My house was built in 1863, (and no we didn't build it.) We bought the house it 1985.
The kitchen was very out-dated, with only one cupboard above the sink and about 3' of counter space around the sink. That was one of the first things I wanted to work on, but with kids in school, work and no extra money it took a few years before I could have some built. I finally got what I wanted, some beautiful knotty pine cabinets. I loved my cupboards, but after 22 years they were looking very dated. So I decided to paint them. I took all the doors and drawer fronts off, also the knobs and handles. I sanded just enough so the paint would stick and wiped them down with deglosser,this helps take off some of the varnish.The top cabinets I painted cream, sanded and stained the edges. The bottom ones I painted barn red....loved the top ones, didn't like the bottom ones....so I painted them again,(well it took me a couple of years) this time with a dark olive green color..again sanded and stained.
When I first painted the bottom cabinets I used a enamel paint....big mistake, it takes forever to dry! Latex paint works just as well. All I did was make more work for myself. I really had to sand a lot more, but I love the way they turned out. All the work was worth it.