Cerused French Oak Kitchens and Cabinets – Kitchen Trend 2016

Every year I have written a post about kitchens. One year I wrote about all-white kitchens. Last year I wrote about Greige (grey/beige) kitchens, and this year I’m writing about my new love, cerused French oak kitchens!

cerused oak cabinet
1 – source

Cerused means that the oak floor/cabinet has lime or wax applied into the grain of the wood to give it a little depth and contrast. I totally love how soft it makes the cabinets look.

limed oak cabinet
2- source

What I like about this picture is that you can see the lime or wax in the grain of the cabinets.

3- source, house beautiful

This one below has a little less obvious limed oak, but is definitely the blonde French White Oak!

4- Traditional Kitchen by Dallas Kitchen & Bath Designers Backline Renovations

5- Beach Style Kitchen by Milford Interior Designers & Decorators Shelter Interiors llc

6- Rustic Kitchen by New Holland Cabinets & Cabinetry Quality Custom Cabinetry, Inc


This kitchen below hits all of the right notes… open shelves, aged wooden beams, white marble countertops, cerused oak cabinets…

8- source

9-Rustic Kitchen by South Pasadena Interior Designers & Decorators Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.

According to this article, the cerused oak look came from the 1940s from the French designer Jean-Michel Frank. The trend has come out of high-end furniture sales at auction from the late 2000’s… This cabinet which sold at Christies for 40k is considered one of the main inspirational pieces for this trend…


I just wanted to show you that this is not a *new* trend… here is an 18th century Belgian cabinet with the cerused oak. Granted, it has probably had a new finish applied from it’s original. Isn’t it beautiful?


One reason the two furniture pieces above, while both cerused, look different is because of the cuts of the oak. The Jean-Michel cabinet is made from rift-sawn oak, whereas the 18th century Belgian cabinet is made from plain sawn oak.

Below you can see an image showing you how you can cut the oak and get different views of the grains.  Can you guess which one is the least and then most expensive? If you guessed plain sawn as the cheapest, you are right! The rift sawn is the most expensive and is currently considered the most desirable… naturally it’s the one I like best! I’m always picking out the most expensive everything even when I have no idea about the product!

Here are two more furniture examples, both from Restoration Hardware with the cerused oak. They called it “Aged oak” or “Grey Oak” but it’s the same thing.

This cabinet below is from the new RH Modern collection… Although I prefer the antique looking cabinet above!

Back to the kitchen tour, This is one of my favorite kitchens. Very stylish with the steel windows! Although, dark floors are going “out”, but I still think they look pretty!

10 =photo: Atlanta homes & Life Styles

 A more contemporary version, at first I thought the hood of the stove was a big screen tv!

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Here is an example of a whitewashed white oak examples with grey undertones. It still has cerused wood. I like this look too. 

13- Transitional Kitchen by Mamaroneck Kitchen & Bath Designers Studio Dearborn

Here is a very contemporary cerused black oak kitchen. I actually don’t hate this black kitchen. Normally I hate black kitchens  and really modern kitchens but the limed look softens it a bit. 

14 –Contemporary Kitchen by Seattle Cabinets & Cabinetry Warmington & North

A trendy kitchen complete with the now in-style brass fixtures! I still can’t believe brass is back in style… and the fact that I like it. I think it’s because the brass is aged and not shiny from the 80s.

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This one also has some grey undertones. You can really notice that these cabinets are rift sawn.

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Here the island is a cerused French white oak… The very tight grout lines of the tile below are also tres chic.

17- source

The kitchen below hits all of the trends. Let’s review them, shall we? Steel windows. French oak plank floors AND ceiling. Waterfall effect island of white marble. Farmhouse sink. Cerused oak cabinets. Did we miss anything? Oh, no over-the-counter shelves.

