Wood cabinets are having a moment right now. And they can absolutely be timeless, if you make them look current and fresh. Here are the results of an eDesign rustic kitchen makeover with must-see before and after photos.
My eDesign consultations create happy endings. And, I love happy endings… Happy endings with well-styled after photos are especially nice!
After | please note, this client purchased only colour help for this kitchen (no hardware or lighting)
Recently some really pretty “after” eDesign consultation photos landed in my inbox along with a heartwarming note and I just had to share.
My lovely client consulted with me via my eDesign consultations on a fresh new paint colour and the right direction for her new countertops in her kitchen.
Here is her note regarding her eDesign Rustic Kitchen Makeover:
I just wanted to write and thank you for your e-design consultation and advice this summer on my mountain home kitchen! We absolutely love how it turned out. As I mentioned in my questionnaire, we live in the mountains of Colorado at almost 9000 feet elevation, surrounded by natural beauty. We purchased our house in 2015 as a vacation destination, and quickly came to realize that we wanted to live here year-round.
We purchased the home furnished, and it had been decorated in a typical Colorado mountain theme. When we moved here full time, we wanted to retain some of the rustic feel, but lose some of the moose and other woodland critter decorations!
The kitchen was in particular needed a refresh. It is north-facing, and the dark floors, countertops, and walls made it feel much smaller and darker than it is.
We kept the beautiful knotty alder cabinets, but installed light cream quartz countertops (Pental Taj Majal, which is a lovely creamy color with flecks of light grey and cream, as well as light brown that ties in perfectly with the color of my cabinets), a new single basin sink and faucet, stainless steel appliances, a light subway tile backsplash, and painted the walls to match. It made such a huge difference and now I absolutely love it!
I know that white cabinets are timeless, but natural wood can be too, as you have mentioned in your blog. I wanted to share a “success story” for those of us with natural wood cabinets! Thanks again!! Becky
Thank YOU Becky!
Absolutely, Wood Stained Cabinets can be Timeless
Wood cabinets can absolutely be timeless, and they are certainly trending at the moment too. The trick is to make them look current and fresh. In the Tuscan trend, too many wood stained kitchens were installed with countertops that were dark and blended with the wood tones instead of providing the contrast they need to look their best.
The standard ways that wood kitchens don’t live up to their potential
Here is Becky’s mountain rustic kitchen below. You can see that the warmth and beauty of the knotty alder cabinets was being drowned out by the heavy orange wall colour.
The previous owners had installed dark countertops, slate floors and heavy black appliances. This kitchen was being weighed down by too many hot, heavy and dark colours.
Contrast is Key
It is absolutely magical what can be done when contrast is managed well. Getting contrast right is one of the key skills any designer worth their fee has to have flat. Because even if the colours technically relate, they will not be amazing unless the contrasting relationships of light and dark, and cool and warm are perfectly balanced. I teach this in my live workshops.
Becky knew she wanted to bring a lighter, more current feel to her kitchen while keeping the wood cabinets and slate floors that completely suit the style of her new mountain home.
When introducing wood stained cabinets, keep all the other finishes light
I advised her that a very light green beige countertop would be perfect. Light enough to bring in freshness and not too stark to work with the earthy slate floors.
I gave her a versatile complex cream with green beige undertone for the walls to brighten things up, again without being too stark. And voila!
Becky’s Mountain Rustic Kitchen After!
Isn’t it a thing of beauty? The creamy walls, backsplash and countertops provide a fresh and pretty canvas that allows the wood cabinets to shine.
Can you spot the two true white items in this kitchen? Imagine if the entire kitchen was stark white with the earthy floor? That’s why this kitchen needed to be in the world of creams but with a green undertone because that also works the best with the tile floor!
More proof that a stark ‘art gallery white’ is not a good white for most homes!
Here’s another look
The new stainless appliances also made a huge difference. Black appliances rarely work well in any kitchen, they are just too heavy and dark.
Thank you Becky for sharing your amazing after photos! You did such a great job bringing out the beauty in your kitchen!
If you need help making your wood kitchen cabinets look fresh or choosing the right white, colour or neutral for your home, check out my eDesign packages here.
When Complex Cream is your friend
When you want to freshen up a space with earthy finishes like this, complex cream (in other words, very light beige) is your friend. I’ve identified some of the prettiest and most useful ones by undertone. And they are now included in my collections of large painted colour boards! Get yours here.
And I’ve added my all new for 2020 The White Workshop (on Day 2) to my Specify Colour with Confidence events! This is where you will learn all about choosing the perfect white, when white is right, and when it’s a better idea to consider a very pale greige or complex cream to create the fresh look we are all looking for now. Register here to attend one of my spring courses.