New House—Kitchen Renovation


Hi, friends!

My leave of absence from blogging, for the most part, was due to Max and I’s new house! A quick recap: We closed and got possession on March 1st, giving us a full month to get in and do some projects before actually moving in. And believe me, I had a list of projects. Our house was built in 1988, but the previous owner(s) really LIVED in the house, so it needed a bit of help. Being the crazy person overachiever that I am, I decided to paint every wall in the house, paint every piece of trim, and to “redo” the kitchen. I set up a timeline for each project, enlisted my friends and family to help, and bought my supplies (and returned to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Pittsburgh Paints daily until they knew me by name). Crazy you might say? Yes, you would be correct. I had many a friend question my sanity during the month of March. Impossible? Au contraire…achievable if you have no life. In one month, I had a lot to tackle.

First things first, the kitchen. One of my biggest criteria while looking for a home was the kitchen. I needed space to move around, I wanted it open to the rest of the home, and I *hoped* for something that had been updated, even just a little. With our kitchen, I got 2 1/2 of my 3 wishes. Plenty of space, nice and open, and bits of the kitchen had been updated, so we had a pretty good start. However, the cabinetry was pretty sketch.

Being built in the 80s, the wood throughout the home was that orangey-brown, cheap builder’s wood. It didn’t look terrible by any means, but since I was repainting the entire (I repeat, ENTIRE) house, that dated wood needed to go. And since Max and I were working with a pretty slim budget, that meant I would paint it all white. Nothing beats crisp, clean white trim and cabinetry. And since everyone told me how awful painting your kitchen is, I decided to tackle this project first. And to prove them all wrong. Now, I was told this would take AT LEAST a week if not more. With the help of my wonderful friends, I was done painting by the end of the weekend. Cabinetry was rehung after about four days. And so far? It still looks pretty dang good! All you haters, see below. Booyah.

How to Paint Your Cabinetry (the unprofessional, fastest way possible without cutting too many corners)



What You’ll Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wood putty, optional
  • Sawhorse, ladder, anything that works well as a place for cabinets to dry (I stacked doors on my ladder, laid them on the table, on the floor—as long as you don’t prop them up, you should be OK…don’t quote me on that, though…remember, my sanity was in question throughout this month)
  • Deglosser
  • Gloves
  • Rags
  • 150- or 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Plastic sheeting
  • A GOOD brush or two (I hadn’t painted prior to this, so I went into the local paint store and told them what I planned to do…they steered me in the right direction for everything!)
  • Two mini rollers with frames (the smaller rollers work best for cabinetry)
  • Painter’s tape (we liked Frog’s Tape. A little more expensive, but worth it!)
  • 1 Gallon primer
  • 1 Gallon satin paint (or more, depending on how many cabinets you have)
  • Rustoleum spray paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze
  • New knobs/pulls, optional



BEFORE with my mom (and yes, she has pants on).


And one more before, with my mom and Calvin!

  1. First things first: Remove all cabinetry. Remove hardware from cabinetry. If reusing hardware, place in baggies and tape inside of cabinets. If spray-painting or using new hardware, set aside. We were lucky, our hardware was the same for all the cabinets, so we didn’t have to try to keep track of which hinges went where.

Step 1: Remove cabinet doors.

  1. If using new pulls and knobs, check to see if they will fit in the current holes in the cabinetry. If not, place wood putty into the holes. Sand down so that surface is smooth.
  2. Using your gloves and a rag, wipe cabinetry down with deglosser. This step is only necessary if your cabinetry has some shine to it. Ours wasn’t too shiny, but we figured better safe than sorry. This is a quick step that doesn’t hurt and is beneficial in the long run, so I would recommend it so the paint adheres well. Let deglosser dry according to instructions on bottle.
  3. Next, using the sandpaper, sand all surfaces of the cabinetry, making sure to get in the grooves and crevices. Wipe down with tack cloth. Once cabinet doors and bases are sanded thoroughly, it’s time to paint!
  4. Cover all nearby surfaces before beginning to paint, and have a place for all your cabinet doors to go after painting. Clear a good work surface to make everything go smoothly. Prime backs of doors and all of base cabinetry. Let dry. (We ended up using two coats of primer for the base cabinetry and one for the cabinet doors.) Note, the primer will NOT look good…that’s OK! It will look streaky and you’ll want to do another coat, but don’t worry about it. It will turn out just fine. Once doors are dry, flip over and prime front side of cabinet doors. Let dry. Steps 1-5 took us the first day.

Day 1: Primed Cabinetry


Day 1: Primed Cabinetry

  1. Day 2: Begin painting! <<For paint color, I’ll be honest. I randomly chose a white and just went with it. I had too many other things to worry about, so trying to decide between Ultra White and Fluffy Cloud White was not in my time frame, nor was testing paint colors. If you have time, feel free to take longer picking out the paint so you have the EXACT color you want. But what I found? If I don’t test other colors, I’ll never know what it couldddd have looked like, so any old white works just fine!>> Starting on the backs of the doors, use the roller to apply white paint. For cracks and crevices, use brush. Paint base cabinetry. Let dry. We ended up doing two coats this day on the backs of the doors and the base cabinetry.

Day 2: Paint backs of doors (2 coats)


Day 2: Paint drawers and base cabinetry

  1. Day 3: Flip the doors. Begin painting the front sides. For the fronts, we did three coats of paint, just to be safe. We also did a third coat on the base cabinetry. Let paint dry, then apply additional coats until paint is nice and even. I found that painting the crevices first with a brush, then smoothing back over everything with the roller yielded the best results.

Day 3: Paint fronts of cabinets


Day 3: Paint fronts of cabinets

  1. Day 4: Apply any additional touchups/coats. Let everything thoroughly dry. I recommend at least 2-4 days before rehanging cabinet doors; even though cabinets are dry to the touch, make sure they are completely dry before messing with them.
  2. Now it’s time for the hardware! We decided to spray paint the hinges and nails from the kitchen. In a well-ventilated area, spray-paint hardware. Let dry, then flip over to completely coat. As for the knobs/pulls, we opted on new ones from Lowe’s. If you want to spray paint your current knobs/pulls, follow the same technique as above.

Add hardware!

Add hardware

Add hardware

  1. Now, you wait. After cabinets have had a few days to dry, screw hardware back on and—yay it’s finally here—rehang your cabinetry!! Step back and admire your handiwork, you’re done! (Unless you’re like me and still have the rest of the house to do…wahh…) Next steps in the kitchen: Paint window trim, replace blinds, replace/repaint light fixtures…ALL TO COME!

Check back to see the rest of the kitchen transformation!


Drawers with new hardware


Doors with new hardware

We also had that hideous lightbox replaced, see below. Our handyman did that one for us, I didn’t want to get electrocuted…and it made SUCH a huge difference! We installed recessed lighting over the work surfaces—so much nicer than that yellowy light!




A little better…


A little better…

Ahhhh done!

Ahhhh done!

So what do you think? Have you redone your cabinets? Are you planning to redo your cabinets? Share your tips and tricks here!


And coming up: Adding Some Color—painting the kitchen light and hanging a valance!



3 thoughts on “New House—Kitchen Renovation

  1. Yay! Thanks for the how-to. I’m not sure I want to tackle my kitchen cabinetry just yet, but I think I’ll be doing my laundry room and bathroom cabinetry next weekend! (PS: Thanks for clarifying about the pants. ;))

  2. Nice job on the cabinets! I love the drawer pulls & cabinet knobs. Unfortunately, our cabinets are beyond help, so we hope to do a kitchen gut job within the next year (among a million other projects!).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s