2.19 2011

Before and After :: White Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen with beadboard and trim work
I really enjoyed updating my client’s kitchen recently.
 If you ask me, there is nothing more timeless than a classic white kitchen,
and is a great option for updating oak cabinets.
Here is what we started with:
Her cabinets were a white washed oak. She was looking to paint them white, and she had a southwestern theme going on. She had recently installed new granite in a warm, rich gold and brown, and was waiting for her new “wood” plank tile to be installed. There was a lot going on in there, and pulling it all together was a challenge.
Here is the result … (by the way, there was zero natural light that day because it was dark and rainy so the pictures are yellow and washed out…the cabinets are more crisp and clean in person).

I did some research on how to go about choosing a white cabinet paint in a kitchen with white appliances. After looking at a lot of images and reading designer opinions, we came to the conclusion it would be best not to compete with the appliances by matching them or even coming close, since they are so stark. We let the cabinets related to each other and let the appliances relate to each other. With her warm, rich granite, backsplash and flooring, a stark white without a warm yellow undertone in it might not have pulled it all together. The color (BM Linen White) appears more yellow in some of these shots because of the lighting issues. With better lighting (and black or stainless appliances) it would be even more fabulous.

 The builder basic hollow panels  got some bead board and trim work:
This shot is a little better representation of the color.
I thought her new flooring was beautiful.
It’s tile made to look like wood. No worries about scratches, and talk about easy maintenance.
Here are a few more shots:
I was SO bummed about the lighting that day.
 Close ups of the bead board and trim work:


Probably the best shot of the actual color without the white appliances influencing it..
I have to tell you guys that when we came back for the final touches of adding hardware and remaining trim work, I was surprised to hear that my client’s circle of friends weren’t responding very positively to the cabinets or her beautiful flooring! Maybe it was because the hardware wasn’t on yet, but I’m sure that kind of feedback makes a person second guess their choice to go white. I told her she was a trend-setter with her group of friends and that all the young kids are doing it :)
I guess white isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found that most people really like it. Who doesn’t like this kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give? Her alternative would have been to either keep her existing white wash oak, strip it and refinish it, go black, or reface/replace which is cost prohibitive for many of us. Of course if she ever replaces her appliances with stainless it would really pull things together even more.
Do you like white kitchens?

497 thoughts on “Before and After :: White Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Christa, the kitchen looks beautiful!

    I learned about BM Linen White from your laundry room re-do, and chose to use it when we fully bead-boarded our downstairs hallway last fall. That turned out so well, I beadboarded the two sheetrocked walls in my office (I have a log house, so most rooms have two logs walls and two sheetrocked walls) and painted them LW, too. Finally, during this project, we used LW on beadboard chair rail upstars, and in semi-gloss for the trim color in several rooms.

    It's such a classic, creamy white that I feel like it's a fail-safe choice. I hope it grows on your client because it's a perfect warm, cottage white.


  2. I wonder if her feedback was from a male or female. Men usually prefer wood to painted cabinetry. I think it looks awesome! I agree that black or stainless appliances may make the cabinets shine even more, but even with the white, it looks great!
    My husband painted our white refrigerator black and he's also painted one for a friend. The prep work is kind of intensive, but so worth the results.

  3. What a fabulous update! I love the white cabinets and the hardware. It all blends so nicely with the countertops. And the beadboard is a great touch. The floors look good too. It was pretty dated before. I can't imagine that the client wouldn't be thrilled with the fresh look.

  4. I love it too. I can't imagine what those people didn't like. But I guess if they are willing to make such a rude comment maybe all their tasting is in their mouths. I am just saying.
    Thanks for sharing,

  5. When I saw the before I cringed! It was just "OK". Nothing irritates me more than builders who "cheap it" by not using hardware on cabinetry. Can you say "boring!". Even if she'd had hardware those cabinets would have had more personality. Anyway..I digress… LOVE the new look and especially the beadboard touch. Her floor is a thousand times better looking and warms it up. I agree that replacing the appliances with stainless would help in the future as i'm not a fan of white dishwashers etc.
    Her friends are a bit too candid …. you did a fab job!!

