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Hand Painted Oak Kitchen, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Listed under Blog, erecta rack, hand-painted kitchen, Lee Simone Posted Apr 25 2015

The finished kitchen - quite the transformation!

The finished kitchen – quite the transformation!

I did this Hand Painted Oak Kitchen project quite a few months ago and thought I’d share how I went about things 🙂

There’s quite a few stages involved to get a great hand painted finish, it’s not just slapping on a few coats of paint you know…..

I really enjoyed this commission as not only did I have the luxury of free reign in the kitchen, (the clients went away to their caravan) but also because it really showcased the type of amazing transformation that’s possible if you have your old wood kitchen hand painted by a specialist.


The original kitchen

The original kitchen

Many of us have these type of wooden kitchens, mid range, good quality but somewhat dated and looking the worst for wear. The layout is great and everything works fine but it’s just seen better days. To get it ripped out and replaced would not only be fairly costly but massively inconvenient, plus there are all the knock on implications like new tiles, re-painting the walls, maybe even a new floor.

This is when painting really comes into it’s own. A quality hand painted finish will not only transform your kitchen but even make it look more expensive and contemporary.


The finished kitchen

The finished kitchen

The client had really done her research and having visited the Traditonal Painter site, got my details and looked at my website, they were very keen for me to price things up and bob over to Leeds for a consultation. At this point I was booked up for quite a few months in advance but she said she was happy to wait for the right person, which as it turned out was me 🙂

The consultation went really well, we looked at colours, discussed the process in more detail and talked over logistics. The work would take around a week and a half to complete and they said they were happy to leave me a key and let me crack on whilst they headed off to the coast to their caravan.

The original 'orangy' oak kitchen

The original ‘orangy’ oak kitchen

Having your kitchen painted can be a little tricky as ideally use should be kept to a minimum whilst the work is being done. In reality I appreciate this is rarely an option and always try to make it as easy as possible for you where I can, working long hours and weekends when necessary to get the job done as quickly as possible. The way I see it is that for short term inconvenience you get maximum rewards –  in exchange for a few take-aways, some meals out, using the microwave a bit more or cooking on a portable stove for a while, you get a brand new looking kitchen with a flawless, highly durable finish that will last you many many years to come. If you had it ripped out and replaced the inconvenience would last a lot longer.




All cleaned and masked off

All cleaned and masked off

The Process, Stages & Materials –

(1) Remove handles and clean everything with a the specialist    cleaner/degreaser -* Krudcutter Original

(2) Mask off everything, (including the floor, worktops, and appliances) with 1200 lining paper and plastic sheeting. I use lining paper as it means I can not only easily hoover up any dust and fluff, but bits are not being continually thrown up into the air and sticking to wet paint which tends to happen everytime a dust sheet is moved or even stepped on. I also use various types of specialist tape, usually 3 or 4 different varieties, as different tapes have different properties.

(3) Remove any doors and draw fronts that would more easily be painted seperate to the shell. When painting these I use the wonderful * Erecta Rack, a specially designed racking system for painting doors, drawers, plinths etc.

(4) Thoroughly sand every square inch of the areas to be painted. The sanding stage is pivotal to create a suitable key so the paint can properly and fully adhere to the wood. The sanding system I have is a combination of the Festool RTS 400 Q-Plus, which is then attached to a ‘James’ Vacuum. This system allows for virtually dust free sanding. Any hand sanding (around the beading, detailing etc) is done using Mirka Golf Flex, these are state of the art sanding pads.

(5) Hoover and/or tack cloth all surfaces to thoroughly remove any remnants of dust.

(6) Apply the initial coat of primer. For most kitchens, and in particular oak ones, I begin with a coat of Zinsser Bin, a high adhesion shellac primer with stain blocking properties. Oak can create ‘tannin’ and B-I-N resolves this potential issue perfectly.

(7) Sand back the Zinsser B-I-N basecoat so it is perfectly smooth and again hoover/tack cloth any residual dust.

(8) Fill or caulk any holes, gaps or areas that need attention. Gaps around the beading or mouldings must be very carefully caulked so they do not look filled once painted. Sand back any raised filler and remove filler dust.

(9) Apply a second coat of a differnent high adhesion primer, this time Otex by Tikkurilla. This is usually tinted to the same colour as the base coat to maximise coverage and depth of colour. The Otex is applied with Fox Flock Roller Sleeve and ‘layed off’ using a Teklon bristled brush. It is really important to get a lovely brush mark free finish even with the primer as your top coat is only as good as your base.

(10) Lightly sand back the Otex layer and remove all dust.

(11) Apply 2-3 coats of Empire by Tikkurila, sanding between coats. Empire is a specialist oil based eggshell designed for furniture and kitchen painting. Many of the top kitchen companies use Tikkurila paints as they can be accurately tinted to any colour and are extremely durable. When it comes to prolonged longevity and high traffic/use many paints, including Farrow & Ball are, in my opinion, not really up to the job.

(12) Remove the tape and lining paper, tickety boo, clean the insdies of the cupboards, pack up and leave one happy bunny of a client 🙂

Close up of the brush mark free finish

Close up of the brush mark free finish

As you can there are many a stage, all of which need to be done thoroughy to create a top notch finish.’ There is no reason why a painted kitchen should have bits in the paint, runs or any paint where it shouldn’t be. It just takes time, oodles of patience, lots of experience and some non too shabby roller and brush skills.

With this particular kitchen I followed each of the stages to the letter and the result exceeded even the clients expectations. They were kind enough to write this great review and testimonial for me –


Another view of the finished kitchen

Another view of the finished kitchen

“When we retired we decided to update the house and as we couldn’t face ripping out the old (20+ Years) kitchen units and replacing them with plastic lookalike ones we thought about having them painted!
They were light oak but still made the north facing kitchen feel dark, so a nice coat of paint was the answer!
We found Lee through his website and contacted him via email, sending him pictures of our kitchen and asking him if he was interested in doing the work.
He replied back almost immediately and arranged a date to come and talk to us, look at the kitchen units and give us a price!
Before he started we had a look at the colour chart and agreed on a beautiful light cream/white.

Another close up of the lovely Empire finish

Another close up of the lovely Empire finish

Did we say a “nice coat of paint”! Lee is a perfectionist and an artist who doesn’t just do the paint bit! He created a fabulous bespoke kitchen for us that I can’t believe is ours!
We would recommend Lee to create a wonderful job on any project! He left the kitchen immaculate!
The kitchen now is light and airy, thank goodness we had the work done and didn’t fall for replacing it!!”

Marea and Anthony Long, Leeds

Happy days 🙂 Thanks for reading, if you would like to see more examples of my work please visit my website – www.imaginativeinteriors.co.uk.

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  1. Hi what made you purchase a James vacuum cleaner compared to others like Henry, mirka,festoon etc if you don’t mind me asking - @leesimone

  2. Hi Chris, no problem at all. I chose the James for a few reasons - it’s quieter than most, it’s lighter and it has a boost button for extra suction.

  3. Top work from Mr Simone… yet again, and again, and again!

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