Before you scroll down and expect to see oak cabinets vanish behind paint or get thrown out the window, my clients decided to keep them!
Unexpected, right?! Poor golden oak gets a bad rap (I've been known to bash it myself) but you can absolutely make it work--and that's what my clients wanted to do. After getting some quotes for painting that would've eaten up a lot of their $10K-$12K budget, and without the time to DIY, they decided to roll with it and spend the money on other goodies.
Here's how the room looked at our first meeting:
This is a big ol' kitchen, but thanks to the green walls, appliance garages, and wood-trimmed laminate countertops, it felt dark and cramped. And that fan was low enough that all of us--who are tall--were nervous about potential head-bonking. So aside from ensuring head safety, my clients wanted to lighten things up and make the room feel as large as it really is.
I think we nailed it: