Thursday, November 5, 2009

My $50 Kitchen Facelift! SERIOUSLY!

The view as you're coming into the kitchen from the family room area...the new color on the cabinets is a MUCH softer transition now from room to room. Ahh....


Why oh why didn't I do this YEARS AGO?

When we bought "this old house" 8 years ago, the first thing I knew I "had" to do was renovate the kitchen.

It's dark cherry cabinets and red brick floor were quaint, but sooo not the style I would have ever picked for myself.

I was just sure the kitchen would be one of the first projects we'd tackle - knocking out walls, enlarging, adding a huge island, etc...

Ahh, but the reality of owning a 118 year old home sets in and priorities can change faster than the weather....

Total roof replacement on the house and "carriage house" buildings, four complete new central A/C system replacements and many other various and sundry repairs later, the dark, not-so-efficient kitchen is pretty much as it was when we closed on the house.

Oh, I painted the brick floors several years ago, and I painted the walls (covering "country blue" paint with geese stenciled along the top of the walls), but other than that, we hadn't touched the kitchen. The one room I just knew would be the first to be gutted.

I've dreamed for years of at least painting the cabinets but had visions (nightmares) of what it would entail.

One time I even made some calls to get info on the job, but hearing painting contractors talking of taking the cabinets out, off-site to paint them then reinstalling them quickly squashed THAT idea!

Geesh, for that amount of work, why haul the old cabinets BACK in? Bring me NEW cabinets for that price! ;)

Anyhoo... Fast-forward to this summer when I determined that until we can really do the entire kitchen renovation, I wanted to at least "put some lipstick on that pig" and paint the cabinets.
How hard could it be?


Ladies, if you have been hemming and hawing about painting your cabinets, no reason to
wait any longer!

Now mind you, I did NOT do the job the way a "pro" would have. But if you look through the pics, and if you're standing right there in the kitchen, you would be hard pressed to tell whether Joe Painter did them in his shop or not.

Knowing (hoping) that this is just a "temporary" fix until everything (including the cabinets) gets ripped out and pitched out, I did not do EVERY square inch of the cabinets and I did not go the "whole nine yards" like some might have.

But again, the proof is in the pictures and for the cost of a gallon of paint,
I ask you,

I chose a mellow, calming grey-green and it's funny -- in some light the cabinets look grey (yes, that wonderful Swedish/French grey) and in other light the color is a dead ringer for Restoration Hardware's "Silver Sage". Chameleon paint - ever changing. :)

It's been a little unusual for me going from a pretty much textbook Pierre Deux French Country look, to this much cooler-toned, more "Swedish" look. But it does look much cleaner and brighter in the room and you can't go wrong with that!
The pantry just around the corner behind the fridge; I use a really big rattan clothes hamper (lined with a trash bag, of course) as a garbage can. Looks good and holds A LOT!

With the help and motivation of one of my sweet sisters (thank you, Min!!) and with my daughter, Olivia, pitching in as much as her college schedule would allow, we began and in NO TIME the job was done.

I also had some preliminary tips from sweet Elizabeth Maxon who "knows a thing or two" (THAT'S putting it mildly) about home renovation. Not only does Elizabeth have a column in Romantic Homes magazine, but earlier this year she had a whole feature in the magazine on her own kitchen re-do.

I garnered a lot of great advice and encouragement from Elizabeth and also from dear new friend, Donna Dreyne.

Here is the short list of the steps we took to do the project:

1.) Take the nobs/handles off (duh) and wipe the areas to be painted down with de-glosser. This can be purchased at any hardware/home improvement store and is basically (as far as I could tell) glorified mineral spirits. And yes -- IT STINKS! 99% of the windows in our house are painted/nailed shut (don't ask) so let your mind wander as to how it was in that kitchen the first day as we bathed the cabinets in that chemical! Let the fumes begin! :)
*NOTE* You can also clean the cabinets well if needed with a TSP solution (also at any hardware store) but we skipped this step. You can also see that NO SANDING was involved here. I opted to try the de-glosser instead, and so far, so good!

2.) I used Behr Premium Plus paint with a primer built into it. BEST PAINT ON THE PLANET! It was about $35/gallon and it covered so well, we only used 1/2 to maybe 2/3 of the gallon. It's got ridiculously great coverage. I chose the flat enamel. A first for me, since I typically use a satin -- maybe eggshell -- but never flat. I like the velvety finish this time, and I think it lends itself to the period look of the kitchen.

