Thursday, September 29, 2011

CABS are here!

Couldn't help myself on the title since this post is about how I truly transformed our 80's cabinets and brought them to 2011. I thought I would announce its transformation a la Jersey Shore. For those of you who don't know what I am talking it.

You hear that kitchens sell homes – well that was not the case for us. Our kitchen was just not our style but thankfully we had an open mind and were able to see past its imperfections, including the washer/dryer that was right next to the refrigerator which we turned into a pantry. At first it looked like this:

Then we moved in all our junk and it looked like this...not much better and now missing an oven.

Then we removed the fruit tiles, upgraded the floors and replaced the countertops. Yet it all was still looking a little more outdated than I had dreamed of.

At first we thought we would just replace the cabinets but then I couldn’t decide on what I wanted and had a hard time justifying removal of the cabinets as they were still in good condition – they were just ugly to look at. I lived with them for as long as I could stand and then I was inspired by Young House Love to paint the cabinets, they painted the cabinets in their home and I knew that paint was the solution to my problem as well. Those people are amazing.

I would say this was the biggest project we've tackled. At first I thought I wanted to keep them dark to complement the floor, but I came across a number of kitchens that totally fell in love with white cabinets. I finally got the guts to go to the hardware store to pick up the materials after looking at 12 million kitchens with white cabinets to make sure that I liked the look. I figured if I hated it I could always change it – this has become my new motto.

After painting the cabinets I could not be happier. They really brighten up the kitchen and someone even thought we bought brand new cabinets! I am so glad I did this and it was a lot less expensive than a whole new set of cabinets and with those savings I think I will buy these shoes I have been lusting after.

Materials needed to paint cabinets (or any wood surface):

1. Screwdriver to remove existing cabinet doors
2. Sander and sandpaper (I used 60 grit to start and finished with 100 grit)
3. Oil based primer (I used and loved Kilz)
4. Semi Gloss Paint (I used Behr Paint and Primer in one)
5. Foam roller – I liked the look of the foam roller best after experimenting with brushes and other rollers. I also bought rollers in different sizes and liked the smaller one I think it’s a preference thing but I liked the control that came with the smaller roller (it was 4”)
6. New hardware (if you want to change out the existing). We had ugly brass looking hinges and we swapped them for brushed nickel hinges and handles.


1. The first thing I did was removed all cabinet doors and numbered them so I would remember where they go when I was ready to put them back up.
2. I then removed all the hinges - I would also suggest removing all the hardware if you have handles as well.
3. Clean the doors to make sure to remove any grease or other substances that might be on the cabinets (TSP or soap and water works great for this)
4. Sand the door down to remove any finish they might have on them. Ours were Oak and had a slight finish on them so it was easy to get to the bare wood. When sanding be careful to keep your sanding even so that you don’t end up with waves in the wood.
5. Apply a coat of the primer on the doors and let dry. If using a foam roller like I did, be careful not to roll too fast or push hard as it will cause bubbles in the paint.
6. While the doors are drying you can start on the cabinet boxes following steps 4&5. You really only need one coat of primer. Note: even though I used paint and primer in one I am glad that I used the oil based primer as it gave the paint something to adhere.
7. After the primer has dried apply the first coat of paint to the doors and then the cabinet boxes. Let the paint dry between coats and they will need about 3-4 coats.
8. Add the new hardware and re-hang the cabinet doors. We let them dry for a week just to make sure they would not stick shut.

Lessons Learned:

·Oil based primer does not come off the roller, your skin, or anything else with just water. You can use mineral spirits to remove the oil based primer but it smells really bad. A coworker told me that vegetable oil will take oil based primer off your skin (that was after he commented on all the remaining primer that was ALL over my hands and legs). I ended up just throwing away the roller that had the oil based primer on it and started over with a new roller for the paint.
· Patience is a virtue…3-4 thin even coats work so much better than one heavy drippy coat. Trust me on this one – I ended up sanding and starting over on one door.
·We didn’t have any hardware/handles on the door front so we had to create holes for the handles we chose. I did a lot of measuring and created my own template for where the holes should be drilled into the door (I later found out that they sell templates like this at the hardware store). However, I liked that my template was based on our doors and I made it out of some cardboard so it was free. I would provide a picture of my template but my camera with pictures of this was lost.
· Re-hanging the cabinet doors is definitely a two person job; one person to hold the doors and the other to screw it into place. I tried to do this all by myself while HB was out and it ended up in a massive meltdown. I was very happy to have the extra two hands.
·Don’t skip the primer step even if you are using the paint and primer in one. Cabinets go through a lot (ie food spills, opening and closing many times a day). The primer will give the paint a good base to adhere to and will help with durability.

I love coming into the kitchen to see this now instead of those ugly fruit tiles.

A side by side view of the before and after - makes me love it even more. This is taken with the same camera too - what a difference!

A special shoutout to my main man RC for enduring my insanity and tears and everything else in between - couldn't have finished this without you.

1 comment:

  1. Hey they really do look nice. Way to go!!!! MOM