Open Shelves Revisited

When we bought our house in 1991, the cabinets were the original varnished wood  in a lovely orangey flavor, circa 1979. I’m not sure how, but I convinced my husband we should paint them red. The merits and demerits of that decision are a subject for another time.

Before kitchen 3 small

Before open shelves-2003

In 2010, I was smitten by the wave of open shelves I saw everywhere on the internet. So one Friday night, as my husband sat at the breakfast table diligently preparing his BSF lesson, I quietly and unceremoniously removed the doors on a few of the upper cabinets. When he finally noticed, I had moved all plates, glasses, and other junk to the dining room.  I then confidently announced we didn’t need those cabinet doors any more. He agreed only after I promised to keep the doors handy in case we needed to sell the house and put them back on.

You can see the details of the whole project here as I described it a couple years ago. Today, I am revisiting the subject with a new perspective.

open shelves after_new a

Doors removed on a whim

The verdict?…

I loved the way open shelves/cabinets forced me to keep the contents tidy. I also enjoyed how easy it was to empty the dishwasher because I didn’t have to constantly open and close cabinet doors. Guests could conveniently help themselves to a clean glass or a paper plate without foraging behind closed doors. Furthermore, I thought it made my kitchen look more interesting, like it was a happenin’ place.

My husband? Not so much. I think it slightly offended his sense of order and neatness. He prefers the look of minimal clutter. Me too, actually, but it was something different, and I love change, especially if I’m in control. 🙂

When we began to plan a remodel of the first floor of our house this past January, I proposed new cabinet doors with windows. Seeing his chance to get the doors back on, my husband went for it.

new kitchen-2.jpg

Cabinet doors with glass-- March 2012

It turned out to be a good compromise that suits both of us. Seeing the irregular pattern of white and clear-glass dishes breaks up all the red. I am still forced to keep the cabinets orderly, but the doors tie everything together.  If you compare the before and after pictures, you will see we have also replaced the exterior windows, so the patterns echo each other.

New windows call for new curtains, right? So I removed the black valances, which looked like heavy eyebrows over my windows– not a great look for 8-foot ceilings.

In case you are wondering, I did NOT just have windows put into the original doors.  That was my plan, but the cabinet man said it was not a good idea. So I still have the original doors (just in case you decide to buy our house some day and can’t stand for anybody to see inside your cabinets).

P.S. I’m not addicted to Pinterest, but it did give me some great ideas for our little remodeling project.  The pictures below are proof. I pinned the image of the linen curtains from Houzz, another great site for decorating ideas.

Atlanta Christmas Show House - Girls Bedroom & Bath traditional bathroom
breakfast room window treatment 1.jpg

My breakfast room

If you like home decorating projects, here is another Pinterest interpretation.

Seen on Pinterest from Stacy Jacob Interiors

black doors

My interpretation - between my dining room and kitchen--glass doors replaced louvered doors

Mirrored wall

I've seen lots of black mirror collections on Pinterest but I love my white one--located in the dining room.


Per my neice's request: a picture of the unmatched but coordinated fabric on my dining room chairs.

Sorry I don’t have a recipe today but these rooms all have to do with eating so I hope you enjoyed seeing where the food on this blog comes from, especially since there hasn’t been much food coming out of my kitchen with all the construction going on lately. As soon as I find my bread machine and blender, I’ll be back in business.

Email This Post Email This Post Share Follow me on Pinterest

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy August 1, 2014 at 6:04 am

I really enjoyed reading how you went about this. The red is great in the kitchen.


Joy March 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

The new kitchen cabinets with glass are wonderful.And you white mirrors in the dining room are great. I have a odd-ball mirror collection in “My Room” (the place were I hide out much of the time).Your choice of color in every room are just beautiful.
Thanks again for sharing with all of us.


`Suzanne March 24, 2012 at 12:29 am

I really like the glass shelves I have 2 corner shelves in my kitchen that are glass and I love them. I’m not so orderly so without doors I would die or like you said be force to keep it tidy. Your home looks just wonderful, eye please and homey.


Deb March 21, 2012 at 3:42 am

When we moved in ’96 I thought I could live with (most of) the kitchen for a couple of years. One thing after another took presidence, so here it is 16 years later and we’re finally getting started.

I never thought of just taking the cupboard doors off. I’m continually hitting my head on them because they don’t close easily. My hubby would love it! He’s not neat, but doesn’t like to bother with the doors. The cabinet guy we talked to gave us an estimate that was not much less than new cabinets. I want a face lift not a complete make over!

I’d love a close up of your sink. I couldn’t copy it because I don’t have a corner. Does it really wrap around the corner? How cool!

I love the look you’ve got. I would love to find some open spaces in my house. Thanks for sharing.

PS: I’m with Gary – I still miss the pantry we moved from, but I’d love to just hose it all down and be done!


Smedette March 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I absolutely love opening shelving and glass-front cabinets.

Someday my kitchen will have both….someday….


Der March 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

OK… the chairs are really cool!!! I love the complete dining room!


Paula March 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

You made me laugh. I figured “take the biscuit” was kinda like our “take the cake” so I took it as a compliment. pr


Paula March 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I added a picture of the chairs per your request. It was great fun picking out all the fabrics. pr


Natasha March 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Okay I did mention that I’m Dutch right? I just realised that “to take the biscuit” might not have the positive meaning I thought it did. What I meant to say is that the cabinet doors with windows are the best! 🙂
p.s. My husband has started doing some paintwork in our house – I love it when that happens.


Natasha March 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I recently read your old post about the open shelves and loved the way they looked. But I must admit that your new cabinet doors with windows take the biscuit. They’re so stylish, but retain that nice open look of the open cabinets. Your home is beautiful!


Piper@GotItCookIt March 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Sigh…. I love it all. I especially love the red cabinets! Why are guys so uptight about open shelving? I have learned to ignore his first answer and go around again some other time. LOL

Your house is gorgeous!


Paula March 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Piper, I think open shelving goes in the same category as painting wood paneling. The testosterone types have a hard time with it.


Vicki V March 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

I love the glass doors and the glimpse of your new wood floors! Can you share the name of the paint color in your dining room? I’m getting ready to repaint, and it looks so pretty and fresh.


Paula March 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Vicki, I sent you some more pictures of the wood floor and also a picture of the paint formula which was custom from Sherwin Williams. If you don’t get them, check your junk mail. pr


Kalyn March 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

I do love the open shelves, but what you have done is a lovely compromise. I have both open shelves (former bookshelves for cookbooks until I got an office with a whole wall of shelves) and cupboards with windows in the doors in my kitchen and love them both.


Lorraine March 18, 2012 at 7:52 am

The kitchen looks beautiful… it must be a joy to spend time there whipping up your culinary treats. I have a hard time deciding what look I like better ~ all three cabinet styles look really nice to me.

Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your lovely home!


Paula March 18, 2012 at 7:46 am

I love the glass cabinets and matching your windows to them was brilliant. I have a weakness for French doors (or glass paneled doors) and your diningroom makeover is beautiful. Your art display above your kitchen windows is stunning!


Gary March 18, 2012 at 6:58 am

Oh, that was fun! And I love the red cabinets. My ideal kitchen would have a huge walk-in pantry and minimal cabinets. Actually, it would be stainless steel and concrete with a hose at the end and a drain in the middle. Easy clean up–LOL…. Thanks for sharing your home.


Paula March 18, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hi Gary,
A drain in the middle is a great idea. Reminds me of the system my engineer-uncle rigged up for my aunt. She had a swing-away baseboard in her kitchen where she could sweep the trash. Underneath it (somewhere in the basement, I guess) was a receptacle to catch the junk. Very cool idea. pr


The Café Sucré Farine March 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

Oh my goodness Paula, I know you are thrilled with this makeover – it’s just beautiful! And I have to laugh because it sounds like your husband and mine are “two peas in a pod” – he would have felt exactly the same way about the cabinet doors! When I’m cooking away, I usually have all the cabinet doors open and it doesn’t bother me a bit – not him though, the minute he walks in he very methodically closes all the cabinets, not being able to stand my cluttered messy look. I enjoy being organized but deep down inside I’m really quite messy but I think he was probably organizing the delivery room shortly after he was born! 🙂


Der March 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I am thrilled you gave us some before/after pictures! I think my favorite change is what you did above the sink windows. I also love the black doors to dining room. I want you to add a picture of the dining room chairs!
I am addicted to Pinterest, but sadly unable to duplicate any of the cool ideas:+)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: