Letting Go and Letting God.....

"If you really want to make God Laugh, plan your life" -Mother Theresa

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cabinet Transformation that has Us Smiling

Join me at Kimba's DIY day!

I can't even believe the difference a few bucks and some sweat will make! I have been trying to convince my husband to do a mini reno in the kitchen for quite sometime. As a carpenter (by hobby), he has the utmost respect for WOOD! He wanted to wait until we could gut the kitchen and he could build respectable cabinets- I love his dedication to wood- but that would've been years away. He often works 6 days a week and we have 4 very active and busy girls - so we can't always do what we want... In fact he really wasn't even on board of starting the mini-reno due to little time- but I set a start date and said I'm doing it with or without you. Good thing he decided to help me out cause I could've never pulled it off without him:) So this first detailed project of the kitchen reveal really highlights that!! Since I didn't think I was going to have his help I decided I would not change the cabinet doors and just paint them as is. But after I took the doors off- he said- "well, if we're going to do this we better do it." He thought that it would look like the same kitchen if we didn't change the doors. And though I am sure it would've still been a huge improvement just to paint- changing the doors make a huge difference- a classic update!

So remember these old cabinets? With the groove and ugly oak grainy finish? And that awful hardware?

Well- they are really different now! Here is how we did it: First I ordered new hardware from a seller on ebay. I bought new hinges, cup pulls and knobs in satin nickel for $112. That's a great deal considering I have a ton of cabinets! I choose satin nickel because I was pretty sure I was going with a brown on the bottom cabinets and I was afraid an oil-rubbed bronze would blend too much.

Ok, so my next big decision was colors. A very long time ago I saw this inspiration picture which features green bottom cabinets. I had been planning for a very long time to go with green- in fact I was going to go with my wall color and then paint my wall a more neutral. However, when the time got closer to paint I was afraid I would get sick of the green more quickly and wouldn't be able to easily change colors with it. So I wanted a color that would match more things. I didn't want to do all white for many reasons -1. I have four kids and I didn't want the cabinets to look dirty all the time. 2. I have a whitish floor (that I strongly dislike) and have struggled with paint colors against it (I painted my entry way 3 times before I was happy with the color against the floor that I hate- but can't replace at the current moment) and 3. I am a colorful person- I am pretty risque when it comes to color- I don't like to be neutral in any area of my life - I think my friends would agree- I'm not Switzerland:)

So- what color should I go with? I just so happened to see many blogs out there using some really dark browns and I liked it. Plus I read a blog from a designer that said mixing dark stained wood cabinets with painted ones gives a classic look that's not trendy- Perfect! I knew I couldn't have the dark stained wood since I needed to paint what I had but I thought I could get the same effect. However, when I mentioned this to various friends they didn't think it would be a good idea. I mean- go with the wrong brown and it looks like POO - in the kitchen- yuck! But I was confident. So below you can see my experiments:

I thought the one on the right was too poopy so I choose the left one which is Rustoleum Espresso Brown in satin. The great part was it comes in a brush on form and a spray paint. I used the spray paint on the inside of the doors and on other projects/accessories in the room. The upper color was easy to choose since we have used that on other cabinets in the house- in particular the adjoining family room has built-ins (done by my husband) painted in the same color. The color is creamy white in semi-gloss and is Olympic from Lowes. Now, you may be thinking- "why did she use a semi-gloss on the uppers and a satin on the bottom?" - well that was done for 2 reasons -1. My local hardware store only had the espresso brush on in satin (this product is not mixed)- 2. A dark color always shows up more shiny than a lighter color so I think if I would've used semi in the brown it would've looked lacquer like.

Now for the transformation. I got this basic idea from a Lowes creative idea magazine a long time ago. Basically cover the middle with a panel and then frame with molding to give the look of a paneled door. My husband put it all together in his own way- and I LOVE IT!

Here is the hardboard we used for the panels. Since it was going to be painted we wanted to go with an inexpensive product. This comes in large sheets (the picture is one already cut). I think the sheets are $6.50 each. Next, we went and got a basic molding. The one we choose was simple and inexpensive but didn't have the lip to cover the panel so my husband cut one in.

This is what it looked like when it was done. After this I cleaned the cabinets with TSP- an commercial strength degreaser and pre-paint cleaner we got at Lowes. Next, I filled the previous hardware holes with wood filler (since we were using knobs and not handles and we were putting them in a different location)- let it dry and then sanded it. I then did approximately 2 coats of primer (Bullseye) and 3 coats of paint.

And here is the result!! I am thrilled with it- and so is the hotty!

If you are thinking about doing this- I say "Go For It!" It is a ton of work and will take tons of time- but it is so worth it- and is very affordable!

See you soon:)


  1. i love it...i really do!! now, have me over for dinner :) hehe!

  2. WOW! What a difference- That really puts the pressure on. Now that the kitchen looks so amazing you have to "create" food that looks just as good! Good luck with that!

  3. your kitchen cabinets look great. I love the white ones on top and the darker on the bottom. I too agree with the fact that they will be timeless.
    thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, it looks amazing. I have been considering doing the white uppers and dark brown lowers too because I have an off-white tile floor and I wasn't sure how white would look against it. I love the trim you added around the doors too, thanks so much for the inspiration.

  5. That is an amazing job!

    - The Tablescaper