i've read the blog posts and the tutorials. i believed the warnings that painting cabinets is HAAAAAARD.
but i am also blursed (blessed/cursed) with delusions of grander capabilities than i actually possess, so i am not appropriately scared of projects that i definitely should be. i just jump right in the deep end and only survive because there is no other alternative but to keep swimming until i am out.
after 5.5 years living among the faux cherry kitchen cabinets that the house came with when we first bought it-- and that i once actually loved (stupid, stupid girl)-- i recently transitioned to, "okay, i would never pick these on my own, but they really arent that bad."
and then one day last week, i tipped right over the edge into THESE ARE HIDEOUS AND THEY MUST GO NOW! territory.
god bless jesse. i call him up out of nowhere and say, "i have a big project i want to do and you will have to help me majorly and it will take days and days and i want it so bad, so you cant say no."
is raging impulsiveness a sign of a brain tumor? sociopathy? imminent death? no? then okay, it's not at the top of my list of traits to change about myself at the moment. WE PAINT!
and paint we did. we painted, and we deglossed, cleaned, sealed, unscrewed, mounted, cried, sweated, and wallowed.
but we finished. yes we did:
it wasnt the actual difficulty of this thing that was a kick in the soft stuff...it was the all-encompassing nature of it.
you will never realize how much surface area your cabinet doors comprise until you take them off and have to find a space to lay them out in. you never realize how much you use your countertops until you cant touch them for 48 hours. you never realize that your children are not actually the cuddly fruit of your loins that you always assumed, but are instead invincible destructi-cons with a vendetta of mental anguish to carry out against you until you try something like this.
we have child locks on all of our lower cabinets, so the kids have never really been able to see inside, much less open ALL OF THEM ALL AT ONCE WITH UNRESTRICTED ACCESS. good sweet gracious, all hell broke loose when they realized pandora's box had been opened. with the mess that this kind of undertaking requires anyway--plus two toddlers--we had on our hands a grade A shitstorm unleashing fury on us for 4 full days.
i walked in at one point and layla seemed to be smoking several birthday candles she had unearthed while also wielding a food processor cheese-grating attachment blade at judah as he fended her off with a pyrex shield and brandished an immersion blender back at her. precious moments and willow tree: where are your collectible figurines for these moments?
jesse and i have decided that as mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, so are our kids to any agendas we might have of being productive. they sense this distracted weakness in us and lose their minds like 2 little blood-thirsty life-suckers. whereas if jesse and i are being lards on our laptops in the same room as them, they will happily and quiety play or watch TV for HOURS. but dare we try to go one room over and do something requiring 5 quarks of brainpower, 4 ounces of focus or even 75% of our limbs, they experience tiny brain hurricanes that render any formerly-engaging activity utterly useless and invisible and all they can think about is stopping our progress at any cost.
chaos and stress reign supreme, messes abound and jesse and i creep ever closer to the grave.
am i painting an adequate picture of the FOUR DAY PROCESS for you? if not, tough luck, because big mommy aint repainting anything else for at least a fortnight.
but was it worth it? shockingly: yes.
let's dive in, shall we?
i was settled on the amazingly in depth tutorial from young house love until i realized that, besides being super talented, these people are also insane and may secretly be ninjas or at least contractors. my mind cant function inside of 13-day time lines, removing all belongings from all cabinets and drawers, and sanding every surface twice. then again, they had real oak cabinets so being super by-the-book was more important to them. they are rockstars a million.
so instead i used the before/after transformation and beadboard idea from this blog to guide us. finding this blog gave me several important pieces of info:
1. rustoleum makes a line of "transformations" paint kits designed to give you everything you need to change the color of cabinets, counters or furniture all in one box. they are cheap, come in many colors and come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. we ended up getting the cabinet kit for the cabs and the furniture kit we used on our counters (since the counter top one didnt come in a black option for some reason). the cabinet one was $75 and the furniture one we used on the counters was $35. both had 4 steps and coats included: deglossing, painting, decorative coat (optional...we didnt) and protective coat. no sanding required was what sold us...and the price tag.
2. adding beadboard panels to the cabinet fronts. this "one little extra" as i billed it to jesse, ended up adding a whole day and a half to the ordeal because we had to cut them exactly right and that took all of jesse's efforts for one whole night of work and then we caulked like drunk people around the gaps to make it seamless and had to go back and sand the gloops and overflows (so dammit, we had to sand a little bit anyway).
before the storm. i lived here for 5.5 years and this never really bothered me. now i see this picture and have almost a physical aversion to it.
after taking off all of the door fronts and gold hinges. we didnt have any pulls on the cabinets or drawers before bc it never bothered us, and anyway, lipstick on a pig, you know?
as i was removing all the hinges and taking them down, i was so naive and happy as the project got under way. i love my cabinets and saw only the good in them. i would actually sweet talk them, telling them, "you're just tiny little cabins, that's where you got your name. snuggy little homes for all my stuff to cozy up in." by the end of the project, the cabin/cabinette wordplay charm had vanished unless youre thinking of those cabins that horror movies are set in that scare the living crap out of me and i never want to be around. yeah, that's more of what these were like.
preparing to be cleaned and deglossed. i labelled them all (with info of where they belonged) with a post-its before writing a master list of the location and dimensions of each (since the post-its would be removed eventually)
i bought the cheapest knobs from home depot that they had in a shape that i like and then went with my old fave, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to give them the finish that i actually wanted rather than springing $5 per knob on one that came that color
the existing hinges got a coat of it too.
jesse cut out the beadboard rectangles for the cabinet fronts and the cabinets frames. he also got a terrible haircut somewhere during the week, but we love him still and find his sexiness fully restored by the skillful use of these power tools.
the first beadboard find its new home. this is such a chic two-toned look, maybe we should have stopped there. oh sorry, i thought i lived in opposite land. ZING!
we used just liquid nails to attach the beadboard since its not like they would be getting yanked on. for larger sections that the liquid nails wasnt enough to hold tightly down, we secured with little nail-gun brads
after 1 coat of deglosser and 2 coats of paint. note the dishes in the sink are NOT from cooking since that did not happen at all during this project, but instead are full of things i accidentally touched with the deglosser during that phase. that is serious stuff and i didnt want any of it on things that would eventually touch our food.
seeing my cabinet-contents without their doors was like seeing your teacher in a swimsuit or something. you always knew it went on out of your sight, but it's just slightly wrong or indecent to see it all exposed in the light of day like that.
everybody in their ghost makeup!
the countertop situation deteriorates heading into day 3. clean and clear countertops are my love language. more so, the state of my countertops is often a perfect barometer for the state of my stress level. guess how laid back and fun to be around i was at this point!
late friday night we finished the protective coating and got the hardware installed on all the doors. we were so tired but had to get them hung to see the final product:
so so so pretty, but also utterly spoiled by the off-white countertops.
enter phase two: countertop makeover.
jesse went to bed at about midnight, but i HAD to get going on the counters because the white on offwhite contrast was ruining my before/after moment.
i cleaned the living snot out of the counters, and it was actually a little sad to rub the deglosser all over them and prep to paint them since they now looked better than ever. kind of like a dog that bites someone and has to be put down and acts so sweet in that sad back room at the vet and makes you think, "oh let's not go through with it, he will be good! look how gentle and docile". your heart breaks, but you know this creature is a danger to all future people who come into contact with it. so it was with my counters.
here was my real "old yeller" moment of truth:
nothing like rolling out black paint onto the broad white expanse of your counter to make your ovaries clench up a little bit.
after dealing with the front and backs, vertical-hanging, and decorative grooves of the cabinets, painting flat, horizontal, waist-high countertop was the most pleasing experience EVER. i seriously enjoyed all of the coats as my roller glided across the conveniently placed and perfectly-textured-for-paint surface.
after letting it dry overnight and then putting on the topcoat and letting THAT dry for another 24 hours (not being able to use your countertops at all is CHALLENGING. the top of our trashcan became our only oasis during this time) i finally had my AFTER[glow] moment:
breathe it in...but not too deeply, the topcoat hasnt fully cured yet.
rustoleum cabinet transformations kit (frost)-$75
17 knobs and 5 handles hardware- $50
two 4'x8' sheets of mdf beadboard-$40 (lots leftover for a future bathroom project)
furniture transformations kit (used for counters) in black: $35
oil-rubbed bronze spray paint-$7
liquid nails and caulk tubes-$5
we already had and needed:
-saw, caulk gun, nailer, sander
-paint rollers, tape, trays & NICE brushes (crucial)
so $212 for what amounts to brand new cabinets and countertops (in my mind at least) is a STEAL. we could never had afforded actual replacements or even paying someone else for this labor (in case, you know, my WORST ENEMY was looking for some work, i might have wished this upon him).
of course, i am your textbook "if you give a mouse a cookie" kind of girl (aside: wait, do you have a cookie right now? can I have it?), so now we are planning new wall paint, new barstool tops, moulding, a decor switcheroo and a tile backsplash to complete the ugly ducking metamorphosis.
the paint color and decor were fine before when this was a land of cherry and cream, but just like tom brady traded up to giselle when he became an NFL star, these counters and cabs deserve something of a va-jay-jay upgrade of their own now that they are classy fellas (thank you liz lemon for that).
please make a big deal out of this transformation. if it's not that great, go ahead and lie to me. i am in a fragile zone of post-stress storm tenderness and can only bear to hear good things about this epic effort.