I LOVE KNOTTY PINE KITCHENS. They were very popular in the postwar era — they fit with our interest in both western ranch and early American interiors… they were were affordable… and the material was available.

In fact, in researching this post I read a 2001 story from the New York Times that said knotty pine has its fans again today – and also appeals to fans of the Scandinavian tradition.

And of course — Betty Draper’s kitchen on Mad Men is knotty pine!

As far as I can find, there are not too many mainstream cabinet companies making knotty pine cabinets today. Luckily, one company that does is: Cabico. They are a large Canadian company, and I had a positive experience with their product when I  retro renovated by bathrooms a few years ago.

cabico-knotty-pine-5051d-door.jpgTheir knotty pine – honey finish – is shown in the first door.. This honey colored finish looks pretty good, I believe, for a retro renovation knotty pine kitchen. But something even more amber/orange could be even better.  Note the image above — a 1952 Formica ad — for one reference for door styles.

nov-12-omega-plank-143x300 I’d also recommend a planked door like this traditional (3/4) overlay design from Dynasty/Omega. Reference only, I do not believe that Dynasty/Omega offers knotty pine. Cabico also says that they can make a full-overlay plank door.

cabico-birch-cordovan-810-door.jpgMy concern about a slab style like the third door (also a reference from Dynasty/Omega), is that pine might split from expansion/contraction as it is a pretty soft wood.

Best, if you are truly interested in pursuing this look, to consult with a cabinetry professional.

Final note: I recently saw “knotty cherry” cabinets at the Eugene Home Show. They were really nice looking — definitely had the knotty-pine groove going on — and cherry is a harder wood, an even better material for cabinets.

This post has been updated from the original, which ran Dec. 26, 2007.

  1. Dave says:

    Our house built in 1953 has Knotty Pine. We opted to update to Stainless and keep the Pine. We also replaced the old red formica with a newer stone like pattern. We also installed recessed lights removing a old Box florescent. The Stainless looks great with the Pine but most importantly my wife is happy with the compliments from our friends.

    My only problem is I am trying to find a few pieces of knotty pine for additional cabinet doors. Watching for remodels and checking Habitat’s…

  2. Taylor says:

    Our kitchen is knotty pine (walls & cabinets) but it’s a horrible dark orange. Any suggestions on how to lighten it up?

  3. renee says:

    Hi Kristin-your kitchen sounds magnificent! Any chance there are photos anywhere? i have knotty pine cabinets that I would like to save but think I need to refinish them, cahnge out the coutertops (white formica) and relacie teh floor-a poorly done 12″x12″ job…

  4. Jennifer K. says:

    Hello, I have those honey colored pine cabinets and am struggling with what to use for countertops. Go with the aqua or put aqua tile backsplash? I’ve seen both treatments and they look good. With the backsplash, I could go with a more modern countertop look, and still use the stainless trim. Thoughts?

  5. Bev says:

    I just painted my Knotty Pine cabinets. I know I will get hate mail for posting this. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t stand them. Plus they had that horrible musty old wood smell. Cleaning and painting them helped get rid of the smell. My kitchen is much brighter now and I love it. I’m trying to keep a retro look, check it out on my blog and click on the button, “Our Kitchen” underneath the top banner.

  6. linoleummy says:

    The afternoon lighting in my kitchen turns my 30 year old oak cabinets that dark orange amber. I just love them for those few hours. Wanna trade your knotty pine for my nasty oak?

  7. pam kueber says:

    That is an inbound story from before when I had a blog on blogger!

    Not sure I even remember the image but I will keep an eye out for it!

    Golly, you are into the archives! Are you reading all 3,000+ stories we ever wrote???

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