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Pip Oak Kitchen Restoration, Thirsk

This hand painted kitchen restoration is one that I am very proud of and one that brought this beautifully made ‘pippy’ oak kitchen back to the 21st century. It was a real labour of love with the project having many a stage and a lot of prep and intricacies. The original cost of this kitchen would have been many 10’s of thousands of pounds so the hand painting solution was by far and away the best option to modernise it.

Unfortunately after weeks of work the pictures I took didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped as the lighting was awkward for taking photos. They aren’t really the quality needed for one of my ‘project pages’ but hopefully this Blog gives you a good feel for the transformation and the work that went into it :-).

pip oak kitchen painting
The completed kitchen
The original ‘pippy’ oak
oak kitchen painter Thirsk
The finished hand painted transformation
The same kitchen but so much lighter, brighter and more modern!

The clients were away for the entire duration of the project which allowed me to work long days and make the space entirely my own as no-one was using it other than me. When they returned they had a ‘brand new’ kitchen and were over the moon with the results and attention to detail. They were kind enough to write this testimonial for me –

“If I may I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for an outstanding job that has exceeded any expectations we might have had. You have transformed our worthy, but slightly dull oak kitchen in to something that appears to be a brand new. We had agonised for several years over what to do with our kitchen. It was a very high quality and extremely expensive kitchen and after 15 years was showing little sign of age but we were frankly a bit bored with it. To replace it when it was in such condition made no sense but we desperately wanted to change the whole look of the kitchen and following our initial meeting with you when we discussed options we now have a transformed and modern elegant looking cream kitchen which should provide a further 15 years of service before we need to consider replacing it and all at a fraction of the cost of a completely new kitchen.

To say that we’re happy is an understatement and we cannot thank you enough for the quality of your work, your professionalism and for having been such a pleasure to work with on this project. We are now looking at our fitted bedroom wardrobes and wondering whether we should let you bring them in to the twenty first century.”

Mr Fretter, Knayton, Nr. Thirsk.

‘Pippy’ oak is more a wild hedgerow tree than a straight grown oak and features curly grain with natural clusters of pin knots and patterns similar to a cat’s paw. It is a lovely wood to paint but does involve a goodly amount of prep and filling.


The colour used was Farrow & Balls ‘Ringwold Ground’ which I had accurately tinted to the equivalent shade by Holmans Paints in my specialist paint system from Finland. For this kitchen I used entirely oil based paint to create a perfectly smooth eggshell finish with around a 20% sheen level.

Initial Stages

As with all my kitchen painting projects the first stage was to remove all the handles, cabinetry and then number and remove all the doors. Removing the doors makes painting the shell a lot easier and creates a much better and more complete finish. Once the doors were removed I masked off the floor and worktops with lining paper so that all areas were completely protected and I could easily keep on top of the dust levels. Once cleaned, degreased and sanded it was time to address the ‘pippy’ nature of the wood. All the holes needed to be thoroughly filled and smoothed out otherwise the end finish would look very rustic. I filled every hole and knot, of which there were many many hundreds, with a hard two pack filler.

Filling the many holes and knots
Everything masked off, taped, cleaned, sanded and filled

Painting Stages

Once everything was broken down, masked off, clean/degreased, sanded and filled it was finally on to the painting. I first applied a coat of shellac based primer to stop and potential ‘tannin’ issues and to seal the knots. I then sanded everything back and applied another coat of another high adhesion primer.

kitchen painting preparation
kitchen painting preparation

Once primed, I lightly sanded everything back again to ensure the surface was perfectly smooth, and then applied two coats of an oil based Thixotropic alkyd paint. This paint is extremely durable and although tricky to apply, if done correctly can achieve a flawless ‘classy’ finish.

Once all the painting was complete I re-hung the doors, re-attached all the handles and cabinetry, took up all the lining paper, removed all the tape, gave all the interiors a good clean and tickety booed.

Kitchen cabinet painter Thirsk
Ta da!
The original look
Beautifully made but a little dated
oak kitchen painter Thirsk North Yorkshire
The completed hand painted kitchen
oak kitchen painter Thirsk North Yorkshire
Looking much more contemporary
oak kitchen painter Thirsk North Yorkshire
Close up of the smooth finish and attention to detail
hand painted pippy oak kitchen
The large ‘spindles’ were sprayed, much more efficient for this kind of detailing.

And there you have it, a very satifying project completed to a very high level. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Blog and looking at the pictures

If you’d like to see other projects I have undetaken please follow this link

Lee works throughout Yorkshire and the UK and is within easy reach for projects in York, Wetherby, Ripon, Bradford, Leeds, Doncaster, Wakefield, Halifax and the surrounding areas.