Monday, April 19, 2010

Open Cabinetry

I get a lot of emails from folks asking me for my advice on open kitchen cabinets.

To remove the doors...or not to remove the doors.

That- is the question!

I think it's really a matter of personal taste.

I, for one, happen to like the look.

I like it ahh-lawt...

To me, open cabinets aren't a whole lot different than open bookcases.

Bookcases display books- open cabinets display dishes.


Here's a photo of our cabinets that was taken back in October of '07...


MAN there was a lot of doors on those things!

I suggested we remove some of them so that the room wouldn't be quite as "door-ey".

(Okay, fine. I really just didn't want to have to paint twenty four cabinet doors. Can you say "wrist fatigue"?)

Kevin was down with my idea, so we took the doors off the six upper cabinets on the left.

Why did we remove those particular doors, you ask?

Because if you're going to remove some doors, you'll probably want to display your prettiest pieces in the cabinets that are open, and conceal "foodie" type stuff in the ones nearest your stove and fridge.


Once you've figured out which ones you're going to remove the doors from, you can decide which items you're going to display in them, and if you want to add any additional molding to them.

Here's what we did...


Each piece of mirror was around ten bucks.
The "squishy shelf liner stuff" was about four bucks a roll.
And, for the record, the twelve little vintage wine glasses were SIX DOLLARS, not twelve.
(I don't know why I said they were twelve dollars. Silly rabbit.)

And, hey, as long as you don't throw away the doors after you remove them, you can always put them back on if you decide you don't dig the way it looks.

And remember, decorative molding is your friend.
Use it, and no one will ever know your cabinets had doors on them!

Unless you blog about it.



Think you can't have open cabinets because it's too dusty where you live?
It's dusty in Alabama too!
(cough, cough)
But we use the dishes in our open cabinets A LOT, so they usually don't have time to grow sweaters.
But, if something does happen to collect a little dust, we just give it a quick rinse before we use it, and it's as good as new!


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Tales from an Empty Nest

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chris said...

Hey there!
You're so cute... and it's because you're so genuine..
I love the open cabinets with the white and the glass dish combo. It looks so clean and fresh. I totally agree about trim and molding.. moulding?, whatevs.. it gives it a nice finish and intentional look.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Staci at Craftify It ! said...

We just painted our cabinets last week & as SOON as I took the doors off on our upper cabinets, I KNEW they were not going back on. I LOVED them open...well except for our UGLY dishes that were revealed. But I figured that could be changed & after watching your video, I KNOW I could find cheap nice dishes.

Well, I told my husband my plans & how we were going to line the backs with beadboard(but now I'm lovin the mirror idea) & he thought it sounded like a lot of work.

Well, unfortunately...the doors went back up. My husband didn't think it was practical, so now I'm going to make him watch your video & then go buy some pretty dishes & take those doors down!!! I LOVE the look of your open cabinets!

The Weathered Bungalow said...

I just love that you are so thrifty...and you would never be able to tell when you see how amazing your home is! LOVE the open shelving!

xoxo, Meredith

Completely Coastal said...

For now the doors are on, but I only have two upper cabinets anyway! But I love the open door look, very practical.

Maya @ Completely Coastal

Design Apprentice said...

Kevin and Layla,
First, loved the video. You are adorable. You are so practical and savvy when it comes to finding what you want (ie. dishes) and the molding works wonders. Your before and after looks like a different kitchen. I love it.
Katie @ Simply Stated

Nita Stacy said...

Layla -
I love the mirrors at the back of your open cabinets. I think I am going to do this. I took the doors off of some of my cabinets several years ago because it was just cabinet, cabinet, cabinet and I thought they needed to be broken up. It made all the difference. Really opened up the wall of cabinets. And I was happy to display my favorite dishes. I've been thinking I should put bead board at the back but after seeing the mirrors....I think I just might do that...

Thanks for the inspiration.


Jeannine 520 said...

What a fabulous transformation, I wouldn't even have known those were the same cabinets! They look great.

