justerrilynn

Pease help with three update ideas for an old kitchen.

justerrilynn
May 7, 2019
last modified: May 7, 2019

Hello all! I need help choosing a 3 or 4 inch backsplash tile that will add some zing. Also, what to with the ugly patchy look base cabinet doors? And, possibly need a new black sink.

I’m taking off the 4“ inch backsplash and replacing with an undetermined 3“ or 4“ backslash. But what? In total that long run is 19’ so anything too dark will not look right. Since the faucet is gold tone perhaps something with a bit of metallic without being a metal tile? The counter stools are also gold tone. I will not be tiling all the way up.

I sort of like these but I’m not sure.

*Note: backsplash missing in parts due to new window resizing.









I was told this is a cherry kitchen. I have never seen one like this. HATE how some of the doors are so patchy. Is there a way to fix that through stain or gel stain? Should I just order new matching but better quality mitered doors for those areas and match stain? I will not paint them.



Sinks…I no nothing of non-stainless type sinks. When I was in Europe last I saw some very sexy cool drop-in sinks in black. The one I really loved had a small drainboard on one side. I have no idea what it was made of. I imagine I can’t use a European brand that is not made for the U.S? The sink I have now is 36 ¾’’ total across. It’s not centered to the new windows and wish I could find a black drop-in single bowl 43’’ total that included a nine or ten inch right side drainboard but I think there is no such thing. Ideas?




For my style preference I have included the dining room off to the side. This picture of the kitchen before new windows shows the gold tone counter stools . Older picture of the living room before minor changes but you get the idea.



Kitchen before new windows but it shows gold tone stools.



Living room before new rug



Comments (66)

  • mainenell
    Don’t forget when staining your new doors that the cherry will darken quite a lot. You’ll need to factor that in to have a great matching look long term.
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  • justerrilynn

    I so wish there were some more I could swap out. That section with six doors is really the only parts that are really really noticeable. In truth I did toy with the idea of painting the base cabinets but permanently took that off the table. It just wouldn’t be practical with dogs and pullout shelving. Plus, I just don’t want too.

    I also considered doing six doors like one of these below in that section but didn’t know if it would look stupid. Actually by doing one door swap I could get away with 4 doors.

    pretend these are cherry

  • salex

    I'd try two things to fix the cabinet door situation:

    1) If there are only two doors that contain bright sapwood, sand and stain those, then apply multiple topcoats over the stain. You will need to do a LOT of testing to get the right color and sheen to match the other doors. Test the backside.

    2) Find a local cabinetmaker to fabricate two replacement doors from cherry, in the exact same construction, size, and edge profile of your current doors. Then leave the finish-matching up to them. (Note that "new" cherry will be a lot lighter, but you can put it outside in the sun to hasten the darkening - usually a few hours makes a huge difference.)

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  • justerrilynn

    Thank you Salex! What is your opinion on using something like the doors I posted above your post?

  • PRO
    GreenDesigns

    Replacing cherry means replacing it all or you’ll still have a badly striped up kitchen. Cherry is photoreactive. Painting what’s there professionally will be cheaper than replacing all of those doors and drawers with a high enough quality cherry to not have any sap wood.

    And since there are no drawer bases visible, replacing all of the doors and drawers is a silly premium for cosmetics when function is what really needs to be addressed if changes are going to be made. You’d be better off doing all new Ikea than replacing just the most expensive parts of any cabinet. It would probably be about the same amount of money.

    The one other option is to have a professional furniture repair service attempt to alter the appearance of what is there in place. Like Furniture Medic. They are not at all cheap. But they have often managed to match replacement wood pieces in cabinet installations or in furniture repairs.

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  • Oakley

    " There is a magical way to fix the poor build quality of those cabinets..."

    Wow. Just wow. Sitting on my fingers....


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  • justerrilynn

    Oh grrrr! I guess I could do a bronze paint.

    Hey Oak, Don’t worry I’m not offended as the cabs were here when I bought this foreclosure : ) I have had to re-roof , re-window, a/c , resurface the pool, gut the master and bath .. and .on and on and on...At some point I just have to live with a few things.

  • lascatx

    Keep it simple. Do not replace those doors with dust catchers. You'd be better painting the lower doors than having louvered doors with dog hair -- more surface to scratch too.

