As you know, we bought a new house this summer. We’ve been busy, but not really with the making-it-cute kind of projects, mostly with the boring-but-necessary kind of projects like installing smoke detectors, an insinkerator, light fixtures that my 6’5″ husband won’t hit his head on, getting the toxic sludge removed from our water, replacing a few windows, a bit of landscaping, rewiring room by room, making a cute new kitchen table, etc. Oh yea, and the regular life stuff like work, school, kiddo, growing a baby, and settling in. 😉
But! I have dreams and visions of projects! And they are BIG.
My top priority is the kitchen. And we’ve been sort of working on it here and there since we moved in, but nothing very intensively. Here is the before shot. Keep in mind it will likely be many months before you get to see the after shot.
The first thing I needed to do was take that bank of uppers on the left down. I do most of my food prep standing right there so I felt like I was staring at a wall the whole time. We yanked that thing down pretty shortly after we moved it. It shouldn’t have been as big of a project as it was, but, as you should know, projects are always bigger than they appear….
Yes, boys and girls, that is mold! So where I thought I’d just have some sanding and patching to get this put back together, we ended up having to tear down all of the that sheetrock to see how big the problem was. Fortunately, this appears to have been a one-time tub over flow (two bathrooms are directly above) or something like that vs. an ongoing issue. So we have a hole.
But this is actually a good thing, because now I have visions of some little recessed lights up there and it’s going to be FABULOUS. But that project is down the road a bit. For now, I’m just happy to have it open, it really changes the feel of the space.
I want to update the cabinets. And initially I was thinking about replacing them, but then I looked into how much that would cost and how big of a pain it would be (removing countertops and appliances and plumbing and all of that nonsense and then putting back!) and decided I would just replace the doors. And then I realized that at $80/door for new, this was still not a budget friendly project. So I decided to get crafty.
As an aside, you should know that my primary reason for wanting to do NEW cabinets vs. just replace doors is because of Roomba. You see, Roomba is my favorite person. She cleans my house every day and only complains when she gets stuck under the cabinets like this:
Presumably there are several layers of flooring stacked up over the years underneath the tile so the space between the cabinets and flooring is not standard. This is a major problem for Roomba (and me!). Since I’m opting to get crafty rather than rip out the whole kitchen, I used a jig saw to cut a quarter of an inch off of the bottom edge of the cabinet frame and now she can clean with NO problems! Success! ….and yes, I do realize this is a major #firstworldproblem.
I like the shaker style cabinet door, it’s sort of modern but kind of neutral and I thought it would work well. I’ve seen tons of pinterest posts showing people DIYing new cab doors and thought I’d try it out. There is a bank of 3 cabinets with three drawers on the dining side of the kitchen that is out of the way so I started experimenting on those three only, rather than tearing the whole kitchen apart. Would you believe I do not have a before pic of this? haha, I’m sure you will.
This will have to suffice as my before, but as you can see, I have already gotten started. Since I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to try to stain them or paint them, I got the cabinet frames and the doors ready to be stripped. (WAY too much work because I think this is oil based paint and it took FOREVER to get off…a little foreshadowing, I ended up painting them so the rest of the kitchen will NOT need to be stripped!).
My favorite stripper didn’t get the job done so I had to get out the harsh stuff. Luckily it was still warm outside when I was doing this so I didn’t have to breathe fumes. LOTS and LOTS of sanding later and I had some freshy fresh wood. The insides of the door panels are completely flat so I picked up some oak lattice and cut it into strips to line up around the edges. After a bit of experimentations (thick, thin, etc) I decided to go big or go home (thick strips).
Now to pick a color. Since my house is primarily white and gray I feel and OVERWHELMING need for contrast. I was initially thinking I wanted a wood color on the lower cabs and a new white on the uppers. So I tried it out.
And I hate it. It felt a little boring and even though I’ve used this color stain on other projects and loved it, it just felt poopy here. It really made the floor tile and countertops feel yellowed. (Countertops and floors are likely staying, although we shall see about the floors…I want hardwood.)
Back to the drawing board. I picked out a TON of paint samples and brought them home, then called in my fave aunty for a color consultation. =) I REALLY like the dusty blue look I see in a lot of Pinterest posts and online so I picked something like that.
I LOVE IT!
So I started moving forward with the doors.
After gluing the lattice strips around the doors and impatiently awaiting the glue to dry for 24 hours, I mixed up some of this dry wood putty stuff and filled in the little cracks at the seams and around the edges (the doors and drawers had a beveled edge so it would look weird if I didn’t). This ended up taking about three rounds: putty, wait for it to dry, sand, add a bit more putty, sand again, wait for it to dry, one more thin coat of putty, then sand again….
I painted the insides.
And the outsides.
And I LOVE them!
Now to pick out some cool hardware. This was actually super hard. I REALLY wanted to use scoops for the drawer pulls, but because the space between the strips was so narrow, there really wasn’t room for them. I had TONS of choices but didn’t really love how any of them were working for me. And then I found THESE and THESE! They are cool, unique, not offensive, and skinny enough to work for the drawers.
And they look GREAT!
With the help of my husband (who is in charge of all things measuring since I’m more of an ‘eyeball it’ kind of girl) we got them installed. I had picked up a few different hinge styles as well but the first few tries ended up in failure. Since the doors are being installed essentially inside out, the hardware had to be just right or we had a giant gap (big enough to see daylight!) around the top and bottom edges. I brought my old hinges in and matched it up with a very similar style in brushed and finally found something that worked well.
The drawer slides ended up being a pain too! The space on either side of the drawer did not allow for the first set of slides I picked up to fit, and the old hardware didn’t allow for the drawers to be pulled fully out (so like 4″ of the 12″ drawer remained under the countertop…not functional) so I tried again and found these. Just barely skinny enough to fit in the spaces to the side of each drawer, but once we got them in they slide very smoothly and the drawers come completely in and out! WIN!
Note: I bought my hardware at Menards vs. from the manufacturer which ended up in significant savings. Those drawer slides were like $8 vs. the $22 shown in the link.
Alright friends, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here are my finished experiment cabinets!
They still need to be trimmed in, but I’m waiting to do that until after I choose a wall color (which won’t be until I finish the rest of the cabinets) but I think they turned out FANTASTIC! And at about $8-10/door/drawer I can easily redo the whole kitchen without breaking my budget.