Kitchen cabinet doors for knotty pine or painted “coolonial” kitchens

holiday-kitchens-jamestown-doorContinuing to build our portfolio of choices for retro style kitchen cabinets, I spotted this Jamestown plank door style from Holiday Kitchens. Holiday offers this in hickory, and I think that with the right finish it reads “knotty pine.” A few years ago, I also saw a kitchen with this door style in an ivory painted, antiqued and waxed finish. The kitchen was in what I’d call a mid-century coolonial home in Stockbridge, Mass. Yes, another new term I think I just invented: “Cool-onial”. Hip colonial, and in the Stockbridge case,  a rambling ranchy country house but one that very very clearly had a colonial pedigree. The kitchen was much like the coolonial kitchen below — one of my all-time favorites. Finally, I think that this style also could look very nice tinted — another option with mid-century precedents.


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  1. Elaine says

    I love knotty pine. I’m going to be so glad if it makes a strong comeback. We had a lake cottage that was built in the early 50s, knotty pine complete, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, countertops, built in furniture, doors, everything. It was so beautiful! The kitchen was like the one to the right, but the countertops, floors and walls were pine, too. Unfortunately we had to sell it many years ago when we enjoyed our own personal recession, and it has been through a couple of owners since. Sad to report, the knotty pine is all gone now. The new owner even shingled over the logs outside.

  2. gavin hastings says

    Young Furniture Company in New Hampshire makes beautiful Knotty Pine kitchen cupboards. All wood. I used them in a previous home. They are VERY sturdy, affordable and take paint like a second skin-albeit I thought long and hard before giving them a coat of bone white satin oil.

  3. MrsErinD says

    Ha I like cool-onial, that’s great! I am going to call my tables that!

    Ooo knotty pine cupboards are great, I just love a mix of colonial/traditional and modern, works for me and it seems like a lot of “regular” homes were in that style in the midcentury.

    That kitchen is great! Love the handles. But ya, I like natural stains the best, but the paint is cute too.

  4. Jeanne says

    My upstairs (master bedroom) is all done in knotty pine and has two sets of built-in drawers. The drawers and closet doors have the same black hardware as the kitchen in the example. At first I thought of replacing all the hardware, but I think I’m keeping it. 🙂
    I love the word “Cool-onial”. Good work, Pam.

  5. Amanda says

    I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to find replacement door/drawer pulls like the ones in the bottom picture at my local Lowe’s store (copper, though, not the wrought iron look). Alas, they didn’t have those cool door hinges.

  6. nina462 says

    That second kitchen shown, with the heavy hammered black hardware is what I have in my original kitchen. And I love it. It was also on my original outside door (that darn it, was thrown away when I had new door installed.–what a mistake!).
    At least with the heavy hammered hardware, my black appliance look ok. I wouldn’t know what type of appliances to choose for my 65 ranch.
    Coolonial is what my house is!! I have the huge brick fireplace (I could sit in it, it’s that big) with built in cabinets and hardwood floors and wooden ceiling beams, to boot. (not to mention my knotty pine basement!)
    Coolonial it is!

  7. nina462 says

    oh heck….looking at those dining room chairs—I have them also! (mine aren’t original–they are only about 4 years old), but they are exactly like those in the pictures. Ha!

  8. Elizabeth Mary says

    When I moved into my former house 25 years ago — a 1926 stucco bungalow — I re-did the kitchen and wanted it to look like 1950’s. There were no cupboards in it as built so I had nice pine cupboards built and painted them white. For hardware I used wrought iron found locally. The maker was Acorn and they are still in business making great wrought iron hardware. You can see their stuff at their website:

    Strange and unfortunate outcome — when I sold the house I bought one new latch to replace one that was not working right. It cost $15 and I left it with a note for the new owners. But, they took out all the great black hardware. Don’t remember what they did with the hinges, but they replaced the latches with white plastic nothing knobs — and painted the wood pale yellow. They did leave the blueberry colored laminate counter with metal edging, however. I wonder if they tossed all that gorgeous expensive hardware?

  9. Lara Jane says

    Oh, Elizabeth! That just makes me sick!

    For this style, in kitchens or decor or whatever, I like the word “Fauxlonial.” 🙂

  10. Jeff says

    Wow! Love the knotty pine!

    Have a knotty pine tongue and groove ceiling in my 1953 breezeway, just reinstalled after doing some work above it.

    One thing I have heard, is that the original orange tinted stain is available somewhere out there, which gives it that 50’s basement recroom vibe, slight sheen, but totally period.

    Still researching where it is, and will post it when I find it.

    Also, for those looking for reclaimed knotty pine planks in routed, as well as tongue and groove applications, Architectual Salvage Warehouse in Detroit has scads of it upstairs in the loft- check it out, they are a super source for reclaimed woods for floors, walls, and more.

    And it’s a great not-for-profit which saves great building materials from ending up in the dump.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Jeff, thanks for the tip on where to get reclaimed knotty pine. The finish I think you are talking about is: Amber Shellac. A very interesting product: “Bulls Eye® Shellac is an alcohol-based solution of pure lac, a natural resin secreted by tiny insects on certain trees, mainly in India. After it is harvested the dark, reddish-brown resin is crushed into granules, rinsed to remove the natural dye and then dried. It is then processed into flakes that are mixed with denatured alcohol to create Bulls Eye Amber Shellac, a deep amber color finish that gives woodwork and furniture a rich, antique appearance.” There is both a clear and a (natural) orange-cast shellac.

