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

holiday kitchens jamestown cabinet 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. Finally, I think that this style also could look very nice tinted — another option with mid-century precedents.

Categoriesknotty pine
  1. 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.

    1. 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….

  2. Lucy says:

    how can I get in touch with Holiday cabinets? I really like the cabinets you showed from them.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!.

  5. 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.

    1. 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: https://retrorenovation.com/2009/09/13/stain-color-for-195s-1960s-wood-floors/

      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.

  6. 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: http://www.valsparglobal.com/val/resident/gymseal.jsp

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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: http://antiquerestorers.com/Articles/George/FTT_0199.htm

      There seems to be a lot of info available….

  10. Lara Jane says:

    Oh, Elizabeth! That just makes me sick!

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

Comments are closed.