Sunday, April 1, 2007

Is a white kitchen in your future?

Considering white cabinets: read one homeowner's journal note, on Garden, who ordered the fashionable white cabinets with soapstone counter tops.

I don't think anyone could complain about a pretty white kitchen when viewed on the cover of a magazine, until they get one installed in their own home. Painted White Kitchens will always be classic. In one recent movie, the painted white kitchen was the "star" of that movie. Clients were buying the DVD to show their designer exactly what they wanted. Anyone who fell in love with that Kitchen in "Something's Gotta Give" with the soapstone counters will want to see first hand what a painted kitchen looks like.
The dark side of painted finishes is that they are just not forgiving. All flaws are magnified on white. I always go through a disclaimer process with clients to let them know about hairline cracks on paint and so on. A touch up on a wood stained cabinet blends in. A touch up on white just looks like a touch up on white. When attaching crown molding, the nail holes, even when touched up, will be slightly visible. Also, keep in mind, not all whites match. I had an installation where the crown molding was slightly a shade off from the cabinets. After a 2 shipments and much angst for the client, we were able to replace the molding to get a closer match. White is not for the faint of heart. If you think you will be upset seeing dings on your cabinets, consider going back to wood stained cabinets. If you are still loving white, consider adding a brown glaze wash on paint, or a distressed finish that will disguise the inevitable flaws to come. Personally, I love white cabinets. I know that sounds funny after hearing about all the problems that can go wrong with white. I would rather have you place your order for a painted kitchen being fully aware of what to expect. There are alternatives. Thermofoil– a vinyl-like material –is a prefinished, easy-care alternative, with doors and drawer fronts made from a single piece, manufactured from high quality MDF and computer routed to a selected profile. However, most homeowners don't like the "fake plastic" look of thermfoil. With that said, if you still have an emotional connection to white cabinets, learn to look beyond the flaws of paint, own the flaws as a reflection of good meals served and time memorials of happy and eventful family gatherings.


susan said...

You are SO right! I know because I raised 3 kids in a white kitchen, and I'd never do it again. Glad to hear the "truth" about white! Great blog, looking forward to reading more and more. :-)

Laurie Burke, Kitchen Designer said...

Thanks for stopping in. Yes, kitchens are "the hub" of the house, where we do so much of our our living. I once had a client who was so excited about his brand new kitchen, the kids reported back they could come in to the kitchen only if they learned to float! Wood, once a living, breathing tree, now in it's new form, painted cabinets, is still "active" in it's new form. It swells when it's hot, shrinks when it's cold. I remind clients, hairline cracks are not flaws, they are "beauty marks".

Any how, for those who are more concerned about how paint will hold up, I guarantee your guest's will comment how great your kitchen looks, not pointing to a hair line crack or a ding. Go ahead, christen your kitchen. I like the Greek's way of thinking. Next time you see a ding, yell "Opa!", throw a dish down, and share a shot of ouzo with your guests!

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