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Painted Oak Kitchen Transformation nr. Wetherby, Yorkshire

Listed under Blog, cleaning, hand-painted kitchen, Lee Simone Posted Jun 01 2022

The kitchen before it was painted

The kitchen before it was painted

This is a recent Painted Oak Kitchen project I undertook in a beautiful home near Wetherby, Yorkshire.

The house was a barn conversion with stunning oversized windows running almost the entire length of the house. The client had always wanted a hand painted kitchen and had been waiting years for the opportunity. With this kitchen she had it.

Extremely well made and solid oak, the kitchen and layout worked really well, but unfortunately it was now looking tired, dated and the wood was turning orange. It would be very costly to replace it for something of the same quality – time for a painty transformation!

The finished kitchen - painted and transformed

The finished kitchen – painted and transformed.

My client really did her research, scouring the internet, reading Blogs and researching the best way of doing things.

After looking at the Traditonal Painter site, getting my details, looking at my website and reading my Blogs, she decided I was the man she wanted to entrust the work too 🙂

After an initial email exchange and budget price, I headed over to the house to look at things in more detail. We discussed the process and products I would be using, looked at logistics and then moved on to the very important topic of colour.


The finished kitchen and 'statement' island

The finished kitchen and ‘statement’ island

Colours –

The kitchen itself has masses of natural light, (the main wall to the right is almost completely glass), so the units could definitely take a ‘mid tone’ without looking too dark. The client also really wanted a contrasting colour for the island.

We looked at various colour swatches and settled on a pink-grey-brown neutral from The Little Greene Company range for the main units and a strong colour for the island. The client’s favourite colour is purple so Pelt was perfect – deep purple and definitely a contrast!

The deep purple island in all it's glory

The deep purple island in all it’s glory

‘Rolling Fog’ may have looked too dark in some kitchens but worked wonderfully here with the high levels of natural and artifical light. Each kitchen is different, with different lighting, floors, worktops etc so what colour works for one, may not work in another.

We did have a look at some lighter ‘off whites’ but they all looked too stark and in some cases, almost white. It was also important that the colours chosen had warmth but weren’t yellowy or too pinky, as this wouldn’t have complemented the existing decor. ‘Rolling Fog’ was ideal as it only had a touch of pink for warmth but also hints of grey and brown that complimented the carpet, floor and curtains.

The couple were so happy with the consultation they gave me a deposit cheque there and then, happy to wait a good few months for the right man with the right approach.

Let the Transformation Begin –

Everything fully masked off and taped

Everything fully masked off and taped

Before I arrived certain things had been altered, chief among which was the laying of new floor tiles (the originals were cracked and damaged in places) and the fitting of new hinges.

In order for the floor to be re-tiled the whole kitchen had to be removed as the old tiles had been laid under the units. For this side of the project I had put the clients in touch with my joiner/handyman collegue, Colin Foggin. As usual he did a great job, taking the kitchen out and re-fitting it. He also replaced the hinges and made sure all the doors and drawers fitted perfectly before the preparation and painting began.

Preparation –

Without the right preparation, the adhesion, durability and overall quality of the finish just won’t be there. On any kitchen job around 60-70% of the work is in the preparation. If this is done well with a high attention to detail, then not only will the finish be silky smooth, but it will be super durable and last for many many years.

The fab Erecta Rack

The fab Erecta Rack

With this particular kitchen I decided the best route would be to remove all the doors and drawers and prepare and paint them seperately to the main shell. To make this as easy and efficient as possible I used my * Erecta Rack.

The beauty of the * Erecta Rack, is that it is not only lightweight and easy to set up but also incredibly flexible in its usage. For some jobs I use all 10 levels, for some only one or two.

If you would like to learn more about this fantastic bit of kit, please take a look at my Erecta Rack Blog.

Everything masked off with 'wood friendly' specialist tape

Everything masked off with ‘wood friendly’ specialist tape

Cleaning, Masking & Taping –

As with all my kitchen projects, the first thing I did was to remove all the handles and then thoroughly clean and degrease all the doors and drawers with Krudcutter Original, a fabulous eco-friendly product that, for me, has made sugar soap obsolete. (Now no longer available in the UK sadly.)