Sonia said...

WOW, they look amazing!!! But see...I have a problem. His name is Ozzy. HE thinks it is quite amusing to knock things off the counter, end tables, bathroom counters, you name it. I can see him jumping up there and breaking everything. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I love your kitchen and the open cabinets look beautiful.

I personally chose to leave mine on, but it's because I love the way my cabinet doors look.

I do have a couple of open shelves in my kitchen and somehow dog hair manages to collect up there. I've got a dog that sheds pretty bad. I don't think I could ever do all open shelving because of that. (dog hair seems much more unsanitary than dust)

Alyssa said...

I L-O-V-E the idea! Ooooh, this summer I think I'm going to take on this challenge ;)Alyssa

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Hey there, I love your open cabinets! I think I'm going to give it a try on some and glass on others. I just can't decide on a white because I can't use white/white. Previous owners put in granite but its the color of it that's throwing me off. I think it might be called crema bordeaux but I'm not sure. Anyone have this granite?

Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

LOVING the open cabinets ..not sure if I would be brave enough, since it means having VERY organized dishes.

I want say congrats to Tales From My Empty Nest for winning my Geezees Canvas ..look forward to crating with you!

Anonymous said...

All over the country women will be showing this video to skeptical husbands, and getting their way! Congratulations! it looks so good.

You didn't mention the brackets this time, they and the beadboard contribute so much to the look.

Do you store long things you don't use often on top of the cupboards behind the new 6" and moulding? It's a great hideaway place for - jam jars?

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I can't believe that I won, Layla!!!! Thanks so much. I am beyond excited!! I told Stephanie that I am a 7 year cancer survivor and life is so precious to me. I cherish each and every day and love life so much!!! Your blog is one of my favorites and I inspired by you each and every day. You and Kevin are so talented!! Now the hard part comes in deciding what picture/pictures and saying I want to have made into a canvas. I have 2 precious adult daughters, so I will get them to help me. Thanks again so much. Have a wonderful week. Love & blessings from NC!!!

Pamela said...

I love your blog and love that you add videos. I cant wait to try some of your ideas!!! The bloppers at the end were too cute! They helped perk up my morning. My hubby is in Afghanistan right now and I was feeling a little blue until I read your post! Thanks for the laughter!!

Sylvia (at) Lily's Pad and Petals said...

You are braver then I am but I'm trying to muster up the courage to take the doors off some of my cabinets. Love the way you trimmed it out.
Thanks for sharing,

Vanessa@decor happy said...

Hey there (couldn't resist)! Your cabinets look even more stunning with the mirror - velcro, who would have thought? Love all of your inexpensive finds - beautiful doesn't have to be expensive!

Sjn said...

Such good taste and the talent to make it work! I would so much rather do something myself than hire out. Now, tell me how to glaze my white cabinets and I may have to try it!

Sandy said...

I have limited upper cabinets because we went with the huge center island and opening up our kitchen, but I love my large open space for all my white dishes. So easy for the kids to empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away right in front of them.

Great post. :)

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

I like open cabinets a lot, and you've certainly done a great job on yours. I always find the open cabinetry discussion to be a little funny because my parents have never had doors on their upper cabinets (in their 1963 kitchen that still looks great today with the original cabinets). For years people would come over and ask, "When are you going to finish your kitchen?" The idea that some cabinets wouldn't have doors on them was completely foreign to them.

dewgiesgirl said...

I have 52, yes that's fifty-two (50+2) cabinet doors to paint....that's not including 10 drawers to paint!!! Ugh...anyway, I'm really thinking about removing some of those doors before painting :) Thanks for amusing us once again!

Anonymous said...

I have THOSE kitchen cabinets. Wish I had a digital camera for the process of removing and painting. Next time? I'm paying someone. :-)
I've been home hunting for a year now and the non-updated kitchens overwhelm me since I've now done it once but this is insipirational.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I have THOSE kitchen cabinets. Wish I had a digital camera for the process of removing and painting. Next time? I'm paying someone. :-)
I've been home hunting for a year now and the non-updated kitchens overwhelm me since I've now done it once but this is insipirational.
Thanks for sharing!

