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Ugly kitchen help

Olga
8 years ago
I need help/ideas with my 1960's kitchen. Cabinets and doors are custom made and in very good condition structurally, but the color and finish of the doors quite ugly. The color is brownish/yellowish and the handles are IN THE MIDDLE of the door (who puts handles in the middle of the door?) so if I to remove those hideous handles there will be 1/8 inches hole in the middle. We recently put down Brazilian Cherry hardwood floor throughout kitchen and dining room, dinning table is also Cherry finish (you guessed it – Cherry is my favorite finish). We also will add Blue Pearl granite top in the future. Unfortunately replacing those cabinets are out of the question. We are do-it-yourselfers, so ANY help/ideas will be greatly appreciated.

Comments (60)

  • Sue Ann Stevens
    8 years ago
    We had handles in the middle of our cabinet doors too. Hahaha!
    It will be recommended for durability that you use an oil-based paint. We used a hybrid that allowed for easier cleanup by Benjamin Moore called Advance. We chose a creamy white and used a mocha glaze on the molding details. Amazing!
    To keep an updated look, I did not do a counter material backsplash but used only glass/stone tiles for a cabinet to counter backsplash. Made all the difference on the world IMO.
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  • Sue Ann Stevens
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    About paint, I about gagged but you can expect to pay upwards of $50/gallon. Maybe it's been a long time since I bought decent paint. Do NOT buy junk paint. Right after we refinished our kitchen, I helped a friend paint her bathroom with paint she bought Wal-Mart. Ugh!!! I had no idea there would be such a difference. It was awful!
  • sarj81
    8 years ago
    Hmschoolmom, are the bottom cabinets a different color or is it just the lighting? I like the possibility of two different colors!
  • PRO
    Kathryn Peltier Design
    8 years ago
    Check out Benjamin Moore Cabinet Coat. It is made precisely for this kind of application and does not require a primer. It is similar to the Rustoleum product but it comes in ANY Benjamin Moore color.
  • cohoek
    8 years ago
    Hi, I would saw some multiplex/ plywood rectangles and glue them to the doors, you could choose to make them flush or leave a rim, this way you can get rid of the arched top. I think I would choose a grey voor the cabinets, nice contrast of materials instead of colors.. Would look great with your beautiful floor!!!
  • PRO
    Cancork Floor Inc.
    8 years ago
    Preperation of the surface is KEY! There are ways to go darker and ways to go lighter. The professionals will tell you: remove the old finish, before you put on the new one. With the wood that you have (might be oak or maple...hard to tell because of the stain), I would suggest you find out the REAL color of your wood before you make any decisions. This means stripping FIRST before painting.

    By sanding/chemically stripping down your cabinets, you give yoursel a brand new surface to work with. This means you will have the CHOICE of finishes at your finger tips! You will not be "stuck" with Oil/solvent based products (they stink, cause headaches - some cause cancer, and can take ages to dry). Once you have stripped your cabinets down to the original wood colour, you MIGHT JUST LIKE the colour underneath. It may be as simple as adding a beautiful "tinted" polyurethane to the cabinets and you are halfway there! Remember: oil based/modified products will DARKEN over time! Water based finishes will remain clear and never darken. There are some amazing products that work like a stain (add color AND shine to wood) without darkening or "ambering" over time like the old stains used to do!

    If you don't like the wood colour, then go ahead with the original idea of painting the kitchen cabs a modern color. Like everyone here, be prepared to pay a price for the high end products - they are well worth the investment. Look at the stain that is there: it was probably pricy at the time...and yet 30 years later the wood and the finish look amazing.
  • PRO
    Innovative Custom Homes
    8 years ago
    Olga, here are two kitchens that are very similar that we just redid, the color you choose makes all the difference in the world. Both have the same color paint on the walls but in my opinion the gray covered better on the cabinets and made them pop so much more than the black in the other house...amazing how a little paint can make a difference. Like most others have already said, make sure to get a good quality paint though.
  • PRO
    Kathryn Peltier Design
    8 years ago
    Oh, forgot to add that the BM Cabinetcoat can be used over oil or latex.
  • PRO
    Linda
    8 years ago
    You will need two coats of paint. Even if it looks good after one, you need a second to get the true look and depth of the color.
  • Sue Ann Stevens
    8 years ago
    @sarj81--the cabinets are all the same color--it was the lighting. :-)

