Replace Dated Oak Kitchen Doors to Gray Shaker Doors (Video)

By David Short

Sometimes you have a vision, but you are not sure how it will turn out.  These clients wanted to brighten their kitchen, but keep a flair of rustic to match their current decor and scenic views of their rural Pacific, MO home.  Here's how we made that uncertain vision a reality.

If you've already updated your flooring and backsplash, how can you update your existing cabinets and get a brand new kitchen feel?  The answer in this kitchen was with a little paint, cabinet refacing and changing out the doors with a full overlay Shaker Door style.

Cathedral oak cabinets were popular a couple of decades ago, but now most people equate them with a tired dated look.  But when you've got a layout your happy with and you've invested in flooring and backsplash that you like, the expense and hassle of a full tear out is not very appealing.

By using economical man-made materials, a soft but bright gray color on the cabinets, and a rustic, wood grain patterned island, the darker backslpash and rustic tile flooring are accentuated and become a more integral part of the kitchen design.  Adding decorative panels to the island and cabinet ends, and under cabinet trim give these old cabinets a new custom look.

Watch the video below to see the before and after of this kitchen, and read more about the details that went into this kitchen.

Copy of Beauty Revealed_HD


How this Kitchen was Transformed:

Colors and Design Choices:

As you saw in the video, the kitchen cabinets were the common cathedral, oak raised panel doors, and the island cabinets had been painted black.  The client wanted to brighten things up, but didn't want to go with white.  She selected a gray that had the intended affect and brightened the room, but blended nicely with the colors in the stone backsplash.  

They weren't certain whether to keep the island a darker contrasting color, as before, or match it with the gray cabinets.  We introduced them to a middle option with a TSS product in the color cypress that mimics a colorful wood grain.  The home is set in a scenic rural area, and the kitchen overlooks a small lake.  The cypress accentuated that rustic setting that is scene outside and in the decor of the rest of the home.

The door design was also a key feature in changing the look of the cabinets.  When doing a refacing or re-dooring project we are also able to enlarge the doors to a full overlay design.  In this case, the new shaker door design covers almost entirely the face frames, mimicking the most common door styles of today's new cabinets.  When using a solid color door, we are also able to save money by painting the face frames behind the doors to a matching color.

The island also demonstrated that not only can you change color to add contrast, but also door style and material texture.  The cypress TSS door has a slightly grained texture, and it is still a shaker door style, but a slightly simpler design,.

When refacing cabinets, the most dramatic affect that can make your existing cabinets look like custom cabinets is through moldings and decorative panels.  By attaching door panels to the ends of the cabinet runs, and have a large custom made panel for the back of the island, the cabinets take on the look normally only scene in high end custom cabinets.  Adding under cabinet molding also enhances the look and size of the cabinets.  Crown molding is also a great addition, but this kitchen has soffit above the cabinets.


In this kitchen all of the materials are made from modern man-made materials.  The gray cabinet doors are made from Decorative Laminate Veneer (DLV), a vinyl wrapped, mdf material that is highly rated for kitchen use and high temperatures.  They offer a very economical choice to painted doors, and are easy to clean and maintain.  They differ from the previous generations of vinyl wrapped thermalfoil doors, in that they are wrapped as individual parts, and then constructed as a five-piece door.  They also are tested and rated for higher temperatures, and come with a 5 year limited warranty.

The island is made of a Thermal Structured Surfaces (TSS).  Like the DLV, this material is more of a new and improved laminate door using modern technology to improve the durability and look of the door.  They too are made in individual parts, and constructed as five-piece doors, giving a more traditional door look.  They also come in a variety of wood grain and textured designs.

These modern materials are great economical choices without compromising the most common designs.  They do have a limited selection of designs and colors, compared to traditional wood doors.


To elaborate on the installation methods.  As noted, in this case we were able to paint the face frames of the main cabinets.  The end panels are added for decorative purposes, but also allow for color consistency across the whole cabinets.

Due to the style of the island doors, it required a refacing.  On the face frames, a matching veneer is adhered.  Again, panels are added to the ends and back of the island, and a matching base molding completes the look.  This turns an plain island into the look of a furniture piece.

Under cabinet moldings add design elements, but also can serve as a cover for uneven older cabinets.  Often times, older cabinets may have settled or been installed askew.  Moldings can be an excellent way of making those imperfections disappear, enhancing the look of a new cabinet.

"Stephanie and Dave did an outstanding job refacing our tired oak cabinets and island. They have a work ethic that is rarely seen these days. We were very happy with results..highly recommend them for any refacing project. They were also a pleasure to have in our home, great folks!!"  - P.K.  Google Review


At the beginning of this post, we noted that sometimes it's hard to visualize what the end result might be.  That was our clients thought going into the process.  But when it was all done the final product surpassed their expectations.  We appreciate her sentiments in the above google review.  We aim to give you the kitchen you want without requiring a huge budget or mess.  In fact, this entire install was complete in four days.  When we leave for the day your kitchen is still functioning, and the disturbance is minimal relative to the final result.

Related Questions:

Are traditional wood doors available for cabinet refacing or redooring?  Yes!  We are able to customize almost any style in a variety of wood species, stain options, or painted finishes.  Depending on the selection the cabinets can be refaced with veneer and end panels covered with a matching door or paneling.  In short, send us any picture of what design you want and we can find a similar match and design.

What crown molding options are available to add to existing cabinets?  We have many available crown molding sizes and options.  We can also do a raised crown molding adding height to standard 30" cabinets in kitchens with tall ceilings.  View this article to see an example - Reaching New Heights.


Tags: Cabinet Refacing, Cabinet Painting

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