    Salex covered what I was going to say -- you either got sapwood that had failed to darken like the rest of the cherry or you have mismatched wood in those two doors (I've never seen such a large area with sapwood, so the other thing I was thinking was the wood used to make the doors may have had some maple, alder or other fine grained wood that doesn't darken in the stack by error -- one of the two. ETA: as a foreclosure, I might also consider that someone did a bad repair. It probably all looked the same new, but now would need to be stained to match or those two doors replaced. The style is simple, classic and currently popular, so that shouldn't be hard to do. Personally, I'd try staining the two doors -- not hard, but a bit tedious to get the right tone. I'd even start with a scrap piece before moving to the back of the door -- yeah, I would DIY but if you hire, you want a stickler for details to get the color right and blend it in.

    As far as backsplash -- resist the one you like when looking at a single tile. The granite and the splash will both look best if you do something very clean and simple. I've seen similar granite done with a soft color ceramic or glass subway -- white, off white or taupe, and they have looked great. Patterned or mosaic tiles have been a miss every time. I think that would be even more true with your windows -- just too much else going on to make more play well. Yours is a kitchen where a painted splash would work well too. I'd keep it very clean and simple -- even consider having them cut down the 4" to fit under the window and clean across. With the window ledge behind the wet area, I don't think you "need" 4". Just a thought.


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  • morz8

    Just a couple of comments to add....My SIL had a Kohler porcelain black sink in her kitchen, very pretty. After a few years, she got tired of the upkeep and changed it (and her counter tops). We don't have hard water. The sink was beautiful until just one person got a glass of water leaving spots if you are the type to be bothered by that type thing.

    We have a local cabinet maker who is genius at repairs and matching. I wonder if someone in your area doesn't have the same skills.

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  • allison0704

    I didn't understand you might redo the kitchen.

  • salex

    I personally don't like the louvred doors as they do seem like dust-catchers, plus they invoke a different style (that I don't particularly like and that I don't see in the rest of your kitchen). If you do want to replace the doors, I'd stick with the same style - it looks like they are slabs with breadboard ends, i.e., most boards run vertically with a horizontal board at top and bottom, correct? It shouldn't be that expensive to have cherry doors made in that style. Like was said above, you need a stickler for detail, and in most areas you can find that stickler that can come close to matching the remaining cabinetry (even if it means putting them outside to get the right amount of darkening because, yes, cherry is photoreactive - and sometimes you can use that to your advantage when trying to match - if you're patient).

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  • tinam61

    I know you don't want to redo, just "fix-up" the kitchen and I understand that. I like Salex's second option. BUT, I have to say I have seen some beautiful kitchens with IKEA cabinets. It might not hurt to see what it would cost to replace yours. I know nothing about stain or cherry wood, so no help there. It would be great if you could replace the doors. I know you don't want to tile all the way up the wall - but it would look GREAT with your shelving and windows. But, a backsplash will look good too. We have a sink that is similar to soapstone (can't think what it is called), but it is ivory. I love it. I personally do not like SS sinks or appliances (but that's just me and my choice), and have never had them. The soapstone material is fabulous. Supposedly you can sand out a scratch, although we have never had to do that. I honestly don't think we've had scratches, just marks and those come out with a magic pad. I can't say how black would wear. but I think it would look good in your kitchen. Good luck!

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  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Is this a “for now” type of change, or is this going to be the end and you’re not touching it again after these changes?

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  • justerrilynn

    I have no plans of remodeling this kitchen. Only doing a spiff.

    Lascatx, very very useful information!

    Thank you all!

  • robo (z6a)

    JT you may have addressed this in the thread (sorry if so) -- any chance the island has matching-size doors that you could switch out with the ones you don't like on the sink run? Thinking they're a lot less visible. Also a painted island is less intimidating a prospect than a whole painted kitchen...

    Up here the popular black sinks are granite composite e.g. https://www.homedepot.com/p/KOHLER-Kennon-Drop-In-Undermount-Neoroc-Granite-Composite-33-in-1-Hole-Double-Basin-Kitchen-Sink-in-Matte-Black-K-RH8185-1-CM1/206891057

    Another idea, but wouldn't be for me per se, skirted cabinets instead of doored. Or get someone to cut out the panels and install chicken wire or metal mesh.







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  • justerrilynn

    Thanks Robo!


    Hey I think I found a solution to the doors and it’s using things I have. I can mask off the light areas and glaze. When dry I top coat the whole door.

    Here’s the recipe and I don’t even have to buy anything. There’s more to it but I think I can pull this off.

    2. Make your own glaze by mixing burnt
    umber artists’ oil color and liquid glazing
    medium into a medium-bodied paste.
    You can get both at art supply or craft
    stores. Don’t go overboard—a little glaze
    goes a long way.


    If for some reason it doesn’t look right I can rag some off with mineral spirits.

  • PRO
    GreenDesigns

    That is just going to force you to replace it all. You’re not matching that blond wood to that heart wood. It takes a good high end decorative painter many years to master faux bois techniques.

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  • justerrilynn

    I think I can do it.

  • PRO
    GreenDesigns

    And how are you going to simulate the grain pattern that it doesn’t have? A blobby reddish sorta badly grained panel next to real cherry grain will be very very obvious. Better practice a lot on blond plywood first.

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  • justerrilynn

    I can paint realistic wood grains on canvas in oil paint so I think I can figure this out. Will it be perfect? I will redo it until it is sooo very close. My momma didn’t raise no quitter.

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    If this is to be the only remodel that this space will see, please do investigate replacing those cabinets with IKEA. You’ll get a more enjoyable living experience out of a better functioning kitchen. I do think that lightening the room up with white or off white cabinets would make a tremendous visual difference as well. If replacing the doors is on the table, you’ll find the costs very similar.

    As as far as glazing the existing cabinets in an attempt to match the grain, I’m sure that can be done. But then you will need to deal with the fact that cabinets are best finished with a factory tough conversion varnish topcoat, as the original most likely is. Since you’re not going to be able to do that, putting on a protective finish that will be compatible with the painting materials, be DIY friendly, and provide a close approximation of a sheen similar to the existing cabinets, is going to be problematic. I’d talk with the supply houses and professional paint supply stores that local cabinet builders use for the best advice on that. Small quantity availability and lack of pro application equipment issues will also factor into that.

    This is why that it might be best to throw this into the lap of a local custom cabinet maker. He will have the equipment and materials to deal with this.

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  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Just spitballing here -- what about the simple Dolomite tile with gold or bronze grout?

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  • justerrilynn

    Cook, Yes I see what you are saying with the top coat. I do have some very good quality conversion varnish from the kitchen I did using Conestoga cabinets in my last house. I’ll have to do a sample on the flip side.

    Anyhoo, besides wanting to travel instead of a new kitchen there’s even more to the story. The knuckle head PO stacked the floor tile on top of the original tile (you see a lot of that in Florida). If I redo the kitchen I have to redo the floor $$$$$$$$. I would then need to redo all the doors which are solid wood, and door surrounds as they were cut for height difference. I would literally move before that.

    Becky, I think you are on to something!!!!!!

  • salex

    I'd recommend against trying to do faux bois to match real cherry. I think you're more likely to succeed using a custom stain - and as you said, if you use something that is soluble in mineral spirits, you can wipe most of it off. Better yet, put it to a pro woodworker who does this every day and likely has dozens of pigments in her/his toolbox to get exactly the right color. (When matching trim in my house, I bought at least a dozen stains/pigments and 4 or 5 different topcoat materials, and then tested >3 dozen boards - all meticulously labeled. And the end result is *mostly* a match. So it's possible but not easy or quick.)

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  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    jt, I hope it helps : ) .

    I understand you wanting something bling-y, but I also know that the busy granite makes it a problem. And hopefully a simple tile with colored grout or someothing similar ends up less $$$ in a spiff job than Ann Sacks tiles : ) .

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  • justerrilynn

    Well, I’m going to give it a shot (the glazing). Within these cabinets is nearly every pigment known to man. And, there’s more on the other side.


    Becky, love your ideas!

    Lauren, that last tile color you posted is nice!

  • Bunny

    JT, I think your eyes are wide open. Why not try to match them yourself? If you don't like how it turns out, you can buy a couple of new doors and have a pro match the stain. New doors don't cost *that* much. If that's a bust, well, there's always Ikea.

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  • justerrilynn

    Thank you sweet Bunny!

    One good thing about these fuggly flat panel mitered doors is that each door has several colorations going on between the outer and inner parts. I will have to practice with the “depth layeres” on the blond bits.

    How pathetic is this?

    I wouldn’t mind if they all looked more or less like this one below. The lighting is hitting it but the darker color is close to the dark color above.

  • Lyndee Lee
    It sounds like you have the artistic eye and the material you will need. Even if they are not perfectly matched, it will probably be much closer and not stick out like a sore thumb. Good luck and I hope you post photos when you finish!
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  • justerrilynn

    Thank you Lyndee!!! I will probably start this part of the project after the France trip.

  • tartanmeup

    Trust yourself to improve on what you have, jt. I don't know about you but I've given up on perfection in my place. Better than what it was is often good enough for me. :) Looking forward to seeing pics when you're done!

