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Before and after of an oak painted kitchen Haddenham

Listed under Blog, Fluxaf, hand-painted kitchen, Richard Willott Posted Oct 20 2020

Check out this before and after of an oak painted kitchen in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire from Richard Willott. As any Traditional Painter member will attest, the most common reaction on completion of this sort of transformation is, I never thought it would look that good. No exceptions here.

oak kitchen Haddenham before it was painted
Before, spot the sink in this oak kitchen.
Revitalised oak painted kitchen in Haddenham, Suffolk
After, a “new” hand painted kitchen in a version of New White satin sheen

The subtitle to this article from Traditional Painter, Richard, is…

Starfish and ale

“Haddeenham” goes back to Saxon times. Nine Anglo-Saxon graves were discovered next to the Three Kings pub. That must have been one hell of a night out!

Fast forward a few hundred centuries, Haddenham was a WW2 Starfish bombing decoy site. Its role was to divert German bombing away from RAF Bomber Command at nearby RAF Wyton. Wyton was home to planes whose names you will probably recognise from many old war movies or Biggles books! Bristol Blenheim, de Havilland Mosquito and Avro Lancaster.

There is a good explanation on Wikipedia about the provenance of starfish sites and their impact, protecting airfields and cities, after Coventry ended up flattened in 1940.

Transforming an oak kitchen in modern day Haddenham

village sign of Haddenham in Cambs

The village sign depicts rolling fields, a horse drawn plough and Ely cathedral in the distance. This is very similar to the view through the window at FX Décor’s most recent kitchen renovation. 

Haddenham and Ely

The problem with this oak kitchen

Mr & Mrs M live in a complex of converted farm buildings. Over time, their solid oak kitchen had taken on an orangey tone.

When oak or pine is exposed to sunlight it causes a chemical change in the wood. This slow oxidation results in the wood taking on a golden or orange tint. It is a natural part of the ageing process for oak.

When oak is clear lacquered, varnished or stained, it can make the orange effect even more pronounced. Oak, pine, in fact all solid wood furniture will change its tone over time.

orange oak kitchen

The solution

One simple but very expensive solution to an oak kitchen showing its age is to throw it on the tip. But there is a much smarter solution – hand painting your kitchen units. Painting will reverse this ageing process, giving your kitchen many more years of life.

Our brief, therefore, was to create a light and open feel using an off white paint in a reflecting satin finish. The chosen colour was an equivalent to ‘new white’ in the Farrow and Ball range. Remember, New White from the Farrow and Ball colour range isn’t the same as New White from Tikkurila. As we explained in a previous post, Tikkurila’s is an altogether whiter white.

Getting started

As with all projects, from the first enquiry to the final handover, we find good communication is key to achieving the right result for the customer. By the time I arrived on site to commence the renovation, we had confirmed all the important details colours and finishes. Everyone was looking forward to seeing the end result.

Tried and tested process

I first set about dismantling all the doors, drawers and removable items. Once loaded safely into my van, I set about preparing the carcasses in situ.

When we first started painting older wooden kitchens, back in the day, it was such a novel service, it was almost obligatory to do all the work in the client’s home. People wanted to see everything, every step, checking that our dust free sanding was actually as clean as advertised. Fast forward to 2020, clients prefer that we mostly paint their kitchens in a workshop, out the way. It suits both parties to be honest. Nowadays our way of working is better understood, and the results speak for themselves. A priority is the less disruption, the better.

So when I took their doors away, they could be assured we were doing the full 5 coat process, preparing everything properly. Not working out of sight, out of mind, skipping coats etc.

Preparing the units for painting

It all starts with washing down with a 50/50 mix of Fluxaf degreaser and water. The next stage is sanding down using the latest dust free extraction system. Finally I apply the adhesion primers and undercoats.

Back at my workshop I follow the same process on all the doors and drawers all primed and painted, apart from the last topcoat.

On my return to site, I wiped down all carcass edges, internal shelves and end panels before wiping them down carefully. Everything was ready for the final coat. Once dried I rehung all the doors and drawers and applied the last topcoat. Finally, I fitted the handles.

New White equivalent painted in Helmi 30 satin-matt
Haddenham kitchen painted by Richard Willott, FX Decor

Thanks for reading about this Before and after of an oak painted kitchen Haddenham

The customer was delighted.

Excellent job. Richard kept to arranged dates, was prompt with his time keeping and timescale on finish dates. Has turned an old kitchen into new. Once again thank you for all your work.



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