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Rhizzlebop 01-27-2009 08:31 PM

Looking for suggestions on kitchen cabinet stain attached
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I was just searching the web for information and stumbled across this forum. I hope its alright to invite myself in and post.

I just bought this house about 4 months ago and have been in the process of updating it. I'm single, 29, and I like the contemporary style very much.

The house was built in 91'. Its a basic 1500 sqft 3/2, vinyl exterior w brick accent front in a subdivision.

I want to redo my kitchen cabinets and am at a loss for how to handle them. They are oak wood, and have a sort of early american, golden oak, and cinnamon stain to em. Basically, they are somewhere between those. I just had installed all new LG HiMac counters in Desert Sand color.

I thought the cabinets looked alright, but after the new tops went on, it really made the cabinets look dated.
I'm doing nickel finish lights everywhere and have painted the entire interior, and tiled the kitchen in a light earthy beige tile laid diamond style.

My plan for lighting is to remove that fan you see in the pictures, and put up a monorail track light w 6-8 nickel finish spots as well as 2 pendants over the island and 1 or 2 pendants over the kitchen sink. All fixtures will extend from the track system. I'm also considering some halogen under cabinet lights as well.

As you can see in the pics (apologies) I'm living here, and working in my free time, and you can see I'm in the middle of trying stain mixes and samples on the backs of a couple cabinet doors.

I am leaning towards making the cabinets a dark finish, paint the exposed hinges black so they tend to vanish into the wood, and then install the stainless bar pulls on the cabinet doors and drawers. I'm thinking 8" pulls on the long cabinets and 5" on the short doors, and I dunno how long to put on the drawers. I am thinking with dark cabinets, the counters and the floor will pop, but I'm afraid of creating a dark cave effect.

I appreciate all thoughts and comments and suggestions and sorry for the mess. Like I said, I'm in the middle of working and fixing up at the same time.

Rhizzlebop 01-27-2009 08:42 PM

Also, I wanted to add that I plan to change that light out over the tall black table as soon as possible, but dunno yet what I want to put there.

I have a friend who used to run a cabinet shop on his own and he's been helping some with the planning. He's telling me we can lightly sand the existing cabinets and doors, just to powder up the top finish and then stain over the stain thats there now if I wanna go darker. What I mixed that seems best so far is a mixture of Red Mahogony w about 20% black oil based paint in it. I put on one coat, let it try and then applied a second coat and that seems to be dark, where I want to go. It covers most of the oak grain, but it still looks like stain, not like its opaque paint. However, he thinks its too dark and will darken the whole kitchen. I hate white cabinets so I don't wanna go there. I do however want the counters and the cabinet hardware to pop against the cabinets.

Also, whatever color you guys suggest, should I go glossy, or flat or semi on the finish? Again, i'm no designer, but I thought if the cabinets are dark, it would help reflect light by being glossier, but it might work to hide the nice bar pulls. So maybe stay more flat?

Thoughts are welcome

jmb324 01-27-2009 10:01 PM

I love your countertop and floors...and appliances!
and youre right, the cabinets do look dated now...and I agree with you about needing to be careful to not turn it into a cave---Im thinking with that dark wall color, dark cabinets are not going to have the effect youre wanting. I know it will make less work to go dark but Im afraid it will make it much too dark and heavy on the upper half of the room.
When I was looking at the pics and saw the stainless next to the first instinct was a medium shade of gray, or a brownish tone of tan/beige...try pulling colors from the counter top and see how they work with the dark walls. Another idea that might work is,- the "in thing" now is to do lower cabinets in a different color from the uppers.
Maybe do the lower in darker against your floor and reverse it on the uppers on the dark paint color? I just saw one of those make over shows the other day and they painted oak cabinets a blueish gray slate and added the cool stainless pull bars and they looked great with the new appliances, the walls were dark and so was the tile backsplash, but the counters were lighter and the cabinets and hardware really popped.
As far as gloss...I personally like a little shine..just like varnished cabinets have a bit of sheen...but whatever finish you decide on, remember they need to be durable for cleaning as they will get coated with grease, food, smoke, etc over time. good luck with the rest of your reno...let us know how it turns out.

Rhizzlebop 01-28-2009 01:19 PM

Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate that.

I'm thinking about what you suggested. I've not considered paint because, well, I only thought of white cabinets which I hate. But, you and someone else suggested going paint but a diff color, either a dark charcoal color, or grey like you suggested.

I'm a little afraid to cover wood with paint, but it might give the look I want without looking muddy (which I'm afraid 2 coats of stain w paint mixed in might look like).

I don't plan to ever replace cabinets because A this is a starter house so I'll prob be gone in 5 or 7 years, and B I just installed 2700 worth of new countertops, and C, the combo of both of the above.

I guess, worst case, if I decide the paint is awful or I hate it, I can veneer the cabinet faces, and do new doors and bring it back to life in a rich wood I like.


Any other suggestions out there folks?

harleysilo 01-28-2009 01:35 PM

What about painting the walls a light beige color. It's that color of the walls I don't like, not the color of the wood cabinets.

Edit: I just re-read your post, so you painted it that color. So that would imply that you like it. Being that it is your starter home, you plan to sell it in 5-7 years, I would advise not choosing such personal colors as to avoid having to repaint to sell.

I also think the bold color washes out the counters and cabinets. What color was it originally?

I don't think the stain will turn out how you want with just a light sanding, unless the current finish was not sealed. Sounds like you've painted them before, so you know how much work it is, and you know that they will always look, well, painted.

Rhizzlebop 01-28-2009 02:32 PM

Yes, I do like the color. I have been using the help of a friend and VERY good interior designer to help me pick colors and she suggested that color but after the counters went in, we both realized just how "aged" the cabinets looked.

