When we bought our house in 2009 we did everything our able bodies could to turn our new house into our home in a short amount of time. When we first saw the house there was no flooring in 90% of the main level because the previous owners were waiting for the new carpet they ordered to be installed in the coming weeks. That included the three bedrooms, hallway, entrance, living room and dining room…we loved the house but cringed at the thought of it being blanketed in carpet. When the sale went through a week or so later the first call we made was to cancel the carpet order. Luckily we were able to and put the money towards new laminate flooring that we installed ourselves. This, among other things, like punching a hole in the wall separating the kitchen and living room, new paint and putting a t-bar ceiling in the basement, were all done (with the help of Davin’s hard-working dad) in the first three months before we moved in. In the kitchen we put new countertops, backsplash and new base cabinets below the new opening in the wall and made a breakfast bar on the opposite side. We did all of that except touch the existing cabinets. They were stained wood and hideous. We both hated them but dreaded what would be involved in replacing or refinishing them. It took four years for me to finally decide they needed to go. I’m not quite done the transformation yet but I’m already so happy with this decision!
When I paint something in our home it’s almost always a spur-of-the-moment decision and this was no exception. Davin wasn’t home…I think he was sledding or something, and by the time he got home later that afternoon I had bought everything I’d need and had all of the doors removed. I did tons of research on different methods of painting over the stained wood without having to completely strip the finish off. I found Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations but wasn’t sold on the fact that it would work and I was totally confused and intimidated by it. So after the failed attempt to find some miracle product that would make this project a breeze, I was prepared to do it the tried, tested and true way: sand like crazy, wash, prime and paint. I planned on using Benjamin Moore’s (my favorite paint brand) Fresh Start Premium Oil Based Primer that prevents stain bleed but found out that they no longer make it. Luckily, Home Hardware had the equivalent, called Beauti-Tone Acryl-Lok Primer Sealer that also primarily prevents stain bleed. I picked up a ton of sanding sponges (which I chose because they would easily be able to sand the finish off in the grooves of the cabinet doors), some Safe Prep (basically a pre-mixed TSP solution that you don’t have to wash off) and enough brushes and rollers for the primer and paint.
Because of the integrity of the primer, I didn’t worry about sanding the stain right down to the bare wood. I only worried about getting rid of the glossy finish. The primer went on really well, and after two coats you could barely see any of the dark wood color at all. I might have done a third coat just to help ensure the longevity of the stain-blocking properties – but I knew the grey would be plenty dark enough that I didn’t bother with a third coat.
Sadly, you don’t get to see the new grey cabinets that are done so far. I hope to have the finished look ready soon so watch for part two!
Here’s the kitchen so far and the steps I took to go from stained wood cabinets to what will soon be a new and improved kitchen!
The kitchen as it was for four years. Yes, I know I have the world’s smallest kitchen for having a house, but I’m making the best of it, okay! And Davin and I have managed squeezing past each other pretty well after all this time. =)
After removing the doors I set them up on saw horses in my basement where I sanded the glossy finish off on both sides and painted them.
After removing every single thing from my kitchen cupboards I had no where else but the dining room to store everything, so we lived like this for weeks while I painted the wall cabinets. Is it strange that I think this was the most undesirable yet most convenient thing ever? The Designer Series Trim & Door paint was the grey finish coat and the Acryl-Lok below was the stain bleed blocking primer I used.
We swapped out the light fixture that I LOVE. It’s from Ikea so it’s cheap and makes a world of difference, no?