Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Kitchen Semi-Makeover!

First off, I know. It's been a ridiculously long time since I blogged. I could come up with a dozen of what I think are really good excuses, but as promised, I'm keeping it real on this blog. So, I've got 'nothin. BUT, I'm going to try really hard to keep up from now on. Really. Promise. I mean it.

On to the kitchen! When we first moved into our home over 4 years ago, I actually liked our honey oak, builder-grade cabinets. They were nice and neutral, and went good with red, a color I love in the kitchen. Then we put in flooring that was darker in color, and well, I didn't like them much after that. I don't know what I was thinking, but the flooring didn't coordinate with the cabinets. At all. And with the red wall and one south facing window, it made for a dark and rather dingy, 1990's kitchen. I wanted a cheerful, Martha Stewart-esque happy kitchen. So, the oak had to go.

We had white cabinets in our previous home and I loved them, but new cabinets are insanely expensive and simply out of the question. Besides, there was absolutely nothing wrong with our cabinets, I just wanted a different color. After months of researching the web, and being inspired by the Nester's blog, (which, by the way is a MUST read for anyone who wants to learn how to decorate simply, with little money and with real life in mind), I decided to go for it and paint them white. I thought it would be hard to persuade Chris, but he didn't care much for the oak either so it was pretty easy to get him on board. I'm sure it helped when I told him that he could make it his 10th anniversary gift to me. But if he'd rather go with the diamond ring....sold on the cabinets! Diamond rings are SO overrated anyway. .

I have a few friends who are thinking about conning their husbands into doing some cabinet makeovers of their own, so here are all the details...

Picking the right white took some time. Who knew there were 899 shades of white out there? After wasting hours of my life looking at a gazillion pictures, blogs and recommendations on the web, I decided to go with Sherwin-Williams Dover White. It's not a super bright white, not too off-white. Just a nice, creamy white that wasn't too cool or too warm. For cabinets, you MUST go with a good, durable paint that dries with a hard finish. You get one shot at it, so you don't want to use a cheaper, lesser quality paint to save a few bucks. We used Sherwin-Williams (hereafter known as SW) ProClassic semi-gloss paint. This paint is about $10 more than other brands, but it dries fast, is self-healing and doesn't show brush strokes. Love it.

We started off by cleaning the cabinets and removing all the doors and drawer fronts. I recruited my daughter and her bff Becca and they primed with one coat of SW Adhesion primer. It's designed for glossy surfaces, so we didn't have to sand anything, which was a huge plus. Sanding is messy, time consuming and honestly, we just don't have the patience, so I was thrilled that a primer was invented to avoid this heinous task. However, there were a few spots on the tops of some of the cabinet doors that could have used a light sanding, so if you are planning on embarking on a similar project I would definitely recommend lightly sanding any rough or worn spots.

Chris set up a painting area outside. I got an amazing air-sprayer that made this job much quicker and easier then if we had painted by hand. He sprayed on one coat of primer, and two coats of paint. I painted the main body of the cabinets by hand using foam rollers and brushes. After all the doors and drawers were painted, he brought them inside and put them back on. The sprayer didn't put on as heavy or as smooth a finish as we wanted, so I brushed on one more final coat. Although I could see brush strokes at first, the paint didn't dry that way. I'm a huge fan!

We thought the island looked like a big white shoebox, so we decided to add some bead board and trim to it, which gave it some much needed character! We also replaced all the cabinet trim because it was pretty beat up. To help keep dirty hands off the cabinets we added some black hardware that we got from Home Depot. If I had to do it over again I would have used the pulls on everything instead of knobs and pulls, but it still looks nice. I couldn't change my mind because Chris had already drilled the holes and if he had knew I even thought about asking, this fantastic anniversary gift could very well be my last!

I was going to repaint the red walls with something else, but I'm kind of liking the red at the moment so we're leaving it as is for now. We still need to finish the crown molding (that's been a 4 year project)!

From start to finish, the project took about 5 days. I absolutely love it! It's bright and cheerful, and it makes my heart happy. It doesn't look cheap or tacky either, which was something I was a little worried about.

We also painted our kitchen table and chairs black. I know the finish will show dings and chips after a while, but it will hold us over until we can afford the Costco dining set I'm coveting at the moment. My next mission is to find new (longer) curtains and rugs, and figure out how to tie in the white with the family room that connected to the kitchen.

Total Project Supplies and Costs:

1.5 gallons SW Adhesion Primer - $60
2 gallons SW Pro-Classic semi-gloss paint - $85
Campbell Hausfield air spayer - $40 (on ebay)
Brushes/Rollers/Trays - $35
Hardware - $195
Bead board and new trim - $60
Starbucks - $10

Total Project Cost: $485.00

I totally recommend this to anyone who wants a fairly inexpensive but dramatic makeover. Don't be afraid, it's just paint! Like the Nester says, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful! Here are some pictures. I accidently deleted all the before pics I took, but here are some random ones that sort of give you an idea of what they (and my table) looked like. Click on any of the pictures for a better view:

And after:

And the table. Please ignore the dirty floor - I have kids and a dog!


Tracy said...

That looks awesome!!!! What a great job you did!

Ferg said...

It looks so good!!! I love it!!! I want to do mine too but it just seems like such a big job! Did you paint the inside too?

By the way.... Ilike your painted table much better than the CosCo one!!

Good Job!!

Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

Your kitchen looks absolutely fabulous! Love those white cabinets!

Kim said...


I found the link to your blog via another forum discussing the right 'white' for kitchen cabinets. And boy, am I glad I did! I absolutely love how your kitchen turned out - you must be so excited! I think that I am going to go with the same color - it's so helpful to see 'after' photos.

If you don't mind, I would absolutely love the oppurtunity to talk with you a bit about how you did everything - I'm a little nervous but excited to get started.

If you don't mind e-mailing me, that would be great! Twirly2girls @ gmail dot com.

Thanks :O)