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10 Day Kitchen Makeover Part I

October 15, 2012

It didn’t take me long to start decorating our new home.  A few weeks ago I mentioned how I started by painting the walls and wainscoting in our dining room (found here).  Apparently I needed more of a challenge for project #2.  After discussing options about what to do with our kitchen, Ryan and I decided to make that second on the ‘to-do’ list.

We played around with several ideas, but ultimately decided on painting the cherry cabinets.  I’m not going to justify myself to anyone because I don’t feel like I have to.  We wanted to paint the cabinets to brighten the room and add a little contrast.  You may disagree with our decision, but we are ultimately the ones who have to live in the space.  Plus, the cabinets are about 20 years old with some wear so they needed a little love no matter what.

We decided to paint the cabinets a soothing off-white color.  Normally I am I bright-white kind of girl (I painted our first home’s kitchen cabinets white) but because the granite countertops in our new home have a cream-ish background through them, it just wasn’t an option…hence how we settled on cream.  After several runs to Sherwin Williams to pick out paint swatches, I settled on Panda White, a complimentary off-white color.

It can be intimidating to paint cabinets, but knowing the right steps is key.  The most important step is preparing the wood correctly and buying the right paint.  I like to prime all wood projects (mentioned here) with Kiltz oil-based primer.  Oil primer has a better bond than latex, and my feeling is: when you’re putting forth so much effort, why skimp with latex?  The paint you use on the cabinets is also key.  I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Acrylic Latex Enamel:

The paint is a little pricey ($55 a gallon) but it goes on easily and dries smoothly without marks, and will not cause the cabinet doors to stick after painting.  It also doesn’t show any finger marks.  In short, it’s just a better, harder finish that will hold up to kitchen wear and tear.

I started the kitchen transformation on a Saturday and finished the following Sunday.  I worked every night after work (except one) and 12 hours/day on the weekends.  It wasn’t completely drawn out, but it wasn’t a “weekend warriors” kind of project either.  Are you ready for the breakdown???  Warning: I am squeezing 10 days of work into two posts so this is gonna be lengthy, prepare yourself!

1st Saturday:  I removed all 48 (yes, I said 48) cabinet doors and drawers from their hinges.  I didn’t realize how many doors and drawers we had in our new kitchen: the removal process took almost 2 hours!

I carried all of the doors and drawers outside, where I setup a sanding station.  I used two saw horses and an old door to create a table to sand all those surfaces.  (I forgot to mention, the night before I removed all the knobs and puttied all the holes with wood filler to prep for Saturday).

I sanded for 5 hours that day, ugh.  Ryan helped me wipe the doors down afterward, bring them back inside and we called it a day.

1st Sunday: I dragged all 48 doors and drawers back outside for some deglossing.  Deglosser removes oil, grease and any other dust left on the doors that may cause the primer not to adhere as well.

After two hours of deglossing it was time to sand all the cabinet frames.  I took my sander and 200 grit sandpaper indoors to make some sawdust..

I didn’t need to completely remove the finish, I was just sanding enough to rough it up for the oil primer.  Immediately after wiping the dust off the cabinet frames, I deglossed.  While I deglossed, Ryan set up all the prepped doors in the garage to get them ready for oil primer.

I used Kiltz oil primer and rolled the backs of all the cabinet doors with a 4″ smooth foam roller.  I like to start on the backs just in case there are any imperfections when they are flipped.

After a 12 hour work day, we called it quits.  Day 2 down of our 10 day kitchen makeover and we were already twenty something hours in!  Even though the process went slower than anticipated, it was still very thrilling to see my vision start to come together.  Stay tuned for part II of the kitchen makeover which will include the reveal!

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