What's the Problem? AKA...When to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets (w/ New Kitchen Project Photos!)

Here's my latest kitchen remodel project. Isn't she pretty?

And the before. Quite a transformation, huh? 

My client contacted me about a year ago. She was getting ready to undertake her kitchen remodel, but needed guidance on materials, colors and overall design. Her first question to me was "Do I replace my cabinets? Or paint them?" 

I answered her question with a couple more questions. Did the kitchen function well for her? Did it have enough storage and was it easy for her to get around? Yes. It had plenty of storage and she was happy with the overall layout. 

Then I asked her what problem she was trying to solve? And would replacing her cabinetry solve that problem?

This was a bit of an "aha" moment for her. And it is for most of us. Before we proceed with any design project it is important to identity the problem we are trying to solve. If we don't know what the problem is, then we don't know what to fix...or how to fix it. 

We identified the problem as an aesthetic one. She just didn't like the way her kitchen looked...or felt. I suggested she save herself thousands of dollars and paint the cabinets as opposed to replacing them. They were in excellent condition, and although the door style wasn't exactly what she would have chosen if she was buying new, they weren't bad at all. And with a coat of paint and new hardware, they would take on an entirely different character. Replacing the cabinetry would have solved the problem in some regards. It would have given her a new look and feel, but it wasn't necessary for her to fix the problem. Painting the cabinetry was a much simpler and less costly solution. 

My client knew she wanted white cabinetry. She had already pulled some inspiration images of kitchens she liked when we first met. Over the next couple of months I helped guide her on countertop materials, hardware and fixture finishes and style, lighting, paint color and custom tile design. We collaborated through the process with my client playing the role of project manager - my favorite way to work! 

For those of you drooling over the gorgeous backsplash, the tile is from Oceanside Glass Tile. We did a custom blend in Facets 1/2" x 1/2" mosaic. They have a super cool online tool to play with proportions of colors, so you can get very specific about your blend. 

And...for those of you drooling over the wood island countertop, it is a beautiful piece of reclaimed walnut from Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. I love the warmth and patina that it brings into the space. 

The end result is a stunning space that truly reflects the energy of my client. I'd take this kitchen, wouldn't you?