Oct 31, 2016

How I Painted Our Kitchen Cabinets White

(realtor picture)

There are probably hundreds of kitchen cabinet painting tutorials out there.  Today I'm going to add mine into the bunch. 

So the picture above is what our kitchen looked like five months ago before we bought it.  In real life, the cabinets looked a little less orange-y.  But anyway, they were dark and my personal taste are white cabinets.  They feel light, bright, and clean.  Yes, they do show dirt more easily, but at least you can see the dirt and wipe it away.  When cabinets are darker, it just gives the dirt an opportunity to hide. :)

This is the third home we've owned, so it's the third kitchen I've painted white.  The only difference this time is that these were the nicest quality cabinets I've ever dealt with.  In our last two homes, the cabinets were from the 70's.  I knew they couldn't look any worse than they already did, so I simply painted them without taking my time.  I didn't sand, I didn't prime, and at one point, I didn't even remove the cabinet doors.  In THIS house with THESE cabinets, I wanted to do it right!  

This is the result I got.  Awe, the power of paint and only $140!!!  There are other updates we want to make to this kitchen, but that's another story for another day.  Let's get to the painting details...


The first thing I did was remove the cabinet doors and most of the drawers too.  Then I cleaned the cabinets and the cabinet doors with TSP.  It's a strong cleaning solution that can be found as a concentrate at Home Depot in the painting department for about five dollars.  It can also be found in a ready made solution on Amazon for about double that price.


I labeled the doors with blue painters tape and alphabetical letters.  I placed an identical label inside the matching interior cabinet so that these doors didn't get mixed up down the road.


The next thing I did was lightly sand the cabinets with a 220 grit sand paper, just enough to roughen the surface a little bit.  


After cleaning and sanding, wipe down with a tack cloth or vacuum up the dust before priming.  (Sometimes I did both.)  The primer I used is called Zinsser Bullseye 123.  I bought it at Home Depot for under $20.  It says on the label that you can use this primer without sanding, but that made me a little nervous.  So I decided to play it safe and sand anyway.  I used 1-2 coats of primer on everything.


Priming and painting took over my garage, dining room, and kitchen.  But I knew it was just a temporary mess, so I plugged away.  

Tips for painting the doors: 
  • Lay doors on 2x4's to allow space to paint the sides (not pictured in the above pictured, but you'll notice it in the garage picture)
  • Prime both sides first 
  • Lightly Sand with a 220 grit sandpaper or higher in between primer and the actual painting step.  
  • Wipe down after sanding with a tack cloth that will grab hold of that dust really well.
  • When you get to the actual paint step, paint 2-4 coats of paint on the BACK side of the doors first.  That way if there is minor scuffing after you flip the doors over to paint the other side, it won't show on the pretty front side that you look at everyday.

This is the brush I bought at the specialty paint store where I bought my paint.  Spraying your cabinets is a great way to go and it looks fantastic.  Even though we own a paint sprayer, I chose to paint by hand and I don't regret it.  This foam roller did an amazing smooth job.  The trick was to paint the crevices of the door first, then the flat parts. In the crevices, I used the end of this roller to slide the paint on.  I rolled it on the flat parts.  The trick to getting the paint to dry smooth has to do with the kind of paint you use and your rolling technique.  The technique I used was to roll it on with a little bit of pressure.  After all the paint was on, I used my roller and ROLLED over the paint very gently.  It was more like a glide and I didn't apply any pressure.  This got out any paint bubbles that were present.


This is the paint I used.  Benjamin Moore Advanced paint is AMAZING!!!  I can't say enough good things about this paint.  It is great at minor self leveling and it is the best cabinet paint out there.  It works like an oil based paint, but is actually latex and cleans up with water.  The color I chose is called Simply White.

For me, the worst part about painting large projects that take many days (this project took me two weeks), is the clean up.  I hate cleaning up paint trays and paint rollers and brushes.  So I didn't.  When I was done with my roller for the day, or had to take a break to pick up kiddos from school, I stuck my roller in a zip lock bag.  I also lined my paint tray with foil.  I only poured the amount of paint I knew I would use for sure.  When I was done, I rolled up the messy foil and threw it in the garbage!


The other step I should have mentioned earlier is that before you start any paint or primer, tape the perimeter around anything you don't want paint on.  This will give you clean lines.


Any sort of kitchen remodel is messy, as you can see here.  I've got paint going on the cabinet frames and I was lightly sanding the labeled doors on the kitchen floor.  Lots going on.  Luckily my family was pretty patient with the whole process.  It helped that my husband was away hunting during the first week. ;)  And really, he was just happy that he wasn't the one having to do it, haha!


This last step you totally don't have to do.  However if you're like me and you have sheet rock above your cabinets, you may want to.  I painted the sheet rock the same color as my cabinets and then caulked the seam where the two met. Eventually we'll add molding up there to make the cabinets and sheet rock seem like seamless taller upper cabinets.  It should look really pretty ...eventually. ;)



All of these cabinets took about 3-4 coats of paint.  You can't tell in this picture, but there are some light spots still visible in the crevices where the cabinets indent.  I'll need to go over those again sometime with a light coat of paint.  But for now, I'm tired.  Two weeks of painting and having my home in disarray was a lot of work.  It was totally worth it though and I would do it again.



The next thing I want to do in here is possibly paint over that back splash tile.  It's just not my favorite style.  I've read that it's possible to paint over tile with a really good primer and an oil based paint.   Not sure what color I would paint it.  Maybe white?  I would love to just tear it out and replace it with white subway tile.  But my husband said we he would rather wait to do that at the same time we replace the counters.  (That will be a couple of years from now I'm guessing.)

I chose to leave the doors off of this cabinet above our microwave.  It opened up this little space a little more and became a pretty little display shelf for my kitchen cleaners that sit in that little basket there.  Over time, I may decide to remove some of the other doors on the upper cabinets.  But for now I'll keep everything the way it is.

Oh, and before I forget... I added new hardware to these cabinets too.  It's black and I bought all of it on Amazon for about $40.  That included all the knobs and pulls.  I'm so glad I checked out Amazon before I headed to a big box store.  The pulls I bought worked out to be about two dollars a piece and I would have paid at least five dollars a pull anywhere else.

Overall, I'm really happy with how this project turned out.  If you've been wanting to paint your kitchen cabinets I say do it!  You'll be pleased with your hard work!

If you have any questions I'll try to answer them in the comments below.
Have a great week friends!

Oct 3, 2016

Rambler on an Acre

A I mentioned in my previous post, our new home is on an acre and a quarter.  While I'm excited to share with you our actual house, I still need to take some "in progress" pictures of some of the improvements we've made so far.  After I do that I will share some side by side before and afters of the rooms we've been able to tackle in the last three months.  Until then... here are some snippets of our back yard, what drew us to move in the first place.

We feel so blessed to live in a home with a bit of space that feels country, but in reality is only a block into county property.  Favorite stores are only a five minute drive away, we have three close-ish neighbor's (they all have at least an acre or two also, so we aren't super close), and meanwhile, we get to have space for our six rabbits, seventeen chicks, rooster, and two dogs.  If my husband and youngest daughter's dreams come true, we'll also have a horse grazing around here in a couple of years.

Lots of room for kiddos to run and play. Mowing this huge lawn has become a favorite chore for our two oldest who love "driving" our new tractor mower... At least they love it for now.

Most days, I still can't believe we get to call this place home.  Someone pinch me please.

Sep 15, 2016

We moved.

It's true.  We sold our beloved split level home in June.  Ironically enough, we sold it exactly seven years to the day that we bought it.  

It was a bitter sweet goodbye.  It was a little more sweet than bitter because we moved to a house on an acre and a quarter.  We have talked and dreamed about buying a home on a bit of land since the time we got married.  So in a big way, this was a dream come true.

We hunted for the right house on some land for about six months before we found the right one.  We weren't afraid of buying another fixer upper and putting in a lot of work to make it pretty.  That's exactly what we did here, and looking back, it's been lots of fun seeing the transformation throughout the years.  The first house we went to look at happened to be a small labor and delivery hospital back in the early seventies.  It had acreage and "character" in a way, but was more fascinating to look through, then it would have been to fix up with our meager funds.  If we'd had an extra $200,000 cash laying around, it would have been a fun fixer.  So we walked away from the "hospital house" and kept looking for months.  We had a hard time finding what we wanted in our price range and often went from, "let's just not move and stay where we are" to "this is a cool house, let's pray about this one."

In the end, we put an offer on a home that my husband had to almost drag me to go see.  I was so sick of looking at the wrong homes and was tired of being disappointed.  The pictures of our new home online, made it look like an old persons home and at first, my bad attitude couldn't get past the old decor and craaaaaazy wall colors.  But I begrudgingly went to look at it with my husband and our realtor.  Surprisingly, it looked better in person.  As we were walking around the yard outside, the leaves were fluttering in the wind, making a heavenly noise and I said a silent prayer, asking if this was the right house.  I had a peaceful reassurance wash over me and I knew this was the one.  Although we would want to change things about it, it was the nicest house we'd seen and it met a large majority of the wants on our checklist.

We put so much sweat, blood, and tears (literally) into this split level.  For so long I hated it and by the time I learned to love it, it was time to say goodbye.

The picture above shows the last of our belongings before we locked the front door for the very last time.  I miss this house.  I miss that all the projects were finished.  I miss that it felt so familiar to me.  I miss our friendly neighbors.  But we live less than a mile away and I get to drive by it nearly everyday.  

Soon I'll share some pictures of our new home.  I already have a handful of "before" and "after" photos.  It still doesn't quite feel like "home" yet, but it's getting there.

Mar 15, 2016

For the Love of Power Tools

My love for power tools and learning to do simple projects on my own is growing.  With time and patience, I've taken over doing any necessary molding projects around our home.  A few weeks ago, I finished installing the board and batton in our basement family room.  A couple of weeks after that, some unfinished molding on the stairwell down to the basement.  Annnd in that same swoop of getting things done, I redid the molding around our new front door. ...when the new door went in, the spacing for the board and batton was different than what it was around the old door.  Anyway, long boring story, but the molding beside the door, needed to be fixed.

Step 1:  cut and nail in thin smooth board.

Step 2:  cut to size the mdf base board, thinner top board, and even thinner than that cap piece.

Step 3:  caulk and paint.

It feels so good to finally finish these projects that have been left undone forever.  It feels even better to know I did them myself.  I wasn't as fast or consise  as a professional, I'm sure.  But self reliance feels great!

Mar 8, 2016

Bookshelf Styling

We are only a couple of weeks away from spring!  (Cue angels singing.)  Lately, I've been feeling so antsy for sunshine and warmer weather.  To combat that antsy feeling, I've been fluffing my nest as often as time allows.  One of the things I've been doing is some minor tweaking of the books and things on our living room built-ins.

I will just start out by saying, I know nothing about bookshelf styling.  All I know is what I like and what I don't like.  I think most of us can all say that.  We know when we like something a certain way and we know when something looks off.

I recently bought two new matching baskets from Marshalls for both of the top shelves.  I've always had baskets on the top shelves to house a collection of random books.  But the old baskets were very dark in color and just seemed very "heavy" to me.  I like the light airy color of these baskets much better and I like that they are identical because symmetry is something I like.

Here are a few other things I like when it comes to styling bookshelves:
• a combination of books and other cute or meaningful objects (mostly books)
• enough white space... I want to see part of the back of the bookshelf.  It makes everything feel lighter to me.
•combine like color objects... I like to do this with my books (with these bookshelves, I chose to use a combination of blue, yellow and green book spines, along with neutrals)
•the last, and probably most important thing I do, is the style and step back method :-)  I style an object or group of books, step back, and then keep it if I like it, or change things around until I do.  It's all about trial and error.

Have you been fluffing your nest in anticipation of spring?

Mar 1, 2016

Think Green

The color green has been on my mind a lot lately, and not just because it's almost St. Patrick's Day.  Everything around us seems mostly dormant and brown at the moment.  It's so depressing.  I realize how much I love color when, because of the weather, nature seems to lack much of it.   

Yesterday, I was driving around on some errands with my husband and noticed a tree beginning to blossom and a few trees with a tiny glimmer of green on their branches and I literally shrieked with joy.  My husband was kind of like, "Wow, you get excited about the simplest things."  Haha.  And it's true, I sometimes do.

I planted some sugar snap peas in the tiny little green house pictured above.  I can't wait to transplant them in my garden and add a little green to our own landscape.

Speaking of landscaping... This summer we're completely re-landscaping our backyard.  We're adding fruit trees, rock, a retaining wall, and an in ground trampoline.  I'm excited to see the changes.  Are any of you excited to get outside and get your hands dirty?
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