      More stuff I found online, quite quickly: “Those of you who remember the knotty pine look in fashion for wood work and cabinets in the 1950’s will be interested to know the color was usually obtained by using amber shellac as a wood sealer, and over coating with clear varnish for durability.” source:

      There seems to be a lot of info available….

  11. atomicbowler-dave says

    BullsEye comes in clear or amber. It’s best to test on scrap first to make sure the amber isn’t going to be too dark. If it is, it can cut with clear to the desired tint. Bear in mind that your overcoat may also make it appear darker even if it is clear.
    Most important…
    The Sfuff Is NOXIOUS. Take Precautions and use appropriate respirarory/braincell protection. BullsEye (and any other shellac type product) is an alcohol solvent carrier. Follow all the cautions on the can! Please! Perfectly safe if ine does so, quite dangerous if one does not.

  12. atomicbowler-dave says

    Another alternative finish would be the Sikkens Cetol line of polyurethane finishes. These may prove somewhat easier to apply, and there would be no concerns of two-product compatibility (long or short term). They do not change color over time, and are highly durable…more so than a traditional gum varnish and certainly more than any spirit varnish product. Impervious to water and highly resistent to alcohol staining. This product is available in several tint flavors from clear to dark (if you want a darkish non-shiny finish look at the Cetol Marine line and go for the “light” version. If any of the colors are too dark for you they can be “backed off” by blending with the clear Cetol. Also Noxious, read the can, believe it, take precautions! BTW, I like to apply by spray, but have had best brushing results with Cetol using disposable foam brushes.
    One note, though, Cetol will not work well in the long-term over ANY other woodfinish product…they hide that in the very fine print! If used outdoors (like if you are reading the marine product can) it will say to sand and recoat annually. This is due to UV damage and is a non-issue if used indoors.
    On the topic, some of this style cabinetry has a whitish “pickled” finish. There are many processes, but the best I’ve seen or used is in the book “Guitar Finishing and Refinishing” available from Stewart-MacDonald Guitar Shop Supply (you can find them online). Unfortunately, the technique does require a laquer finish that is best sprayed…Park-brand lacquer is available at most home stores, still…and one CAN put spirit varnish and some urethanes over laquer. That would be a must as laquer water stains pretty well! Practice and test on scrap as usual…hope this helps.

  13. atomicbowler-dave says

    Sorry to keep on going here, but I did a little looking around…I commented on a different thread some time ago about bulls-eye and another product called Gymseal which had seemingly disappeared from market. This is truly old-time gym floor finish and if the current product is anything like the old it would be an excellent choice. It’s also what all tha MC “Swedish Floor” installations were most likely finished with. Awesome for durability and similar to a conventional varnish. Nice stuff! Check it out here:

  14. Jeff says

    Thanks a million, Pam, and everyone else as well! This really helps- will be doing this in the spring when we can ventilate better, too cold now.

    Just for the record, we’re installing a new random pattern slate floor for the same space, bought at Vermont Slate Depot- they have the multi-color random pattern, and is priced right, even with shipping. We really have to bring these spaces back, and many of the original suppliers are still out there.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Jeff, If I remember correctly, you were the one who wrote me asking about colors for wood floors? Here is that post:

      Meanwhile, thanks for the note re Vermont Slate Depot. I think I know exactly what you are talking about when you say “multi-color random.” One of my favorite looks, and very mid-century authentic. I can buy this at my local brick/slate store. Of course, I’m next door to Vermont! I’ll do a post for the record sometime, though.

  15. Erika Napsey says

    In response to …..gavin hastings

    Anyone considering Pine….definitely go with Youngs in Bow, NH! We replaced old upper cabinets with theirs, and they are BEAUTIFUL. I ordered ours on Monday the 1st, they were done and ready to be picked up on the 6th! VERY fast, so fast in fact I’m not ready for them! We still have to paint.

    I just ordered cabinets to go where we hadn’t had any and am in the middle of finishing them now! They are sturdy, well made, beautiful cabinets and Youngs will customize them for you, all of ours have been custom. I am now considering replacing our bathroom cabinets with them. We have no painted wood anywhere in our house, and it’s all pine (how it was when we purchased), and we’re keeping it that way. We live in VT and love the rustic look of knotty pine!.

  16. Erika Napsey says

    Elizabeth…that is sad, especially when I’m purchasing handles/knobs at VERY high prices! We have all black wrought iron hardware in our kitchen, with our knotty pine cabinets. It’s beautiful!

  17. Donald says

    This is an old post, but I’m looking at purchasing a 52 modest ranch which unfortunately has a remodeled kitchen. I’m in love with the strap hinges in the photo, we had similar hardware in my childhood home. They are still available from Acorn, but $$$.

    Found these cabinets at Lowes today, they would make a nice knotty pine option or paint them.

    I wonder if you know the source of the image here, and if there were any more pictures of that kitchen.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Donald, very old story, the image is vintage. I don’t recall the source. Re strap hinges: I would think there are other sources than Acorn….

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