Ideas for Our VERY Woodsy Kitchen?

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Q: My partner and I live in northern Canada, and we have just bought a house that has a lot of wood… everywhere. We both like the wood to some extent (the house is on a lake so a bit of a cottage-y feel wouldn't be totally out of place), but we recognize that paint could really brighten and modernize the house. The kitchen is our sticking point right now — do we paint the cupboards white, the walls white, or everything white (or another color)? Should we keep some of the wood? I hear painting cupboards is pretty challenging:

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The kitchen is our sticking point right now — do we paint the cupboards white, the walls white, or everything white (or another color)? Should we keep some of the wood? I hear painting cupboards is pretty challenging.

A bit more info: the room has east-facing french doors on one side, then just the overhead fluorescent light, which is ugly but will probably have to stay for a while. I was planning on painting the frame around the light white so it would blend into the ceiling.The paneling in the kitchen is a light pine, real wood (i.e., not particle board) — as wood panelling goes, it is fairly nice. The cupboards are unfinished pine.

Any suggestions on what to do with this space (including suggestions on how to rearrange the space) would be very welcome!

Sent by Libby

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(Image credits: Libby)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.