Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Painted Kitchen Cabinets: Part 1

Once we finally made the decision to paint our nasty oak cabinets and bring them into current times, we struggled with our decision on what color to choose as mentioned here.  

I love the look of a white kitchen.  Clean and timeless if done right.  But remember the gaggle of children I mentioned before that live here?  Yeah,  them. Their mits would have been all over those clean, beautiful cabinets and next thing you know, my gorgeous white kitchen would be Cheetos orange.  The thought of having to meticulously clean every cabinet, everyday really made me cringe.  I'm clean, but not anal retentive clean!  

Gray is elegant and hides dirt and finger prints much better than white so we ultimately decided to go that direction.  I walked into Sherwin Williams with a bit of indecisiveness on what color I would walk out of there with even after making the decision on having gray cabinets. I just couldn't shake the white but knew I couldn't go through with it.  
Oh So Lovely
Chris Kauffman

Remember my inspiration pictures? 

I had done quite a bit of research on what type/brand of paint would work well on kitchen cabinets.  Most people suggested using an oil based primer and  an oil based paint for durability but I'm lazy and don't like to clean my brushes with anything but water. Plus, the smell of oil based is gruesome.  I had to find another option. Oil based paint would have taken FOOORREEEVVVVEEER (name that movie!) to dry and cure and to be quite honest, I'm not patient enough for all of that!  

I had to used latex.  I was sure there were people just like me out there who felt the same way so off to pinterest I went in pursuit of these folks.  Sure enough, there were tons of "me" people out there! And the majority of them recommended using Zinsser 123 water based primer (blue can) and Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Latex Paint.  Zinsser primer is awesome because it has great coverage and sticks to glossy surfaces amazingly well so there's no need for sanding (although, it WILL have better results if you do)
I chose to have the primer tinted to the same color that we were painting the cabinets, Martha Stewart's Bedford Gray. 

Side Rant:
The sweet little paint girl at my local Menards sincerely didn't know that primer could be tinted so she kept telling me that it couldn't be done.  Sorry sweetheart, but this ain't my first time at the rodeo! I kindly asked her to check with someone else about tinting it and I walked out of there 10 minutes later with my tinted primer.  Let that be a lesson to everyone, just because someone works in a specialty department does not mean that they always know what they are doing.  DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!! Apparently, she didn't want to just take my word for it. 
The same goes for the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint.  The young man at the counter insisted that this paint does not self level.  I ignored it and bought it anyway.  I had done my research and read all the info I could on this paint.  In fact, the Sherwin Williams website even says it self-levels.  Don't believe everything an associate tells you! Their intentions may be good, just not always right. 

.  The Pro Classic paint goes on like butta! And is self leveling so it leaves NO brush marks!  It's highly durable as long as you are very careful with the painted product for the first month to give it time to cure.  

Mr. Serene and I had taken a week of vacation this summer where we shipped the kiddos off to grandma's house for their annual "grammacation" and got busy working on a ton of projects around the house.  You know, things you just can't do with little kids around?  Like removing the toilet for our new bathroom flooring install?  Yeah, because having 3 kids who need to use the toilet constantly really wouldn't jive with having it removed for a full 24 hours.  

As a reminder, here is the disgusting before shot of what our cabinets looked like.  I show this to all the "haters" who think that painting over perfectly good oak is a mortal sin.  It's not perfect oak...it's vomit inducing. And not to mention, we had to glue back together 4 of our cabinets due to cracking along the seams.  We may or may not have a certain nephew with caveman like tendencies and likes to bang things around, Ahem. Here's looking at you Kassius!

My first day of vacation, I spent remodeling our kitchen island while the Mr. was out golfing with his brother. The next day, Mr. Serene and I spent the morning removing all of the cabinet doors from the frames and taking out all of the hinges and hardware.  Mr. Serene is pretty organized so he made a "map" of which door went where and labeled each door and drawer with a coordinating number.  We He labeled each door inside the area where the hinge would be located since that part wouldn't be painted and we would still be able to see the number when we were ready to hang them up.  
Yeah, I see you judging! Messy, right? 
(don't worry, we did do some reorganizing before we hung the doors back up)

We planned on replacing our ugly builder specific hardware to something a little more modern.  The new hardware was a single knob rather than the handle with a 3" spread so the one hole on each door needed to be filled in with wood putty.
New and awesome

 The drawers handles were being replaced with rectangular cup pulls that had the same 3" spread so we didn't have to do anything with those holes.   We hauled each and every door and drawer front out into the garage and filled in all of the holes. 
New and awesome

After all of the wood filler and glue from the repairs had dried, Mr. Serene sanded down each door with 60 grit sandpaper. I guess, technically we should have also went over them with a fine sandpaper also, but we didn't and the world didn't end. In fact, I don't notice any difference in how the cabinets look or feel after only using 60 grit.  We chose to sand regardless of Zinsser's claim that you didn't have too.  With the amount of use our kitchen gets, we thought it would be dumb of us to skimp out on this step.

As he sanded in the garage to keep the dust inside to a minimum, I hauled the finished ones to our basement where I had tables set up and started wiping them all down.  

This was my set up.  Of course I forgot to take pictures until I had already begun priming. 
And to be super professional, I used beans and old paint cans to lift them off of the table :) 

After you spend your whole day doing all of that work, kick back and relax for the night.  You will have a LONG day ahead of you!

Let's review what you will need to get you through this first day:

  • sandpaper (60 and 220 grit, although we skipped the 220 step)
  • palm sander
  • drill
  • wood glue if needed
  • clamps if wood glue is needed
  • tack cloth or damp rag
  • wood filler if needed
  • spackle knife for wood filler
  • pencil for marking door numbers
  • ziploc bags for hinges and hardware (you don't want to lose any of it!)
  • patience and a good night's sleep
  • wine? 
You'll be all set up and ready to begin your painting in the morning! 
Part 2 coming soon!


  1. Loving your steps on painting your kitchen cabinets. Will Part II be coming soon??

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you found them helpful! Yes, I will be working on Part II this week :) Thanks for stopping by and check back for updates!

  2. Oh Great ! you have shared nice idea with us. I really like the ways you have described painting the kitchen decision. Thank you so much for this and keep sharing.

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