Most of Arts & Crafts styles are available with pegged joints. In the days when cabinets were built with hide glue, pegs added substantial additional strength to the door. These days the new synthetic glues are not greatly strengthened by pegs. Nevertheless, our pegged joints are not just simulated with veneer or stain. They are actually pegged through and through for additional strength. Available with round pegs, square pegs and with square and round flush pegs.
An inexpensive way to add variety and interest to your cabinets is to mix glass panels in with your wood panel cabinet doors. If you want to display the contents of a cabinet, use clear glass and even add a small light inside the cabinet. If you like the idea of glass, but still want to hide the mess in the cabinet, use textured or stained glass. We provide the framed door suitable for glass, and you have the glass installed locally. For art glass, our artisans can create the glass from your design or you can select one of our stock designs.
Almost any panel door can be converted to glass, so a glass door to match your craftsman, mission or arts and crafts door selection is virtually guaranteed.
We do not recommend glass on lower cabinets. In most jurisdictions such glass would have to be tempered. But, having said that, we have built some beautiful contemporary kitchens with frosted glass in lower cabinets for the ultimate Euro-kitchen look.
Cherry is usually a premium cabinet wood. It makes beautiful cabinets, but sometimes the budget just is not there for the real thing. Careful staining and finishing can turn inexpensive alder into a very convincing cherry-look cabinet. Alder is a standard cabinet wood, and therefore less costly than cherry.
Traditional, Colonial & Victorian Panel Styles
The traditional raised panel door style often associated with colonial or traditional kitchens is actually a modern invention. Colonial kitchens did not have cabinets, but they did have doors. So kitchen cabinet designers simply adopted the raised panel door style of colonial houses to use in cabinet doors.
Colonial doors can be painted or stained. The usual paint in colonial times was milk paint, a surprisingly durable coating comparable to modern paints. It has a matte finish that is very hard to duplicate with modern water or oil based paints. The traditional colonial woods are maple, cherry, red and white oak, walnut, and mahogany. Poplar and alder are often used as a substitute cherry, and elm sometimes replaces oak. Walnut was a premium wood even in colonial times, and still is.
For a Victorian kitchen, the fancier panel doors are usually the choice. These often feature elaborate mouldings and fine finishes. Darker stains are characteristic, although these tend to make a small kitchen look even smaller and probably should not be used. For more of a Victorian County look, beadboard panels are the preference. Usually these are painted.
Raised panel doors are made in square top, arched and arched cathedral patterns. If arched doors are used, they are used on upper cabinets and square tops on on base cabinets. There are not particular rules, though, so you can mix and match arched, cathedral and square tops to create a unique look for your kitchen.
We have in our shop catalog, specifications for over 200 raised and beaded panel doors and drawers. We obviously cannot show them all. The table below displays just a few representative samples. Any one of these styles will work well in an colonial or Victorian kitchen. If you have in mind a door not shown here, send us a picture or drawing. We probably already have a shop specification for it, but if not, we'll make one just for your doors.
The original colonial paint was milk or casein paint. This is a surprisingly tough and durable paint for interior use. A lot of original milk paint still clings to antique colonial furniture after 250 years. The recipe is simple: milk, lye, linseed oil, salt and pigment. But we don't usually mix it ourselves, we buy it from milk paint companies. In powdered form, it has a very long shelf life as long as it is in an airtight container. But after it's mixed with water, it needs to be used in two days or so.
Virtually any colonial cabinet door style can be finished with milk paint for that ultimate in colonial looks. Milk paint even carried over into the early Victorian years, and is wholly appropriate in a Victorian kitchen.
Milk paint has virtually no volatile organic compounds, so it does not outgas into the air (low VOC). It is safe to use around food. It dries very quickly - usually in under an hour, and can be convincingly distressed and crackled to look really old. It has a matte finish, but if you prefer semi-gloss, a clear coat can be applied on top of the color coat. Cleanup is with water.