That is the question.
One of the things that I have been really struggling with on the new house is whether or not to paint certain wood. The space and vibe are telling me that clean white trim and built ins would really freshen up the look and pull us out of the dated "Golden Oak 80s" feel. There's always that nagging voice in the back of my head however, (for some reason it sounds exactly like my Dad) that says, "If you paint that wood, someday you'll regret it."
One room where this is really a concern is the kitchen. Once we do a little work to remove the cabinet over the peninsula, the set up is actually really modern. Lots of lower cabinets, not so many uppers. Big, bright windows and open space. But then, there's that Golden Oak...
I'd like to make the black appliances work if we can, because they're new and in good condition, so I searched the best design blogs to find examples of kitchens with black appliances. My fav design blog Young House Love created this mood board which I love and could be the answer to my problems. In our kitchen, it would look something like this:
The cabinets all get painted a nice taupey-gray color that will coordinate with the house color pallet, the trim gets a glossy white and the walls warm up with a slightly lighter shade of gray. You'll notice I took the liberty to add in some dark wood flooring which we'd love to install some day, as well as a nice pendant light over the kitchen table in addition to the solid black counter tops and great herringbone back splash tile that John & Sherry suggest. I love this look. It feels rich and classic, but not at all dated. But then there's that nagging voice, "You're going to regret painting those cabinets..."
So I went back to the design blogs and sites to find an image of kitchens using the cabinet color we have with black appliances. It was a pretty sorry search. There just isn't any great design out there that I could find using golden oak that didn't remind me of my purple legwarmers and Debbie Gibson cassette. But there was this beauty from Canadian House and Home...
This set up is actually a lot like our kitchen. And in my trusty little mock up, it looks like this:
This is definitely a more natural, organic vibe that we were going for. But where the first makeover was more American Idol style, (you know, the obligatory brow tweeze, hair dye and make up,) this bad boy is more like The Swan, a serious face lift make over. That's because in order to get those cabinets out of Golden Oak and into the new century, we're going to have to strip the old poly and stain, potentially bleach the wood, sand, re-stain and re-poly these guys. And even though we can take off cupboard doors and drawers and bring them outside, those base cabinets and the full wall of cabinets on the other side aren't going anywhere, which means we'll have to do a bunch of super messy and really stinky work right inside the center of our home.
So what do you think? Is it worth it? Do you prefer the natural, organic look or do the more classic taupe gray cabinets make the room look more complete? Any other suggestions? What's your theory on painting wood? Do you live for today and make it how you want it? Or does your