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Our Painted Kitchen Cabinet Update – No More Maple!

Posted on March 18, 2016 by KylieMawdsley


When we bought our home two years ago, I knew the kitchen was not long for this world. Sure, other people thought it was just fine – I mean, the cabinets were solid wood; what can be bad about that, right?

Just because it’s wood, doesn’t mean it’s good    ~moi

Are they good because they’re solid wood? Sure, and they’ll still BE solid…under three coats of GLORIOUS WHITE PAINT!



This was our kitchen before – decent bones, just not our style. And although you can’t see it in the photos, the side gables were NOT solid wood and had faded to a soft pinkish colour, and the doors around the sink area needed some serious KLC…

, 'Just because it's wood, doesn't mean it's good'.

Drum roll, please (or just tap your fingers lightly on your wine glass…)

Maple kitchen remodel. Cabinets Cloud White, gray quartz, hexagon backsplash, formica soapstone and rustic wood island supports with stainless steel

Maple kitchen painted Cloud White, gray quartz, reclaimed wood island, hexagon subway tile backsplash

Wanna know what we did? Oh, I say ‘we’ like Tim was involved – you know I make all the big decisions around here (wink wink).



The previous island was 3×5, and while it worked, we had the floor space to extend it by an extra 18″. This meant that it would need some extra support (unlike my chest, which needs minimal, at best #TMI); here are the details…

  • We extended the island by 18″ on the end to have three stools instead of two. I scooped up the stools secondhand – FIVE of them! This made the island space look MUCH larger and more proportional to the room, without remotely infringing on any pathways.
  • I had my friend and craftsman Christian make up an island base/support for us out of reclaimed wood – MAD love.
  • To save money, I chose a quartz counter for the island and an affordable laminate countertop for the rest of the space

Quartz island with gray soapstone formica countertops Maple cabinest painted Cloud White, hexagon subway tile backsplash and rustic reclaimed wood on island

Do you want to see what the island looked like before? Trust me, you don’t, but I’ll show you anyway…

Island that was not prepped properly

YES, this is what happens when you don’t prep your cabinets properly by sanding and priming them. It’s like putting latex over oil-based paint – THE PAINT WON’T STICK and will peel off! I’ll also enforce the fact that it was not me, nor anyone I know, who did this…SACRILEGE!

With some prep work (clean, sand, wipe with a tack cloth, prime, paint, and let it cure) and the right type of paint, this is what the cabinets SHOULD have looked like…

Gray quartz island countertops, Benjamin Cloud White and rustic, reclaimed wood island legs or supports

Delea of Details Painting did the prep and painting and did an AMAZING job. I don’t mind a good DIY project and tackled the cabinets in our last home, but they were oak, and oak is much more (ahem) forgiving for less than epic painters. I also had a lot more time on my hands. And while I’m a pretty good painter, but I would NEVER tackle smooth maple cabinets on my own!

Delea took the drawers/doors away and sprayed them smooth as a baby’s bum! The pieces that couldn’t be removed were hand-painted and you can hardly tell the difference between her brush-work and the sprayed stuff  – friggin’ genius!

Now let’s take a closer look at those lover-ly legs…

Rustic reclaimed legs to support a gray quartz island countertop with gray stools

Simple and solid was what I was going for.  I didn’t want too much decorative detail as the wood itself with a light gray wash would do the decorative work for me!

The Countertop and Cabinets

Maple kitchen remodel. Cloud White painted cabinets, formica soapstone and hexagon backsplashFor the perimeter countertops, I chose Formica Soapstone Sequoia from the 180FX Collection (read a post I wrote about them here). I wanted to make a visual connection with the quartz that would complement – not compete. I wasn’t looking for ‘statement’, I was looking for ‘seamless’…

Read more:  The New Era of Laminate Countertops and Why They Rock

(BTW, there is nothing affiliate going on here – I was not paid to write about this stuff nor given anything for free – insert sad face here). However, you know you’d get my honest opinion anyway.)

Again, choosing a laminate countertop instead of quartz saved THOUSANDS of dollars on ye ole budget, which left me some room to do other fun things – like buy wine! This countertop mimics the look of soapstone and to be honest with you, the quartz island countertop is more high-maintenance than ME!  I see every speck on, even after it’s wiped. The formica/laminate? I can not wipe it for days (true story) and not see a thing. In fact, I didn’t notice some of the junk on the counter until I took photos and realized there were crumbs…oops.

Shaker maple cabinets painted Cloud White with gray and greige quartz and soapstone look countertops. Hexagon backsplash tile in cream

I LOVE this backsplash.  It was installed by my fave local tile guy, Brett Edwards (BE Tile) – he did a great job. Because the cabinets weren’t entirely level, he had to hand-cut each and every perimeter tile – and he did it with a smile (and probably an inside voice that was full of 4 letter words).

hexagon subway tile backsplash. Maple cabinets painted Cloud White, soapstone formica countertops and gray quartz with kitchen decor

The Open Layout

Our main floor is an open layout living room, dining room and kitchen, so one thing ALWAYS relates to another. This is another reason (other than my OCD) why our dining room AND living room both received makeovers in the last 6 months – knowing that the changes in the kitchen would be a HUGE shift for the entire space.

Before, our open layout area felt heavy and dark…

Maple kitchen before and after. Cloud White, gray quartz, island, Benjamin Moore, formica and moreNow it feels like a breath of fresh air! And while our lighting situation is in a bit of transition (really, everything in our home is), there was nothing I could do about the pendants over the island.  The original builder only put 1 junction in, so while in the ideal world I would have 2 pendants hanging independently of each other WITHOUT a huge honkin’ track tying them together – it ain’t happenin’ this go round.

Read more: Our Painted Maple Cabinets – 2 Years Later…

Open layout kitchen and dining room. gray quartz, rustic wood island supports. Benjamin Moore Gray on walls and Cloud White maple cabinets

Remember my blog post about ‘how to add light to a dark room?’ While this room is south facing and had tons of light, it had about as much energy as me at 7 am – nadda. Reflective surfaces move the light around a space, adding energy and life!

maple kitchen before cabinets were painted and new countertop and backsplash

The only place I want to see a racing stripe is NASCAR – not on my backsplash…

Maple cabinets painted Cloud White, Gray paint colour, quartz, hexagon subway tile cream backsplash and soapstone formica countertops

This backsplash is not just trendy (you know how I feel about trends), it is also RIGHT up my alley as I find the hexagon to be one of the more timeless patterns.  Not too soft, not too edgy – juuuust right.

Now you might think that I drank myself a few bottles of wine, snapped my fingers and got all of this done.  Nope.  Like a lot of my clients, this kind of stuff takes some serious coin and I had to BUDGET!  We did the countertops about a year ago, the backsplash and appliances 6 months ago, and the painting and general furnishings 1 month ago.  I don’t mind taking my time if it means I’m making smart choices and the end product is going to SUPER fabulous AND affordable.

Read more: E-Design – Another Maple Kitchen Makeover: White Down

The Whole Kit n’ Caboodle

Here’s a series of photos to see how the kitchen and dining room relate to one another…

Maple kitchen painted Cloud White, gray quartz, reclaimed wood island, hexagon subway tile backsplash

Open layout kitchen and dining room. gray quartz, rustic wood island supports. Benjamin Moore Gray on walls and Cloud White maple cabinets

Soapstone Sequoia formica countertops with cloud white cabinets and countertop decor

Open layout farmhouse style dining room and kitchen with Benjamin Moore Steel Wool, Cloud White and round oak table with home decor in country style

Modern farmhouse or country style dining room with home decor

View from open layout living room to dining room with subtle modern country, light woods and farmhouse style home decor by Kylie M Interiors

Read more:  Our Farmhouse Country Dining Room

Read more:  Our Living Room Makeover

Read more: Another – Maple Kitchen Makeover

So there it is – she’s done…well until next month anyway (wink wink).

UPDATE: Want to know how well they held up? 

Read this: Our Painted Maple Cabinets – 2 Years Later

Chat soon!

Kylie M Interiors Edecor and Edesign

Need help with your own home?  Check out my affordable Online Consulting Services – I’d love to help!

E-design, virtual online colour consulting expert. Kylie M Interiors. Paint color ideas. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams circle (16)


  1. I absolutely love that mirror! Can you tell me where you purchased it? Beautiful job on your kitchen. I painted my cabinets BM DEEP IN THOUGHT and it came out lovely. Thank you for sharing this remake!

    Christine from Connecticut

    1. Hi Christine, thank you! I know, it’s pretty wicked. It was actually from Home Sense, so of course it’s a total free for all as to where it came from!

      And you should send me photos – I’d LOVE to see it!!

  2. I love your new kitchen! Instead of Formica, I would like to use granite on my countertops. Which granite would be most similar to the Formica you selected? Thanks!

  3. I love your work !,,,,.just a question …is the tile on your backsplash spot on with the cloud white painted cabinets. We moved to our new house and the backsplash is driving me nuts. (I don’t like it, too much going on in my view got blues greys and many more colours on the 1 by 2 tiles ) So when I saw your hexagon tiles it inspired me to ..maybe paint the existing 1 by 2 stone to Simply White ..I’ve painted the trim Simply White but the cabinets are from Ikea so they are more of the Benjamin Moore’s Paper Mache. OC25, which isn’t as nice as simply white) . Just curious if your whites are the same…..the counter is dark greyish with flecks in it and your photos really got me thinking maybe I can get a similar looking effect as your kitchen. Until I can change it to a subway tile… we moved in Nov 1st and the walls were painted a funny blue colour so I painted them Kendal Charcoal to get me through Christmas and then two days later I painted the kitchen Grey Owl instead to blend things better. Do you think I’m crazy lol. P.s. I worked at Benjamin Moore and I love the Advance Paint.

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      Hi Lisa! Nope, it’s not. The cabinets are brighter than the backsplash, but both have a similar warm base – so the undertones are in line with each other. Now without seeing photos it’s hard to tell, but personally, I would be inclined to go darker on the backsplash (like i did) with the brighter cabinets – not the other way around. Could you do it though? I think if the cabinets are close to Paper Mache though you might be able to get away with it, just because P.Mache won’t compete as much. My ONLY concern is that Simply White might make your cabinets/paint colour look MORE cool/gray than normal, simply because of the warmth (dash of yellow) in Simply White. And no, you’re NOT crazy at all, trust me, I go batty when I have to choose things for my OWN home, so I totally get it! (and I have MAD love for Advance – hands-down my fave cabinet paint!)

  4. You’re cabinets look amazing! I was wondering how well the finish is holding up and if you are experiencing any chipping? I also have maple cabinets in my kitchen, and I desperately want a white kitchen but I can’t seem to work up the courage to paint them. They are brand new cabinets, only a year old, that were installed by my home’s previous owners as they were trying to sell the house (which obviously worked because we jumped so fast on a house with a brand spanking new kitchen). I’m terrified of ruining them, or that they’ll look beautiful at first only to be a disaster after a year or two. Unfortunately, replacing them will probably never be in the budget. They really are nice cabinets, I just don’t like the wood color. Would I be out of my mind to paint them? My family thinks I’m insane for even considering doing this to brand new cabinets!

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      JENNNN! I am seriously JUST working on a blog post about it RIGHT NOW! I’m hoping to pull it all together in the next few days and send it out, so make sure you’ve subscribed!(but fyi, they’ve done REALLY well…)

      Stay tuned!

  5. Hello!
    I got to your post because I’m looking for durability in a bathroom vanity..I got great advice, which, thank you so much, I wil heed.
    Anyway, I just had to comment on the kitchen makeover.. By removing the small splash edge on your backsplash, it looks like you gained a foot in cabinet height..Is seems to add such a more open roomier space! I really like the makover.. so modern and updated.

  6. Good idea w the microwave. When we moved to our present home, there was 1 cabinet w an outlet under it. Have no idea why, but I purchased a small microwave & put inside w hole for cord. Recently had cabinet removed. Kitchen looks 50% larger & had painter paint med. dark solid oak cabs. in white. My husband kept saying no. Once he saw them, he loved it. Our house will go on market in abt 6 weeks. Think I may do those cabs white too. Agree 100% about laminate, but will probably use quartz or marble in bathrooms. Loved your article!
    Barbara (Upstate NY).

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      Hi Barbara, thank you so much for your comment! I do receive so many questions that sometimes it’s just darned nice to get some feedback and ‘personal experience’ stories!


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  7. What gloss finish did you use on these cabinets? Satin or semi-gloss? We are moving into a house with a NW facing kitchen (as best I can tell) and are having the cabinets painted white (professionally). I am considering a pure white, something like Behr Ultra Pure, with no undertones, but am unsure about the gloss. I am leaning toward a satin since I am going for such a pure white.

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      Hi Beth, I started out with semi-gloss, to see what it looked like, but I found it WAAAAY too glossy so went down to the Pearl finish (BM Advance). I absolutely LOVE it (it’s similar to Satin finish…)

      1. Thank you so much for the information. I have refinished cabinets in my current home with the Rustoleum kit product and ended up using a satin top coat. I felt like that was probably enough shine too but your confirmation helps seal the decision for this next project.

        By the way, loving your site. I am finding it so helpful as I plan a total interior paint job on a new home in another state (yikes!). Your LRV post has been incredibly helpful!

  8. I am planning a kitchen makeover and your kitchen layout is very similar to mine. I love all your ideas! I want grey walls and white cabinets too. I love the Steel Wool but am wondering if you can suggest a lighter grey that would not clash for my hallway? I am afraid the Steel Wool will be too dark there. Also, I have Cloud White for cabinets and trim right now and would like a bit of a change. Do you think Simply White would work with Steel Wool?

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      Hi Korey, thank you! That’s a porcelain tile and it was from Home Depot – although I don’t know if they have it anymore!

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      Hi Rachel, that was BM Steel Wool. It’s a gray with a decent blue-purple undertone – if you look at a few other posts, you’ll see it in my entryway as well!

  9. OOPS! After I posted my question to you I finally looked up the color of my new cabinets on the maker’s website. I’ve been calling them “honey oak” BUT they’re actually Quartersawn White Oak. My question is still…could they work with Soapstone Sequoia countertops?

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      Hi Paula, I’m a HUGE fan of Quartersawn White Oak and they can work with Soapstone Sequoia for a soft approach. Just get a big sample of the countertop as my ONLY hesitation is that the greige/taupe of the countertop could make your cabinets look a bit MORE yellow (depending on how they’ve aged/stain/etc…) Overall though, no big red flags!

  10. Hello, Kylie. Love your site and your work. I was wondering how your Laminate countertop is working out, e.g.durability, staining, etc. Would you do it again? Thanks much.

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      Hi Ellen, it held up SUPER well. Like any laminate, I didn’t put a hot pot directly on it once it had been on the stove. I didn’t have ANY staining problems or areas where the finish was wearing off. I did choose a durable finish (honed), but I would imagine that after many years it could wear in areas that were consistently rubbed at. Short of being quartz/granite (which you pay 3-4X for) I’m super happy with the way it holds up! MOney well spent!

  11. Kylie, your blog is AWESOME! Wondering what type of flooring is in this kitchen. The whole kitchen is beautiful. Thanks for your answer in advance.

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      Hi Betty, thank you! Well, it was a few years ago, but I do remember that it was a laminate flooring from Lowes that was the Mowahk brand!

  12. Hi! I totally decided to get the Laminate Counter tops in the Soapstone Sequoia thanks to your help! I’m painting my cabinets White Dove and I am pondering my wall color. I love your site!

