Annie Sloan Graphite to the rescue! It's the perfect near-black and it gave me the old-school, industrial look I was after.
It tones down the orangey-brown of the counters and floors.
And I love how it grounds everything, and warms the space.I've used Annie Sloan on many different items including our main entry door and many chairs that get a lot of love. It wears beautifully every time. However, I had not used it in an area that I'd have to wipe down or would get wet often so I had some concerns. It has met every expectation that I had! I gave it two coats of Graphite and waxed it twice. I wipe it down nearly everyday and the cabinets near the sink are often dripped on. It wears beautifully.
Usually l lightly distress the edges of my furniture, but with the cabinets having a white base I didn't want to see the white under the black so I left these un-distressed (if that's a thing). I worried that the edges would wear and look distressed eventually on their own being such a hard working, busy space. But they have held up with all our farm dirt, four kids and a great dane. There is one spot that my dear son tried to clean up after he smeared the door fronts and trim with mud. It was the day after I painted them and the wax and paint were not cured fully so he wiped away a bit of the paint on the trim edges. He did a great job distressing the area for me, but I'll likely touch it up cause I really don't want to see those white edges. All and all I would recommend Annie Sloan chalk paint for kitchen cabinets. And it works great in a non-distressed application!
We added a few details like the bin pulls for the drawers and black knobs, and the trim around the base of the cabinets. I wanted the cabinets to have a built in furniture feeling and cover the icky plastic trim that was currently under the cabinets. It's a nice detail that elevates them a bit but still lets me keep the authenticity of the original cabinets.
You can see the new trim above prior to painting it graphite. For a few days I did trip up a little bit having the full trim around the sink base cabinet which eliminated the toe kick. But like all things I got used to it and just love having this finished furniture-like detail on my cabinets.
I can hardly remember how the kitchen looked before and all the little things we did that added up to big changes! The biggest impact was moving the fridge into the pantry and painting the kitchen all-over white. The flow and sight lines are much more pleasing, everything looks bigger, and the space just works now!
Below, the fridge in the original location, all white and sticking out into the room. We couldn't open the freezer drawer while loading/unloading the dishwasher nor could anyone walk into or out of the room at the time.
And the after picture below with the fridge tucked away into the re-built pantry. Some notes on painting the refrigerator with chalk board paint. I did not prime my refrigerator and the chalk board paint did not effect the magnetic properties of the refrigerator. I lightly sanded it with a fine sandpaper and wiped it down good with a spray de-greaser. I used two cans of spray chalkboard paint from the hardware section of the grocery store--because that's what I had on hand and I'm impatient. When motivation strikes I just don't want to make the 40 minute round trip drive into town to buy a can of paint.
I taped every bit of area that I didn't want to paint but still got a little over spray on some inside portions of the fridge because the doors didn't close completely with all the taping off I did. There was also some over-spay into the room in general and floors. Most everything was covered in a fine dust of black. Yikes. It was a dry dust, however and cleaned off easily with a damp cloth. Whew! The spray did give me a supper nice smooth finish and I'd spray it again just to get such a nice finish, maybe with some more drop cloths though or ideally outside.
I have plans for a kitchen island and maybe to move those cabinets over the sink up to the ceiling so I can add a small shelf under it and open things ups over the sink. Possibly we'll tackle the space over the oven and add a custom vent hood make of reclaimed wood from the barn. And replace that drafty sliding glass door. But really, I can live happily here for quite some time just as it is!