Tired of your cabinet doors? Take them off

Kittykitchenafter_3When Kitty Bartholomew moved into her 1940s Santa Monica bungalow, she didn’t have enough extra dough for a complete kitchen remodel. But she did want to infuse the all-white room with some color. Kittykitchenbefore_2Part of her strategy was to remove the doors of the upper cabinets, thus allowing her colorful dishes to add to the ambiance. Plus, the added depth she got from seeing all the way to the wall makes the narrow kitchen seem wider.

Kitty, with whom I wrote a decorating book a few years ago, was a little ahead of the trends, as open shelves are now “hot” according to kitchen designer Susan Serra, author of The Kitchen Designer blog.

Here’s a tip from Kitty: Paint the shelves and cabinet boxes off-white, but paint the wall inside the cabinet the same color as the walls in the kitchen. This will make the shelves seem more distinct, rather than just part of a cabinet without doors. As they say in Hollywood: It’s all about perception.

One note: Taking the doors off an under-sink cabinet, where cleaning supplies or other chemicals are stored, would not be advisable in a home with small children.

(Photo: Sharon Cavanagh)

6 Comments on Tired of your cabinet doors? Take them off

  1. Kathy Price-Robinson

    Thank you, Susan. That is so kind.

  2. susan

    And, let me just say one thing, please…your blog is truly one of the most interesting blogs, if not THE best blog on remodeling that I have seen, and I’ve seen a TON. Your writing is good, your topics interesting. I’m very busy during my day, and when I need to procrastinate a bit, I’m just compelled to come and check out what’s new here. Congrats for good information and for also fearlessly talking about the tough parts of remodeling, of which there are many. That really impresses me, as I tackle those subjects too, and I hate to get all negative, but if you’re going to be real about it, you have to cover the good and the difficult. Very good work, I’m so glad I wandered over to the left coast!

  3. susan

    Oh, I just saw this! I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t mind a bit working on the west coast. Your scenery is spectacular, absolutely stunning, and every single person I’ve ever met has been been nothing less than cordial and friendly. California is often in my discussions on travel plans with my husband. What really strikes me are certain commercial areas I’ve gone to in LA (don’t ask me where) which just has the most interesting architecture, all different styles (and I would use the word wacky too here and there.) People may argue about it, but me, I call it spirited. I think it’s a very exciting place.
    I sure do work long distance…I actually have a special project website where we keep the project very organized, with uploaded files, comments, images, the whole thing. It’s great. I also do consulting work on a smaller scale, which is connected to my blog, and I just did a fun consultation on a lake house in Wisconsin. I have two projects now that are long distance. Thanks for asking!

  4. Kathy Price-Robinson

    Yes, Susan, I love for you to include links of your projects and your wonderful blog. I just wish you were on the West Coast, rather than the East Coast, so some of my local readers could hire you! Have you ever done long-distance designing? It sounds impossibly complicated . . .

  5. susan

    …meant to say uber (small) budget, if that makes sense!

  6. Susan

    I have to jump in here again. Yup, good for Kitty that she put some thought into her budget focused kitchen. It looks great. It looks well thought through. That’s the thing…being on a budget, even an uber-budget really is doable.
    I know, because I did it in my own kitchen. Granted, it was meant to be temporary (it’s four years now) but with some innovative ideas, if I do say so myself, plus a willing, if not directed, husband to do most of the labor, it’s very possible. My whole renovation cost $15,000 and that included 20′ of windows and sanding the entire first floor, and it got published too! The kitchens I do for my clients are very easily 10x that, and that’s ok, I’d spend that too if I could, but in this case, I offered my home for a family event and wanted to redo the kitchen, thinking it would be temporary, and so, thought I’d experiment in various ways. Here’s the result (the big white arrow shows more images): http://www.kitcheninteriors.com/portfolio/kitchen/chelsea_a.html
    I hope KPR doesn’t mind my including the link. I’d love to inspire people to think a little bit beyond the norm to think budget in creative ways. As we saw in the post above, it’s very doable. Very few of my clients would want my kitchen, but it’s a personal expression for me, and at that moment in time, again, it was sort of a laboratory of ideas that I wanted to have some fun with.
    And, how cheap can open shelving be? So cheap, you wouldn’t believe it, and so charming too. It’s a great look.