August 13, 2010

Cabinet Makeover

Well, here it is.  After eight years of deliberating I finally took the plunge and painted my kitchen cabinets.  I put it off for so long because I was afraid it would be hard to do and it wouldn't look good when I was finished.  I finally arrived at a place where I decided, "What did I have to lose?"  I hated them and they were falling apart.  Over the years,  Allen has literally repaired every drawer and cabinet door in this almost forty year old kitchen.  This was one of the more recent ones. 
I am here to say, "I can not believe I waited so long to do this!"  It was so easy.  In fact it was far easier than painting the living room.  What I liked about this project was that I could do it in little bites.  We worked on one cabinet each day until we got the job done.  That way we never had the kitchen in too much chaos and we didn't get weary of it as we would have if we had tried to do it all at once.  Which was a good thing because many days during this project it was far above ninety outside and we didn't want to be much of anywhere but in the pool.

Without further ado here are some before pictures. 

What I have always loved about this kitchen is how very bright and sunny it is.  Every morning I walk out and just take a deep breath and life feels good in the light that pours in here. 
Do you see the drawer at the top of the cabinet between the refrigerator and stove? That represents the condition of the majority of the drawers.  Many of them had broken to the point that even my talented carpenter of a husband could not fix them AND make them look good any longer.  Those four holes are where he had to screw the face on.
And this is what the cabinet fronts looked like.  You can see how the front panels were breaking away.  Again, there was no way to fix it without the aid of caulk, which would not have looked very good on the wood.  But wait until you see it caulked and painted up!

There were some places where chunks had broken out of the poorly built cabinet fronts.  Allen did a master job with putty and sand paper so we could hide them under the paint.  Something we couldn't do with the wood finish.  I thought I had a good picture of one of those doors but you'll have to take my word for it because I can't find it tonight.
Well, even the ones that weren't broken, while I love vintage things, these lacked the charm of vintage and the beauty of fresh and new.  Let's face it they were just plain ugly!
Same thing here with the island.  I thought someone had taken some good before pictures but this is about the best I can find right now.  Keep this in mind, though, because you are going to see an amazing transformation!  

So here it is what everyone wants to know.  How did I do it?  With help from my girls, of course!

Oh, that's not what you meant?  Actually, it was just a few steps.
  1. We started with removing the fronts and drawers for the section we were working on that day. 
  2. We cleaned the wood thoroughly using my favorite kitchen product, Greased Lightening.  If you have never used this then drop everything go to Home Depot and get a gallon.  This is the only not natural and organic product you will find in my home and I wouldn't do without it.  It doesn't smell bad.  It doesn't irritate your skin.  And it magically removes grease and grime from every surface.  Tough enough that with no elbow grease and in a matter of minutes it removed almost forty years of cooking grime from even the hinges and screws on my cabinets but gentle enough to get greasy stains out of delicate silk.  If you don't believe me ask any southern girl.  This is one of those long time secrets housewives down there have been keeping from us for years. 
  3. Instead of sanding we found this amazing product through an online tutorial.  

Now listen to this.  My biggest concern with doing this project was all the mess and time with sanding down the old finish.  WITH THIS PRODUCT YOU DON'T HAVE TO!  I am not kidding you.  All you do is take a rag and wipe this stuff on in a circular motion and let it dry for ten minutes.  Hard, eh?

Oh, do heed the warning on the bottle and wear rubber gloves designed for use with chemicals.  Brianna dropped some on my range hood and it ate through the finish in a matter of seconds.  
Well, anyway, that's what that gray mark is on my otherwise almond colored hood.  It's a good thing I am short and can't see up there.  Besides, I wanted to replace it anyway since it hasn't matched my stove since we replaced it last year.

5.  So after it dries for ten minutes you add a coat of primer.  
Now here's the really fun part.  Primer has to sit for two hours so we went for a dip in the pool and had a bite of lunch while it dried.  After a swim, a nibble and a few chapters of my book, we put the youngers down for nap time it was time for step

6.  The first coat of Sag Harbor Green.  To make this easier I rested the door fronts on top of old paint cans, of which we have a large collection.  (Note to self, clean out old dried up paint cans in the tool room.)
Now a few words, because this post is already so long, what's a few more?  And besides, I happen to know it has been a long time since you all have had the pleasure of hearing me go off on a tangent.  For starters, don't cheap out on the paint.  Good paint makes the job so much faster and easier.  There are only two types of paint I will buy and I have learned this from experience.  The first is a local brand and since it isn't available nation wide I won't bother mentioning it.  The second, and it is second only to McCormick's, is Behr Pemium Plus Ultra available at Home Depot.

Do not waste your time and money on Valspar.  It is the worst paint in the world and none too cheap, either.  Ditto for Dutch Boy.

When choosing your paint use a semi gloss enamel to stand up to kitchen traffic and cleaning.  The funny thing about my paint is this.  I knew what color I wanted because I chose it from a stripe in my kitchen curtains.  I also knew I wanted the Home Depot paint.  When I went to Home Depot I couldn't find the exact color I wanted.  I didn't have a large enough sample for them to match.  However, I remembered seeing the exact color I wanted at Lowes.  So we left Home Depot.  Went to Lowes and grabbed the paint chip.  Then we went back to Home Depot and asked them to match it.  Voila!  Fortunately, Home Depot and Lowes are just around the corner from each other.

We let the first coat sit up for the recommended four hours.  This gave us time to repaint the trim in the kitchen and do all the other things we were ignoring like preparations for the upcoming school year, laundry and meals for the family.  (A plug for the family who haven't complained once about eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly on store bought bread for the last three weeks while I was otherwise occupied.)

After the four hour waiting period, Allen came through and worked his magic with putty and caulk.  Caulk requires another two hours of drying time so those pieces got their second coat before we went to bed at night.  But for the few that didn't need patching, after four hours we were ready to move on and

7.  Add a second coat of color.  This paint is so good, I probably didn't need to do a second coat but let's face facts, I have a lot of kids and these things are going to get beat up.  I figured as long as I was at it, I might as well give myself the extra insurance.  

I let them set up for the paint to cure for twenty-four hours because it has been very humid and the enamel seems to take longer.   

Now somewhere around the second or third day into this I got the idea that the island would look great if Allen trimmed it out with wainscot and some new baseboard.  He wasn't sold on the idea but decided to humor me anyway.
It took him just about two hours on Saturday and about $50 to transform this eyesore into a fabulous accent.  Now every single time he walks through the kitchen he tells me what a great idea it was.

After twenty four hours to cure the paint, my night in shining armour, who happens to own a power driver, came through and attached new hardware for me.  This was another great deal.  I knew what I wanted but those drawer pulls were four dollars a piece.  By being willing to compromise I was able to find these at the cost of 10 for only $20.  You be the judge.  I think they came out fabulous.

I had intended to reuse my hinges because I couldn't find any in black that would work with the cupboards we have.  However, many of them were broken so that the doors would no longer close right.  Allen was able to find some nice ones and ended up replacing them all.  I am so glad he did.  I didn't realize how annoying it was to have those doors flopping open all the time!
As it is around here, no one is exempt once a project gets started.  Ellie happily handed Pa the pulls and screws as he needed them.

Since we had painted the trim... and the cupboards... and the windows... we figured we might as well do some fall cleaning while we were at it.

The walls got a scrub.
Samuel helped clean behind the refrigerator.

We washed the windows.
And Voila!
 A cleaner
Warmer place to call home.
Doesn't the island look completely different?

Now Allen wants to replace the floor

And we all agree the old 1970 counter top has got to go...
And let's not forget the range hood and refrigerator that don't match the other appliances.  But for now, I am happy to say... "It's done!" 

Now, Miss Gayle, I am dying to know, does this look like the same kitchen you helped me move into eight years ago?


  1. Mmmm... love these colors. Your kitchen looks so bright and friendly! I just repainted my kitchen, but haven't done the cabinet doors yet. I like your idea of just doing a few at a time. I think I will try that!

  2. I adore that color! And I'm a big beadboard fan, so I already knew that island was gonna turn out AMAZING! :)

    Sooo... care to share the name of the Lowe's color that HD matched? :)

  3. Oh my, what a fabulous transformation. Well done! And well done for waiting 8 years too....
    It really has totally transformed your kitchen.
    I'll know whose door on which to come a-knocking if we're ever needing something like this done!
    Do you do overseas?!
    Love, Anne (in Scotland)x

  4. dear Almost brand new!

    You did SUPER! All of your ideas, compromises, absolutes, methods, products, and everything is just IMPRESSIVE!
    I removed all the upper doors and the doors below the sink a couple years ago to paint. Then they ended up getting damaged in a basement flood while we waited to begin. Hense, ahem.....We still have mostly open shelving which i have come to love, but not sure the overall look is what i want. I was afraid to start the process, for all the same reasons you mentioned....but now i am thinking it really is do~able afterall.

    inspired by you (again)

  5. WOW, Kat! I LOVE IT! It looks GORGEOUS! I have been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for 21 years. I think
    IT'S TIME! :>)


  6. I love how it turned out!! I really like those colors together. Great job!

  7. Kat,

    Both Steve and I congratulate you on such a wonderful and great home improvement project. Yes, you've even inspired us to look at doing ours and I love the idea for your island. I love it and have talked Steve into doing that for ours as well. He said it would be a snap.

    Now does that give me an answer of how long it will take for him to get started?

    Truly a fabulous make over.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  8. It really was a grand idea you had to repaint the cabinets. Really changes the whole room. Thanks for letting me help!

  9. I know it's been almost a year, but this is an amazing transformation! You all did a fabulous job and it looks so nice!