on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 14:16

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    Any updates? It's been almost three days :)

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    LOL, well we had a huge snow storm on Thursday, so we have spent a lot of time shoveling out. My faucet is delayed for shipment due to the weather, so hopefully Monday.

    We did get crown molding and ceiling medallion up in DR, plus most of the trim. It all needs touch up paint. We also got the leaded glass window put back in place. Today we are finishing up the baseboard trim, and hopefully touching up the paint on everything. I will have to clean up the floor really well before I put furniture back in. I know that the ceiling is white on white on white, but I actually really love how it looks. This room looks so much more elegant and pretty.

    I am keeping fingers crossed that we can finish DR this weekend, then the finishing touches in the kitchen (trim above window, faucet, etc). Right now countertops stay, so that will probably put off backsplash as I wouldn't want to destroy it later. We will take down the current backsplash and paint it at the very least for now. Then on to the LR, which should just be painting and accessorizing to coordinate with the other two rooms. {{!gwi}}From House
    {{!gwi}}From House

  • auroraborelis
    8 years ago

    Wow! It looks amazing! :) Promise that as you do more down the road (the floor and backsplash) that you will update this thread so we can all follow along! :)

  • bellsmom
    8 years ago

    Gorgeous. Woodwork, moldings, wall color. Everything.
    I had to look back at earlier pics because even the light fixture looks humongously better!

    I hope you are pleased. You should be! Sorry the weather got in your way. I'd rather carpenter and paint than shovel snow any day.

    By the way, keep in mind that when this post reaches 150 replies, GW will close it so no more replies can be added. Not a problem, just start "How Should I Brighten My Kitchen" part 2"--or some such.

    This post was edited by Bellsmom on Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 13:32

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous! An amazing transformation!
    Did you add the moulding, medaillon, details? Or did they just get lost in the wild wallpaper previously? What's the paint color?

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I promise I will continue to update.

    Bellsmom, thanks for the heads up, I will keep an eye on the responses and start part 2 with a link back to part 1.

    All the trim around windows and doors and the baseboard is original, it just got a new coat of white paint. The crown molding and ceiling medallion I purchased since my original idea of re-using original crown molding from the attic did not work out.

    I just finished last coat on baseboards, so tomorrow I should be able to start moving furniture back in.

    Also, above my sink, we just completely started over and put in a new piece of drywall, taped and mud. Maybe Monday it will be ready to paint AGAIN, then put the light back up. I think we will be happier in the long run that we tore it out and started over.

    KU is playing so DH is taking a break while I work on cleaning the floor in DR.

  • nosoccermom
    8 years ago

    Posted this to your thread on the Home Decorating forum to give you some ideas with respect to pattern/color.
    However, I don't like the dining room, especially the green wallpaper, at all. Yours is so much prettier! Still, you may get some ideas for the LR.

    Here is a link that might be useful: [flirting with wood[(https://www.houzz.com/magazine/houzz-tour-patterns-and-colors-flirt-with-wood-in-los-angeles-stsetivw-vs~7558530?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u234&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery3)

  • Sharimac
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Continue to Part 2

    Here is a link that might be useful: How should I brighten up my kitchen? Part 2