Sunday, August 7, 2011


This was the biggest, fattest, hairiest BFHP to date...BY FAR.

I'll start by breaking the experience down into stats so that the recent memory doesn't overwhelm me/make me hyperventilate :).

1. We used Kilz 2 primer, and for the color of the cabinets we used Behr's Swiss Coffee in eggshell (both from Home Depot).
2. I used a nice brush for small areas and trim, and a foam roller for the larger surfaces. I had aspirations for using a professional paint sprayer (my dad owns one), that quickly turned disastrous (more on that later).
3. It took two weeks of leisurely paced cleaning, scrubbing and sanding before I put one drop of paint on the wood (used a liquid sander, which seemed to work fine).
4. The entire paint process took twelve days, with one day taken off in between. I'd estimate it took about 35 hours of work total, including Michael working with me for about five of those hours.
5. It took three coats of paint to completely cover the cabinets (I alternated doing two coats primer, one coat paint, and one coat primer, two coats paint, depending on my mood and where I was at in the project; regardless, it took three coats).

I think that about covers the facts. Now onto the emotional aspect of the project :).

Do I recommend doing this? No. I do not. Do I L-O-V-E the results? Absolutely yes. Did I know what I was getting myself into? Kind of.

Here's the thing you have to know about me. I'm an "expectations" kind of gal (as my husband and mom will tell you without hesitation). This means I go into something imagining and planning how it will go. I don't necessarily have "high" or "low" expectations, just a firm idea on how something will work out. And when that idea explodes in my face (or splatters paint all over my garage floor, my cabinets and my feet), it's a bitter pill to swallow :).

Painting our kitchen cabinets started out innocently and easily enough, but about half-way through, I nearly had a panic attack (not really, but it was pretty crazy for a couple of days at our house). The truth is, I misjudged the project.

I assumed the most difficult, stressful part of the project would be painting the built in parts of the wood. Dead wrong. Priming it all took about 15-18 hours over the course of four days, but I took it slow, listened to nice music, and had some help from Michael (thanks, Honey!! His first time ever to paint with me!). I actually enjoy painting, so this predictable part went as expected and wasn't bad at all. Because of this, the next part of the BFHP caught me off guard completely. Using the paint sprayer was the death of my optimism and enjoyment in the project.

It took a few days to get the sprayer working right, and because the cabinets were already off and lying on the ground in the garage, every time we opened or closed the garage door, dirt, dust, leaves, etc. got all over them and they had to be wiped down all over again. Lovely.

I got the paint sprayer working, got everything set up, listened to and watched tutorials online several times, and plunged in....and ran out of paint about two minutes into spraying. When this happened, I had only 6-7 cabinet doors out of 27 actually sprayed, and the nozzle began splattering uneven blobs of paint all over several of the remaining cabinets. Keep in mind this is in the middle of the day (during the boys' naps), in our hot garage with the door closed, in this INSANE 105-110 degree weather we're having right now. I was hot, only a fourth of my cabinets were sprayed, I was out of paint, and 3-4 of the cabinets would be ruined if I didn't wipe the globs off IMMEDIATELY. Of course Bennett and Jasper decided at that moment to both wake up from their naps. Because that's how we roll here in Crazy Town.

I couldn't think straight because of the heat and my panic, so I called my mom and explained the situation. At first I decided to go buy more paint and continue using the sprayer (after cleaning up the disastrous mess on the cabinets, garage floor and my feet), but we really didn't have that in the budget, and for all I knew, the sprayer would just gobble up all the paint again before I got anywhere near finished. So I stayed home, asked my mom to come over and help me with the boys while I cleaned out the paint sprayer (that could be a whole other post - cleaning one of those bad boys is a nightmare - it literally took me 2 hours to get all the parts cleaned out) and finished priming the remaining cabinets.

So that was the insane part of the project. From there, things mostly smoothed out. Because of the splatters, I found I had to sand down parts of a few of the cabinets again, which was annoying, but for the most part, the next four days were spent hand painting and rolling doors one at a time on top of a heavy duty tarp in our living room.

I also spray painted our hinges oil rubbed bronze, and those turned out pretty well and was super easy to do (I used Krylon's oil rubbed bronze and found it at Ace Hardware).

After painting, Michael helped me reassemble the cabinets back in their proper places (I made a diagram and numbered the cabinets with stickers ahead of time, which I HIGHLY recommend doing!). And now we have a beautiful, light and airy kitchen. If it's possible to be in love with your kitchen cabinets, I'm definitely in love with mine (though it was more of a love-hate relationship until I finally finished).

I actually planned on this being a two-phase project. The second phase was supposed to include oil-rubbed bronze hardware and a calmer shade of green for the walls, which looks FABULOUS in my head, but due to reasons that will be written about in my upcoming "BIG News" blog, phase two won't be happening (And no, I'm not pregnant. In some ways it's even bigger news than that, if you can believe it!).



(My little fella snuck his way into this one :).)

Tips if you decide to do this yourself:
1. Do. not. use. a paint sprayer. It really won't save you time or money, unless you're one of those professional, expert paint sprayer people.
2. Invest in a really nice paint brush, and use a four inch foam roller for the larger areas to make the finished surface look smooth.
3. Sand and clean your cabinets before you paint so that the paint will adhere to the wood.
4. Have help. The more people, the faster it goes.
5. Take your time and look for drips and mess-ups as you go so they don't dry that way (I actually did pretty well with this - Michael rolled and I followed behind cleaning up drips with the brush).
6. Surrender yourself to the necessity of doing three coats.
7.Make a diagram of your cabinets, numbering them, so you know where each one lines up perfectly when you're ready to re-hang them.
8. When reattaching the cabinets, attach the hinges to the built-ins first, then attach the cabinets to the hinges.

And finally, a big fat THANKS!!!! goes to Michael for helping me paint, even though he loathes and despises it, and to my mom, who really helped me out of a big scrape that would have gotten even bigger without her help.


Lori said...

like i said on facebook...looks great! funny tidbit, i had our cabinets painted when we moved in (too weak to do it myself!), but my color is also swiss coffee!!! :)

Jennifer said...

Lori, great minds think alike :). I seriously LOVE that color - I'd recommend it to ANYbody.