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.
Their 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.
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.
My 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.