Before & After: Rejuvenated Kitchen

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Treat tired, dark cabinets to a refreshing facelift, like this couple did. It's easy -- when you think PAINT!

Happy Choices

Susan and Jerry Hurst, like many people who own 1970s-era homes, were less than happy with their dark kitchen. Its dismal brown cabinets were in excellent shape, but looked dated. Jerry resisted painting the natural oak, but Susan was persuasive. Now he loves the change and wonders why he waited so long. With its fresh face, the kitchen seems more friendly and has become a favorite gathering spot.

Before: Harvest Gold Horror

Gold-painted walls combined with dark-brown '70s-style cabinets created a completely passe look. Though spacious with large windows, the dated kitchen never seemed to have enough light, and it didn't fit in with the rest of the Hursts' home. Plus, the cabinet drawers and doors had woven-cane panels behind hardware that had seen better days.

After: Cheerful Colors

A springtime palette of green and white transforms the kitchen from dull to delightful. The couple replaced the cane panels in the cabinets with oak veneer plywood before they painted. They also installed ribbed glass in a couple of the upper cabinets for a more contemporary look. The reflective white paint maximizes the natural light and is easy to clean.

Surface Changes

The Hursts painted the walls and underside of the soffit a fresh green to contrast with the cabinets, leaving the oak window trim with its original stain to match that in the rest of the house. They kept their existing laminate countertops, tile backsplash, and flooring, but added interest with curtains and a striped rug in front of the sink.

An Easy Decision

The original cabinets, though unattractive, were well-built and stored a lot. Appliances were also in good condition and not ready to be replaced. When the Hursts contemplated their options -- changing only the look or starting from scratch -- it was clear that they could achieve what they desired for far less than a new kitchen would cost. With the help of designer Janice Pattee, CKD, they updated the room for less than $700.

Old Meets New

Opting to leave the brick accent walls unpainted is a nod to the vintage of the home, and the butcher-block countertop is as handy now as it was 30 years ago. The cooktop island anchors the kitchen with its rich color, a deeper shade of green than the walls.

Time to Go Bye-Bye

The original '70s-era cabinet faces included panels of woven cane that were hard to clean and dated the look of the kitchen. The antique brass pulls were worn, so it was a good time to replace them.

New Attitude

Oak plywood panels replaced the cane, and with a fresh coat of paint, it's hard to tell that drawers and doors aren't completely original to the island. Topping off the change is new hardware -- satiny black pulls and knobs that echo the pot rack and black appliances.

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