Sunday, April 5, 2015

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover!

So, this project has been on my mind for a few years now. We remodeled our kitchen about 5 years ago, (see the blog post here), but we didn't do anything to the cabinets. They finally bugged me long enough, (possibly partly because Property Brothers is now on Netflix, & I've been watching WAY too much of them), that I decided to re-do them, and on February 10, 2015, I started on the bottom cabinets. I went back & forth for a couple of years on whether or not I wanted to go dark or light. I like the look of the dark ones, but I didn't want to make the kitchen darker. I love white cabinets & how much light it adds to the kitchen, but I knew they would show dirt & fingerprints. Then I kept seeing "two-tone" kitchen cabinets on the Property Brothers, so I thought that was the perfect solution!

Here's a picture from a few years ago. I didn't take a "before" picture this time before I started removing the drawer fronts & cabinet doors.

After removing the doors & drawer fronts, I sanded the base cabinets down to the bare wood with an electric sander and 220 grit sandpaper. What. A. Mess. You can see the dust on the stove.
And here's what it looked like after one coat of stain.
And then after 2 or 3 coats...
And after 4 or 5 or 9 coats. Honestly, I lost track of how many coats of stain I put on those things. It seemed to take for.e.ver.
After the cabinets were as dark as I wanted them, I put 3 coats of clear polyurethane on them with a foam brush. Then I started on the cabinet doors. Sanding them down took HOURS. This time I did the sanding out in the garage so the house wouldn't get so dusty. The hardest part was sanding the little corners by hand (since the electric sander is rounded & doesn't touch those spots), and those little nooks & crannies. My fingers were so raw & sore by the time I was done with them.  You can kind of see the difference on these doors. The one on the left isn't sanded & still shiny, and the one on the right is sanded down to the raw wood.

If there is any clear coat left over, the stain won't penetrate the wood, so you have to make sure you get it ALL off.

Then I brought them inside to stain since the garage was pretty cold. I thought they would dry faster inside.

Oh, by the way, I used this Minwax stain, in the Dark Walnut. (not my picture)

After one coat... 

And on March 17, (one month +1 week after I started), several coats later, (& 3 coats of clear polyurethane), they were done! I put some new hardware on them, and they look completely different! It seemed to take SO long. You have to have lots of patience to do this project. It takes at least 4 hours of drying time between coats. And do the BACKS of the doors first. I'm sure you can get it done in less than 5 weeks, but I just worked on it when I had free time, which is pretty rare.

Also, I have to add, I did these bottom cabinets completely by myself! 100%. I usually have Kevin help me, but he was so busy with work & school that I tackled it on my own.

Kevin did, however, help with the top cabinets. ;) A lot.

About a week later, we started on the top cabinets. Knowing if I didn't get started on them, it would go months before I got anything done on them, because summer is so friggin busy. So I took the doors down on March 25. I saw some ideas on pinterest about adding height to the cabinets to add some character. I showed Kevin a couple of pics & he went immediately to work. 

**He's so awesome.**

He just bought some baseboard, turned it upside down, & nailed it to the top of the cabinets.

He added light rail to the bottom....

And then he added normal crown molding to the upside-down baseboard.
We decided to take them off the walls & take them outside to spray them, rather than masking off the whole kitchen. Here's the coat of primer going on...
One thing our painter friend taught us, was to do the primer first, then putty & caulk all the new nail holes. And sand lightly between coats. :)

They look white, but they really aren't. The color we chose is "City Loft" by Valspar. 
Here's a sample:

And voila!! The final product! We love them so much.
We had them back up on April 1st, so the uppers only took us 1 week from start to finish.
The upper cabinets didn't take as long, because you don't have to sand them all the way down to the bare wood. We just lightly sanded them to give the paint something to grab onto. It did take some time to putty & caulk the new details, but overall it was a lot faster than the staining. We didn't do the inside of any of the cabinets. That would just be way too much work for me.
It didn't cost much at all, just the stain, paint, caulk, putty, the new hardware, & a few other supplies. It just took a LOT of time & patience.