3.) You'll want to put some kind of protective finish over the paint, and we thought and thought about whether to go with a typical polyurethane finish (GREAT for durability) or a paste wax finish, which gives you a whole different look (think furniture-grade finish vs. sealed wood floors finish). After much thought, I chose to go with the paste wax finish (Minwax finishing paste). The one I bought is not tinted, but I know you can buy tinted waxes (Briwax, for instance). Once the paint is dry (for at least a day), you wipe the wax on, let it dry for about 15 minutes, then buff it out with a dry cloth. Just like when you wax your car.
Yeah... like I do that... ;)

Though we took off the nobs/pulls/handles, we DID NOT fool with taking the hinges/doors off. Yep -- I painted right over the hinges.
I was not about to take ALL those door off. No way. I figured, if the paint starts coming off the hinges over time, I'll either claim it's "distressed" or I'll touch them all up on afternoon. But this gal was in deep enough (time-wise, with my schedule) as it was just painting the cabinets, so I decided against that step.
And you know what? They look perfect! I don't see why you'd have to take them off at all -- unless you just don't want to paint the hinges and even if you don't, you can always tape off the hinges....

Another way I cut time off the job was to only paint the fronts of the drawers and did not paint the insides of the cabinets.

The doors WERE painted inside and out, but that was a breeze. So, big deal, when you pull a drawer out, you still see the natural wood and when you open up one of the doors, the inside walls and shelves are still natural. But, I'm over it already.
Honestly, (and I'm not just saying this...) I actually kind of like that look.

So there you have it. Done! Though our job could have been done in one day, it took about a day & a half for me. But I wasn't pushing it from morning til night, either.

Plenty o'talkin' and havin' fun with my sister and daughter during the job (those FUMES!) so we just made a fun time of it and maybe it took slightly longer that way, but hey, it was great!

IF (and IF is the key word here) I get brave, and IF we don't just go ahead and gut the room soon, my NEXT PROJECT will be to cover the countertops in either vintage or new embossed tin ceiling panels.
These I will either paint and seal, or leave natural silver.
This idea is one I've coveted and treasured since we've lived here and since I saw an article in Mary Engelbreit magazine (may it rest in peace) featuring Elizabeth Maxon's home.
She had done tin on her countertops in lieu of ripping them out and the results were FABULOUS!
So... that may be the next-up project -- STAY TUNED! :)

I had a dark wood-topped iron table that I painted, too.

Remembered to take a "before" picture only after I had already started applying the paint. :)

This table, with it's new look (see close-up below) will now be in our family room.

For that, I painted the iron base a super light grey then did a brown-ish glaze wash over that to mellow it and warm up the color.
The dark brown wooden top was painted light cream first then I used the same brown glaze on that to warm it up. It turned out looking quite a lot like an antique English pine top.

I wasn't shooting for that, but I like it!
I had considered decoupaging vintage ledger sheets to it, but thought better of it.

I did, however, cover an old Laura Ashley lamp shade with some sheets of ledger paper. Then I clipped on a vintage french market price tag on it for fun.

I got the French sign from Tracie at My Petite Maison.

The newly painted table will be relocated OUT of the kitchen to the family room (more on THAT in another blog post). There was also the issue of whether to paint or pitch an armoire that had been part of Olivia's nursery suite that had been being used in the kitchen for storage/display.

"Pitch" won out and now there's a hustle to get a replacement piece(s) to house all that is currently spilling out onto countertops and floor in my laundry room that was once housed in the armoire.

But I have a solution for that:
The perfect table with a great vintage look made from recycled vintage pine.
Lidded baskets or metal bins on the bottom shelf will house all the "stuff" that was in drawers in the old armoire and on the top of the table will be my "pretty stuff" -- cloches, pedestals, topiaries, etc...

I'll be getting TWO of the tables and butting them up end to end and creating the look of one very long narrow table along the wall.

On the wall above the table is the lid from the keyboard of an old black piano...
yes... you read that right....

It's a salvaged lid that used to be the part of a piano that covers the keyboard.

Crazy. I know.

I love it though, and I got it for next to nothing!

