Monday, October 25, 2010

Doing it the right way: The kitchen cabinet edition.

Let me tell you a long drawn out story before I get to the heart of this post. I know, you're just thrilled.

I moved in to my beloved home in January of 2008. The love of my life asked if I would like to live with him, it helped us both financially, and I was much closer to work. I gave it thought over a couple of months and in the month of January moved in my things from my apartment 30 minutes away and was officially a resident.

My dearest boyfriend at the time had owned our house for 9 years. In those 9 years he'd done nothing to the place to change the atmosphere. There was nothing wrong with the house, it was just outdated. He was more than up for a change and I helped him make that happen.

The cabinets were painted the very faintest green, with a sage trim. Sure, maybe great for when I was 12, but not so much now. I repainted them antique white with black trim. Suited my taste at the time (and I was hardly that handy when it came to design). Just over 6 months later after I had gotten my debt paid off, we were living debt free (house and cars excluded) and ready to invest in remodeling the house. This is where my first blog I ever followed came in. She painted her kitchen cabinets black. I LOVED black. So I went for it. Painted them black, and threw the doors back on with stainless hardware.

Great for the first bit, not great six months later. I've sat on them until now. I hated the paint job, the finish, the color. Everything. They literally sucked.

WOW. I told you it would be long winded. Last month I realized I have ten thousand and one projects started but none of them completed. I had to choose something I could do on my own (almost) start to finish. Kitchen cabinets it was.

I was blog surfing and came across a link that led me to Sunset for a tutuorial on making window valances of some sort. I poked around on the site and came across How to give your cabinets a makeover. SOLD!

If you want to repaint your cabinets, read this and soak it up. When they say your kitchen will NOT be of use to your daily life, they're serious. No cooking. I lived off cupcakes and coffee for three days. It was bliss. They say to set aside 4 days. This literally took me 4 days. No joke.

So here's what I did:

1. Empty every cupboard and drawer. Make a huge mess of the rest of your house by placing the contents throughout every available room. When I ate cereal, I fetched the bowl from the dining room table and the silverware from the couch. Empty it, seriously. The first time we "did it right", we didn't empty them. Then I had to wash They were covered in dust and paint flecks.

2. Sanded any and all imperfections I could find. There were drips from the previous 3 paint jobs. Sand away baby. Keep the vacuum handy. It's so much easier to vacuum up in stages rather than going back to after it all.

3. Clean the cabinets with TSP Solution. It comes in a spray bottle for $5. I found it in the paint section at Home Depot. It was down the same aisle as the wood glue and other random crap, like GIANT buckets of Zinsser Primer and so on. This takes all grime off the cabinets and also helps dull any sort of glossy finish. It helps avoid all over sanding and ensures your cabinets are perfectly clean for primer and paint. This stuff stinks. I'd reccommed wearing a mask when spraying it, keeping the room well ventalated and pets away. It makes you cough like no other. Wear gloves. It makes your hands dry and itchy. It's a no-wash solution, so there is no need to soap down the cabinets afterward.

4. Prime your cabinets. Be sure to use a good quality primer. If you have stains, be sure to get something that blocks stains. They will bleed through everything. Primer and paint. I chose not to get the stain blocking primer and have one spot that continues to bleed through. Thankfully it's inside a low cabinet and my baking sheets sit of top of it. I used a Zinsser Primer that cost about $18 for the gallon. Zinsser is the favorite primer of Shannon at The House Creative. She does great work and speaks highly of the brand, so I went with it. Day 1 I primed all of the cabinets. Inside and out and allowed to dry over night. Day 2, I primed in the morning a second coat. The better coat of primer you have, the less paint you have to use, meaning less expensive project.

5. Start painting! Use good quality paint in a semi gloss finish. I used my good old Ralph Lauren in Sisal. Home Depot doesn't carry Ralph Lauren paint any longer (booooo!), but still have their color codes in the computer and can mix them with Martha Stewart (recommended by me) or Behr (not recommended by me for interior). I started painting the evening of Day 2.  I finished half of the outside of the cabinets and called it a day after 13 hours of work. Day 3 was a long one. I had to paint the inside and outside of all the cabinets, including cutting in all of the edges. This was the biggest pain in the ass. I painted the inside of all of the cabinets because they desperately needed it. I did two coats on the upper cabinets as some of them will be left as open concept shelving. Two coats on the inside certainly isn't required if you're only looking to "clean them up". Day 4 was my third 13-14 hour day. My body was sore like I'd just run 8 miles up hill. Man, what a workout. I put the second coat on the everything that needed it, and a third in places along the trim I felt looked a little funny. It's so important to give your paint 24 hours dry time between coats! This allows adequate drying and avoids any sort of soft layers, prevents dust from collecting and keeps any finger prints away that may want to leave their mark.

6. Put everything back! I gave two days dry time before I put all of my stuff away. I was able to do this because Husband was out of town for the week training. Otherwise I would have felt a little more rushed. He's not one to like sitting in chaos and clutter. I however don't mind that much when I know I'm in the middle of something.

Steps I haven't covered are the doors and drawers. I don't have either of those done yet. The link provided up top will give you instructions on those. Follow them to the letter friends! I promis it will be worth it. We have 6 drawers total that need painting, and we plan to build new doors for the cabinets to give them a face lift. They would have been done at this point, but with the basement flooding, it put a that plan on hold.

If you're still here, thank for sticking through this hugely word heavy post! This was a great experience, even with the long hours I put it. I absolutely love how my cabinets turned out and I get to admire my dedication and handy work every day.

To my blog friend, Mrs. D over at The Pink Lemonade Blog; I'm so sorry your recent cabinet update is failing you. I sure hope this helps! If I could fly to Virginia to help you with the project again, I would! But know your cabinets are the post that helped me find my way over to your little corner of the world and I still think they're fabulous.

No comments: