Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 80s were fun for growing up, but not fun in my kitchen; how I got a new kitchen for under $400

How did I live with this for 4 1/2 years?!
When we bought our house in 2009, I loved everything but the kitchen.  It is small and filled with “good quality” oak cabinets.  I’ve spent 4 years trying to get the energy to paint them.  I finally decided this was the year to do it.  I priced out getting them professionally done ($1800), but instead decided I’d try this on my own.  I talked to my “sister from another mista”, Jill (my sister-in-law’s sister), who is an avid DIY-er and she convinced me I could do it using chalk paint.  Chalk Paint was invented about 20 years ago by a woman named Annie Sloan.  Although there is a limited color palette and the cans are pricey, I still thought it would be less expensive than hiring the $1800 lady.  I did a little research on Pinterest and found a blog from a woman who made her own.  She gave wonderful detail on all her research and her list of do’s and don’ts. During the painting process, I posted pictures on Facebook and ended up with a little following of people cheering me on.  I promised a blog post to explain how I turned my 80s “gag me with a spoon” kitchen into a 2014 beauty.
 "Gray Matters" from Sherwin-Williams

The color I chose was “Gray Matters” from Sherwin-Williams (flat finish), though I had it color matched in Behr paint at Home Depot. The “recipe” for Chalk Paint is 1:3 ratio of Plaster of Paris to flat paint.  Buy a plastic container or use something from around the house.  The first night I mixed too much and by the next night, the plaster started to harden.  I learned to make small batches with only the paint I needed for that night.  This paint goes far, so a small amount will cover quite a bit.  I used an angled 1” brush for the edges and grooves and a 2 1/2” brush for the flat surfaces.  Quality brushes really do matter.  I spent $14 on the large brush… well worth it!

80s Splendor!
Since I work full time, I had to work in the evenings and weekend.  I started on a Monday, removing door fronts, pulls and hinges and giving them all a thorough cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I numbered them with post it notes and created a map of the kitchen.  

My husband helped by washing the cabinet frames.  He said, “I’m trying to be as helpful as possible without actually painting”.  I’m the perfectionist when it comes to painting, so I was ok with that statement! I got the first coat on a few doors the first night while my husband and a friend installed a new range hood. 

Night 2: I got the first coat on the cabinet frames and the rest of the doors done. It felt so good to get rid of the oak!!

Night 3: The cabinet frames got a second coat and about 1/3 of the cabinet fronts had a 2nd coat.

My house was taken over by cabinets
I used Red Solo Cups to prop up my doors!

I should mention that I did this all during the 2nd  "Polar Vortex” of 2014.  I painted in my living room/dining room because I had nowhere else to go.  My husband was ice fishing during most of the work and my kids ate mainly from the fats/grains portion of the food pyramid.  Without a table, they got to eat their beige meals in front of the TV on the coffee table.  They left me alone and had a blast  breaking all the rules!  We were also dog sitting a Yellow Lab along with our 100 lb. black furball.  I had a little extra work to keep the “Furricane” from ruining my paint job, but it was worth it! 

Night 4: I was getting a little weary, but my Facebook friends cheered me on.  I had enough done on a set of drawers that I could install the pulls.  That inspired me.  I knew I was going to LOVE this transformation.  I managed to get a 2nd coat on most of the cabinets as well.  I have to give a big thanks to my friend Kim Wilson who has an amazing website, www.sandandsisal.com.  She is an amazing DIY-er and offered wonderful advice.

Night 5: I visited my cute neighborhood hardware store, Ada Godwin Hardware and talked to the paint man about what kind of sealer to use.  He was very helpful and recommended a product by Minwax called “Polycrylic” in the satin finish.  Score one for the local hardware store.  It turned out to be the perfect sealer.

Days 6 and 7: I didn’t plan it this way, but I was quite thankful to be doing the final coats and sealer during the daylight.  I saw flaws that weren’t visible by the light of my dining room.  The sealer was easy to use and I really liked the satin finish.  I used foam brushes and worked very carefully so that there weren’t any drips or bubbles. 

I really love my new range hood.  It's a silly thing, but the halogen lights cast a really nice glow in the kitchen. I'm an interior designer, so I'm all about the right lighting!
By the end of Night 7, I had about 2/3 of the doors with 2 coats of sealer, so I reattached hardware and the new pulls and started the re-installation.  It was starting to look so good… worth all the work, for sure!  I wasn’t sure what to do about the hinges, since they were an 80s brushed brass.  I was going to get an oil rubbed bronze spray paint for them, but with the bad weather and the fact I’d have to spray paint in my 10 degree garage, I decided to embrace the hinges.  They actually look OK.

We're going to need a new refrigerator soon. I was thinking about stainless, but I really love the contrast of the black stove against the grey cabinets.  I think we'll go with black!

Night 8: Almost done!  I had 11 door fronts to seal

Day 9: DONE!  I still need to add sealer to the insides of the cabinets, but for all intents and purposes, it's complete.  I love it.  It was worth every second.  I tried to go slow and be very careful with my painting & sealing.  They're not perfect, but then, neither am I.  Am I'm OK with that.


Breakdown of expenses:

Pulls - from www.knobs4less.com - Amerock 3" oil-rubbed bronze - $97.90 for 35 pulls
Range hood (approx. $200), gallon of paint, Plaster of Paris and $14 brush - $258
Sealer - $20 pint of Minwax "Polycrylic" and 4 foam brushes ($2.40)
Grand total: $378.10

Not bad for a kitchen renovation!  I won a $400 award at work last month which gave me the incentive to get this project going.  I came in under budget! I'll spend the rest on accessories... I'm thinking yellow!

Next up... paint the oak trim.  Maybe during the next Polar Vortex.

January 2017 update: The cabinets have held up really well.  There are a few little dings on the drawers we open the most.  I just mix up a little touch up paint once in a while.

We also got a new black stove & dishwasher which look great next to the grey cabinets.

I've painted both bathrooms in chalk paint, too . I LOVE it!