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Hand painted kitchen in Essex

Listed under Blog, Essex, hand-painted kitchen Posted Jul 28 2019

Barrie Thompson has been in the trade man and boy for 40 years and is the Traditional Painter member responsible for hand painted kitchens in Essex.

The clients were looking to revamp their kitchen, and installing new was not an option. They contacted Traditional Painter and the end result was a newly hand painted wooden kitchen for 10-15% of the cost of new.

They are enjoying the transformation for sure.

… it was a delight to return to our beautiful new kitchen. The transformation is amazing and we would certainly recommend your services. Hope you have a restful weekend.
Many thanks
Maureen & John

A refurbished hand painted kitchen is a really high value option

When you go through the list of alternatives to buying a new kitchen, you will probably find yourself going down some blind alleys looking for the best way to upgrade. I know, hand painting kitchens is our chosen profession, so you will expect us to say that we are the best bet. But completely hand painting an older kitchen has long proven to be the best option for a completely new look kitchen, really!

Check out the alternatives below. Look through hundreds of case studies of befores and afters.

But firstly, a quick run down of what you can swap out to add new touches to your current kitchen

Tweaks to help transform your kitchen without throwing it away and starting from new

Whatever anyone might think, even the cheapest kitchen cabinets will last decades. I think a little known secret is that most kitchen companies buy their frames from the same places. Obviously there are exceptions to disprove the rule. But either way, for richer or poorer, it is only when water penetrates into a frame that it will start to break down. In other words, a kitchen is a great project to upgrade indefinitely.

New worktops, that is definitely a good way to make a spectacular upgrade.

Upgrade the tiling or flooring to transform your kitchen space

Consider new lighting to refocus attention or brighten or create interesting light and shadow. A way for reimagining the space without knocking anything about.

Change out appliances to alter the feel of the kitchen.

Install new handles to change the look of the kitchen quickly and cost effectively

Think about easy glide hinges and drawer runners These accessories can often be swapped in with little sawing and drilling required!

Redecorate! Dare I say the easiest way to change the feel of a kitchen is to paint the walls a contrasting colour to the kitchen cabinets, make it pop

What about fitting new doors, that will make a huge difference?

Clearly a cheap option is to fit say new cream painted doors onto your oak cabinet frames. But how many people do that and stand back and go wow, a new kitchen? Not many. They know it is an old brown kitchen with new cream doors. (For ideas on colours for hand painted kitchens this article is useful.

But if you call in an expert to hand paint the existing oak doors, frames and end panels, experience says you are definitely going to go wow, I never thought it would look that good. Not to mention everyone who sees it is going to be asking where did you get your new kitchen from?

Not convinced? New doors on old frames sounds a good plan, till you delve deeper. Below is a check list of the options when thinking of new doors as a cheap route to a “new kitchen”.

New kitchen door and drawer fronts only

This option looks like a winner but there are some compromises that greatly undermine any perceived value. The blanks may work out cheap as chips if you shop around, but the costs start to mount up with the cost of labour to machine out the hinges, install them, fit new handles.

If you think about painting the frames so your doors match, there is still a lot to work out.

Below is a run down on avoiding colour, sheen and texture mismatch between new doors and existing frames and end panels.

Rescue option 1 – Paint your old cabinets to match your new factory painted doors and drawer fronts

In theory that sounds great. New factory painted doors fitted; call in a painter to titivate the frames so everything matches. But there are a few variables and traps to get over. Colour, sheen, finish.


First question will be, what is the exact colour of the door paint? We have found that kitchen companies are really slow to let you know what colour their doors are. To avoid a mismatch and save time, the best option is to physically send a painted door to a company like Holmans Paints in Swindon who can colour match for you. But then you risk a mismatch with sheen!


The spray paint that most door manufacturers use can be mixed to any sheen level they choose from 10% matt to 90% high gloss. Ordinarily we don’t have access to that range. For us matt, semi matt / eggshell or gloss is it. Even if we have the right colours, if the sheens don’t match, the doors and frames may look different because of how light refracts off matt, satin and gloss surfaces.

Finish or texture

New painted blank doors will undoubtedly be factory sprayed. Ideally when painting frames to match a sprayed finish, your painter needs to be able to paint to a spray standard because again, brush marks or spray finish are different textures. If you think about a smooth and a textured wall side by side both painted with the same colour, they will look different.

Spraying frames is an option to match the sprayed doors, but you are not looking at a 5 minute job, so costs rise. Traditional Painter experts can hand paint the frames to a standard that is very close to a sprayed finish.

This wrestling with colour, texture and sheen may sound arcane, but if you want a seamless result, you may not want to compromise by getting in spray painted doors and trying to make everything fit to that.

