We have a new finish that we’re very excited about. It is a hand-painted finish that actually shows the grain/brush strokes. What’s fabulous AND DIFFERENT about this finish is you get an authentic hand-painted old-world look WITH a finish that has a catalyzed varnish, which means it is incredibly durable and painted in a dust-free environment (vs painted on a job site where there is little to no quality control). The catalyst in the varnish makes the finish hard enough so it is durable, doesn’t come apart, and is impervious to most household chemicals including acetone. Before this finish came out, clients wanting brushstrokes may have opted to have a custom shop build cabinets and then have painters come in a paint the cabinetry on the job site, but the problem with that is they don’t wear well and will likely require ongoing maintenance.  Having to repaint/maintain your cabinetry and endure the sanding, dust, paint smell, and general household intrusion every couple of years is something to think about when choosing painted cabinetry. Take a close look at the finish in the first photo, which is unique to our manufacturer, Bentwood. What they’ve been able to do is capture the brushstroke in a completely catalyzed finish. Now you can have the look of a hand-painted cabinet with the durability of a factory finish. Read this post: Seven Questions to Ask About Factory vs Job Site Finishes

Bentwood’s New Hand Painted Finish


The Hampton’s style kitchen we recently completed below has this finish. (See our photos of this kitchen designed by Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly here)

This is the hand painted finished kitchen.

We also used this white painted finish in our showroom display. This is the greatroom in our Williston Park showroom.

This is the greatroom in our Long Island kitchen showroom in Williston Park, NY.

On the flip side, if you prefer a painted finish without brushstrokes that is completely smooth, Wood-Mode has gone to extreme lengths to create the perfect painted finish without any swirls, sawdust, grit, or brushmarks. Wood-Mode’s finish is second to none, is unbelievably durable, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Ken just finished the job below in Wood-Mode’s smooth painted finish.

The three photos below show the smooth painted finish in Wood-Mode cabinetry.

This exquisite smooth painted finish is by Wood-Mode. Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. © 2012

Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly in Wood-Mode white painted finish. Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. © 2012

We used Wood-Mode’s smooth painted finish on the cabinets in this Garden City, Long Island home. Click image to enlarge. Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. ©


When planning your kitchen, the durability of the finish is an important consideration. Whether you prefer Wood-Mode’s smooth-painted finish or Bentwood’s hand-painted finish that shows brush strokes, you will NOT have to maintain these finishes. The desired aesthetic, smooth or with brush strokes, is a matter of personal preference.
See our client resources page to research several manufacturers products in one convenient location.
Further reading:

Bentwood Sent Me to Finishing School

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