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  • justerrilynn

    I think this is going to work. I first painted in some grain and added a fast dry medium. Next I did the glazing. It’s still wet but when dry I will determine if it needs a touch-up.

    BEFORE

    I painted some graining. Next I smoothed it out a bit.

    Next , the glazing and some maneuvers with different brush’s and rags.

    Its the door with the brush in front of it. I think I nailed the color. When dry I’ll see if it needs a touch-up of glaze.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Wow, you work fast! And it looks great!

    Given your talent and results, I will also mention that I remember reading about a project where the homeowner wanted gold grout, but wasn't able to find it, so painted regular grout gold instead.

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  • Oakley

    Brava!!!

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  • beaglesdoitbetter

    Wow. I can't believe how quickly you just got that accomplished and how nice it looks. My husband and I procrastinated for like 5 months before staining the top of a garage workbench, LOL.

  • morz8

    What a brave and creative girl you are ;0) When you've finished, will you come here? There are a couple of deep scratches in the custom built in china/buffet in my dining room where someone has slid something across the serving area. That master cabinet maker that I mention earlier is expensive and busy and I haven't called him yet. The built-in is 1955 MCMish and I'm told glazed cherry.

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  • tartanmeup

    Good for you! That looks fantastic, justerrilynn. I really admire your talent and get-it-done attitude. I remember how fast you were at tweaking your living room. Seriously, dizzying speed in my world. :)

  • justerrilynn

    Thanks all! Done with the graining on the 2nd door. I have some fast dry medium in this first step so I will be able to finish it up soon.

    ETA

    Done! I’ll try to get a better after pictures once the sun moves.

    Before:

    AFTER below . I’ll try for another with less glare later.


    ETA: sun moved, here’s another.

  • tartanmeup

    Your tiles are just gorgeous, Gvega!! I'm bookmarking your site. Some people prepare for doomsday. I prepare for winning the lottery. :)

    ETA: Just saw your latest pics, jt. Your windows are stunning. Really nice window wall you've got there with the shelves!

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  • Bunny

    Looks great! I knew you could pull it off and not break the bank. How do you think it will wear?

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  • justerrilynn

    Hi Bunny, that’s a good question. After it cures I’ll top coat. I have this lunatic dog who is gradually leaving claw marks on everything. It’s a fairly easy process though if I have to redo.

  • Kool Beans

    Hey Justerrilynn, I haven’t read the responses but I read where you said you saw a black sink that you liked in Europe and thought I’d suggest the Blanco Silgranit sinks as an option to look at. That’s what we have in the black (Anthracite ) and I love it. The sink is durable and easy to maintain. If you do a search for Blanco Silgranit you’ll find a lot of information about them.

  • salex

    Great work on your doors! I agree with the suggestions to look at some of the composite granite black sinks. Some manufacturers make models that can be installed either undermount or drop-in - I see that there was some discussion of that above. I have the Kraus 31" sink in Onyx, and it is one of those that can be mounted either way (I was going to get the Blanco Silgranit recommended by KoolBeans but couldn't get it soon enough in my area). I do love my sink and recommend that material/color.

  • OutsidePlaying

    Wow, JT! That looks great! You did a really good job with that cabinet. I am amazed at how creative you have been with your whole house.

  • aktillery9

    First, let me say I love your home. You did a great job with the cabinet!! I am so impressed. Looking forward to more photos!!

  • justerrilynn

    AFTER All That... we are thinking much more about selling. We have ripped half out (sink cabinet had to go). The island is staying “as is”. The back “U” section with four Lazy Susan’s is staying “as is”. Same appliances but a big single bowl sink will be added. Using same faucet.

    My drawing isn’t to scale (sink is centered). However, I have my estimate order ready with the details. I’ll be using Conestoga RTA’s as I’m experienced with them.

    Some replace and some reface.




    I’m blending this combo.

    New long run cabinets area and all the way into the “U” will get a new top in Silestone Coral Clay * see sample on painted sample board. I’m going to do a 2” backsplash in the Coral Clay and call it a day! Like the look of the 2”.


  • yeonassky

    I think you're right not to do much. If you move soon the new owners will want changes anyway. If you stay you won't need to do much for a while as long as everything works with the changes you're making.

  • justerrilynn

    Thanks Yeonassky, wish I could get away with doing nothing but some investment should bring a good return. In another week or so I’ll have three excellent comps. The only things not selling or not selling well in my neighborhood are those that haven’t had any work done. Most do not want much to do. The only thing I haven’t yet done in this whole house is the kitchen and tile. Not doing the tile. I don’t like it but it’s not bad.

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