    About paint--the Benjamin Moore Advance is durable like an oil based paint but is a water based paint. It was pricey but I didn't want to deal with oils for all the reasons mentioned above plus the pain to clean up. We planned on doing our cabinets to last a long time.
  • Sue Ann Stevens
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    This may not sound fun but we did use two costs of primer (let dry for at least a day in between) and sanded well. Then we did two coats of paint ( same thing). We took our time so we spent 3 weeks at least painting and sanding. The last coat we did not sand and we used a polyurethane to cover after I used glaze to pinstripe the molding.

    Boy was I stunned at the time it took to do it right when I would watch a show on HGTV and painting cabinets was done in 24-36 hours seemingly. LOL.
  • PRO
    Linda
    8 years ago
    Actually my last major cabinet painting job did take two days, like some of the HGTV shows.

    But, what they have and don't show and what we had was the large number of people taking part in the project. All told, we had five people each day as well as a large basement with room to create a spray area and drying zones. Like them, we also are veterans of large painting projects with equipment and experience.

    I wish the shows were more realistic about the time that it takes average people to do the DIY projects shown. There's a ton of prep work and lots of linear feet of brush work in painting an average kitchen. If we painting walls not cabinets, there lots of work putting up plastic to cover surfaces and putting out dropcloths. We'll usually have at least two, but often three people working. Even if you only see one person with a paint brush or roller, there's somebody in the background getting paint ready, prepping surfaces, cleaning brushes etc.

    It's daunting and discouraging to tackle a major project like painting cabinets by yourself. It's more enjoyable to work with others and it's nice to have someone else around when you need a hand moving something. I recommend recruiting friends and/or family members to help, even if you don't want them toapply paint, it's nice to have the help getting ready.
  • beckynorman
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    We are in this process right now and know that it will take us 2-4 weeks to complete. We ordered new door fronts as we have oak arched doors too.This is MUCH cheaper than all new cabinets.

    We have sanded down all of the cabinet fronts and have put 2 coats of primer on them. My husband and I are impatiently waiting for the primer to dry to begin painting. I will say that the primed cabinet fronts have already brightened and modernized the kitchen. Can't wait to actually see it completed.

    Colors chosen: Sherwin- Williams- alabaster (cream) for top cabinets
    Sherwin- Williams- urbane bronze (dark brown) for bottom cabinets or just the island and other bottom cabinets alabaster- we haven't decided yet...
    Sherwin- Williams- silvermist (blue-gray) for the walls

