Kitchen Revamp – Cabinet Painting

The day we moved in

The day we moved in

When we first saw this house the kitchen was a major selling point – it is huge, tons of counter and cabinet space, great layout and open to the rest of the living area. I could see myself cooking and entertaining here with ease…

Finished product

Finished product

Of course in my mind, I was seeing a much more beautiful version – but the bones and layout were perfect!

Before we started tiling

Before we started tiling – only the wall color, island lights and faucets had been updated

I would never have put so much knotty pine in my dream kitchen, the faucets and lighting were not my style, the paint was dreary,  the gold, stainless and wooden outlet covers were awful, the granite was jet black, the flooring was damaged, there was a fake red brick area for the ovens, the backsplash was a dark, busy slate with a weird pewter insert of vegetables above the sink that Just. Had. To. Go.

slate everywhere

slate everywhere

The overall impression was dark and heavy, despite all the light in the room – it had no contrast everything was tonally the same. However with all the things in the house that needed fixing, we only handled the most pressing.

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Old ugly faucet &  hard water stains on backsplash

We replaced the faucets and the island lighting as soon as we moved in and I switched out a few of the worst outlet covers since that was an easy fix – goodbye gold! We also tackled the damaged flooring, which I already wrote about here.

New island lights

New island lights

But that was it for a couple years. We lived with it –  it seemed like such a daunting task. Was I really going to pull out all these perfectly good cabinets? Seemed wasteful – I would be replacing them with identical cabinets in a different finish – the layout was already perfect…. Should I rip out all the granite and put in something lighter? That is an awful  lot of granite and do I really want to spend that much when I don’t love the cabinets… The backsplash would be easy – but until I decided what to do about the granite and the cabinets, I shouldn’t touch it. I wanted to rip out the fake red brick and replace with tile – but I was concerned about pulling out the ovens and getting all the edges to line up again since it butted right up to the ceiling molding and the pantry door…. I had a bad case of analysis paralysis!

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Brick staining in progress

Then my husband suggested painting the brick – at first I was “no, no, no” – I hate painted brick almost as much as the red brick! But then I thought what if we faux finished each individual brick to look a little more like a travertine subway tile…. My husband’s business is transforming concrete pool decks, driveways and patios, making them look like natural stone or tile so this wasn’t such a huge stretch.  I thought what the hell, lets try it and see if it makes the brick something I can live with. I gave him some color reference and a couple pictures of what I wanted and over a couple days, while I was at work, he made it beautiful!

Finished brick

Finished brick

I had been considering painting the cabinets for a while but again was put off by the effort and the fact that our kitchen would de dismantled for a long time so I thought I would hold off and pay someone else to do it  – but then we had to replace a couple air conditioning units this year and that pushed the project out a little further into the future. Eric encouraged me to just do it ourselves.

Test Area Before

Test Area Before

I had researched a couple different paints that simulated oil based cabinet paints hardwearing properties but were actually water based, so much easier clean up and faster drying times. Sherwin Williams was one of them  – more expensive but highly rated for this sort of job. Then Eric came across another one from Porter Paints called Breakthrough that is supposed to be extremely durable but in addition to that you don’t need to prime and it dries in 15 minutes between coats!!!

My glam designer fabric

My glam designer fabric

I picked out the three colors I wanted – from my fancy designer fabric that I mentioned before. A off white/linen for the cabinets called Garlic Clove, a soft, light green for the mile of bead board that backed the cabinets facing the living area called White Clover and a mid grey blue for the center island called Aqua Smoke. These are similar to the colors that I have used on the walls and they were reminiscent of some of my favorite painted kitchen inspiration pics from Houzz.

Point of no return

Point of no return

When I came home from work that night, Eric had picked up the paint already (he is such an enabler LOL) So of course I had to try it out and make sure the color was ok. He popped off a cabinet door and I painted the inside.

I looked up  “You realize this is the point of no return, right?”

“Let’s do it!”

And so began the next two weeks of long days, late nights and general kitchen destruction.

Garlic clove - not white

Garlic clove – not white

Basically the process was this:-

Test area in progress - stuff still in drawers

Test area in progress – stuff still in drawers

Pop off cabinet doors and drawer fronts, remove the hardware. We were lucky ours have hidden hinges so they didn’t need to be removed – we just took off the knobs. You can leave all your stuff in the cupboards Yay! Again, lucky for us the inside of most of our cabinets was already white so we only had to paint the doors and the outside facing edge of the boxes, toe kick etc. We only had one glass fronted cabinet that we had to paint the inside. Depending on how anal you want to be you could paint the insides of all of them but I don’t advise it – it is already a lot of work – why make it harder on yourself?

LABEL EACH DOOR – you need to know which one goes where when you are done. Trust me you will not remember. We used masking tape with numbers written them – one on the  door hinge, one on the inside of the corresponding cupboard or drawer

Clean the cabinets with something that removes gease and dirt we used TSP
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! If you have any food splashes or grease it will show up though the painted surface and believe me you do have dirty cabinets.

Then sand very lightly and wipe down one last time before painting. I painted the back of the cabinets first – laying out a long production line along the counters. You could do it in the garage or basement or even outside  – but here in Florida it is stupid hot right now and the paint would never dry properly in that humidity.

Production line with a few stubborn knobs

Production line with a few stubborn knobs

Three coats on the backs, waiting 15 minutes between coats  – if you time it right you can just paint continuously – by the time you finish the last cabinet door, the first one has already dried for 15 minutes. Then leave them for 30 minutes before flipping the over and putting three coats on the front and sides.

If you have ever painted doors before, you will already know that the brush is good for getting in the ridges around the panels but a foam roller is your best friend – the finish is much better –  no brushstrokes and streaks left behind. Multiple thin coats are better than heavier coats – you need to avoid drips at the best of times, but with paint that dries in 15 minutes you cannot have drips.

Final tile choice on right

Final tile choice on right

We started on the one area that had no backsplash but we knew that we needed to tackle the tile before going too far – don’t want to scratch up newly painted cabinets during demo. So after we finished the uppers and lowers on the test area and stood back to admire the overall effect, it was time to go tile shopping 🙂

I picked a sort of subway mosaic with some natural travertine stones, classic subway and lightly crackled, palest hint of green ceramic. I didn’t want something that would feel too dated and that ruled out a lot of the mosaic glass tile that has been so prevalent for so long – I think that look is past it’s prime now, but I also wanted something a little more contemporary than plain subway. I was really happy with this pick from Lowes – just the right modern, yet classic look I was aiming for, wasn’t terribly expensive and looked good with the stained brick and new cabinet color.

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Bead board hell – but love that color!

Over the course of the week, I had painted the bead board behind the bar height cabinets and was pretty happy with the color choice, the room was looking lighter and brighter by the day. Bead board is a bitch to paint – no getting around it. What worked best for me was to use a brush to get into each little crevice then go over the whole thing with the roller. However those little crevices hold the paint and once gravity takes effect, you get little drips pooling along the baseboard so you have to go back and touch that up as you go. Mind-numbing – just crank up the tunes and zone out!

Goodbye Holly Hobby outlet covers!!!

Goodbye Holly Hobby outlet covers!!! Hello crisp white ones

We spent the whole weekend on the backsplash – it turned it to be more work than we anticipated. Normally you can just chisel off the tile and then retile – however they had tiled directly onto drywall, not cement board and removing the tile took the wall down with it. Sigh…

Its' going down - I'm yelling timber....

Its’ going down – I’m yelling timber….

Friday night we demod the one long wall behind the sink, right down to the studs. Goodbye pewter plate and goodbye sanity! Then Sat morning we tackled the other counters, put up new cement board and tiled like a couple maniacs. It was an long and exhausting weekend but what a huge difference it made? Suddenly the whole kitchen was transformed

Good bye ugly pewter monstrosity

Good bye ugly pewter monstrosity

My sweet husband grouted all that tile on Monday, when I was working. During the week my guys prepped doors and cabinets and I came home and painted in the evenings. They also installed recycle cans and my awesome rev-a-shelf for my mixer. No more empty bottles and cans sitting on the counter top and I no longer have to break my back lifting that heavy mixer out when I need it LOL

Hidden recycling bins

Hidden recycling bins

Rev-a-shelf

Rev-a-shelf

Rev-a-shelf activate!

Rev-a-shelf activate!

Destruction everywhere

Destruction everywhere

Demo in progess

Demo in progress

ready for cement board

ready for cement board

By end of Sat we had finished all the cabinets – it took exactly two cans of Garlic Clove paint. I had decided to keep the old hardware, we just switched out any worn ones from the heavily used kitchen with unworn knobs from the laundry room and guest baths. Now with new light cabinets the dark oil rubbed bronze hardware and black granite looked crisp and awesome – like they were meant to be 🙂

Sunny helping with the cement board

Sunny helping with the cement board

Tile begins

Tile begins

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Tiling finished – look how nicely it goes with stained brick

tiling done

more tiling done

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Production line starting up again

tiling done

tile and paint done

more cabinets

yet more cabinets

Sunday, I caulked the backsplash and painted the last of the bead board that butted up to the tile, White Clover . Then we tackled the island – the bad news is it had lots of open alcoves and shelving that had to be painted both inside and out – the good news was the darker paint only took two coats to cover! I love, love the color – Aqua Smoke

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First coat on island – time to cover the yucky green

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Island done

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Island complete – this is a truer representation of the color

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Island cabinet production line

Yes it was a marathon effort over two weeks but I now have a brand new kitchen. I am shocked each morning when I get up and see it again. That black granite looks perfect now. The kitchen is light and bright, classic yet contemporary and wonder of wonders cost less than $800. Six hundred of that went on the tile, the rest was four cans of pricy, but so worth it, paint and a couple panels of cement board.

Painting your kitchen cabinets is definitely doable as a DIY project. I am so glad we took the plunge.

All Done!!

All Done!!

Complete

Complete

Master Bath Makeover

Finished at last

Finished at last

This project has evolved slowly in many small stages – I had originally considered doing a major overhaul since there were a lot of things not quite to my taste but instead we decided to just dress up what we had – the cost and mess were too much to contemplate and besides its not like what we had was actually broken.

Missing mirrors, silver and gold faucets and old light fixtures - Yuck!

Missing mirrors, silver and gold faucets and old light fixtures – Yuck!

When we first moved in the previous owners had taken the mirrors with them…. so the very first thing we did was go out and pick up a couple from Home Depot with nice silver frames – it is surprisingly difficult to brush your teeth without a mirror LOL!

After that, I bought a couple small teardrop chandeliers to hang over the tub – give it a bit more presence. Of course that meant that we needed to convert the existing recessed cans first. Eric risked life and limb installing them for me while the teen and I assembled the chandeliers (trickier than you would think and likely the reason for the excellent price)

chandeliers and medallions that replaced the old recessed cans

Chandeliers and medallions that replaced the old recessed cans

Once they were up they still needed a little something – so I started looking for ceiling medallions that snapped around already installed fixtures. Eric would have had a nervous breakdown if I asked him to take them down again!

towel rings and new towels

Towel rings and new towels

Oddly enough, there was nowhere to hang hand towels, so I picked up a couple of oil rubbed bronze ones (knowing my future plan to replace the chrome and gold faucets – yuck) some new towels and a mat to go in front of the shower so that the crappy floor tiles were less likely to kill us. For some reason every tiled surface in this house is the same ceramic tile that is completely lethal when wet – a great choice for bathrooms – sigh….

when we first moved in

When we first moved in – note the massive chip in the tub

For quite some time, that was it – too many other projects on the priority list.  One thing that had bothered me from the start, was that there was only one light fixture to the side of each mirror above the sink – clearly designed by a man – How am I expected to apply make up properly when one side of my face is in shadow???

I had my eye on some cute lights from Possini in silver with a glass dome surrounding some hanging chandelier drops – they matched the fan I put up in the the master bedroom – but they were too expensive. I needed four of them and at $200 a pop that was too spendy for my tastes. I kept an eye on a few websites and saw the prices drop on sale but still held off – then one glorious day there was a flash sale on and they were listed at $99 each so I snapped them up – Yay for being a smart shopper 🙂

They languished in the boxes for months – eventually Eric put up one of each but we never got around to running the additional wiring for the other too – half my face remained in darkness…

brassy hinges to match - Yuck!

Brassy hinges – Yuck!

We badly needed exhaust fans in all the showers in the house so we splurged on a handyman to come and do all three at once – this would ensure the mildew problem the house had when we first moved in would not reappear….not a glamorous project, but very necessary.

Blechh - old shower door handle

Blechh – old shower door handle

I would love to replace the ugly shower door at some point but since I know that was further down the road, I decided to just gussy up the existing one. However, the splotchy old bronze handle and hinges were just nasty, so I dragged out my trusty oil rubbed bronze Rustoleum spray paint and it gave it a whole new look that has survived really well over the past 6 months of heavy use. I also spray painted the toilet roll holder while I was at it.

spray painted handle

Spray painted handle

spray painted hinges

Spray painted hinges

Little by little it was starting to look  a little more presentable. I picked out some stacked stone tile for the wall behind the tub and paint and a stencil for the walls – but I kept putting that off – wanting the new lights to go up first….

Old sink faucets

Old sink faucets

New oil rubbed bronze  - much better

New oil rubbed bronze – much better

sad old shower head

Sad old shower head

New rain head shower and lever

Glam new rain head shower and lever

In the meantime, I ordered replacement faucets for the sinks and the shower – lovely oil rubbed bronze thanks to Amazon. They turned out to be easy to replace since I went with the same brand as the old facets and we could leave the existing valves in place. This made a huge difference and the bathroom started to really look good. A month later we replaced the tub faucet and drain – some internet research showed us how to do it. (The key was a smart dumbbell and some brute strength)

old Tub faucet - already updated the overflow and drain

Old tub faucet – already updated the overflow and drain

New faucet - Yum!

New faucet – Yum!

That just left the shower drain which I have been unable to find an exact replacement for so out came the Rustoleum again – hopefully it will hold up to daily wear and tear until I can find the real deal.

I had plans to tile the wall behind the tub and when Eric got himself a new Dremel, I decided to try it out on the tile needing to be removed.

Demo on wall done

Demo on wall done

Demo time

Demo time

halfway mark - weekend 1

Halfway mark – weekend 1

Final wall tile done

Final wall tile done – weekend 2

It did a great job but then I needed to go out and buy the spendy stacked stone tile I liked so much to cover it up LOL – that project ended up taking a couple weekends to complete – but I love how it looks – much more elegant! Hard to see in the picture but it is multiple sizes and depths of varied natural stone and marble along with a couple smoky glass tiles.

My closet floor was bare concrete – I guess there had been some issue with the previous owner – don’t know if there was a leak or what – but when we moved in I just pulled up the old carpet strips so I didn’t step on them and left it to make sure there was no water problem. A year and a half later with no sign of a leak I ordered some carpet tiles from Home Depot to stick down to make it look a little more finished and comfortable. They were really easy to install and it was a quick fix.

bare concrete in closet

Before – bare concrete in closet

easy stick down carpet tiles from Home Depot

easy stick down carpet tiles from Home Depot

carpet tiles down

carpet tiles down

Next up was the tile rug inset on the floor – I wanted to remove some of the old tile and replace with natural stone which is much less slippy but without having to replace all the old tile – I had done a similar thing at our old house in WA and it worked out great. However this was tile laid on concrete slab – much harder to remove than we had hoped.

floor before - death trap tile

floor before – death trap tile

After Eric “Dremelled” around the old grout lines, we removed a section 3 x 5 tiles wide and replaced it with the new tile. Demo was of course the hardest part – you need to not damage the tiles you want to leave behind and chip up all the old mastic before laying the new stuff – this is an extremely dusty process so be prepared for the clean up if you try it…

Tile is up - now to chip away all the old mastic

Tile is up – now to chip away all the old mastic

Old tile up and ready to go

Old tile up and ready to go

Those 15 tiles took all day to remove and there was much frustration and unhappiness all around – it was brutally hard work and the mess was beyond belief. There is a reason professionals charge twice as much to remove old tile than to lay new tile… sigh.  Basically get yourself a chisel with hand guard (trust me hammering your own knuckles makes the whole thing even more miserable), a hammer and all the elbow grease and muscle you can muster.

Damage prevention - my pretty lights wrapped in a fowl and a plastic bag

Damage prevention – my pretty lights wrapped in a towel and a plastic bag

Ceramic tile is sharp and shards of it were flying around the room – safety glasses are a must and make sure you protect any light fixtures or breakables while you work.

The all important chalk line

The all important chalk line

The next day I measure and laid the tile and Eric did all the tile cutting for me – between the two of us it took most of the day.  Just crank up the tunes and get to work. When you retrofit an existing floor it is best to start with the outside edges and work in since there is no room for error on sizing.

Edging down

Edging down

Snap a chalk line so you match the grout lines around the outside where the original tile is – once you are  working on the inside you can go with a different grout size if you prefer – but it will look weird if you mess up the perimeter.

