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Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet Drama

WARNING: looooooooong picture heavy post!

As usual, a weekend project turned into a weeklong project and we encountered several hiccups along the way. This is the story of our “simple” kitchen remodel = )!

We are very familiar with blown budgets, blown timelines, and Plan B’s when it comes to home renovation. In fact, when we first bought our house a few simple projects turned into gutting a few rooms (including the bathroom), refinishing the original hardwood floors, and retexturing every wall before we even moved in. I’ll post more about that and some “before” and “after” pictures later!

The only thing we didn’t change, literally, was the kitchen. So naturally, I’ve been itching to tackle that project! Let me preface this by saying that, for our home, we love our kitchen. It is well laid out, has a reasonable amount of storage for a 60+ year old house, and has amazing pull out drawers in all the lower cabinets. This is something the previous owners did and they make the cabinets so much more useful, I never have to dig in the back of the cabinet and I can maximize the space.

However, I do not love the color of the cabinets. I have been eyeing several dream kitchens on Pinterest and love the variety of colors. So, when I saw that Rustoleum had a new Cabinet Transformation kit I couldn’t wait to try it! After checking out a few reviews and the tutorial online I couldn’t wait to get started. Originally I wanted to paint the top cabinets white and the bottoms a color, but finally settled on painting them all gray.  I’m obsessed with gray lately and thought it would be a nice contrast against the current countertops and give our kitchen an updated look while still going with the rest of our home.

Day 1: Purchase and Prep Work

After work on Friday I headed over to Home Depot to pick up the supplies. The kit comes in light (mostly whites, tans, and light stains) or dark (colors and darker stains). You pick the kit and the color and have the paint counter tint the cans accordingly. I picked Seaside. It was a nice color without being too dark, since our kitchen is in the middle of our house without any real natural light I didn’t want to make it feel closed in.

When I got home I read through the instruction booklet and watched the how-to video (with a glass of champagne of course, that’s what every good DIY project starts with!).

Then I got to work emptying out the cabinets! I removed all the contents and took off every door, drawer, hinge, and screw.

As they recommend, it’s a good idea to draw a layout of your kitchen and number each piece. Then using painter’s tape you put the number on the corresponding door or drawer and use a labeled plastic bag to hold the hardware. This way you’re not trying to put together a puzzle when you reassemble the kitchen.

Word to the wise: do not misplace the kitchen drawing or cover the numbered tape with so much paint that it’s hard to read. Yeah I did both those things……..luckily our kitchen doesn’t have too many cabinet doors that are the same size so it was pretty easy to reassemble!

Once it was all taken apart, I got to work taping off all the appliances and edges and started Step 1 of the process, de-glossing. Since this kit works on laminate, melamine, and real wood cabinets, there is no need to sand or prime. You use the de-glossing solution and a rough pad (included in the kit) to scrub down the cabinets and prepare them for paint. Once they’ve been de-glossed you wipe them down with a damp rag and let them sit for a few hours before Step 2.

Day 2: Painting Kitchen Destruction

This is the part where we were supposed to start painting, but instead we decided to tear the kitchen apart = ).

Back story: last year my mother in-law bought us a new refrigerator for Christmas. Luckily we decided to measure the space before it was delivered and figured the refrigerator wasn’t going to work. After a little more research we figured that very few refrigerators would actually fit in our kitchen because the opening wasn’t tall enough. So, while we were at it, we figured we’d raise the cabinets before they were actually painted since we do plan on buying all new appliances in the next year.

In order to do this, we had to remove the 6” piece of drywall above the cabinets. After some scoring, hammering, and a huge mess it was all out.

Then we had to actually move the cabinets. Since the boxes are original they have been in the same place for 60+ years and were built in place as one big unit. No pushing and pulling was going to move them. As any DIY’er would do, we improvised! After removing all the screws holding the cabinets to the walls we used a very sophisticated combination of car jacks and 2x4’s to push them up.

Then we stood back to admired our handy work. We are both tall, but even to us the cabinets looked funny… they were a little too high now! As usual, no home renovation project goes exactly as planned…….

After looking up standard cabinet heights we considered ripping out the upper cabinets all together and replacing them with new, longer cabinets (42” instead of 37”). After some more research we realized our cabinets are not standard sizes and any new cabinets wouldn’t work with our current configuration. So we were stuck with what we have! On to plan A, B, C.

In the end we met in the middle. Now they are raised 3” from their original position (making enough room for a standard refrigerator) and 3” lower from our first attempt. Once they were even, level, and screwed in, we called it a night!

Day 3: Reassembling the Kitchen Painting

Sunday we had a few other things planned in the morning, but I finally got to painting in the afternoon. After a couple of hours everything had a good coat of gray paint. Once it dried the paint was blue. Not the beautiful shade of medium gray on the box, but little boy blue. I debated about testing a section with glaze to darken it up, but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth the time and effort and I didn’t want my kitchen torn apart any longer than necessary.

Day 4: Painting Continued….

After work I went back to Home Depot to explain to the paint manager the situation and how terrible my cabinets looked. After a little arguing, she finally agreed to give me a new kit (this time I decided to go with the safest color, white, because I did not feeling the repainting my kitchen a third time).

That night I got to work covering the gray blue paint with white. As I’m sure you all know the novelty of painting quickly wears off. I just wanted the cabinets DONE!

