When we started house hunting 15 years ago, the goal was to buy as much space as possible for our family of six. We had outgrown our old home. We only upgraded a few key areas, mainly to extend square footage. We saved by choosing builder grade cabinets and flooring. I remember looking at the cabinets thinking “these will do for now” but not really loving the color.
I decided about 5 or 6 months ago, I just could no longer live with the wall color in most of our rooms which were definitely outdated. And……so it began. We started by brightening up our dining room, which extended to the kitchen, which then moved to the family room. You get the picture. While I loved the light green we had chosen for the kitchen and the new travertine flooring we had put down, I just kept thinking that cabinet color had to go.
Exhibit B- I was just done with the orangy tone of these cabinets!!! DONE!!
A couple of weeks ago, I was getting ready to take my youngest son to school. I had done a little online research on painting cabinets and had also picked the brain of one of my friends who was in the process of doing just that. I took a look around the room (this was a Friday in the wee morning hours) and decided today is the day. So on the way home from work I stopped in to a local paint supplier with 20 minutes to spare, chose my primer, paint color and paint brushes and got to work.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of tutorials on the web. I knew I wanted to purchase a higher grade paint because the cabinets get a lot of use and I knew it would be money well spent.
The primer I purchased is called STIX and I was told it not only adheres to the cabinet surface but also helps the paint adhere to the surface better. I purchased Benjamin Moore Advance paint in “Snowfall” in a satin finish. It is a pretty true white. Both the primer and the paint are water-based. But the BM advance acts like an oil based paint. It is good investment.
I purchased a Wooster nylon and a Purdy all purpose brush. The better brushes last much longer and actually clean up much nicer. Again, I splurged a little on the brushes but I know I will use them for future projects.
First we removed all the cabinet fronts-I decided the first weekend I would do only the upper cabinets. We removed all of the hardware. I taped off the inside of the cabinet near the edge like below:
I started by sanding with a 200 grain sand paper:
Preparation is key!!
The curved surfaces I had to sand by hand:
Then with a shop vac I sucked up all of the saw/sand dust:
I gave the cabinets a good wipe down with a cotton cloth and soapy (dish soap) water. The guy at the paint store recommended de-natured alchohol but I had recently given the cabinets a pretty thorough scrub down and they were pretty grease free.
Next was the primer step:
I started with a brush for the insets and then moved to a roller for the flat surfaces.
Just follow the instructions on the paint cans for dry time. Patience!!!!!
With a coat of primer and some dry time, you are ready to paint. I covered kitchen surfaces with plastic drop cloths and then primed the cabinet bases:
Cabinet doors everywhere!!!
Once the primer dried, I applied the paint using the same process of brushing the inset and rollering the flat surfaces. You need to allow for plenty of dry time between coats: 6-8 hours. Overnight is really good. Then a second application with plenty of dry time. Don’t worry too much if you can see brush or roller marks. This paints levels out and dries super smooth. But DO check for drips and pooling at the edges and in the crevices. Be sure to smooth those out. At about this juncture you start thinking what have I gotten myself in to? You are tired and covered in paint. Not to worry, as soon as you start hanging your cabinets back up and see what a huge difference it makes you’ll be motivated enough to finish the job!! I promise!!!
So with the upper cabinets done and me loving the way they brightened the kitchen, the following weekend I began phase II.
We did actually take the time to remove the drawer fronts as well. I think that extra step really saves you time and probably a mess in the long run. Same process as above except I had decided as I always do when painting that I despise the taping process. So I dug up a brush about the exact width of the outer edge of the cabinets and started using that to avoid the taping step.
Allow plenty of dry time before you start putting your hardware back on. You don’t want to ding up all of your beautiful work.
Two full weekends with awesome results!! I absolutely love the way they turned out!!
Before and After!!
Let me know what you think by dropping me a line!