And it's BLACK -- how can you go wrong with that??
More will be added on the wall, of course, but for now the long black piano lid is all by itself. :(

I'm sure there will have to be more posts to follow this one (part deux, tois, etc..) because this whole kitchen facelift has trickled down into the adjacent rooms -- family room, family room, etc.... always seems to happen this way. :)

I'll be moving couches, chairs, etc. from lots of different rooms and basically creating a fresh "facelift" for a couple of rooms next.

And it's ALL FREE!

Just moving things that I already have around to new places! Love it!

Since there were SO MANY pics, I did a slide show rather than try to upload them all directly onto the blog.


And if you ever toyed with the idea of painting your cabinets -- well, time to quit toying and start painting! I was a cake walk!

From one gal with NO SPARE TIME
to all you others in the same boat, have no fear --



Jackie said...

It looks amazing Ruth!! I LOVE the color and how jealous am I of those polka dot bowls?? You did a great job - enjoy it!!

Jackie said...

Oh, and BTW - I covet that table!! It's going to be perfect!!

Simply Me Art said...

Oh Girl what a can of Paint can do! Just Beautiful, You should be proud. You did a Fantastic Job. I love the color too. Did you ever read my post about one change leading to another, it's a Sickness I tell you. Congratulations, I love the table too...xo, Jamie

Tamra said...

Ruth, I am a decorative artist by trade and when I do cabinet jobs I never paint the drawer sides. No Way!

Your job looks fabulous! Nice work chickie!!

Free Art Printables said...

It looks fantastic! You really did a fab job! I have yucky dark cabinets too and I keep putting it off because of all of the work.... I really want to do mine now!

Sheila said...

NICE... very nice indeed, I likey, likey alot. The beachie cotaage blue/gray is is nice and calming. I hope you have a great Friday!


Destiny said...

WOW! What a difference a little (or a lot) of paint can make! It turned out so well! I'd love to paint my cabinets, they're almost new, but a golden pine color that doesn't go with my decor and they're those REALLY tall ones. I want them white, but my hubby says no...guess I'll just have to surprise him someday...haha!

Marie said...

Hi Ruth- I'm new to your lovely blog and glad I found it. You did a great job painting your kitchen cabinets and just luv the color you picked!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Ruth! I am in awe! Thank you for all that useful information too....This will be my first project at the lake house this spring! Thanks for leading the way. I think it all looks marvelous!
Take care, Laura

Kasey said...

Ruth, it looks fabulous. Great job!
I covet the table, actually i want the round
Dining room one....

Cathy said...

Wow! Have to get the kids off to school...LOVE the fresh new look, LOVE the curtains (swoon!), love the kitchen "rug", the piano top shelf? Get the smelling salts!, the "new" table is delicious. Gotta run or I'd keep going! The whole kitchen looks like you opened a BIG window and let in a big, fresh breeze!

BonjourRomance said...

Congratulations on a job well done! The color is perfect! I'm with you, just paint over the hinges and everything, it actually gives it a more streamlined look!

cindy said...

Just gorgeous! I love blue/grey cabinets and they look fabulous in your kitchen. I'm a fairly new follower, and I always enjoy my visits over here :)

Stephanie said...

I love it!!! You did a fantastic job and the transformation is dramatic. Nothing like paint to transform a room.

julie - eab designs said...

Wow! I just love it! The color of the cabinets is perfect. Beautiful and inviting. Great job Ruth! (Love your Bridgewater Pottery too!)

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

OMG!! This looks unbelievably Stunningly Fabulous!! I have wanted to paint my oak cabinets since we bought our home 2 years ago!

Girly, I think it's time!!!

GREAT JOB! Just found your blog!! Where have I been??? I'm folowing!!

Lou Cinda :)

Rebecca Lewis said...

Ruth I love everything!!!!!!
Thank you for sharing your pics. After seeing them last night I could hardly get to sleep and I was actually dreaming about kitchens when I did fall asleep!!!!
Have a wonderful day!
~ Rebecca
Oh by the way did I mention I LOVE it! ;-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

You could have fooled me - are you sure you are not a pro???? :-) It turned out great and I knew it would - thanks for sharing - yes, paint is the magic that can be bought in a can!


The Flying Bee said...

