Kitchen Cabinet Facelift

8 Days

I love my 140 year old home, but the kitchen was in need of an upgrade. Since replacing the cabinets was not an option, I convinced my husband to let me paint the solid golden oak cabinets. I did a lot of many, many blogs and such and made my decision to go ahead and purchase products.
I started with a good cleaning with TSP and then a rinse with clean water and let them dry. I took all the doors down, but worked in sections, so as to not have my entire kitchen in a uproar. I also removed all the hinges. I have a 4x8' craft table, so that is where I worked. I did sand around each knob area, for extra adhesion, but didn't sand otherwise. I applied 1 coat of a bonding primer, called STIX. Very expensive, but apparently allows your paint to stick to any surface, so well wterorth the cost. Then applied 2 coats of CIL Premier Paint in the colour Wedding Silk, which is actually a Benjamin Moore colour. I chose to do the insides of the doors as well, so drying time took longer as I couldn't flip the doors until they were good and dry, but since I started with the insides first, if anything stuck to them after I flipped them, at least it would be on the inside. Then I mixed a clear glaze (2:1) with another Benjamin Moore colour called Italian Leather, a dark, rich brown. I quickly applied with a brush and went right to wiping it back off. I just wanted a bare hint of colour and to take down the cream brightness, and hopefully look a little antiqued. I rubbed and rubbed till the doors were evenly coated, really, I took almost all the glaze off, but since the cabinets were oak, the glaze settled nicely in the grain. After the glaze was dry, I top coated with two coats of Oil Modified Polyurethane. The cabinet doors under the sink I actually gave three topcoats, just because they always seem to have water dripping down them.
They look amazing! Even hubby agreed it was a good decision, as the dark, dated kitchen now looked fresh and light. We have since put in a new floor, a dark, bamboo look vinyl, which is so soft and cushy and really accents the light cabinets. All in all, it took me 8 days...which wasn't bad, and doing it in sections was a good idea, as I didn't have to find a place to put all the doors. I did a total fo 4 sections, each one from start to finish before starting on the next one. It also gave me a finished product to enjoy and keep me motivated to finish. We also replaced all the knobs, hubby picked them out at Hobby Lobby in the States. They are all different, but go together, but then, we are just quirky that way. I love my kitchen now. Next is replacing the mactac inside the cabinets. :P
Before: Golden Oak
Seriously...the cupboards were in good shape, but just hated that golden colour.
The clock, also oak, has since been painted
A close up of one set of knobs
Another set
Counters and sink will be replace in a couple months, backsplash is original, but I liked it, and its neutral, so we left it alone
Accenting with an apple green!
Love these glass knobs
Mason jars with chalk paint and some dollar store flowers
I feel like seeing them side by side gives you the best viewpoint of the before and after! Oh yes, in case you are wondering...I did paint the dishwasher with the same pattern as the cabinets. We were going to use appliance paint on it, in black, but then figured it would stick out too much, so hubs suggested trying this, and really, if it didn't work, we could still paint it black with appliance paint!
The new floor was installed a couple days ago, and how that changes the whole feeling in the kitchen. It is vinyl, but looks like bamboo. Love it

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 28 questions
  • M
    on Jun 27, 2017

    what is TSP and where can i get it?
    • Jane Stapp
      Jane Stapp
      7 days ago

      Trisodium phosphAte. True VAlue or Ace Hardware will have it if HD or Lowe’s doesn’t .

  • Fra31819176
    on Aug 6, 2018

    I love the cabinet and drawer pulls. Where did you find such pretty babinet knobs?

  • Cheryl Stevens
    Cheryl Stevens
    on May 22, 2020

    I love the finished product but concerned on the difficulty of the darker stain ,getting it even? Ive never done cabinets before!

Join the conversation

2 of 131 comments
  • Diana Runs with Scissors
    Diana Runs with Scissors
    on May 18, 2016

    I love, love, love, different knobs on all the doors/drawers (i.e., sets). So out-of-the-box. I will not change my cupboard colors, but I will add knobs. Bet you could find "odd" sets marked down!!! I would have added color to the backsplash. . just me. Good job!

  • Fatima Barreto Kane
    Fatima Barreto Kane
    on Jun 25, 2017

    Your kitchen looks great. You have very good taste. I've seen many other projects before quite good as well but your description of the hints you gave were much more useful than what I've seen before. Congratulations.
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