how NOT to paint your kitchen cabinets (aka: why I blog)

July 1, 2011

It's been awhile since I joined in on a CSI challenge, so I thought I'd share a project with you from a few years back. I had just started blogging (meaning no one read my blog or probably even knew I had a blog and I did not spend much time on it.)

My extra time and energy were spent on overly ambitious home improvement projects (which might sound like a good thing until you realize that I am not the handiest person with a hammer and nail.)

Whenever I would suggest a new project to Ben (Hey, let's build a pergola in the backyard! We should tile our bathroom floor. Want to help me paint a giant mural?) he would always respond with a polite, but firm, "No, thanks." He knows how these things usually end up for us and had learned his lesson by this point. (John and Sherry we are not.)

I, on the other hand, still needed a few more "learn-it-the-hard-way moments" in my life.

Ever since we moved in to our house, I had wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets. The oak was just not me and I really wanted white cabinets. I waited until Ben went out of town for a week and set to work.

Went to the paint store, picked up the supplies and waited until Juliet (who was 2 at the time) went to sleep at night.

Then I spent the next 7 nights from about 8 pm to midnight working on the project in the hopes of getting it done before Ben returned.

That did not happen for me.

In fact, it took another 3 weeks for it to be completely finished. I'll fill you in on the details in a moment, but first, let's admire the finished product:
Pristine, white cabinets. I love how they turned out. (Sorry for the very un-staged state of this photo I took this photo for facebook (to show my mom) several years ago and apparently did not feel the need to remove my dinner preparations from the photo--rookie mistake.)

Now back to WHY it took me an entire month to finish painting these cabinets. Ordinary people would probably get it finished in a week. Here is why HGTV will not be calling me to host a show anytime soon:

Step 1. I began by removing the cabinet doors. Easy enough.

Step 2. I prepared the wood by washing them a special cleaning solution (Still following the helpful advice from the Sherwin Williams guy.)

Step 3. I primed the cabinets. (Again, still following directions.)

Step 4. Here's where things get a little crazy. I had read that "slate" was the new "chocolate brown" and decided to be ahead of the game in the home decor dept. So instead of buying white paint (a proven classic), I chose one called "outerspace"  (which is clearly where my mind was on that choice).

Feast your eyes on exhibit A, friends.
Granted, this is just the first coat, but at this point (day 3 with only 3 days left until ben returned) I thought I had better cut my losses and go with the white. Ben is VERY traditional and even if I had been satisfied with the outerspace cabinets, I knew he would hate it, so I had to act fast.

Step 5. So I RE-PRIMED the cabinets (another day lost) and....

Back to the paint store and buy white paint, right?


I bought IVORY.

Why? Because I like to learn things the hard way, remember?

"Ivory is so classic and beautiful. It will look great!" I thought.

Step 6. Ivory IS classic and beautiful, but not if all the molding in your kitchen is WHITE. How many times have I repainted these cabinets? (I'm starting to panic a bit at this point....)

Step 7: Slap myself in the face.

Step 8: Explain to husband why the cabinets are ivory after explaining to him why they are painted at all....(carefully leaving out the whole "outerspace" incident...)

Step 8: Reprime the cabinets for the THIRD time.

Step 9: Wonder if I will ever have a relaxing evening again in my life--preferably one that does not involve paint....

Step 10: Paint the cabinets WHITE.

Step 11: Paint them white again. And again. And again. Maybe one more time because there is still a blu-ish tint to them....okay, one last time and that should do it.

Step 12: Watch Juliet graduate from college. (Okay, I'm kidding on this one, but seriously, it felt like I had been working on this project for YEARS.)

Step 13: Apply a coat of polyurethane to all the cabinets. Twice.

Step 14: Rehang all the doors.

Step 15: Vow to never pick up another paint brush again in my life.

So that is probably the longest kitchen renovation post ever, but at least it is shorter than my project. Despite being pleased with the final outcome, I'm not sure it was worth all the effort, but I like to pretend that it was.
Here's another before picture....(look our craft table was all nice and white back then...)
And here's the after. (Again, sorry for leaving the mess in the photo.) Can you believe what these doors have been through? :)

So, there you have it. The reason I spend all my free time blogging is to keep me from embarking on another such home improvement adventure/disaster.

It's just better this way. And less messy. :)

Update: As I was reflecting on this post last night, I recalled a few other "steps" that I neglected to include. (Like spilling the can of polyurethane not one, but TWO times during the final protection phase. That was a thrill to clean up.)

Also, in the hopes of finishing the project before the year 3000, I had decided to NOT paint the inside of the cabinet doors. Ben insisted that I MUST paint them. I tried to argue, but he was right--my mom always told me "if you are going to do something, then do it right." So I did it right, but I was not particularly happy about it.

Also, in the hopes of cutting down time with the paintbrush, I was considering not painting the underside of the cabinets (who looks there anyways?) but again, Ben and mom urged me on. 

Lastly, I think that I mixed up the sequence of when I actually took the doors off. You can see that they were still on during the "outerspace" phase of the project. I think I probably took them off after that. But it was 2 years ago and I have tried to block most of the experience from my mind. Not that anyone is still reading at this point, but I felt I had to set the record straight so I can sleep at night. :) 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the transformation, even though it sounds like such a trial to get there! I'm hoping to achieve something similar soon in my kitchen. I'll go straight for the white though!

Katie (in England)

Post a Comment

I LOVE hearing from you.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Silly Eagle Books All rights reserved © Blog Milk Design