Painting oak kitchen cabinets is one of my specialist areas, this is one I recently did in Stapleford, Nottingham.
It was originally installed some 20 years ago by bespoke kitchen manufacturer ‘Osborne’s of Ilkeston’ in Derbyshire. As you would expect from any quality bespoke kitchen even after 20 years, the cabinets, frames and doors were still structurally sound! However, after this amount of time the oak was starting to show its age and with some heavy use from a large family, it was ready for refurbishment. The client had obviously looked after the kitchen and it still housed the original appliances, they even had the original artists impression of the kitchen which Osborne’s had drawn up prior to the initial installation all those years ago.
The client informed me that they had paid over £12.000 for this kitchen, which in the early 90s was quite a sum of money and at todays prices I would anticipate it would cost anything between 25k to 30k nowadays to replace. To be precise £32.000 from one kitchen company, was what my client had been quoted to replace this kitchen. This is often the case where the client is still happy with the layout and functions of the kitchen but just wants to modernise it and bring it into the 21st century.
THIS IS WHERE I COME IN…
Normally from initial contact from a perspective client, I request that photos of each elevation of the kitchen are emailed over, so I can provide some outlined costs but as this project was only a few miles down the road from where I live, I arranged to call in one evening on my way home to assess and provide costs for hand painting. We then discussed various colour options and what to do with the original handles, I also provided a finished sample door to give the client more of an idea of how their own doors would look with a hand painted finish and I was pretty confident that I could do this work for around 10% if not less than what it would cost to replace.
The choice of colours is endless as I can have most palettes expertly matched to the equivalent colour in the specialist, purpose deigned furniture paint that I use. There is also a choice of a matt or semi matt finish to choose from. For the most popular colours for hand painted kitchens you can view my What’s Trending page on my website, this colour palette does vary from time to time with current trends.
This kitchen incorporated a low level breakfast bar that would seat 3 to 4 people, together with original pine chairs, the client asked me to include these and paint them to match the chosen kitchen colour, as well as a large wooden framed mirror, some wooden radiator shelves and dado rail.
Its quite normal for me to have a lead time of around 12 weeks, so I always suggest that if your going to look at replacement work surfaces, flooring or any other adjustments and alterations then its best to get these arranged and carried out prior to me starting, I always prefer and recommend to be the last man in, on any hand painted kitchen project, whether it be a refurb or new installation. In this instance the client went back to Osborne’s of Ilkston to have new granite worktops installed, they also provided the new handles, which I would fit.
Here’s where the work starts:
A kitchen refurb like this will take me around 2 weeks to complete; first off, I remove all the doors and drawers and label them in sequence for future reference when refitting. I’ve been spoilt on this job as the client has a large carport almost fully enclosed to the side of their property and adjacent to the kitchen. This provides an ideal working space for me to set up my Erecta-Rack modular racking system, my work bench and dustless sanding systems. I don’t need a huge area to work in and quite often carry out my work in the kitchen itself, but this job is like having my own workshop, on-site.
With all the doors dismantled I can start the degreasing and the preparation process and get this oak ready for priming! I’ve been trying out a new product on this job for degreasing (Fluxaf Pro Clean) this is a very effective cleaner/degreaser and has proven itself to be one of my go to products for removing stubborn surface contamination and providing a good base to start painting. BANG! THE DIRT IS GONE! No I’m no Barry Scot here but this is a very effective product. Now that every bit of oak has been cleaned down and sanded with a fine abrasive, I can start priming with a shellac based, high adhesion primer.
I like to have my primer tinted to the same colour as the top coats, as this not only helps with coverage but adds more depth of colour to the finished furniture. The chosen colour was Old White from Farrow and Ball which I had matched to the equivalent colour in my specialist furniture paint.
As with a lot of the kitchens I paint, they often have display units with glazed doors. I’ve seen kitchens painted in the past where the painter has left the backs of the glazing bars un-painted because they cant get access to them. I prefer to take the time to remove the glass (its normally only held in with silicone and a few glazing pins) it makes a much more thorough job and looks so much better when the doors are opened.
There is a good variety of intricate parts to paint on this kitchen but I am also well armed with my arsenal a specialist paint brushes to provide a virtually brush mark free finish!
On with the painting…
Employing a specialist kitchen painter is not a cheap proposition per se, but in terms of value for money, and in comparison to a brand new kitchen, a hand-painted finish will last for years and is well worth your consideration.