Fridays at Home: Kitchen Progress

2nd December 2011

Wowowowowowow. So. Refinishing cabinets is, well, not fun. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t make it. Moments I called my mom near tears. Moments I thought I would absolutely lose it looking at all those messy cabinets with no doors to hide the disorganization. But much like in Dante’s Inferno, I have made it back to the shady glen.

I always thought refinishing cabinets was a super expensive project. In cold hard cash? Not so much. In back-breaking intensive labor? Uh, yes. Was it worth it? Most definitely.

Let me walk you through my processes. Remember my inspiration pics from Pinterest in the post two weeks ago? Luckily, the paint from the inspiration board (Behr Garden View) was exactly what I wanted. The Saturday before Thanksgiving I painted, and the kitchen went from this:

Harsh, too-dark green I picked too quickly when I moved in.

View from the opposite corner of the kitchen

To this:

New color. Much brighter. But still with ugly cabinets.

Six hours of constant work up and down an 8-foot ladder (which, incidentally, burns several thousand calories), and I loved the color. Initially, my plan was to stop here, think about redoing the cabinets and consider beginning the process over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Well, apparently once the work mode struck, that was all there was. Sunday I borrowed a friend’s palm sander, removed all the cabinet doors and sanded all evening. The next morning a fine dust had settled over everything to prove it. You sand just enough to remove any finish (I have pics, but they’re incredibly blurry). I also wiped all the cabinets down with a bleach-water solution to remove any grease/dust from this step.

All in all, I had 36 cabinet doors/drawer fronts. I had two cabinets I didn’t even know about! Insanity.

Monday evening, I decided to begin painting, using Behr’s paint and primer in Falling Snow (after painstakingly choosing from many different whites in order to match the white backsplash tile).

Here’s a tip: use vegetable cans or sample paint cans (of which I have many lying around) on top of your dropcloth. It makes it much easier to paint the edges of the cabinet without any sticking:

(I put them under but later moved them on top of dropcloth)

Like so.

I rolled paint on first and went back with an angled brush to remove excess paint and to smooth roller marks. It worked like a charm and left a beautiful finish. I did, however, put a second coat for durability and also to remove brush marks in the corners.

I believe this was a first coat.

I had to paint the doors in two different afternoons/evenings: half Monday and half Wednesday. If you had an actual garage, this could go faster. Tuesday I sanded and painted the bases/bodies of the cabinets, which were unfortunately laminate. Ugh.

Everything dried for at least 48 hours, and my dad came and helped me rehang them all Friday and did some touching up of the paint. After that, I couldn’t clean everything up quickly enough. I kept coming back into the room to gaze fondly at my handiwork. I did also replace the drawer pulls because I’ve never liked the ones I had. I replaced the cabinet pulls when I first painted the kitchen. So what does all that work look like?


Another view

Sipping station I found the idea for years ago in a Lowe's DIY booklet.

Little sitting area with my super long windows (it's an old house)

This is directly across from the sink.

I cannot tell you how proud I am. There is still a lot I want to do to accessorize and maybe even change out the backsplash, but it is already such a big improvement. And here’s a breakdown of what I spent:

Behr Garden View paint: $23

Paint tray liner: $1.97 (these are great to use if you already have a paint tray)

New angled brush: $5.97 (I go through a lot of paintbrushes)

Sandpaper: $2.97

Palm Sander: $0 (borrowed)

Behr Paint and Primer Falling Snow: $33

New drawer pulls: $40 ($3/a piece; 13 pulls)

TOTAL: $106.91

Not too shabby for a totally new look in a room I really couldn’t stand. I probably spent more money grabbing food on trips to and from Home Depot, since the entire kitchen was torn apart.

As for the work itself:

Hours spent: 43 (so that’s why my back is sore)

That’s it at a glance. If you are considering redoing your cabinets and have questions, ask away. I’m no pro, but I’ve been to the 9th circle of hell and back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. Thanks to Young House Love for posting a kitchen redesign from Abode Love.

P.P.S. Thanks to Mrs. Limestone for originally inspiring me with her very similar cabinets in this post.

  • Missremmers

    I love this! It looks fantastic! Kudos to you for doing it yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks so much! I really do feel like Superwoman. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jenn, I’m really worried about your cocaine habit. KIDDING! Where do you find the energy?! The colors are amazing! I love how the white cabinets really make that greenish color pop, and I never noticed the awesome color of your island until now either. Love!

    • Thank you so much! It looks like a totally different room, and I really do love it. I still have some stuff I want to do in there, but for now, it’s good. And yes, I love that color on the island. I got that for FREE. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Meagan

    I really cannot get over how different it looks. I absolutely love it. The black appliances look super sharp now. So so proud of you. I can’t wait to come and see in person.

    • Thanks! And yeah, so wasn’t sure about the black, but it works.

  • Anonymous

    Cute! I like it; it looks like you did a great job.

  • Man, that looks incredible – what a difference! I’m a long ways from owning a home, but it’s refreshing to see how much change you can get for not much money – just a lot of time. Only thing, I’m not sure I’m as handy as you…if I ever attempted to take on this sort of redecorating I’m sure the write-up would be hilarious, though.

    • Thanks, Ellen! Yeah – it’s a huge difference. And believe me, if I can do this, so can you. And yes, I use #adventuresinhomeownership as a tag in Twitter when things aren’t going too well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Oooooh! Pretty!

  • Holy cr*p! This looks incredible!! It went to a light, cool, and pretty kitchen, and I can imagine hours spent there now. Oh, my goodness, brava, brava!!

    • Thank you so much! It really does make me want to spend more time in there. Plus, I love to entertain, and now I feel proud to have people in there.

  • Oh my gosh those colors are GORGEOUS!!!!! And i love the white cabinents contrasted with the brights. Kudos!!

    • Trish – thank you SO much. I really do like it but have some little things in there to finish that are driving me nuts. Maybe this week… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • i LOVE your kitchen! bright, colorful, cheery & pulled together!

    • Thank you! I’m so happy with it, and yes, it’s much more cheery in there these days.

  • Wow! That’s gorgeous!

  • Kathleen Haisten

    Searching for kitchen redos came across yours. It’s lovely! Great job!

    • pickygirl

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment. Good luck with your own kitchen reno. It’s hard work but totally worth it.

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