I have not painted these, or any cabinets before. These have the same factory finish they when they were installed in 1991. You can imagine from that why I think they feel aged and need updating.

Before I moved in a few months ago, the kitchen was a nice nasty wall paper. 2 Gallons of vinegar later, and it was gone.

My cabinet stain advice has come from a guy who owned his own cabinet shop for 8 years and hes a friend of mine helping and suggesting for free of course.

He thought I wanted to go a little darker, and said a light sanding to remove the finish would be enough to stain over it darker, and hes right. However, when he saying darker, he meant a couple shades darker. When I was saying darker, I meant, DARK!!. Cause I knew nothing about stain until me and him did some samples this past weekend.

The only way to get really dark is mixing a % of black oil paint into the stain and doing a coat, let it dry, and do another, and I'm afraid thats gonna end up muddy and ugly.

I don't wanna go removing ALL the existing stain. Thats tons of sanding and he doesn't really think i'd ever get it all out.

The centers of the cabinet doors are flat, so if I sanded an 1/8in of wood out of there to get rid of all the color, I'd be down to near nothing. That's just not feasible.

So, now I'm "considering" paint, though I'm hesitant. I thought I could use stain, and go to a dark rich wood (that doesn't clash would the wall, but in fact is so dark, thta it pops off the wall.)

That was my idea, and now I found this site and am looking for any and all suggestions and ideas.

I think at this minute, I'm leaning towards doing all the cabinets in a very dark grey/black called charcoal.

Lightly considering going lighter on the upper cabinets, or maybe a foax frosted glass in the uppers to lighten the area. I mean, I'd just silicone frosted panes on top of the wood, or possibly actually try and get the doors apart and put in frosted panes on the upper cabinets.


harleysilo 01-28-2009 03:07 PM

If you feel like tackling taking apart the cabinet doors, painting them and installing a piece of glass that would look very good in my opinion. Painting the rest of the cabinetry as well of course. That takes a lot of sanding to get a good bond. If you try a product that suggests it works without heavy sanding give it the old fingernail test. Scratch it and see if it comes off.

If you paint I'd suggest a very dark color as your are suggesting.

Why don't you have your designer friend photoshop those pics with some dark cabinets had then repost them.

If you have glass doors everything in the cabinets is suddenly on display, the frosting would be nice. Would be pimp if back lit.

Rhizzlebop 01-28-2009 03:48 PM

I agree the frosted would be the way to go because I USE my cabinets, not just there for displaying nice dishes.

If I can get my doors apart without too much trouble, I can replace the panel with glass. Then Id consider putting lights up in the tops.

If I can't get em apart, I could still put a frosted sheet in the panel area on top of the wood to give the illusion of a glass door and still give the "lighter cabinet" effect I'm wanting I think.

Any ideas on where I can buy sheets of glass and cut em myself? I can't go big cost here. If its gonna cost a lot, I might as well buy new doors.

I figure I can spend 50 bucks, maybe more, for a couple sheets of glass or acrylic frosted looking stuff to put in there, and just cut the pieces myself.

Any ideas where to get that?

An idea I just had, buy big cheap cutting boards from walmart and cut panels from the acrylic stuff. Could be ghetto, could turn out like one of those sweet highend looking projects where people never know the truth.

Rhizzlebop 01-28-2009 04:04 PM

I just saw on another website while I was searching that one person found some stuff at Home Depot. They apparently have the covers that go over flourescent suspended ceiling light fixtures for about 7 dollars and have different diffusion finishes to the material. I dunno how big those are, but if they fit a 2'x4' light, I could get 4 doors out of that easily. 7 dollars seems too cheap really for that much coverage.

harleysilo 01-28-2009 04:06 PM

Glass cut to size at home depot is not that expensive, you should price it. If you have to adhere it to the front, how will you do that after you've frosted it without messing up the frosting?

Rhizzlebop 01-28-2009 04:26 PM

Thats a very good question. I'll hit Home Depot and check on the price of it.

As far as your question, my initial thought was just small dots or a bead of clear silicone around the edge. Dries clear, and should hold a thin sheet of acrylic or glass in there.

I admit though, the idea of getting it in there withput the wood panels and being able to back light it sounds really cool!!!

Rhizzlebop 01-29-2009 09:13 AM

I'll try to get by HD today and check on cut glass prices. I didn't make it yesterday. This might be the best approach.

Rhizzlebop 01-30-2009 08:11 PM

Ok, for anyone who cares and is following this thread, I got by Lowes today and it looks like cut glass will run me between 5 and 12 dollars a door. Not terrible.

Question though, is it safe to put regular glass in a cabinet? What type of glass do most cabinets have? I'd hate for someone or a child get injured by slamming a door and breaking a pane. Maybe thats what is in there usually anyway or do they use tempered typically?

Also, for frosting, Lowes only had the film tint material. 18 dollars a roll. 1 roll would probably do the trick. I saw where someone linked to some paint on frosting, but I dunno how consistent that would look.

Any thoughts?

jmb324 01-30-2009 10:52 PM

lots of ideas and tips here....

these threads are about painting cabinets:
(with glazing technique for shine)

painting them black or dark:

this one is about installing inserts in doors...(poly lexan not glass)

leaded glass install (not as detailed of instructions as some other links)

and I'll let you wade thru the rest...I found these on the first few pages
there is also threads on lighting and hardware etc.

heatherlrex 04-05-2010 01:01 PM

I am looking to do the same thing and our kitchens are set up very much alike. If you have a photo of the finished product, I would love to see it. Any suggestions from your experience after completing the project would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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