    Good luck... It's a great winter project!
  • Susan Kingston
    8 years ago
    In choosing a color for the cabinets, be sure to work with the granite you've chosen. Stark blacks work better with whites while most browns, softer blacks and other colors can take an ivory. Test the colors out on large cardboard at different times of the day before committing. And glazing is wonderful but to a professional look use a color that picks up what is in the slate (i.e., a gray for a black rather than an off the shelf brown) and just do a hint around the edges where the wood changes levels. The all over glaze is dated (very '70's) but a whisper of glaze around the edges of the door and in crevices looks terrific. I did some cabinet doors with an all over and it looked dated. After a repaint and just a bit in the crevices looked expensive and up to date. Enjoy your "new" kitchen
  • PRO
    Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home
    8 years ago
    I have painted lots of cabinets and furniture before myself, and one thing I would recommend is using a sprayer. It takes a little practice and a spraying area (that you can create with plastic tarps) but the finish is 'professional'. No matter how much you sand and what paint you use, if you use a brush or a roller you will always have bush marks or stippling.
  • PRO
    AFC inc
    8 years ago
    Wide crown molding . New hardware and drawer boxes.
    New door knobs. The existing knobs holes can be filled either with wood plugs or epoxy filler and sanded . Than repaint with quality paint ( oil an enamel ) and make and install tile back splash between base and upper cabinets. Relatively small investment and should make difference
    Good luck .
  • PRO
    Kathryn Peltier Design
    8 years ago
    If you decide to replace the doors, this company has some beautiful designs. I have yet to use them on a project, but I have watched their product for quite a few years and it always looks like it is of very high quality.
    http://www.caronind.com/en/style.php
  • 344donna
    8 years ago
    I thing cream cabinets would look great with your new floors.. We redid our old cabinets ... Very similar situation however our handles wre not in the middle of the door we did move the location of them ... Filled the old holes with filler and sanded them .. And yes prep is very important washing them down ( we used a product called tsp) sanding and priming... We also added trim moulding to ours , painted them cream then I antiqued the trim with a gel stain that I painted in the crack and wiped off the stain that is left behind sets and gives a really nice finish see photo... And new hardware goes a long way... We also just spray painted our ugly gold hinges black to save some money...hardware and hinges can really add up,, good luck with whatever you end up doing!!
  • angela2557
    8 years ago
    New paint and handles will make a big difference. Antique white would look great. I am partial to stainless knobs but they should match your kitchen sink hardware. I agree with the others...use good paint. Good luck.
  • Laurie
    8 years ago
    Thanks 344donna, I may take inspiration from your photos and do this for my older cabinets!
  • mcgavock
    8 years ago
    I just found a cabinet repainting kit in Lowes. It is made by Rustoleum and supposed to make the process easier. If you go to Rustoleum's website, there are many testimonials by people who used it and were pleased. They did say ,however, that bit still took a lot of time. Good luck. I plan to repaint my daughters ugly oak cabinets and would love ton hear how itngoes.
  • raafa17
    8 years ago
    You can always fill the wholes in. Maybe you can even just change the doors of the cabinets. But leave the part that is stationary. And paint of them.
  • Olga
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Thank you everyone for your wonderful ideas and suggestions.
  • cyn222
    8 years ago
    First of all FASADE for backsplash. Second open door front and insert glass panels. Change out hardware after painting cabinets. I had cabinets like this with those centered handles. Filled the holes, painted them a creamy white and it instantly made my kitchen gorgeous!
  • Grace Reed
    8 years ago
    Honestly? I would save the expense - which will add up - and all the work of painting the doors and replace them instead. They look so dated and inexpensive. Even the best paint job won't change that. Replacement doors will give you the option of cherry - if you still want more! - or a paint color. Home Depot also sells replacement doors. They run approx. $30 - $50 per SF. Yes, it will add up but you're kitchen will look brand new and like a million bucks.
  • Grace Reed
    8 years ago
    Looked again at you're comments and pics. You and your kitchen deserve beautiful doors to go with the beautiful floors, appliances and the granite to follow. I say go for it!
  • Matt
    8 years ago
    Some great ideas, also remember lighting and natural light affect the color of the paint and countertop.
  • Chere Holz
    8 years ago
    If you are inclined to paint the cabinets check into the www. Caromal colours (refinishing) paints ...fabulous look through their gallery before after photos, it a neat product with pretty spectacular results. You really have many options available..
  • rainy Odessy
    8 years ago
    to people who want to paint them on a budget...if you use an exterior porch and floor paint it works great...is very hard and withstands moisture and humidity from kitchens and bathrooms, after all it is designed to take high traffic and extremes of weather....prime first of course.....and straining your paint can ensure a very smooth finish.....you can still use a glazing technique over it and you can still poly over it if you want to have a particular sheen on your cabinets....if you are unsure of your abilities and want to practice on something....go to a resale store or garage sale or auction and pick up old cabinet doors with recessed panels and trim and practice till you achieve a look you can live with....then apply the same technique to the cabinets worry free....clean your surfaces with tsp(tri sodium phosphate) to remove all grease that can get imbedded into the grain first and allow to dry well before priming....never be in a hurry between coats of anything...proper drying between coats is very important
  • designideas4me
    8 years ago
    Dustyn Broyles


