The Rewards of Refinishing Cabinetry

Do you love your cabinetry? If not, refinishing your current cabinetry is a great option rather than replacing it.

In this featured project, the cabinetry was originally installed in 2010 and the homeowner never liked it. But, since they had just completed a huge renovation project and they “just wanted to move in” (a feeling that is very consistent with most people who have been under construction, it’s called “Project Fatigue”). So, ten years later, my clients were ready to make the house perfect by fine-tuning the details that they didn’t like from the first project. Another driver in this project is that the floors needed to be refinished due to a flood that warped the walnut flooring years back. In order to refinish the floors… ALL the furniture needed to move out and the kitchen cabinetry too would be affected. This is commonly known as “The Snowball Effect” in construction terms. One project begets another project and before you know it, you have a significant project on your hands. While under construction, it’s always best to tackle all the projects looming because (and trust me here) you want to do it again. All this said, remember that your budget needs to reflect this scope expansion.

As we evaluated the kitchen cabinetry color issues several issues came to the surface:

  1. The curved wall was turning a pink/orange color and was fairly terrible.
  2. The cabinetry was turning almost grey/white but some of the doors were also turning the pink/orange.

We spent two months coming up with a plan for color – not white, not grey but a grey wash stain.

The cabinet company crew came to painfully strip the cabinetry. This took about 4 weeks. Then they bleached the wood. At this juncture, we connected with the finisher who was very distraught. My summation after all the stripping and bleaching was that the wood was still inconsistent between the walls and some of the panels (anything large in scale) to the cabinetry frames and it turns out that I was right. The wall and large panels were actually veneering and were reacting to stains and stripping/bleaching differently than the solid wood. Therefore, under no circumstances, long-term would the color remain the same color over time. Our goal is to always hand to our clients a product that will withstand time and I wasn’t feeling good about our selection of staining wood that was not responding consistently.

After many conversations and time reviewing options, it was determined that if we made the color opaquer – essentially painting it so that we could get the white pigment mixed into the color as a solid – then the wood would respond consistently.

I selected a color of cabinetry that was a hue darker than the walls (a color I love) and the shop created a sample. The sample still had some inconsistencies to it but we only gave them about 12 hours to complete it so we knew that they would be able to create the consistent with a sealant over the top to protect the paint.

The clients were very involved in the final decision and we got their full support on the decision to paint. The end result is the color, feel and finish that the clients wanted a decade before. I’m thrilled that they are thrilled! To me, it finally looks the way it always should have been.



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