hand painted oak kitchen in Collingham
This article is about a hand painted oak kitchen in Collingham near Leeds. It was painted by Traditional Painter member, Lee Simone. This is a great example of where hand painting an older custom made kitchen can save homeowners literally tens of thousands of pounds over the cost of new!
Starting point – decisions
I was contacted initially to advise on the feasibility of hand painting this pip oak kitchen. The clients felt the dark wood was a little dated and made the room feel quite dark.
The quality of the cabinetry and joinery work was second to none. Everything was beautifully hand made in pip oak and fitted perfectly. To replace a kitchen of this quality would have cost many tens of thousands of pounds. Hand painting was the perfect solution. Essentially they would end up with a wonderful new look kitchen at a fraction of the cost of new.
As I mentioned above, the kitchen was made from pip oak. This variety of oak is a wild hedgerow tree and the timber features a characteristic curly grain with cats paw pin knots. I have painted a number of these particular oak kitchens over the years. Here is an example of a similar hand painted pip oak kitchen in Bramhope near Leeds. The painting process is essentially the same as for normal oak, except that all the many knots and holes need to be thoroughly filled first.
The process before any painting is started
The clients initially contacted me by phone. After discussing how I go about my work, they sent me over some photos so I could price things up and send them an estimate.
A couple of weeks later I went round for a consultation to discuss things in more detail and look at colours. During the consultation I had a good look over each part of the kitchen and pointed out that some joinery work would need to be done before any painting began. More about that later.
The room was naturally quite dark, even with the large windows and french doors, and in my view the kitchen needed a light colour scheme. We looked at various options, each of which complimented the tiles and flooring. I said I would be happy to send out some painted samples of the two main contenders. In the end the winner was Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin. It would be straightforward to have my specialist Finnish paint accurately tinted to the equivalent colour.
Booking in the Work
The clients contacted me a couple of weeks later, confirming they wanted to commission me for the work. As per my estimate I asked for a deposit to officially book the job. I am pretty booked up so a deposit shows a commitment from both parties. The customer’s slot is secure and the work will definitely be done. Apparently they had contacted a few local companies and although my price was at the top of their budget, they wanted me to do the work.
Joinery work on the pip oak kitchen before painting could start
During the consultation I pointed out the need for some joinery work ahead of any painting. The kitchen was so well made that the gap between the edge of the door and the shell wasn’t very wide at all. If the kitchen were painted as is, there would eventually be 8 coats of paint in these gaps (4 on the shell edge and 4 on the doors’ edge). To avoid any rubbing, all the doors and drawers needed to be planed down first.
The clients also wanted to change the existing knobs to brushed silver, and replace the brass hinges to match the knobs. Brass and silver don’t really go together so it was essential the hinges were replaced. Why spoil the look for a ha’porth of tar. Most kitchen painting projects involve some form of joinery work first. As always, I called upon Colin Foggin to help me out.
Once Colin had done his bit, it was over to me to begin the transformation. As with all hand painted kitchens though, the actual painting wouldn’t happen for a while. First step was to remove the cabinetry hardware and then start cleaning. This is a pivotal stage, all the grease and dirt must be thoroughly removed to ensure proper paint adhesion. If you search this site for “eco cleaners” you will find many references to the sort of products I use.
After the cleaning I removed the doors ready for preparation and painting later in my workshop.
Masking off and protecting areas not to be painted
Once cleaned, I started the masking off process. This took around a day but was WELL worth the time.
I use lining paper rather than dust sheets for several reasons:
– it doesn’t move
– it covers every square cm
– it can be easily and regularly hoovered, minimizing dust and bits in the paint.
Overall, lining paper allows me to completely concentrate on painting. No need to worry about moving dust sheets and releasing dust into the air. No concerns about blobs of paint landing where they shouldn’t.
I also masked off the tiles, the shelves, inner lips, drawers, hinges and various other areas to ensure clean lines and the best possible finish.
Sanding and filling
Once cleaned it was on to the sanding stage. I used an array of different abrasives for this including Mirka Abralon, Mirka Mirlon, Mirka Goldflex and Festools 180 grit Granat. I used the Granat on my RTS400 Festool electric sander. I didn’t have to remove all the varnish as my primers have excellent adhesion properties, but I wanted to create a really thorough key.
Once sanded I filled all the knots, holes and gaps with 2 pack filler, normal filler and decorators caulk as appropriate. This is a time-consuming part of the project, but one that’s vital to a smooth and high quality end result.
After around a week’s worth of initial preparation, it was time for painting. Yay!
The first job was to seal all the knots, I did this by spot priming with two coats of Zinsser B-I-N. I then painted everything with a complete coat of B-I-N. This gives me a great base and B-I-N’s stain/sap blocking capabilities negate any potential tannin issues.
I then lightly sanded this coat until it was silky smooth.
The second coat of primer undercoat was oil-based Otex by Tikkurila. I had it tinted to the same colour as the top coat. Once dry it was lightly sanded back. (Otex does not require a lot of sanding as it is formulated with hooks for subsequent coats.) In general, I consider sanding between coats as best practice. It not only creates a silky smooth base but also ensures maximum adhesion between lightly ‘keyed’ coats.
After priming I applied two to three coats of Helmi 30 by Tikkurila, a water-borne acrylic paint with a lovely classic satin finish. A gloss finish would have made the kitchen look too modern. At the other extreme, for this family with young children, a matt paint would likely have shown all finger marks or spots of grease – not very practical day to day!
Cabinets and frames completed in situ
All the tape, lining paper and plastic sheeting was removed from the cabinets. I then tickety booed, cleaned the insides of the cupboards and ta da, the shell was complete.
Doors and drawers completed in workshop
Two weeks in, I could leave the clients in peace. Now it was time to move on to completing the doors and drawers in my workshop.
I followed the same preparation and painting process with the same materials on the doors and drawers. The only difference though was that the doors and drawers needed much more filling.
Once completed I wrapped everything in bubble wrap and headed back to Collingham. I re-hung the doors and drawers and fitted the new knobs. I also replaced the old clasps and catches and the job was complete.
The hand painted oak kitchen in Collingham – completed
All in all the project took around 4 weeks. The time was split evenly between the shell and my workshop.
The clients were absolutely made up with their ‘new‘ kitchen and kindly wrote this glowing testimonial to show their appreciation.
We were extremely impressed with Lee’s work repainting our old kitchen units. He was extremely professional and efficient throughout from the initial consultation to the final finished product, which has completely transformed out kitchen.
In addition to the exceptionally good finish (which looks as it it was put on as the kitchen was built) he offered valued advice about scheduling other work, colour choices, slight amendments to the units, trim and handles. His attention to detail was exceptional, noting (for example) that the layers of paint he needed to apply would mean some of the doors might not close properly, and arranging for them to be planed down by a millimeter all the way around. This attention is clearly evident in the finish. Finally, Lee was always punctual and communicative, and started and finished the job exactly in the timescale he had allocated to it.
We are very happy – he has a long waiting list but we are very glad we waited. Impressive.’ Mr H, Collingham
Thank you for reading this article about a hand painted oak kitchen in Collingham. To see other hand painted kitchen projects I have done, please visit this section of my website.
There are also dozens of examples on the Traditional Painter website of Lee’s workmanship, with reviews from satisfied customers. With Lee you get exactly what it says on the tin: a dedicated professional with many years of experience, and always very fair and upfront with his customers. A credit to his trade.
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