18- source

Now, I love this kitchen from Brooke Gianetti.  She used a custom French white oak cabinet with a custom stain. I can’t tell if its cerused or not – I think it is. Like the farmhouse sink, chandeliers over the island, wood beam ceiling, overmudded backsplash behind the stove, wide French oak plan floors, and dare I say, I even like the brass fixtures!

19= source: Patina Farm

Now, I think the cabinet below is more whitewashed than cerused, but it’s just another example.

20- source

This kitchen from Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen does have greige cabinets on the sides, but the island is a cerused oak!

21- source

A more modern take on the look…

22- source

 I like this kitchen below. Cerused cabinets in the way back with whitewashed cabinets in the front with travertine floors.

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 A contemporary cerused look. I like that the cerused cabinets make even harsh contemporary looks soften up a bit.

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Here is a kitchen designed by Jeffrey Alan Marks, from the beloved Million Dollar Decorators (RIP) show. He used the white oak back in 2013, ahead of the times! That fish wallpaper is by DeGournay!

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Are you liking this trend?

26- source

I have loved this kitchen for a long time. Windows on both sides of the stove bring in light. Two little chandeliers above the giant island. Greige/whitewashed cabinets in the back with cerused oak on the island. Overmudded limestone wall on the back. Aged wooden beams above. Travertine floors. I think I would want my kitchen to look like this.

27 – source

The kitchen below mixes two styles – cerused cabinets and greige island cabinets. 

28 – Traditional Kitchen by Dallas Kitchen & Bath Designers Backline Renovations

Well, what do you think of this trend?? Is it a breathe of fresh air or does it remind you too much of your Grandma’s cabinets from the mid-century?

I want you all to tell me which one is your favorite in the comments – I put numbers below all of the pictures to make it easy for you! I’m really quite curious.  I think my favorite is #27.

Sources for the pictures are listed below it.

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

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  1. January 12, 2016 / 12:17 am

    Hi Angelina,

    This post inspires me to work on our kitchen more. I like all the photos you curated to illustrate this new trend. I think #2 with the beige cabinets is my favorite but I like the combination of textures throughout kitchen #27. Are you remodeling?

    • January 12, 2016 / 12:39 am

      I also like #2. No, not remodeling… building, from scratch. In the very very early stages, so I'm enjoying the daydreaming part now…

  2. January 12, 2016 / 1:17 am

    Hi Angelina. I really like #21, Tom and Giselle's kitchen. Just lovely. I love the combination of the greige and the cerused…which, by the way, is a new word for me. Thanks for the education today! Pinning for my next home.

    Happy day, Lynn

    • January 12, 2016 / 3:17 am

      #21 is a very good pic too, I wouldn't mind having that as my kitchen as well! I only recently learned the term cerused too… Thought I would share it with everyone!

  3. January 12, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    HI, thanks for the education about cerused oak! You did a super job explaining and showing photos! The photos just highlighted for me how much work my kitchen (dark honey oak) needs:) Have a super week – Christine

  4. January 12, 2016 / 11:09 pm

    I can see why you like it so much, it's lovely. I would think it would hold up nicely to a lot of traffic and craziness that a kitchen has some times.

  5. January 13, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    They are all beautiful. 27 is also my fave with 21 being a close runner-up. So interesting to learn about cerused cabinets. I had ever heard that term before. A lot of inspiration in this post.

  6. January 14, 2016 / 6:02 am


    I apologize as I am a little late in visiting, I meant to stop by your blog before Xmas after you left your lovely comments on mine but the holidays just got me so behind. I am finally coming up for air and catching up now. Your blog is lovely! Especially this post. So well researched and such good eye candy – lots to Pin here! I am a die hard "white kitchen person", but I must admit, some of these are really pretty. I would probably not do it (at least not yet) but they are still light, which I like, and very sophisticated. Like you said, a breath of fresh air. It's hard to pick just one, but since you asked, I like 19 and 21 the best!

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog last month and for your sweet comments!


