What a labor of love! After many years in our home, our flooring in the kitchen needed to be replaced. Well, since we were updating the floors and the fridge shelves had broken and ice maker quit working, and the kitchen faucet was corroded in hard water that wouldn't come off anymore, I decided it was time to redo the whole kitchen, cabinets as well. Our cabinets were in wonderful condition and I still loved them but they needed a little updating. I thought about painting them white but really like the warmth of wood. So...what is a girl to do? I refinish furniture and have used General Finishes Java Gel stain, but I knew that I wanted my cabinets darker, but not that dark. So I bought brown mahogany, antique walnut, and then Georgian cherry. None of them produced the color that I was looking for. So....what is a girl to do when tackling a project of this size by myself and knowing that this was the product I needed to use in order for my sanity to make it out alive but also knowing the color wasn't right? Start mixing stains of course and when you get it right, you'd better make sure you mix enough to do the whole project! LOL.
So after mixing a few batches of stains, I decided I had found the perfect color. It even matched the wood floors in my dining room. It's funny how it works on a project like this. After only 1 coat of stain, I decided that the color that I was going to do (2 to 3 coats), might be a little too dark still on so much surface. So I continued on with one coat and loved the result. It is just dark enough to update them, I can still see the wood grain, and if I want to go darker another time, I still can! All in all, I am loving the result. We have the floors done, cabinets done, new faucet, and all new appliances. Now we need to do lighting, counter tops and back splash, but for now we are taking a break until spring when we can open the windows while we work. What do you think? Dark enough? Not dark enough? I actually love the warmth and color and it's my house, so it's a win win for me but I just wanted to throw this out there in case their are other people who would like to update their cabinets, but maybe not quite as dark as the General Finishes Gel Stain. Mixing it was easy, so give it a try. In my case, I had already bought all the colors. Might as well try to use them and it worked perfectly! Maybe you can find just the right color for you too! Good luck! Oh, just so you know.....I have used gel stain on probably a dozen projects and the ONLY way I have found that you can get away with anything less than 3 coats is to apply with a foam brush and then DRY brush immediately. To do this kitchen, I actually used 3 boxes of 2" chip brushes. The color is actually more even in person than the lighting shows in the after photo, but hopefully you get the idea. Give it a try, especially if you are just going to replace your cabinet anyway.....what could it hurt? Start with a junk dresser, a thrift store shelf or something that is inexpensive and you'd get rid of anyway. That's what I did and now I've done a ton of projects, even selling some pieces for fun! It's time consuming, but in my opinion, so worth it!
(And just in case you were wondering what color I was going to do and ended up going lighter....here is the same stain with 2 coats. Still love it but afraid it might have been too dark in my kitchen.)