TheVirginiaHouse said...

Great post! I've had open cabinets for the last 6 years and love them!! The only thing I would love more is open shelving. (my dream) Just a little rinse to remove the dust once in a while on the ones we don't use as much. Wouldn't trade it!

Tricia said...

Love the tips about the detail molding. Love the video. You two are so adorable!
Happy Monday L & K.


Unknown said...

You're adorable. I love that you included your bloopers. :) Your cabinets look great!! We already have some open shelving and I NEVER would have thought to put mirrors back there, but it's perfect because the shelving faces the only window in our kitchen. Hello reflected light & new bright kitchen!
Thanks for the great idea.

Christine Toffolo said...

Kevin & Layla,

I am so IN LOVE with your kitchen. Ours needs a serious makeover but cash is tight and you have some wonderful ideas that wouldn't break the bank. I'm loving the open cabinet concept, not sure how to convince my husband that it could be a good thing. I'll work on it. I love your blog and you are so much fun! Take care and happy decorating!
Christine in Ottawa, Canada

Lisa said...

You guys are so cute I really enjoyed watching your video. Great idea to add the moulding to the open cabinets it really does finish them off so they don't just look like you took the doors off! Cute dog too!

Tiffany said...

Hey There! heehee

Amber Polk said...

Love it!! I would love to do that with mine! I dig the dishes. that squishy no slip stuff has been my friend for a long time. I have it under my silverware holder so it doesn't slide everytime I pull out the drawer.

Where did you get the blouse? So cute.

Victoria Hayden said...

You guys are so cute! Your videos always bring a smile to my face and make me laugh. I am going to do a few cabinet doors off of my shelves, inspired by you. :) I too love the squishy shelf liner. I like to turn all my cups upside down so then I don't think you have to worry about dust so much. Thanks for sharing another great post!


Lettered Cottage said...

Hey "Blacksheep Bliss"!

I got it at TJ Maxx- love me some GINORMOUS flowers!


PS- The tag on it says, "Julie's Closet".

Anonymous said...

Wonderful video. But I have a complaint. While I appreciate that Mr. Complainer was picked up for the bloopers part, I wanted the camera to pan down and show me him in action!

Sandra said...

Your open cabinets look really nice (I'm still undecided on which look is nicer - the black or the white as they both look amazing).

We have pine cabinets in our kitchen that I would love to paint but have never had the guts to! Your before and after pics have made me realize to just go ahead and do it - thanks! We don't have enough storage to take any of the doors off, but it'll still make a world of difference.


Skye McLain said...

i couldn't get the second video to play! :( regardless, it is beautiful!

Victoria said...

Hey there, not sure if I've ever commented before but I frequent your blog (as does everyone else in the world). :) I love the cabinets! They do look intentional. Hmmmm wonder if I can convince my husband to take our doors off....

We finally did open shelving at our old house and I LOVED it! I loved the ease of putting dishes away and they never were dusty. Now I am back to square one in the new house and need to make it a little more "me".

Thanks for sharing the video. I really enjoyed watching it!

Rebekah Greiman said...

Love the new kitchen look! I have always enjoyed the before and after every time we remodel a new property. I more enjoy seeing someone else's project completed, because that means my hands are paint and callous free! Is that wrong of me?

Robyn said...

I ADORE the open shelving. I don't ADORE the dust, more like ABHORE but you know what? I love it SO much it's WORTH dusting. So that must mean it's true love. We are SO happy we did it and I totally agree with you, adding the moulding completely makes it look like it was ALWAYS that way!

Nancy said...

Your blog just inspires me every.single.time! I have been toying around with this idea.. I might just go for it! Which ones to strip down?? Jim Carrey in that movie... classic. Just classic. dumb. but classic.

Imagery by Kimberly said...





Anonymous said...

Thanks to your site, I have discovered the joys of molding...i love the way it looks on just about EVERYTHING! I wish I was handier with tools, etc., though, so that it would turn out looking like that! I am too afraid to try on something as major as kitchen cabinets...but it looks fantastic!

Deserae said...

Love your is just gorgeous! I am a huge fan of open cabinets too but when we renovated our kitchen I had to pick between open shelves and seeded glass doors and the doors won. I love the way you have a mix of things on the shelves too....perfection!

Sandy said...

Love your video! Your doggie is upset because you weren't paying enough attention to him! LOL! He wanted to be held. And those are BIG ears! I liked your kitchen cabinets in black but I love them in white. And how clever is that to line the back of your cabinets with mirrors. You kids are so talented.

Teacup Lane (Sandy)

Anonymous said...

Hey There!

I love open cabinets! You can also get very inexpensive dishes, bowls, glasses, etc at Ikea!

Max is so cute.

Your Friend,

Courtney Walsh said...

Love this whole thing! I wish I could do this. we don't have enough space, I don't think and I'm already cursing the pots and pans every time I have to get them out... let alone all the dishes. Still, seeing how you did it has got my mind spinning! :)

Love the video. And your shirt! So cute! :)

Lettered Cottage said...

Hey Deborah!

We actually got our $1.00 cereal bowls at IKEA! LOVE that place!


3 Peanuts said...

LOVE you PS because that s always my question...what about the dust?!

Unknown said...

Hey there!!! (Get it?) You crack me up! Great job on the cabinets :)

Unknown said...

Hi Layla,

I love your kitchen and all your brilliant ideas. I am in the process of buying a house I love with a kitchen I don't, and I am already planning to poach some of your ideas.

One thing, though: I can't figure out why you can't use your dishwasher. I've melted plastic on my heating element many times. Usually, whatever it is will break right off when it cools, and the dishwasher is no worse for the wear. I have heard of some people having to heat the element back up again with a hairdryer, or running the drying cycle to clean off the plastic, but I never heard of the element actually burning out before.

If it is burned out, maybe you can replace it. I don't think it would be hard, especialy for you guys.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful kitchen!

Maria in TN.

Teri said...

I have a squishy shelf liner too, but ended up getting rid of it on most of my kitchen shelves because the bottom of dishes kept sticking to it.

It is super humid in San Antonio, but I have lived in AL so I know it is humid there too.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there more to it then just laying it out ;)

Do you have this problem or is it just because the sticky shelf liner doesn't like me?

To The Moon and Back said...

You two are the best! Layla, everything you do is amazing! Thanks for sharing all your insight:)

How lucky are we, your readers, to have access to your amazing talent!

Marly said...

I have to ask - was it scary to paint the wood cabinets? Our house is about 50 years old (actually registered in historic neighborhood...go figure) and it has so much wood that I think could really use painting. It's all different colors...and there's just so much of it. It makes the house look dark. My husband is hesitant. Is it a man thing? Anyway, I'm just curious if it was scary painting over the wood cabinets and if you have tips. Thanks!

Roberta said...

Love the video and the "bloopers" funny! I love open cupboards...very european actually...I feel like it opens up a room and the mirrored backs are super. I have had white phaltzcraft (spelled?) that I got when I graduated from HS thirty years ago and I love them. They have traveled around the world with me and have maded 15 times and I've only had a few chips and one top my sugar bowl break...not bad :D I just love the way white goes with all your linens and makes your food look great. Layla & Kevin...I have a piece of furniture that I think could be made into a bench or day bed if you are is a king black footboard with wood rails that we just cannot fit here at the Love Shack...and I'd barter it for something? Please email me and I'll send a photo...thanks, Roberta

S. L. said...

I have a question... one which you may have already answered before but I've scoured your site and can't find it so sorry if I'm being redundant. :)
Were your cabinets real wood or melamine or laminate? I want to paint mine but they aren't real wood (I think they are laminate) so I'm not sure if I can. Perhaps you know? any advise would be appreciated :)