Friday, January 8, 2010

Mom's Kitchen Makeover - Painting Extravaganza


Me on December 26, 2009: “I will start taking all of the cabinet doors off tomorrow, take off old contact paper, clean the walls and tape and then be ready to paint on Sunday evening.”

Me on December 27, 2009: “Okay, taking all of the doors off and scraping leftover wallpaper border took three hours. And I still have to pack up everything in the kitchen, don’t I? I guess taping will have to wait.”

Me on December 28, 2009: “Did sanding all of the doors, vacuuming all of the dust off and wiping them down to prep for painting really just take 4 hours? This might take longer than I anticipated. . .”

Yes, it was a daunting task, but my mother and I were up for the challenge. Luckily, some of the prep work had been taken care of before painting day including removing the wallpaper border, a first sweep of organizing the back room, packing up all of the food and kitchen items, scraping off all of the old contact paper and removing the cabinet doors and hinges.

I am not what you would call an early riser and woke at 8am Monday morning to the sound of my parents dragging sawhorses from the garage to the den that was be our door painting workstation. I threw on some old clothes and made my way down. We set up three planks of wood over the two sawhorses and covered them with a tarp. My parents seem to have one of those magic garages in which you can find all the random wood, tools and building material you can think of so this worked out very well. Spending two days kneeling on the floor painting doors was not my idea of fun.



Spike decides to help out.


Next step involved sanding all of the doors. The ones from right around the stove area were especially dirty and covered in grease spots that required some scouring. A touch of Dawn worked wonders. My mom then vacuumed to get all of the sanding dust off the painting area and we wiped them down with soap and water.

I pried open our BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Primer & Paint in One in Silky Bamboo and we got to work on Coat #1 on 1/3 of the doors. Our workstation was limited in size so doing all 30 doors at once was not possible. However, after adding up the number of hours it would take to do 7 at a time: back and front, 2 coats each, we did end up setting up another tarp in the basement. My knees did not forgive me for that one.


Drying time for BEHR was 2 hours to dry to touch and 4 hours before next coat. This actually worked out really well because in the 2 hours we waited for the doors to dry we could move up to the kitchen and finish cleaning the walls and empty cabinets. Once that was done we got to work on Coat #1 for the cabinets themselves. No need to tape other than areas it hit the counter because we would be painting a darker color on the walls the next day. We also decided to not paint the insides of the cabinets for now, instead see a) how much paint we had left and b) how noticeable the dark color actually was once all of the items were back in the cupboards


We got ourselves into a pretty solid back and forth pattern between the doors/drawers and the kitchen. After 2 half hour breaks for lunch and dinner, we were ready to call it a day by 9pm. One set of doors needed 1 more coat on their backside and another set needed a full second coat, but that could wait until morning.



One trick I learned from my brother-in-law to keep paint moist on brushes and trays when not in use – wrap them tightly in cellophane or tin foil. Worked like a charm and we didn’t have to wash the brushes each night or deal with crusty paint.

Day 2 begins at 7 am with my mother knocking on my door telling me, “Wake up! I already painted the second coat on the baseboard!” She’s making me feel like a slacker.

As I finished up painting the cabinets, we realized just how masterful of painters we weren’t. Quite a few drips were found as we flipped the doors around. Some of these came off and allowed us to put on a better second coat, but some drips are still visible. Luckily we are not perfectionists. I later read up on how best to avoid drips: less paint on the brush, check for drips as you go to take care of them while still wet and sand off any drips between coats. You might also want to look into spray paint options depending on the number of cabinets you have and the color options you can find in a spray paint.

We finished cleaning the walls, spackling nail holes and taping the ceiling, top of the cabinets and countertops. We were ready for some wall painting! We cracked open a gallon of BEHR Pale Wheat and cut in all of the corners and borders. I wished I would have bought thicker blue painter’s tape as the ceiling still took some hits when we got the roller up against the top of the wall. Lesson learned.


After 2 hours we were done with the first coat.

The cabinet doors and drawers were finally done with their 2 coats. We let them dry until later that evening before attempting to put on the hinges and finished up our second coat of wall color. Now, I would suggest giving the doors at least another full day or two before you put them back on your cabinets but we were in a race against time. My bus was leaving for Chicago at 4:30pm the next day and we still had to organize and clean the whole kitchen!

Before I arrived home, my mom made a diagram of the cabinets and assigned each a number. This way we could keep track of where they went. After removing the hinges and the 8 screws that went along with each door, we put them in labeled baggies. During painting the doors inevitably got screwed up as we based order more on how many we could squeeze onto the workstation. However, having the individual baggies made arranging things easy when it was time to re-attach the hinges with the cordless drill.

One snafu after we had installed the hinges. We had put them all on backwards! Lesson learned: if you have something you need to repeat 30 times, test one first and make sure it works. Working together and quickly, we switched the hinges in under an hour, but my screwdriver hand was not very happy with me. We then brought them back upstairs and played Match Game with figuring out what doors went on what cupboards.

With the doors on and drawers locked in place, the handles were next. We were almost there, but for now – I needed some sleep. It had been a 7am – 11pm day with half hour breaks for lunch and dinner and a 4 ½ minute dance break when Empire State of Mind came on XM (that was mainly a break just for me).

Day 3 I was up at 7am again, we had to put everything back in the kitchen and clean up before 2pm, when we had to leave in time for me to catch the bus. The perils of not having a car, I know too well. I can’t tell you how happy we were that we had gotten all of the painting done on Day 2.

Time to admire our painting handiwork (click to enlarge):




and my personal favorite "after" photo:

The next post will cover all of that Day 3 work for storage and organization! Stay tuned!

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