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Painting Kitchen Cupboards

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Inspired by many similar projects here at Hometalk, I had been wanting to paint our cottage kitchen oak cupboards for two years. I knew it would be a time-consuming project that required energy and effort, but with hubby's help for the hard manual stuff, I finally got the cupboards painted and the counter top replaced. We love the change!!! It is so much brighter in there, and for an oceanfront home, the new look fits much more than it did. I have physical limitations due to chronic pain conditions, so this took a while, but as they say - slow and steady wins the race. :)
The BEHR Alkyd Enamel paint I used cost $56, but I used less than 1/3 of the can. We bought a new laminate counter, and that cost a bit over $300, but well worth it.
Since many have asked, here is more info on that black box atop my stove. That is a very old toolbox bought at a vintage shop that had 4-5 coats of paint. I couldn't sand it all down, so I covered it in black chalk paint and then waxed it. I normally don't leave any herbs or spices out in the light of the kitchen, but the tops of the bottles barely show and putting the vinegars and olive oil up there has given me counter space.
Time: 3 Weeks Cost: $350 Difficulty: Medium
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
Our cottage kitchen before I painted. Nice enough, but not beachy or cottagey enough for me. This mobile home was built in 1988 and is still in great condition.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
Upper cabinets before paint.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
I used a "deglosser", this brand, based on recommendations by others who have painted their kitchen cupboards and other projects. It is easy to use and basically removes the accumulated gunk after years of kitchen use.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
I still sanded the doors and the cabinets because there was a good amount of varnish on them and they were stained quite dark. Not a bad view when outside working on projects, eh? :)
There was no going back! I primed with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, a latex primer. I primed two coats on everything.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
There was no going back! I primed with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, a latex primer. I primed two coats on everything.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
Here are some doors with a couple of coats of primer applied and a first coat of paint.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
For the upper cabinets and doors, I used BEHR's Alkyd Enamel paint in "Pure Classic White". I wanted the lowers to have a light grey hue, so I mixed some chalk paint by Crooked Label and found a colour we really liked. I painted everything with three coats of the BEHR paint. I let every coat dry at least 24 hours before applying another. I painted with a brush and with a roller, which took some effort and time, but I paced myself and some days I only painted three or four doors. We lived with the mess for almost three weeks, but I couldn't work too quickly anyway, and it's just hubby and I who were at the cottage at the time, so no problem.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
The upper cabinets after all that painting. They are bright and clean and new!! You'll notice that the stove hood, in its original almond colour no longer matched. Also, the original knobs were going to be replaced soon.... you'll have to keep scrolling to find out about those.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
My husband removed the stove hood and I spray painted it in a bright white, by Rustoleum. Now the hood doesn't stand out like a sore thumb! Cost? Maybe $1 or $2 worth of spray paint. Yaaay!
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
A close up look at the upper doors once all the painting was done. You can still see the oak grain, which is what we wanted.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
Again, inspired by so many other DIY'ers, I found out how to create our own stone knobs. I collected the stones at our own shore, so they have special meaning and cost me NOTHING! I like that. The epoxy/glue I used is sold in all hardware stores. I found the bases at Home Depot. They are called Chicago screws in some places. Like these ones - http://www.spsco.com/product-type/fabrication-supplies/material/screws-and-bushings/becker-chicago-screw-stainless-steel-specify-1-4-or-3-8.html
We bought screws separately as we needed longer ones. There are knob bases to be found online in many areas in the U.S., but I couldn't find any in Canada and wasn't going to pay a high price for shipping.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
AFTER! We just LOVE the new look and feel of the space! The new counter is installed. We chose a stone look laminate and hubby installed it himself. I also changed all the original knobs for stone knobs, with stones I collected at our own shore. We still need to paint the walls, but that will happen next spring when we go back. I can't wait for it to finally all be finished, but I am so happy with the results already.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
After! We'll paint next spring, so that the walls match the new airy look of our kitchen.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
I applied three coats of clear water-based varnish on all the knobs so they'd stay cleaner longer and so the variation of colours and markings in each stone stand out.
  • painting kitchen cupboards, kitchen design
Nice view inside and outside now! Please disregard those clean dishes ... I couldn't wait to start taking pictures! :)

Material I used for this project:

  • Paint
  • B. Enne
    B. Enne Canada

    Looks great! I haven't tried the Behr alkyd enamel yet. I have tried a couple of other waterborne alkyds on hallway doors, and haven' t been impressed by the lack of durability, but that was 3 years ago. I may just try the Behr one next , since I

  • Teresa
    Teresa Canada

    This looks so much better in white - and it feels new - crisp and clean. Love it you did a great job!

    • Marj
      Marj Canada

      Hey, Teresa! Thank you. I can't wait to get back to the shore this spring and see it again.

  • Elizabeth @ Creating Rustic Charm

    You did an OUTSTANDING Job with this Marj!! I painted my kitchen cabinets white last spring up at our cottage and never regretted for a minute. I LOVE the stone knobs, What a great idea!! It was so nice to meet you this week!!

  • Mickey B. & Boo Boo

    OH MY! You make it look so easy Marj! And those stone knobs give it that custom look! Sharing, Pinning, & Saving! With your inspiration I just might try it!

    • Marj
      Marj Canada

      Mickey, thank you so much! It wasn't easy, but it is definitely doable. I hope you do try it. Just make sure you take your time and prep everything. Let us know if you do! :)

  • CAH

    I love unusual knobs for cupboard doors! Love these! I have seen them for sale on various sites and they were pricey. Would love to see a tutorial on the knobs.

    • Marj
      Marj Canada

      Thank you, Cynthia. Yes, they can be quite pricey, but my cost was really low. You're right! I will have to think about doing a tutorial one day.

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!