    • January 14, 2016 / 6:49 pm

      I love your blog too, Sheila! thanks for the compliments… it did take some time to do some research for this post… I was learning as well! You can't go wrong with a white kitchen, as well. I really like #19 and #21 too… definitely in my top 3!

  7. January 14, 2016 / 6:24 pm

    This finish is a favorite of mine! Beautiful post, Angelina. My kitchen is on the agenda this year and I haven't decided which route to go with cabinet finishes. Cerused was one of my options or a classic white with glaze is the other. There are a few other ideas I'm tossing around too.

    I shared this post on my Facebook business page and again on my business personal page that is open to the public.

    Thank you for linking with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.


    • January 14, 2016 / 6:50 pm

      Choosing a kitchen finish is SO difficult!! I loooove the cerused look, but I worry about finding a cabinet person who can do it right, ya know? Thanks for the extra shares!

  8. January 15, 2016 / 3:33 am

    Sometime this year, I'm building a house. #27 has long been my favorite kitchen as well. I want wide plank, distressed oak floors, lots of neutrals, farm sink, veined marble. Happy to have found you from Katherine'sCorner. Checkout my "New House" board on 1010ParkPlace/Pinterest.

    • January 15, 2016 / 6:55 pm

      Brenda, I totally agree with you on the dream kitchen. I want all those things too. I wanted wide plank wood floors… Until something happened. In my parents condo there was wide plank wood floors and the refrigerator broke and it leaked EVERYWHERE. Completely ruined the floor and they had to rip it all out. It was a disaster. It has made me nervous to put in wood floor. I think I will end up doing tile. Just something to think about!

  9. January 15, 2016 / 3:38 am

    I am really enjoying your lovely collection of kitchen inspirations! Thanks for sharing.

  10. January 18, 2016 / 5:18 pm

    Wow, tons of beautiful cabinetry! I think #10 is my favorite. I am loving that huge window over the sink and the lighting fixture!

    • January 18, 2016 / 6:40 pm

      I really like #10 too. The whole wall on the right seems like a lot of storage and I do love that big window too!

  11. January 21, 2016 / 3:39 am

    What beautiful kitchens! I like this look. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  12. September 12, 2016 / 8:18 am

    Beautiful kitchens It looks fabulous and the pulls are great to.It's the perfect depth to compliment the structure and detail of the walls and the rest of the room surrounding, and blends in gorgeously.
    Kitchen remodeling Austin

  13. Anonymous
    September 28, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing your research! I'm contemplating doing something with my mid-tone golden oak cupboards from the late 90's and having a hard time with going with paint. Seems like a waste to cover up good wood with paint. This might be a good option:)

  14. Anonymous
    October 6, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    I can't thank you enough for this post! I am just like Anon above, wanting to do something to update my grainy mid-tone oak cabinets. What a fantastic compilation you have gathered of beautiful ideas. And a new term I have not heard "cerused" – think I will be cerusing it alot:) Thanks again for making my day by giving me some ideas besides painting over perfectly good wood for yet another white kitchen on the block! Now, it's just either finding someone that can do it or learning to myself…

  15. March 30, 2017 / 11:14 am

    Thanks for these outstanding pictures . These are really beautiful. thanks for sharing with us

  16. March 30, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Nice blog! and nice design of kitchen, this type of kitchen make homes attractive.

  17. March 30, 2017 / 11:16 am

    Great post and the kitchen looks lovely. thanks for sharing it.

  18. September 12, 2017 / 3:39 am

    21, hands down. The grey will never go out of style for me. I have ceramic barn-wood look tile and I'm about to paint the cabinets grey, too. I have even wrapped some of my walls with old fence wood. I just love the rustic grey look. I had tan before, so I'm really not in to "greige" because I wanted to move away from browns. This type of staining – "liming"/waxing – really depends on the wood and the technique… some of it is way too modern looking. That older cabinet looks a little like it went through a time warp and lost its cherry coating. LOL My mother, the antique collector that she was, would die again if I were to do that with some of her stuff.