Day 5: Painting, Painting, and More Painting

I took Tuesday off work so I could spend the day painting and [hopefully] get our kitchen put back together. After a few coats on the back of the cabinet doors and one coat on the front we were not very happy with the finish of the Rustoleum kit. We had followed all the directions and used the recommended brushes, but you could definitely see brush strokes. We even used a foam roller on the front, but then the paint didn’t coat very well.

So………we decided to stop there and go with my favorite DIY product:

Rustoleum 2x the Coverage in Blossom White.

After a few more coats and 12+ bottle of paint later, the door and drawers had a nice smooth white finish.

While I waited for everything to dry I finished up the cabinets inside. The frames had been given several coats of the Rustoleum kit white paint so I went ahead and sealed them with the last step of the kit.

After that had dried I painted the interior and shelves with the same blue/gray paint that is on the accent wall in our family room. I love how this turned out!

Day 6: Reassembling the Kitchen

I continued coating the doors and drawer fronts with white paint, sanded where there were any blemishes.

In between coats I worked on getting the cabinets filled and everything off of the pool table. One good thing about emptying the kitchen is that I get to reorganize it all as I put in back in. I mixed things up a bit and like how the new organization is working.

Day 7: FINALLY Getting the Doors Back On

Once everything was nice and painted we were able to put the doors back on using the old hinges. We decided to seal the doors and drawers once they were back in the kitchen so we could touch up any paint from mishaps. After a few coats of sealant our cabinets were FINALLY done.

Here is the before:

And the after:

In the end, I was glad we bought the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Kit to use the de-glosser (step 1) and sealant (step 3), but I prefer the smooth finish of spray paint over the traditional paint included in the kit.

Of course we still have several projects on the to-do list!
·         Install crown molding along the ceiling.
·         Paint far wall a fun accent color (still debating which one)…
·         New counter tops and back splash
·         New Appliances!

And then I promised to give my husband a break from any big renovation projects = )


  1. Wow those cabinets look amazing. You did a great job :) I'm so impressed!

  2. Wow. What a project. The end result looks great!! I have seen that Rustoleum product and wondered how it would work. I am glad some of the steps worked well! Thanks for sharing =)
    I hope you can stop by Corner of Main sometime,

  3. Isn't it amazing what paint can do? What a wonderful transformation!

  4. It looks like a different kitchen! Great job!

  5. I love! this .. great job ... I have green cabinets , I have been wondering about this Kit.. Thanks for posting :)


  6. This turned out really nice! Your hard work paid off! :)

  7. what a huge job you did

    and now your kitchen looks new
    and pretty

    well worth all the hard work.


  8. WOW!!!!! what a difference. they look amazing!

  9. Oh my goodness! I'm so glad it wasn't just me! I had the same issues with the kit. It looks amazing, but I also did another color of paint on top of the rustoleum paint. See my post here:
    I also used the leftovers to paint the legs on a coffee table I just refurbed ( That actually went MUCH better than the cabinets. Maybe they should call it Furniture Transformations :-) GREAT JOB! I'm a new follower!

  10. I had similar issues with my kit. We brought the white kit and we had this brownish looking yuck seeping throught he paint. I called Rustoleum and told them about my disgust because after adding the sealant it got worst and turned yellowish looking. They instructed us to degloss and add a primer because our kitchen cabinets had oils that had penetrated deeper into the cabinets. So now I have more work to do. It really seems to be never ending. I am glad your's turned out well and I will definitely look back at your kitchen as something to aspire to:)

  11. Awesome! We gutted our kitchen in our last house (a project that started with the idea to just paint the cabinets...) so I totally understand how kitchen projects can grow! But it was worth it! The results are beautiful! I am loving grey right now too! Maybe you could do your walls in a shade of grey!

  12. You did a great job and the kitchen looks beautiful despite all of the bumps in the road. I love how white cabinets brighten a space sooo much!

  13. it turned out soooo beautiful!!! I am painting my does take forever!!!, I thought of painting my bottom cabinets grey, have three different sample greys, that are beautiful in the cans, but when I brush it on....they all look like grey!!!!!

  14. Looks so good! Congrats to you two for raising those cabinets, I would have given up! Painting is so liberating and inexpensive too! Great Job!

  15. I love the accent color inside the cabinets. If I ever redo ours, I'll be stealing that idea! :)

  16. I love the transformation. Clean and crisp look.

    I also did a make-over in my kitchen, if you'd like to see it please visit my blog

  17. How great! Thanks for linking to Things I've Done Thursdays.


  18. It looks great! I used Rustoleum cabinet transformations in out bathroom.....thinking about doing our kitchen soon!!

  19. This transformation is fantastic! You all did a great job! I'm your newest follower by the way :-)

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  21. Great post, I've been looking for some inspiration for my own kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

  22. where did you get the dish tier? looks awesome!!

  23. The dish shelf is from Bed Bath & Beyond, it was around $20 (but they always run coupons) and it adjusts to any width!

  24. Kitchen Remodeling very Important

    Now the kitchen is not just a place to cook. Do you agree? In my opinion, the kitchen is a place that is ideal and very comfortable to be with his beloved family. Many things can be done for example in the kitchen than cooking a meal with people who are in love, relaxing weekend and cook while chatting with your wife or more than that. Kitchen remodel ideas are very important to make your kitchen design is better.

  25. holy smokes! that was a lot of work but it turned out GREAT! honey oak just HAS to go and I like the clean look of the white. Anyway, it was a fun post.....I always like reading the good and the bad parts (to learn) Saw you from TDC :-)

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  27. The Kitchen Cabinets are so nice..Great Work..thanks for sharing it..
    Miami Flooring