Once cleaned and wiped down with a damp cloth, I then masked off the floors, worktops, walls and other areas with 1200 lining paper and various tapes. Different masking tapes have different properties and I typically use 3-4 different types when masking off the different areas of a kitchen. Some masking tapes can bleach wood over time and some cannot be left down for more than a day or two, so it pays to know which one to use and where :-).

Sanding –

Once cleaned and masked off, the next stage is one of the most important ones – the sanding. Every square inch of any kitchen should be thoroughly sanded so a suitable key is achieved and the paint can adhere properly. If any corners are cut with the cleaning or sanding stages then there can be adhesion issues and in time the paint will start to chip or peel. It takes time to do the job properly but in my mind it is time well spent!

As usual for the sanding stage I used my trusty Festool RTS 400 Q-Plus GB 240V Orbital Sander (which allows for virtually dust free sanding) and Mirka Gold Flex. I actually tried out some new Festool sanding pads on this project, they are called ‘Granat’ and my first impressions are that they are very good, seeming to last longer than my usual ‘Brilliance 2’ pads, which is nice 🙂

The kitchen - cleaned, masked, sanded & primed

The kitchen – cleaned, masked, sanded & primed

Priming –

Once sanded, and with any dust remnants removed, it was time to get the brush and roller out and apply the first coat of primer. As this kitchen was oak I first applied Zinsser Bin, a high adhesion shellac primer that is great for three main reasons – it resolves the potential problem of the oak ‘tannin’ bleeding through, it has great opacity and it is dry within an hour.

I then sanded everything back again to create a perfectly smooth base, hoovered up any dust again and filled/caulked any areas that needed attention.


One of doors - primed with Zinsser B-I-N & Otex

One of doors – primed with Zinsser B-I-N & Otex

The next stage was to apply another coat of high adhesion primer, this time Otex by Tikkurilla.  This is another fabulous primer which can be tinted to the same colour as the top coat to ensure maximum coverage and depth of colour.

This, along with my ‘Empire‘ top coats were tinted expertly to the equivalent shades of ‘Rolling Fog’ and ‘Pelt’ by Holman Paints. I prefer using these paints as they are tried and tested, renowned for their finish, their accuracy of colour, their durability and longevity. Tikkurila is not a company whose products are widely known in this country, but trust me they are the business when it comes to hand painted kitchen and furniture paint.

The Otex primer was applied using a *Fox Flock Roller Sleeve and ‘layed off’ using a Teklon bristled brush. Your top coat is only as good as the base, so the idea of slapping on primer any old how is not good painting practice at all.

A silky smooth, brush mark free finish

A silky smooth, brush mark free finish

Getting nice smooth and even primer coats is pivotal to the overall finish and should not be rushed.

Top Coats –

As I mentioned above the top coat I used was Empire by Tikkurila, which I had tinted to the equivalent of LG’s ‘Rolling Fog’ for the main units and F&B’s Pelt for the island.

I applied 2-3 coats of this lovely soft sheen oil paint to the main units  and 3-4 to the island. The island needing more coats in this instance due to the nature of the dark colour, the high level of pigment and the paints’ more transparent base.

Lovely contrasting yet complimentary colours

Lovely contrasting yet complimentary colours

I used the same roller, brush and ‘laying off’ process for the top coats that I used for applying the primer.

With some serious prep, lots of patience, years of experience and oodles of attention to detail the kitchen transformation was complete!

Not only is it lovely to look at with no bits in the paint, no runs and no brush marks but it’s highly durable and ready for the rigours of day-to-day life.

The client had been waiting many moons for her perfect hand painted Kitchen and was simply thrilled with the results and the colours, happy days :-).

If you would like to see more examples of my work please visit my website – www.imaginativeinteriors.co.uk.

Another close up of the finish

Another close up of the finish

Transformation complete!

Transformation complete!

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