Double D and I have lived in our house for almost 11 years. When we moved in, I didn’t mind the kitchen so much, but over time it seemed dated. I knew that it needed to be renovated, but part of the problem was that I could never figure out exactly how I wanted it. Finally, inspiration struck, and we had a plan. I knew I wanted grey cabinets, and I wanted the process to be fairly painless. Also, I knew that we had to keep these cabinets, since we splurged on our countertops. I really do like them, since they fit everything we have, and they go all the way to the ceiling. Therefore, I opted to go with chalk paint by Annie Sloan since it eliminated the primer step. This is what the cabinets looked like when we moved in. We assume the cabinets are original to the house, so almost 40 years old now.
The maple doors were completely flat on the front, with just a little beveled edge. They were a blank slate, and in really good condition. After finding this post from Build, Sew, Reap I decided to buy pine 1 3/4″ x 1/4″ lattice boards at Lowes, and attach those to the front of each. I loved the craftsman look, and wanted something simple but that would withstand the test of time. We took the doors off, cleaned them really well, and threw the old hinges and handles in a bag to go to the Restore store. Double D then cut the lattice boards to fit each side, and we used brad nails to attach them to the front of the door. This also covered up the old handle holes, at least for the front.
Because caulk shrinks, Double D would do a rough first layer that he smoothed out with a credit card. After it dried overnight, I would sand it, and do a second, more finished layer with the credit card. This seemed to get most of the gap filled in. This first picture is really blurry, but it was the only one I took of this process. Sorry!
After the final layer dried, I would then scrape the remaining putty from the back and the front of the door. It seemed to come off better after it was dried, and didn’t mess the sides up. I realized this about half way through the doors. Live and learn, right?
This part of the process really did take the longest. It was the most detailed part, and it also had a lot of drying time in between each layer. Additionally, I also put wood putty on the front seams of the trim, and filled in the handle holes on the backs of the doors. I gave everything a good final sanding with a sanding block, and used a damp rag to get all the dust off. Finally though, we could begin painting.
Side note: When we took the Super Susan door off, we found that they must have re-stained the doors a darker color at some point, because the back had that lovely 1970s orange color to it. If they had been that color when we moved in, I wouldn’t have waited as long to do something with them:)
I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in French Linen for the color. I’ve loved the grey trend that has been around for a while, and we have a lot of natural light in the kitchen, so I wasn’t worried about it being dark. Also, this color seems to have a brown undertone to it, so I thought it would go well with my new countertops. I did break the chalk paint rules and use my sprayer to paint the doors. I got the idea for that from a post at the Charmed Nest. I did add water to thin it down, and the sprayer made it go a LOT faster.
The second coat went on very well, and completely covered the wood. I didn’t need a third coat for them. Between the doors, the outside of the cabinet bases, and the 1/2 wall cabinet, I did end up using 2 1/2 cans of the chalk paint. It was a bit more expensive than I thought in the beginning, but I consoled myself by realizing I didn’t have to buy any primer.
Once the doors were dry, I was able to start on the sealing process. I know chalk paint normally has a wax that goes over the paint to protect it from chipping. I have seen beautiful pieces of furniture with a wax finish, but since it is in the kitchen, I wanted something that was going to be able to take a lot of abuse. Another thing was that I didn’t want to have to be redoing the wax part every few years for all of the cabinets. I stumbled across this post from Artsy Chicks Rule, and so I decided to follow her advice and use the floor sealer as a finish coat.
I used a foam roller to brush it on, and I loved the outcome of it. I got semi-gloss, so there’s a slight sheen to the cabinets after the sealer dried. The sealer did change the color of the chalk paint, and made the grey a bit darker, which worked for my color scheme. I did two coats for each door, cabinet base, and the 1/2 wall. I know it’s only been a month since we got everything done, but so far the sealer is holding up very well, and I haven’t noticed any scratches or dings.
I had a hard time deciding on the cabinet pulls. I wanted something simple, and ultimately decided to go with little finger pulls. I needed 21 of them, and they were $.99 apiece on Ebay. Can’t go wrong with that. Double D drilled a hole on each door, and we installed the pulls.
The cabinets were officially put back together, and I even took the time to use clear matte contact paper to cover the back of the glass doors on the 1/2 wall cabinet. It is still see through, but it does give it a hint of privacy, so all of the stuff in there is a bit muted.
There were a lot of different steps to the cabinets, and between adding trim, caulking, painting and sealing, I think it took about three weeks to get them completely done. Of course, this is with both of us working full time, and life in general getting in the way:) I do love the outcome of these, and think it has completely changed the look of the kitchen so far!
We totally renovated the kitchen and have only recently gotten done, so there will be additional posts to come about how we did some of the other projects in the kitchen. More to come!
Update two years later: I have been beyond pleased with the results of this process for painting cabinets. I looked the doors over recently, and have found that there are no scratches, chips, or dings in the floor sealer, and that the paint looks like the day we put it on. We do have one cabinet that I was kind of concerned with when we began the painting, since it’s the one where we store our pans. I checked the sides, and they are completely fine. Also, the wood surrounding the silverware drawer is holding up great as well. I would recommend painting cabinets this way to anyone.
For more information on our kitchen revamp, see also:
Linking up with Between Naps on the Porch, Home Stories A-Z , Funky Junk Interiors, Domestically Speaking and A Stroll Thru Life: