Monday, April 7, 2008

Kitchen Color Change with Laminate Formica Cabinetry

Kitchen remodels are often the most expensive remodel of any room in the house. If you have laminate counter tops or cabinet faces you don't like, before you invest in entirely new cabinets, consider re-covering the existing laminate.

Formica, Wilson Art and Pionite are popular brands of laminate (also known as "formica"). These companies continually offer new colors, textures and patterns. Here's how I used re-facing cabinets to save myself a bunch of money.

Faced with a 20 year old kitchen with Euro style cabinets covered in a gray laminate that didn't suit my color palette, I decided to investigate new cabinets. Estimates ranged from $20,000 and up to put in new cabinetry. My husband and I decided to spend our remodeling money on new environmentally-friendly windows, plumbing fixtures and flooring (we stretched those dollars with a lot of our labor). After those expenses we had about $1,000 left for the kitchen. We were not very hopeful about any changes we could make. I had done everything I could with paint, but the gray cabinets were still the dominate feature and they didn't work with my foundation color choices.

Remembering cheesy ads from years ago about "cabinet refacing", I decided to investigate how I could take that re-facing idea and come up with something cool.

Looking under "Counter tops" in the Yellow pages, I found a company that advertised Laminates. I visited their showroom and discovered that laminates can be pretty cool. Formica re-issued some 1950's versions that I fell in love with: Boomerang, offered in Mint, Pink or Gray made me smile, remembering California bungalows from my childhood. Wilson Art makes a eggplant purple that was better than anything I could have thought of. I realized that using the accent wall concept, I could break up the dominate gray color in such a way that the gray would look intentional not ignored or tolerated.

Bev-Art, the company in Bend, Oregon put me in touch with their installer, Doug Patterson. He came to my house and after inspecting my cabinets told me what he could do. Because the doors were so finely hung, there was no room for refacing them without a lot of expense, I settled on refacing the sides of the kitchen island and the front panel inserts of my dishwasher and refrigerator. I choose a deep eggplant color. Doug Patterson cut the panels on site and laminated them to the old gray cabinets. I LOVE the result!

I still have gray cabinets, but now, the color is broken up and enough of the bold eggplant purple laminate exists that the gray no longer dominates. The eggplant purple color is a wonderful accent color in the kitchen.

Remember the Boomerang Formica I mentioned? Still in love with it, I had Doug install it on the existing gray counter tops in my Master Bath. It adds the touch of fun my overly serious modern cabinetry was lacking.

Info in Bend Oregon: Bev Art Counter Tops, 541-388-3457.
Installer: Doug Patterson, 541-389-7308

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