Edging and contrast tiles laid

Edging and contrast tiles laid

Tile down - grout to follow

Tile down – grout to follow

After letting it dry, we sealed and grouted and finally it was done and what a difference it makes the deep chocolate marble accent tiles match some of the darker marble in the tile wall and with the oil rubbed bronze fixtures I loved how it pulled everything together – makes me almost forget the old ugly ceramic tile surrounding it LOL

Paint finished - goodbye sludge green

Paint finished – goodbye sludge green

At last it was time to paint the walls – I had to wait till all the messy stuff was done and I was so glad to be covering up the old green paint. I used Behr’s “woodsmoke” my favorite grey beige. It is a great neutral that works well with both warm and cool colors.

Late night stencilling

Late night stencilling

The final touch was using a trellis stencil on the wall behind the sink and in the toilet area. I wanted a high end wallpaper look but this felt safer in a high humidity location like a bathroom.

Stenciling finished

Stenciling finished

All in all total time elapsed 20 months  – actual hours spent working on it –  more like a month. Taking it on a bite sized chunk at a time made it more manageable both from a cost and time perspective – better than waiting like a deer in the headlights for the right time to start – that would never have come.

Finished product - looks like wallpaper - tiled wall in mirror

Finished product – looks like wallpaper – tiled wall in mirror

So if you are overwhelmed by the thought of a big project – just start with one small step – it will get you there in the end 🙂 (Still no extra lights by the mirror – maybe next weekend LOL)

 

 

Front Door Revamp

New spiffy red door

New spiffy red door

When we moved in the front door was painted the same color as the house. Don’t get me wrong – I like the color of the house, but I prefer the front door to pop in a contrasting color, not blend in – so I knew immediately that I would have to paint it. However during the hot Florida summers leaving your door open for several hours just does not happen – not unless you want to air condition the street and have a electric bill the size of the national debt.

Ho Hum Green

Ho Hum Green

Once the weather cooled down, opportunity knocked.  I picked a nice rich red – more of a paprika or spice red rather than a candy apple red – since that works better with the muted greens and beiges of the rest of the house exterior.

Morocco Red from Behr was my final pick. I also made sure to get an exterior gloss with primer built in – the original paint was a matte finish which seems odd to me for doors or trim – but maybe that is just me LOL I had already replaced the old gold lockset with a new oil rubbed bronze one when we first moved in.

sad old scuffed door and nasty gold lockset

sad old scuffed door and nasty gold lockset

I am too lazy to remove doors, take off hardware or use masking tape – I just use an angled brush and if  some gets on the glass then I clean up later with a razor blade – much faster LOL However there is a method to painting doors, especially ones with windows and panels that I always adhere to. Basically you do the mullions around the windows and the interior edges of the panels first, then the panels, then the horizontal in between bits, finally the outside – that way you are going with the grain as much as possible and you get less drips. I know it sounds anal, but it actually works and is what professional painters do.

Fun with paint chips

Fun with paint chips

I gave it two coats which was enough to do the trick and left the doors open all day so it could dry before closing up. I love how the red pops and makes the front door more of a focal point.

Teenager hard at work

Teenager hard at work

Next up were the entryway lights – not sure what the original color was supposed to be, but currently they are a sad faded pink which is not working for me at all. I thought about replacing them but they are huge and heavy – so therefore probably expensive LOL I always think about the scene in Jurassic Park when the kid finds the infrared goggles and the lawyer asks him if they are heavy – the kid says yes and the lawyer says “that means they are expensive, put them away”

Oil rubbed bronze by Rustoleum - Yum!

Oil rubbed bronze by Rustoleum – Yum!

Rather than buy some new expensive, heavy lights I figured I could just spray these guys with some oil rubbed bronze Rustoleum and we would be good to go. Good project for my teen hehehe – at least it gets him out of the house  🙂

Final result - looks so crisp!

Final result – looks so crisp!

Well, we got busy and the holidays descended upon us so the lights got put on hold. However, this weekend it was a cool, dry, sunny day  – perfect for a project like this. We took the lights down and took them apart. My teen sanded them all down and spray painted everything,

Garage light looks a million times better

Garage light looks a million times better

I cleaned off the glass and put them together at the end. It went so well we did the other two smaller exterior lights as well by the garage and back door. He did a great job and the lights look like a million dollars. Just goes to show, amazing transformations can happen with just a little paint 🙂

Back door light sprayed to match

Back door light sprayed to match