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      Hi Barbara! It’s been a few years, but I’m positive that we used BM Cloud White! The ceiling is actually original and Cloud White seemed like a good match to it 🙂

  13. Love this kitchen – I am getting ready to re-do mine! What paint colors were used on the walls and cabinets? I know my cabinets will be white, and I love these dark grey walls pictured. as it looks so crisp with the white cabinets.. My main concern is lighting, as my kitchen & dining area do not get a ton of natural light (2 north facing windows, 1 south facing window, and 1 small west facing window). I don;t want it to look too dark or make the space look smaller. Hoping to get a few samples of these colors so I can slap them on the wall and see… Thank you for your time! I love your blog and since I found it, I refer people to your site all the time. Your tips and recommendations are incredibly helpful and your style is amazing!

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      Hi Machele, thank you! The cabinets were BM Cloud White and the walls were BM Steel Wool, which is a crazy gorgeous colour!

  14. About to paint our cabinets in cloud white – can you please post the link to your backsplash? Do you know if you can find it at a box store (Home Depot here in Canada?). Thanks!!

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      Hi Tanya! It was actually several years ago from Home Depot in Canada, but I’m not sure if they even carry it anymore! It was a porcelain hexagon…

  15. Hi Kylie, Just purchased a 15yr old traditional home, because we only had one choice at the time. Fifteen years ago, if hardwoods were placed in homes, it seems to have been red oak. Now the red oak is orange. The kitchen has natural oak cabinets and that yellowy brown spotted granite with travertine backsplash. We can’t redo the entire house. If you had a budget, which I do, would you paint the kitchen cabinets and replace the granite and backsplash and live with the floors, OR, replace the floors and then eventually do something about the cabinets and granite? I’m thinking resale as well as livability. I’m enjoying your articles and videos! Thanks so much!

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      Oooo tough question. Well, the thing is, if you change the floors to something better and DON’T paint the cabinets in the near future, they will undoubtedly clash with each other as a more modern (not orange) floor will make the cabinets look even more dated. For that reason, I lean towards painting the cabinets, doing the backsplash, but only doing the countertop if you HAVE to. 🙂

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  16. Kylie, I just found your site and have been stalking it and your videos for the last few days. 😳😜
    your kitchen is timeless and fabulous!!! I love the laminate counter top you chose even though I am not a huge fan of laminate anything, it looks great in your space and the color is perfect. Brilliant addition to you island too, I do love quartz, may I suggest next time you get it, get a pattern that looks like granite.. it hides those annoying spot well, trust me! 😂
    I do hope you continue this site and your videos, So very helpful and fun and you give such inspiration!
    Kind Regards,

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  17. Hi Kylie! Love this kitchen and love !!! your blog/website. Quick question about the color of your backsplash (hexagon tile) would you consider this an antique white, the color? I am painting my cabinets cloud white and I found a tile similar looking tile, just checking…

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      Hey! Well, it was a few homes ago and while it wasn’t super Antique White-ish, more like a super warm greige/tan of sorts :).

  18. Hi Kylie!
    My friend introduced to your site and I’m so grateful!
    In one of your homes you had maple cabinets with a green wall. I love the update, but I also, like the original look. Could you tell me the name of the green wall paint?
    You really do amazing work.
    Thanks much!

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      Hiya, I THINK that must be the photo with BM November Rain. Are you talking about the kitchen with the super light soft green-gray?

      1. Hi Kylie!
        It was actually your original personal kitchen update. Maple to white.
        I’m actually committing to going from maple cabinets to possibly mindful gray-I would like a sort of gray with green. Countertops are granite ubba tubba , with a white or taupe back splash any concerns, you can share?
        Also, if you don’t mind presently have tile floors, but would like a wood-thoughts on “floating floors” or vinyl planks? I wish you lived on Long Island…I’m old now and confused…Thanks much.

  19. Would you please share with me the color and where you purchased your hardware? Looks so pretty. Thank-you! Pamela Johnson

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