The kitchen's standard oak cabinets look dated and staid.              
Painted and reconfigured cabinetsin a soft cream-some with new
fronts-now accomdate a microwave,
new wall ovens and a TV atop the fridge.


If a new kitchen is in your crystal ball but the cost of all new cabinetry is clouding the picture, Rock Headley has a solution "” paint.

"A lot of people get all new cabinets when remodeling just because they don't like the cabinet stain or the style of the doors. When they find out they don't have to replace them and money can be saved in the process, they're pretty happy," says the master painter who started his career 30 years ago perfecting faux finishes and working on historic restorations throughout the south.

As the faux finish trade began to wane, Headley focused on cabinets, repainting existing doors, adding delicate washes, crown molding, end trim and "feet" to give them more depth and an up-to-date custom furniture look. He can work with the original doors and cabinets to achieve a complete facelift or reconfigure a layout adding new pieces and architectural trim. Many cabinet remodelers automatically replace the fronts on existing boxes to make the work easier. But Headley doesn't see the sense in wasting perfectly good wood if it can save a client money.

One recent client was trying to sell his home in Union, Ky.'s Triple Crown that included a kitchen lined with stock oak cabinets. "The designer said the kitchen was holding the house back because it looked dated," he says. He removed the hardware, refinished many existing doors, added grander crown molding, transformed some doors to drawers, replaced a wine rack with a microwave, and reconfigured the cabinetry to accommodate new wall ovens, light rails, a relocated cooktop and TV atop the new fridge.

The resulting kitchen (shown) has a softer, lighter look, and the cabinets look more like built-in, custom furniture pieces.

Oak is probably the most popular wood he refinishes, taking the doors to his shop where they are degreased, restyled, primed, sanded and painted, then usually finished with a glaze, which he says gives cabinets more character. He'll then add crown molding and trim to the original boxes. The process takes about two weeks depending on the size and details.

When he began spotlighting cabinets, raised panels on doors were at the top of the list. Now most ask for crown molding, end panel and island trim or beadboard accents and "feet" once seen only in custom kitchens.

For more information on R.L Headley Kitchen Cabinet Painted Finishes, call (513) 218-1139 or visit