Option 2 – New hand painted doors versus new sprayed doors

Another option we have looked at, is to send out kitchen doors and drawers cut to size ready painted with a hand painted finish, ready to fit in situ. It sounds like the dream ticket, where mass production meets artisan. Good idea until you go through the motions and the time and cost and risk factors start to make no sense!

  • A joiner will have to measure up the kitchen very carefully.
  • Doors need to be constructed, pre-drilled.
  • The blanks need to be taken or shipped to the painter’s workshop.
  • The painter paints them by hand, wraps them and transports them to the joiner or drives them to site.
  • Doors need to be installed for the first time. But this is not the same as when re-installing doors that have been fitted already. Potential for spoiling doors is a real thing.
  • Mask up the kitchen and hand paint or spray the frames to match the same colour as the doors.

All doable but it is time consuming, a lot of co-ordination required, not cheap. Very few craftsmen have the combined painting and joinery skills to offer this, and even working with a joiner, what a faff when there is a simpler more comprehensive option.

Call in a specialist to hand paint the kitchen you have now! Still see another option to avoid this?

Option 3 – Hand painting doors that have been factory sprayed.

That sounds good as well. All the work has been done ie factory painted doors have been fitted. Just call in a painter to “flick” one quick coat over the top of the factory finish. Perfect, quick, simple route to a hand painted finish. It is great til you think it through!

If you don’t know what the factory paint is, you would be ill advised to apply a single coat of conventional furniture enamel straight over it. You would at least want to degrease it to make a key. But even if keyed, you still have to worry. Will there be a reaction between paints when you start painting?

When we repaint older kitchens that have been sprayed, we use primer base coats to make sure we don’t fall foul of unforeseen reactions and loss of adhesion between new top coats and the old paint. If we are repainting our own finishes, obviously we can work out a spec without any guesswork. But you know, few manufacturers will tell you the exact materials they use, colours… We are certainly not in the crystal ball business so will not take a chance.

Therefore, in our view if you are looking to go with new doors, it still seems best to have new blank doors made up by a joiner, and fitted. Then call in a specialist painter to paint the whole kitchen, doors, drawers and frames, all with the same paint, same texture, same sheen, same cohesive colour.

Hand paint existing doors and drawer fronts, frames and end panels all in together

I know, hand painting kitchens is our chosen profession, so you will expect us to say that. But really, preparing and hand painting an older kitchen without any major modificiations is the best value option for a new kitchen for 10-15% of the cost of new!

If it is any consolation, we have talked ourselves out of plenty of work by explaining the options. Some of the above options concerning new doors only will appeal to some clients, and they won’t need our services, but at least they are fully aware of the compromises before jumping in. But most of our clients want the best result, a new kitchen without replacement, without compromising. Therefore we explain why the quick fix new door option really isn’t going to be a simple route to a new look kitchen.

Can you paint our kitchen somewhere else please?

The “workshop option”is proving more popular. Gone are the days when clients didn’t really believe that hand painting works! I remember having to do everything under intense scrutiny in the kitchen, proving the concept, I guess. We have since shared so much information over the last 10 years, and accumulated hundreds of testimonials expressing delight at what we can do. Increasingly it is now a case of

I know you can do it, but can you now do it with as little upheaval for me as possible!

Removing doors and drawer fronts to paint in a workshop; and painting the frames in situ can prove super convenient for clients. (We wouldn’t dismantle a whole kitchen btw, cabinets stay firmly in place!) This approach also reduces travelling for painters too, which is never a bad thing in this day and age of fuel costs and traffic jams and air pollution.

Think environment

The local tip is full enough as it is with unnecessary waste. Think hard before adding an old kitchen to the pile. I am not just saying that with an environmental hat on, but financially, it makes little sense not to think refurbishment ahead of replacement.

Hand painted kitchen in Essex

If you want a simple low stress experience, Barrie is your best bet. If you are outside Essex, use the map to locate and contact your local Traditional Painter member. They will listen to what you have to say, work out the best options for you, and provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.

And please understand that the price they charge is based on 10 years of using a proven pricing formula that delivers the happiest medium between price and value. We are all about a good deal for both parties. Where companies offer a cheaper price, saying it is like-for-like with whatever Traditional Painter offers, ask them really hard questions to back up that claim. Again over the years we have been told time and again that other quotes are not like for like at all, particularly where consumer protection is concerned.

Consumers can be inspired by the voluntary decision of a business to commit to Full Membership of one of our services (Dispute Resolution Ombudsman)because our decisions are binding and a breach of our Code of Practice could be held to be in contravention of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”

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