Two weekends ago, Derek went backpacking with his best friend Chris for Spring Break, so my mom came down to stay with me for a week. And while he was gone we decided to completely redo the kitchen. And by redo, I mean as much as a rental would allow. So let’s go ahead and jump right into the before and afters because no one wants to wait until the very end for this kind of reveal. As you may recall, the kitchen was very blah with off-white cabinets, off-white countertops, white walls, and navy carpet (what???).
So we ripped up the disgusting carpet which revealed some not so shabby tile below it. However the tile was also a creamy off-white and tan, which made the whole room very plain. With a little glossy oil-based paint we went from plain jane to holy-cow-I-can’t-belive-that’s-our-kitchen. Ready?
And one more, to show my new favorite view of the kitchen..
Okay now that that’s over with, here’s what we did! Derek and I agreed that after living with open shelving in the kitchen, we’re never going back to upper cabinet doors. So I strapped on my cherub (who wouldn’t have it any other way) and we removed all of the upper cabinet doors and assessed the situation.
The shelves had been lined with some awful green “granite” shelf liner, which we immediately ripped up. Then sanded down the leftover adhesive with some 40 grit sandpaper to smooth everything out.
Then we repaired the framing where the hinges once were, and removed all of the existing hardware on the lower cabinet doors and drawers and filled in the holes because I knew my new hardware wouldn’t fit in the predrilled holes. We sanded the gloppy old paint around these areas with some more 40 grit sandpaper, then filled the holes with wood filler and waited 20 minutes (as directed) for it to cure. Once it was ready, we sanded down all of the cabinets (inside and out) with a less aggressive 220 grit sandpaper to sort of roughen everything up so that our paint would have something to really grab onto without leaving gross brushstrokes.
After lightly sanding everything, we wiped it all down with a damp cloth to pick up all of the loose sanding debris, and we were ready to paint. I wanted a nice glossy finish to add a little drama to our super bland kitchen, and I love working with oil paint (plus it’s very durable for high traffic areas), so I picked up a gallon of Rust-oleum oil-based paint in Gloss Black.
Sidenote: a gallon was WAY more than enough. I probably could have gotten by with a couple of quarts. But maybe I have some other plans with gloss black paint for our home? ;)
We started with the upper cabinets and worked our way down. We made sure to tape off all of the edges where the cabinets met the wall (or window) because oil paint is very hard to remove once it has gotten on anything. So we were extra careful during this part.
Once all of the cabinet framing was painted, we started on all of the drawers and lower cabinet doors using the same method of light sanding, wiping down with a damp cloth, and painting. Oil paint kind of goes on like nail polish and wants to spread and even out (eliminating brush strokes) so you want to be rather generous with it and quickly finish your first coat rather than going back and touching things up, you can save that for your second coat.
We also painted the tiny bit of cabinet over by the stove, just to keep everything cohesive.
After 24 hours, the first coat of paint had dried and we were ready for our second. But first we needed to prep the surface. As you can see in the photo below there are still some brushstrokes after the first coat, and I was going for a nice glassy finish. So this wasn’t really up to par yet.
To remedy this, I used some 400 grit sandpaper and dipped it in water to wet sand all of the painted surfaces before applying my second coat.
You can faintly see how the sandpaper has lifted the texture of the brushstrokes off of the surface of this drawer, and (although you can’t feel it) is now smooth to the touch.
After wet sanding everything we took a microfiber cloth and wiped down everything to remove any remaining particles. It’s important to use a microfiber cloth because this stage of sanding is so delicate that the particles left behind are teeny tiny, but can totally ruin your finish if not removed properly.
Once all of the freshly wet sanded surfaces had been wiped down it was time for the final coat.
After another 24 hours of dry time it was time to install all of the new hardware! We had to drive to a Home Depot 45 minutes away to find the hardware I was looking for because it had been clearanced out and no one had any left in stock except for this location. Totally worth it though to score $2 hardware for .83cents a pop.
I made a template for my hardware using an index card and marked where the screw holes were so that I knew exactly where to drill my new holes. I used the same hardware for both the drawers and doors, so this part was pretty easy.
After everything was nice and level, I marked each hole with a sharp object leaving two small dents where my holes needed to be drilled. That way there wound’t be any mistakes and my newly drilled holes would line up perfectly like so..
We started with the drawers then finished with the doors before placing them back onto the cabinetry framing.
Just a note: When you’re working with an older home (or really any home) be sure to number your doors and drawers so that you know exactly where to put them when you’re done. In our case these cabinets were handmade so each drawer and door was a hair different in size and it was like a puzzle trying to line everything up again.
And now for more beautiful photos of the finished kitchen. The new roman shade was created using this method.
It’s hard to capture how truly glass-like this finish turned out, but just look at the reflection of the rug in the next photo.
This project was definitely a labor of love, but it was so worth it in the end. Derek was blown away when he came back from his camping trip to a brand new kitchen. And I am still sort of shocked every time I walk by and catch a glimpse of the transformation of the entire space. Next up we plan to paint the walls with a nice light light minty green (maybe Benjamin Moore’e Healing Aloe?) to sort of freshen up the walls, that have definitely seen better days.