What To Do With Oak Cabinets

I have one project that was published a few years ago and again recently reprinted.

Photo from my website

After several years I still get calls and e-mails from all over the country with people asking me specifics about the finishes and telling me that they have these exact oak cabinets.  Most recently about a month ago, someone from Anchorage, Alaska was interested in the slate floor. I forwarded her the info on my supplier and they both tried to work out various ways to ship it as cheaply as possible from Houston to Alaska.  It was terribly expensive to ship that far and luckily she found something similar in her area.  I thought it just goes to show you how much people sometimes want to make the best of what they have and well, really aren't interested in a white kitchen. I know, as much we all love a white kitchen here on the blogs...
not everyone wants one.

This project had miles of oak cabinetry.  The homeowner didn't want to paint them or change them all out for various reasons.  They liked a refined rustic/craftsman style look and love natural materials.  The challenge became how to make those builder standard oak cabinets look good.  


Items that had to go:  oak floors (too much oak, they wanted something more durable, and it didn't match the other oak flooring in the adjacent dining room), off-white counters, busy, dated wallpaper, dated light box, backsplash, white refrigerator, oddly shaped island.



By pairing the oak with a dark color, the green in this instance, it became a two tone kitchen. We created contrast and the green was a rich accent to the oak. Notice all the elements we added, countertops, backsplash, and new cabinetry were that dark green color. The light color in the space became the oak or oak color. The dark color is the green. When you tie several different elements in a space together with color and value, you make a stronger statement. The slate floor mixed those two colors together beautifully.  That slate is call Imperial Sunset from Thorntree here in Houston.


I'm not a fan of making do with outdated materials and old features unless it can be done well and there are valid reasons for keeping them when you remodel. I do think however that this project has a timelessness about it, that the new and old blend really well, and I have to say....those oak cabinets never looked so good!

All before and after photos from my website

Thank you Better Homes and Gardens, for publishing this project again.  It definitely hit home with a lot of people.

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Linking to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal

If you have a design related question or need some advice on any aspect of interior design, e-mail me HERE.  I might feature your question in a special Q and A blog post! 

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