Oh, it was so worth the wait! It turned out beautiful! I love that you didn't take the hinges off! Love your dining room, too!

Have a fab weekend, Ruth!


Angie said...

WOW!!! Just watched the slide show it turned out beautiful!!!

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Wow what a difference! I have to do mine. But I just did a great dresser and turned it into a sideboard with Behr Ultra Prem Plus! Looks like you did a great job Ruth.Much more up to date.....

Janean said...

a lot of work, but so much better in the softer color. lovely!!

north pal said...

fabulous,absolutely, fabulous!!!! it seems to be an entirely new kitchen. so clean,fresh and crisp. i have a little coveting my self. i love the head/bust to the left of the topiary and the sack looking cloth on the dining table. i love to lust. be proud of yourself. amazing what a little paint can do. it tranaforms good into better. Bestest,Denise

jaunty magpie said...

Kudos to you! Love the look and anything you have a hand in will feel that much more gratifying when you sit back and enjoy the space. What a serene kitchen experience you've created!!

Donna Reyne' said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cabinets!
You did an awesome job...they look fantastic!
Everything looks so cozy and comfortable!
What a lovely kitchen!
I just got home from the store and I had promised myself all week to stop by my dashboard this evening to see what was going on...and here is your beautiful new kitchen! So excited for you!
I will be in touch soon! I have so much to tell you! Take care...have a wonderful Sunday! hugs...donna

Moore Minutes said...

Oh wow, LOVE LOVE the new color! Well done. Thank you for the smart advice.

PS Yes...I'm a big Toby Mac fan too AND my kids loved that candy corn video, lol. They had to watch it twice and eat candycorn while watching.

Claudia said...

Hi Ruth, I don't know how I missed this post until now, but WOW!You did a fabulous job on those cabinets! It is amazing what paint can do, and suddenly you're in a brighter, lighter place that you love!

Can I ask how you covered the lampshade? I'm thinking of doing that to our little kitchen lamp with the boring white shade.


paige said...

gorgeous job ruth!
well done!

& i wanted to let you know that my fabulous french postal bag arrived yesterday & is perfect. just what i was looking for. i can hardly wait for the pillow! oh lordy...i think i've already told you that. how stalkerish.
anyway...the package smelled so lovely & was wrapped perfectly. thank you for the free shipping thatyou offer. i'll be back!!

Sandy said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I lvoe it! I am about to embark on painting my cheap pine cupboards in my modular home ( and no, it is not a trailer! LOL ) I want to go a soft white or cream, add some beadboard...etc. I have a 1940's feel in the have given me some great pointers! Thanks so much! And please feel free to stop by and say hello!

Ness Lockyer said...

This is something I have been humming and hawing over since we bought our 1886 home too! I think I will give this a you I am not into pulling off doors etc.
Thanks for the push! it looks great.
Ness xx

Unknown said...

Absolutely GORGEOUS Ruth!!!!!!!!!

:) T

Au Petit Paris said...


I love the color you choose for your cabinet re-do. I saw on HGTV that blue cabinets are really in this year. In our last home, I had cabinets stained a french blue that had been cut so it had a faded and worn look. They turned out great!

Great job.


Anonymous said...

The pics look fabby! Better in person, though! Had a BLAST working with you. 'Course it'd be a blast even being shipwrecked with you. I love you so much!!


*The Beautiful Life* said...

Oh Min! You did it! You left a comment! Hee-hee! :)

Shipwrecked, huh? Well... let's try NOT to have that happen. Of course, this would assume I'd be over water on some sort of vessel, which in and of itself is unlikely, so we're good. ;)

Love you, sis!


Faded Plains said...

Your kitchen looks did a wonderful job!

Farmgirl Paints said...

Okay I'm loving thrifty and yet stunning. Great job. I just skimmed your blog list...great to see so many new ones. I may stick around for awhile:)

Anne Lorys said...

Stupendous transformation, and thank you muchly for the detailed info on just how to duplicate that look. So often, I love a re-do, but there's no mention of the brand or paint color. I agree, Behr is tops as far as I'm concerned.
Love it!

Unknown said...

Hi there,
Living in a farmhouse and our last project is the kitchen which we have been debating painting the cabinets. Can you give me more info on the deglosser you used as i will follow your instructions and hopefully report back to you with a fabulous kitchen as yours!