Kitchen Makeover - Chalk Painting Kitchen Cabinets

You all remember that crafty little sister of mine? You know, the one who upcycled an old storage locker into a pantry? Yeah...that sister. Well, she's at it again! This time, she took on a slightly bigger project than just a storage locker. entire kitchen! Yeah, we just may be related. Seeing as both of our ideal weekends would include some sort of home project during the day followed by a glass (or two) of wine at night, I think it's safe to say we're cut from the same fabric. However, where we differ is our home decor style. While I am all about bright, cheery open spaces, Emily prefers a more rustic, cozy ski lodge look. Several months ago, she and her husband purchased their first home, a log cabin, giving them the idyllic backdrop for her to achieve her country style. While the space is great, and the house has a ton of potential, there are always things you want to change when you move into a new home. Since the kitchen is one of the primary living spaces, she decided this room was going to take priority.
Here are a couple Before pictures...
As you can see, there is A LOT of wood...floors, ceilings, walls, cabinets. You name it, chances are, it's made of wood. If you look hard enough, you can even see Bob Vila hanging out in the corner, admiring all that knotty pine.
The goal was to maintain this rustic charm, but to break up all the honey colored wood. The plan - paint the kitchen cabinets. One of the challenges she faced, and I think it's safe to say, it's a challenge for many people wanting to do some sort of home upgrade, is working around features you're not crazy about, yet not ready to replace. In her case, it was the granite counter tops. They are relatively new, and really, there is nothing wrong with them, besides the fact that she doesn't like the pattern. So, they are a feature that she had to consider when deciding on cabinet colors.
One step she took to help transition the stark granite with the warm colored cabinets was to add a stone back splash.
When deciding on a color, she consulted with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockists at Birds Gotta Fly Vintage. They mixed up a whole slew of custom colors, and Emily was then able to pick which color best suited her kitchen. She opted for a 1:1 ratio of Graphite and Barcelona Orange. It sounds like an odd combination, but produces a warm gray-brown shade. To give it an extra dose of warmth, she sealed it with dark wax.
Here is how the cabinets turned out...
The darker shade of cabinets and stone back splash really help to add warmth to the space and add a bit of contrast.
I'm betting Bob Vila isn't a fan of painting wood, but I think even he would approve of this kitchen makeover!
Here's an up close look at the cabinets.
To achieve this rich shade, she omitted the clear wax, and just used dark wax to protect the paint. She used the steel wool to really rub it into the grain and to help even it out.
It's such a unique color, and fits the style of the house perfectly.
For more details and to read about the island, visit

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • Pat King Witt
    Pat King Witt
    on Nov 14, 2017

    Just bought a vacation condo in Florida. Can't afford new cabinets just yet but want to update. What is the best paint for laminate cabinets?
  • Lisa Lewis
    Lisa Lewis
    on Apr 22, 2018

    Okay, so this isn't really about the cabinets since my questions were answered already. What I NEED to know is where did your sister get that backsplash?! I love it and I NEED it!

  • Kim Gannuscio Briggs
    Kim Gannuscio Briggs
    on Feb 28, 2019

    First let me say that I’m a newbie to chalk paint. What did she use the steel wool for ? Sanding the wood ? Thanks :-)

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