  6. Wow! I love it! This morning I was on-line shopping for new sink and counter tops… have already painted the almost-black cabinets in a warm cream and also have white appliances. So this post was extremely timely for me! I may even use a similar counter top… (was originally thinking of going with another creamy white). Great Job! Thanks


  8. I couldn't love a well done white kitchen any more!!! They just don't put then in around here. It's ALL oak, oak, oak…which I dislike immensely (except in tree form, which is where I think it should stay).
    You can come re-do my kitchen any day. I'm about ready to tackle it myself (and I haven't a clue ~ sandpaper and paint is about all I'd come up with).

  9. The linen white is a huge improvement, and the beadboard trim gives it some personality. I don't mind white appliances with the white cabinets. I see so many 'white' rooms and homes with layers and shades of whites and creams etc. so why not in the kitchen too. The dark terra cotta wall might be the part throwing off the eye. I would take the friends comment with a grain of salt. There could be a lot of reasons why the person(s)don't like it.

  10. I have an Ikea white kitchen (with red walls), white appliances, my daughter has the same Ikea white kitchen, off white appliances, and my brother has another Ikea white kitchen, with white appliances. We all have hardwood floors. WE LOVE OUR WHITE KITCHENS!!!
    You did a wonderful job on your client's kitchen…love the beadboard…the front side of my entire island is beadboard painted red. She'll grow to love it and the rest can take a hike :)
    Her floors are pretty too.

  11. I love a white kitchen and if I had a paint sprayer I would paint my cabinets even though they are clear maple.
    I think she needs to change her wall colors. At least on my computer they do not look right. The point of a white kitchen is to have a light airy look. So, she needs a paint color that will accomplish that…like a super light blue or green or even cream.
    They make appliance Epoxy spray paint. I am sure she could paint her appliances black with it. I used it on some metal cans and it seems to work well.
    Great job on the cabinets! Can you come do my house next???

  12. I think it's beautiful! I painted my cabinets white, and I have white appliances, too. I had black galaxy granite countertops installed and I think it looks gorgeous! Your client's kitchen is lovely.

  13. Adding here: I love the bead board look and I think I'm going to add that at the end of my counter. I have a small kitchen and a very small space I could add it to, but it would add that little extra bit of loveliness. Thanks for the idea.

  14. How can anybody not like that better?? I think it looks fabulous. I am getting geared up to paint my kitchen cabinets. Like your client, I have just had similar granite countertops installed, a new tile backsplash, and new earth toned 18" floor tile on the diagonal. I have already chosen the base cabinets color (a chocolate brown) and was looking for the perfect "white" for the top cabinets…think I just found it!! Thanks!!

  15. Love love love this kitchen! It's exactly what we want to do in our own home when we have a few extra days! The hardward gives it the perfect finishing touch and it looks soooo much better than it did previously, in my opinion!

  16. Hi Christa!
    It looks gorgeous!
    Over the years we have built several homes. I've had white washed oak, white malamine, cherry wood, maple (stained cherry) and our last home we had a painting co. cover our oak with cream & brown glaze. Now we are preparing to build a new home (hopefully our last as we are getting old) and I plan to have the kitchen cabinets finished in WHITE! It is classic & timeless. I will do the island in another color though (which I haven't decided the color or wood yet)

  17. The kitchen looks wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration! When we looked at our home to purchase it 10 years ago (it was 4 yrs old) I disliked the solid oak trim and doors in the entire house – now I realize that that was quite an expense for whoever built the home – but my comment to my husband was “Well that’s nothing a little white paint won’t fix!” He said then that if I had any intention of painting the oak that we would not buy the home.
    I agree with a previous post – OAK SHOULD STAY IN THE TREE!
    After 10 years he is now also tired of the oak and after painting one room’s trim in linen white (BM) we have been gradually painting all of the trim in our home. It should only take me about another 10 years!!!!!
    We are also going to paint our natural cherry kitchen that was custom built. I think the LW will be a wonderful way to soften the varied colors of the natural cherry – our counters are baltic brown granite and the walls are currently BM – cork. I am stuck when it comes to changing the wall colors but would like them to be softer as well….please let me know if you have any suggestions……

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