Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Remake

Being from the South, you know I love me some bright and white kitchen cabinetry.

Come to Mama. I would totally wear that top too.

So needless to say, THIS wasn't cutting it:

The pre-renovation budget totally allowed for shiny new cabinetry, unicorns and dreams. And then we started the work, and said buh-bye to all that!

So I had to get creative. Inspired by Young House Love's instructions for how to paint your cabinetry, I decided that this would be the way to go.  I couldn't find a project tutorial that was exactly like the one I was undertaking, so really this was an exercise in DIY optimism. Most tutorials show cabinets going from really dark to really light, include hardware, and don't account for this two-tone trim business that we had. Plus, I knew we were painting MDF plywood (aka particle board), not real wood which is another factor to take in. 

The Yankee removed the cabinet fronts and labeled them on the back so he would be able to put each front back where it belonged. 
I wonder how many Nike Fuel Points he earned as a result of this project.

I wiped down every surface with a rag drank a Bud Light while dragging the fronts outside. There, I propped them along the fence and on cement blocks on plastic painter's drop cloths to protect the brick underneath from paint. Of course I ended up getting paint on the brick. Did some research and it looks like this aptly-named Goof Off remover will remove it.  I started by very lightly sanding the front panels and the base. Then used an oil-based primer to put a thin coat of primer on both the brown trim and the panels themselves. The panels had a slight grain fake texture to them, so I used a high-quality brush following the grain.

I put two very thin coats of Olympic paint in Snow Storm in Satin finish. From what I was reading on the Internets, you want to avoid glossy finishes that will show mistakes more.  Snow Storm is white, but it has just the slightest tinge of grey. I thought this would avoid looking too stark against the white wall:

In the meantime, we primed and painted the bases of the cabinets which was a huge pain because due to the timing of the painting and flooring, we could only do this project until after the butcher block countertop had already been installed! So we had to cover up the countertop and attempt to attach painter's tape around the edge which wouldn't stick for anything.  Luckily, we only ended up getting paint in the sink and not on the countertop!  We used painter's tape to protect the inside edges of the cabinets, and just basically prayed that  we wouldn't get paint anywhere else. At least that worked!

We let it dry overnight, and voila:
Much better!

The only issue we have with them is that because there's no hardware, the cabinets themselves are slightly tacky/sticky when opening and closing. I also didn't want to bother with the back of the doors, and thought I could just be really careful painting the fronts. There are some drips on some of the cabinets backs. I am sure some hardware and painting the backs would greatly help, but y'all, I am exhausted and there's white wine to drink.

We are still planning a fun project for the unpainted backsplash - more to come. We also need to get covers for the light switches and generally organize things. I am beginning to find that home ownership is a never-ending to-do list.

Have you ever had a project work out really well? Or more interestingly, be a total disaster?


  1. it looks amazing! So much better! I'd say the hardware and painting the backs of the doors is something you can finish up at a later time..right now it's go go go to finish other more important things.

    Yea...Home stuff just never ends, but you'll get to a comfortable place with how everything is eventually!

  2. Absolutely stunning!!This is so, so beautiful. I love it

  3. You really did a great job -- absolutely love everything about your kitchen.

  4. Beautiful! It's funny how a few simple changes can make such a huge improvement. Everything looks wonderful.