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  • Writer's pictureLinda Shire Bolliger



Every design project I do has a story behind it. And just showing pretty pictures doesn’t always tell the whole story. Take the story of my homepage kitchen project. This 1980’s kitchen needed a serious update. But the bones of the kitchen were still quite good. So what options were available to the homeowner?

Like many 1980’s kitchens, this one had dreaded oak cabinetry. However, the cabinets themselves were in excellent condition. The condition was so good as to preclude the cost of replacement. Was painting an option? Yes, with caveats. Oak finishes are difficult to paint, if your goal is to erase the grain of the wood in the process. So, what if you didn’t try to eradicate the grain completely? What would the final product look like?

I consulted my trusted and highly skilled painting contractor. He convinced me with professional painting techniques that a good-looking, painted finish on oak was indeed possible. His own kitchen cabinetry was proof of what was possible. With that assurance my plan was to go white! Why white? White cabinetry evokes a sense of a timeless elegance. The popularity of white cabinetry goes back decades with little evidence of declining. So, for the biggest bang for your buck-- go white.

I looked to the kitchen’s overall impression. It could be best described as “bland.” What this kitchen lacked was personality. I needed to add that with every finish and detail decision. When in doubt go marble. It is instant sophistication and elegance. Secondly the lack of a substantial range hood was an opportunity lost. Add all the detailed decisions together, and the results are dramatic. Bland to wow!

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