More Kitchen: Tips, tricks and a lot of white paint

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Inside: Taking you through the beginning of a small kitchen renovation with DIY painted cabinets, new lighting and more.

Day One:

Paint the ceiling. This is so straightforward.

What we learned:

When covering up a COLOURED MURAL (our ceiling was sky blue with clouds painted on… ugh) you will need more paint than you think. We started out with a quart of SICO ceiling paint in un-tinted white. That would have been more than enough if we were painting white over white… but we weren’t. So we had to make an emergency run back to the hardware store to get another quart. Lesson learned. Ceiling painted.

Day Two:

 Disassemble and prime the upper cabinets!

When we pulled down the two window-flanking cabinets, we learned something valuable – that the cabinet fronts detach from the cabinets themselves. We used this to our advantage and pulled them down so we could paint without having to tape or edge! WIN!

What we learned:

It took us much longer to get started on painting than we thought. It was a full two hours to get all the upper doors down, remove the hinges and hardware, clean all the surfaces thoroughly with heavy-duty kitchen de-greaser (TSP), sand them down with a medium grit paper and then wipe them down with a clean damp cloth. We also did all the panel pieces at this point too. It took so long, it bored the dog. If you are doing this for your kitchen, the de-grease step is crucial. You really don’t want to lock all those unseen ‘yumpies and wuzzies’ into your new-to-you kitchen.

The rag when we were done was DIS.GUS.TING. Even the insides of the doors were greasy. Who knew that regular kitchen cleaner doesn’t do it after a while??

It was SO much better having two counter height surfaces to work on. We draped my craft island in a drop sheet and then we also draped our washer and dryer (not ideal, but worked marvellously!) This meant little to no bending and saved our backs and hips!! If you can rig something up like this, do it. What a difference.

Once we had that wrapped up, we used high-quality two-inch bristle brushes to apply Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer to everything – front and back. This stuff is great. It dries in about an hour which lets your projects proceed smoothly and without much interruption.

Day Three:

Re-prime certain cabinet parts, paint, re-paint and re-hang the cabinet faces. Basically, because we were painting over honey maple cabinets, even with the strength of the primer, there was some visible yellowing coming through. That prompted us to do something unconventional: We primed the cabinet faces TWICE. Typically people would paint two coats instead of priming twice, but we wanted to make our paint work less.

We applied the second coat of primer with a bristle brush and that took care of most of the yellowing. It also eliminated any need for further sanding! WIN!

For the paint, we used high quality SICO paint designed for Cabintets & Furniture. For the colour, we chose our tried and true favourite: Igloo White.

To apply the paint, we turned to the high- quality foam rollers and foam brushes. TREMENDOUS! Why have we never paid the extra $4 for these rollers before? They are from Home Depot. The kind that have the blue stripes and that offer a bit of a ‘higher plush’ look. WOW! What an amazing and noticeable difference in the finished product! Two coats of paint were applied to the cabinet fronts (on Day Three) and they looked like a mere shadow of their former selves. Love.

What we learned:

Proper paint is key when doing a highly visible surface that requires durability and washability. We are very glad we bought speciality paint for this project. It definitely added to our timeline though. Drying time for this paint is at least 4 hours between coats.

The more expensive foam rollers are worth their weight in gold.

Having a pouring spout for a paint can is the best little gizmo. $4 well spent considering how often we were pouring and re-sealing this can. Just do it people! πŸ˜›

Day Four:

Finish up the cabinets doors by painting the backs and sides, spray paint the old hardware with Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze finish to give them new life and touch up the nail holes in the cabinet faces. (Check out this post answering our reader questions if you want an update on how they held up. Spoiler alert – not well.)

This day was pretty straight forward. The cabinets needed only a few minor touch-ups at this point.

Now, we were planning to purchase new hardware, but enter in one of those ‘changes’ to our plan.  We decided to up-cycle the current hardware, and save the cash. This hardware is heavy. It’s real metal and is likely far superior in quality to anything we’d want to purchase at this stage of our revamp. A little spray paint will go a long way to making these admittedly out-dated cabinet pulls work for us now.

The last thing we had to do before putting the cabinets back together was patch all the holes left from when we re-hung the faces and the cover panels with our nail gun. Dan did this with some paintable wood putty and a foam brush. Easy peasy.

And voila! Stage One of a BAGILLION is complete πŸ™‚

Interesting to note, these photos were taken in the late afternoon, most of them with NO FLASH! In fact, the light is now so bright in here, some of these shots were over-exposed. What a difference some paint makes to the way a room feels. Also, Louie loves our kitchen mat.

We are pretty happy with our hardware decision at this point. We think it looks quite sharp against the white. We will let you know how it holds up to every day wear and tear. The light in this picture is casting a gold-ish hue on them. Rest assured, they are as black as the night and they are lovely (we think!)

Up next:

  • mount new open shelving where the window-flanking cabinets used to hang
  • take down the sink light, and remove the weird piece of press board that’s fused to the ceiling, hoping that doing that doesn’t uncover a multitude of evils. Then, put sink light back

  • give the same prime & white paint treatment to the base cabinets
  • add some trim to the top of the cabinets to even out the edges and putty and patch those holes we cut in the bulkheads!

  • move the fridge to the ‘other’ wall and get new counters to extend along this wall all the way to the wall. Also, try to say wall a fourth time in one sentence. Wall.

  • find or build a new pantry system to literally hold all our rice and beans, (haha, I don’t know why that’s funny, but it is) and move this hutch into the craft room.

  • decide on a wall colour! This is where we are completely flummoxed. Grey? Light blue? Suggestions? HELP!?! πŸ™‚
  • figure out what to do with this odd cork board thing:

  • install a dishwasher!
  • deal with the bead-board on the walls beside the fridge/hutch

Until then, we’ll stare at this progression of pictures, so we feel we’ve at least accomplished something πŸ˜›

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house. Oddly enough, this shot and the final shot were taken almost exactly one year apart at the same time of day. Fair’s fair – right? πŸ™‚

'Cloudy' kitchen needs some updating.
‘Cloudy’ kitchen needs some updating.

Here it is after we switched up the lighting:

Kitchen Phase One 7

And here it is now. (UPDATE: we finished the kitchen makeover. You can read all about it in the current HOME TOUR)

Home Tour

This feels like the hardest and most gruelling project we’ve undertaken. Time for a cup of tea and a nap!!


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