Design Hints

Custom Country Cabinets

Take unfinished kitchen cupboards from ho-hum to amazing with these simple hints.

Custom Country Cabinets

Sandra Willsey, whose Swartz Creek, Michigan, home is featured in our May 2015 issue, knew she wanted more than run-of-the-mill cabinets in her kitchen. However, after visiting a custom cabinetry showroom and experiencing sticker shock, this carpenter’s daughter went back to the drawing board to figure out a more affordable solution. Here’s how she and her husband, DeWayne, got what they wanted without breaking the bank:

Start basic. Select unfinished, builder-grade cabinets with simple lines and frames. And, choose a door panel insert with country character, such as a beadboard style. For a more primitive look, steer clear of crown molding.

Create an aged finish. Give the cabinets a coat or two of a base color, such as the red Sandra used. When the paint is dry, sand heavily, removing much of the paint from the surface; focus on areas around the pulls and on the door and drawer edges, which would typically receive wear. Rub walnut stain over the entire cabinet.

Add decorative hardware. Sandra simply stained inexpensive pine knobs with the walnut stain used to age the cabinets. Other options include vintage-style cup pulls, or wrought-iron or pewter hardware.

Build your own island. Use a base cabinet to make an island, topping it off with butcher block and covering the exposed sides with plywood or beadboard. Paint everything the same color as the other cupboards, or choose a contrasting hue.

BONUS: Love this drop-cloth floorcloth? Click here to learn how to make your own!

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Beth Singer
Styled by Khristi Zimmeth