Hi, thanks for taking the time to post, you raise some good points.
Just in case I got the wrong end of the stick, have you got a photo to double check against what I have written
It is also refreshing to see that you tested the paint first to see if it does what you expect before ploughing into the whole project. Expectations are one of the hardest things to manage, and there are plenty of variables too, so sampling is a good plan for all of us at all levels of experience. I have seen many a “best shot” specification knocked down in flames when it doesn’t quite do what the end user wants or expects.
From what you have described, you want to avoid a heavy coating system to keep the fine detailing, in a dark colour in a flat sheen.
It sounds like your cabinets were factory sprayed before, so stating the obvious first, to achieve the exact same characteristics again, it would need to be redone the same way.
If you are using a brush and roller, a waterborne Tikkurila Helmi system (Helmi primer plus a satin-matt (30%) sheen) is definitely at the top table of the “best paint” category, used on many high end new hand painted kitchens. It is an enamel lacquer, so is not super thick per coat. They put their paints in aerosols which may help with the detailing.
For all its qualities, you may have a separate issue to overcome with Tikkurila with dark colours. It may be that the colour you choose does not cover as well as expected and requires an extra coat. If you tell us the colour we may be able to advise. In any case, get a small tin and retry your test area.
If you look at Tikurrila, contact Holmans Specialist Paints and ask them for the final word on the specification.
It is worth bearing in mind that dark colours in general will show finger marks and you will need regular wiping down to keep a dark kitchen looking pristine. It is a big consideration even with black granite, which won’t easily scratch but it is not all pleasure to live with!
In your case, you are disappointed with the marking on Little Greene oil eggshell in a dark colour. I have a cabinet in a dark aubergine, it is not blemish free after a few years, but not like you describe. Did you primer/undercoat and couple of coats of the eggshell, well stirred? cure time is 28 days - You may want to go the store and get them to check.
Little Greene oil eggshell. It is a well used finish on kitchens and furniture, liked for drying back flat with the traditional look, and with the most popular colours for kitchens being in the light to mid range there is a lot to be said for specifying it. Done so myself many times, but in this case there are a couple of reasons to consider the waterborne alternative above especially with the aerosol option.
Hope that helps. There are a few things to think about when painting kitchens!