    Backsplash baby.......................................Love your comment. Sounds like the name you would give to a child who is learning to swim.
  • kayliwild
    8 years ago
    We had similar cabinets in solid Tasmanian oak, with wood floor and wood ceiling. We didn't want to replace the quality wood with cheap doors, so we ended up painting the cabinets in Dulux Domino Black. They are fantastic now, as it gives the whole space a more modern feel - go dark!
  • kayliwild
    8 years ago
    And with charcoal cabinetry you could keep those quirky handles (modern stainless handles just woudn't work in the current placement).
  • kathleen MK
    8 years ago
    With the classic arch tops have you thought about a dark stain like a deep cherry or mahogany. There stain and poly mixtures for DIY and services that "in hance' or refresh cabinets. then brush nickel hardware to play off the stainless.
  • redland
    8 years ago
    Painting the cabinets and replacing the hardware has already been suggested. You might also consider one color on the base cabs and another on the uppers. When you paint make sure to use a paint extender that helps the paint to flow and go on smoothly, eliminating brush-marks on the cabinet doors. It will give you a more professional looking finish. If you can't do a backsplash now you can pick up a roll of embossed paper at Home Depot that looks like an old tin pressed ceiling. Apply paper horizontally on wall above the counters and paint it in a copper or other metallic color you like that matches or compliments the new hardware you put on cabinets.
  • Debbie McKenzie
    8 years ago
    If you want Cherry Wood colour, you can re stain right over what you have with Polyurethane stain by Varathane., high gloss or satin,. I have done this procedure a few times with beautiful results. Back spash, a mix of granite\slate\stainless steel, all in blue\grey tones.
  • E Klo
    8 years ago
    An idea i've seen done a few times that works really well on these well built, but outdated cabinets is to take a template to that top arch, and cut a piece of hardboard to fit right inside of it (just the top part where the arch is) to make it a square. Then use filler for any gaps, fill the holes where the hardware was in the middle, sand & paint. The square look of the cabinets will make it look much more modern & updated.
  • designideas4me
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    I have a few questions................. for the person who used the sprayer to paint. Can you tell me what was involved in learning how to use it properly and why most painters tell people that it takes years of practice to not get drips and uneven coverage etc. Is it easy to use? Did you set up a spray booth? I can tell you that sanding all my cabinets and frame was a MAJOR job. Requires tons of sand paper and electric sanders and created a giant mess of dust and soot. Dont be fooled. Its not simple. Also the idea of putting in wood filler and sanding is even a bigger mess and takes more time. Just saying. Lastly you will still see the grain and brush marks if that grain is oak and not sanded for hours and hours per door and sprayed 2x with primer. Many painters charge 3-4000 for this. Those were estimates I got. so you know its a big job. For all of you who did do their cabinets in this manor..are you really happy with them or could you not afford new ones and so settled for this option? I am curious. Maybe I am really picky ( oh and I had each door drilled out and put in European hinges as well)but I just feel I will be settling and not getting the true frame-less full overlay modern look I want no matter how great the paint job comes out. For the woman who did this job, did you do it alone or did your husband do it? I had to hire a handiman to sand mine. Its toxic to breath that dust and you are in a confined booth for days. Its not fun.

    Lastly I just wonder how much all this helped the original poster because she really didnt say much.
  • PRO
    Linda
    8 years ago
    Design ideas for me
    Several people have discussed spraying cabinets. In my post, I commented about having a large number of people involved in the spraying. I am capable of running the sprayer and did some of the spraying for the initial wall painting but I did not spray the cabinets. My business partner and I have several people who work for us on a casual basis and one of them is a great spray guy. The sprayer's job is simply to apply paint, and someone else is there to catch the drips and point out any missed spots. We don't sand much between coats, just enough to knock off any surface irregularities.

    The issues with spraying are more the mechanics of spraying - learning how to prime the sprayer, how to clean the sprayer, how to manage the hose, which tip to use etc. Also, not every paint is suitable for spraying. we used a paint which is very thin but dries quickly to a hard finish. Cheap paint sprayed doesn't look any better than cheap paint brushed or rolled.

    The biggest trick to painting - spraying, brushing or rolling - is a minimum of two thin coats, don't try to cover in one coat. Some of our cabinets doors covered in two coats, others got three coats and we were repainting cabinets that were already white. If you're going over dark cabinets, you might even end up with four coats.

    Painting well is a physical art of movement. The people who tend to find painting easy are those who also find playing racquet ball or golf or tennis easy. Some people just have a natural grace and innate knowledge of where their body is at all times. Those attributes make it much easier to evenly spray paint and paint straight lines...to them, it's just moving their arm while holding something, to the rest of us, it is a much more involved process. I'm in the klutz camp myself. I can get good results painting but I paint more slowly than the naturals. I'm never going to be one of those people who can paint a room in an hour or two and have it all look good. Someone who is mechanically inclined and naturally athletic will probably find spraying paint to be as easy as it looks and that has nothing to do with age or gender. No woman needs a husband to do this as there's nothing about being male that gives a natural advantage to something like this.

    For a large job, we have a self contained sprayer, but for smaller jobs we use a small handheld gun that you fill a reservoir with paint and hook up to an air compressor. If you already have the air equipment, you can get a usable gun for $50 or so. It's more expensive if you need to buy the compressor and hose, but if you intend to do a lot of projects, a compressor is a good investment. Just be careful, buying tools is an expensive habit!
  • Grace Reed
    8 years ago
    Really informative, Linda. Thanks.
  • designideas4me
    8 years ago
    Thank you
  • Olga
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Great idea about spray painting the cabinets. I do have Wagner spray gun but did not really like to use it, it does require practice that is for sure. I am leaning towards white paint due to I have a lot of Cherry wood surfaces throughout kitchen, dining room, and family room. Furniture is Cherry, wall of building cabinets (build it ourselves) also Cherry, floor is Cherry and I think it is a bit too much Cherry. Of course new hinges, and handles, which are already purchased. Handles are on the modern side – stainless steel, look similar to the handles on refrigerator and the stove, hinges will be hidden.
  • PRO
    On the Spot Furniture Revival llc
    8 years ago
    If you do not want to see the grain in the final product, use a good grain filler. It adds another round or two of sanding but worth it for a smooth finish.
  • twdietrich
    8 years ago
    We painted the cabinets in our 1980's kitchen because we are years away from a full reno. It brightens the area and gives it a fresh look. I say we but it was mostly my wife, sanding, priming and painting.
  • designideas4me
    8 years ago
    she did a nice job
  • curacaoblue
    8 years ago
    Having invested all the time and money in flooring and counters I have a difficult time understanding why you wouldn't finish the job by doing the cabinets too?
  • Marilyn Wilkie
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    Cohoek, good idea about adding a panel in the middle before painting. I would use MDO. It is especially good for a painted finish.
    Or check this site out....someone posted it recently:
    http://www.barkerdoor.com/default.asp
  • PRO
    LM Designers
    8 years ago
    Plug the holes and paint. Replacing the doors gets expensive and then you have to worry about the fit. A professional will take your doors and spray them if you don't want to do it.
  • anitajoyce
    8 years ago
    Paint the cabinets white or beige. The stainless appliances are nice. Add brushed nickel handles placed where they are supposed to go.
  • Olga
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    To curacaoblue.
    Estimate for new wood, not MDF cabinets $6200, which we do not have. Flooring we purchased at Menards what was very affordable, and counter top we will buy a slab for about $1100 and cut to the size. Believe me if we could afford new wood cabinets it would be installed already.