Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Kitchen Face Lift: Your Questions and My Answers

 This post is for a lot of my readers that have been writing me emails, asking me questions about this little kitchen face lift.  I love getting emails with questions like, "where did you get your faucet" and "what kind of paint did you use".  And if someone is asking, I know others are thinking it too, so this post is for all of you~with lots of pictures and the steps I took along the way.
Lots of us would rather have white cabinets instead of wood stained cabinets.  I know, because I was one of those people!  This was my perfectly fine maple kitchen cabinetry, about 6 years old.
  This kitchen had a poor version of a look alike granite in a speckled colorway that was mostly grey.  It had the built in backsplash that comes with most laminates.  I didn't like it either. We added the island and gained a ton of work space. This kitchen is quite small, and although this island is a little oversized for the space it made this kitchen as workable as it could be.
  The idea of painting my cabinets  no longer seemed daunting as the step of priming and prepping was eliminated.  I unscrewed the knobs and just started painting my cabinets.  I did wash them down with  pine-sol first, and after they were dry I grabbed my brush and just got started!  At the same time I decided I would add a shelf above the sink window.  You can see an iron bracket mounted on the window frame.  I ended up turning it parallel to the window and mounted it off of the cabinet instead.
 This picture shows the refrigerator sandwiched between two cabinets.  This cabinet layout was going to change too.  It didn't cost one penny to do it either.  Mr. Maison Decor and I removed each cabinet and just rearranged their order.  It was that easy.  They are just screwed into each other and into the wall.  You will see that later in the post.
 I'll admit I was nervous and excited as I was about to either ruin or enhance the cabinets.  So I carefully painted the first skinny cabinet where we keep our coffee mugs.  Oh my! I loved it and I just started painting with a vengence! I got all of the cabinets done in five hours. One quart of Old White Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan covered two coats on my cabinets.  The first coat goes on so easily! The second coat went on after the first coat was dried, and I used a bit of water on my brush tips every other stroke or so to help the paint glide on top of the first coat. Without using a bit of water on your brush the paint will grab at the chalky matte base coat.  I used a brush. Annie Sloan brushes are ideal for painting cabinets as they have a lot of soft boar bristles which hold a lot of paint and the brush strokes are minimized.  Some people use a foam roller for a factory look, but it gives a bit of a pebbly look.  I have to say I like the vague outlines of brush marks.  These are hand finished cabinets, not sprayed out in some factory somewhere!  The brush strokes are slightly visible if you look for them. You might consider doing a sample board both ways if you are unsure. You can also put Chalk Paint® in a sprayer and thin it out by adding 20% water.  I don't use a sprayer but that is 
the formula for those who would like to do so,
 It is looking fantastic! I am in love with my cabinets in white, and wonder why oh why did I wait so long to paint them??  And it was soooo easy!  After painting the cabinets and they dry, you MUST wax them with the soft wax. I used Annie Sloan's Soft Clear Wax.  I will do two coats when all is said and done.  You brush it on with a wax brush, pushing the wax into the painted surface. Then wipe off any excess wax with a soft cloth. Wait at least 24 hours and then you can rub it with a cloth to create a soft lustre. This is called buffing.  Consider using a buffing brush to do this job! I wish I had one at the time I did these cabinets as a brushing buff gives a superior finished look in a quarter of the time and effort. 
 All was fine and dandy, but then I got the idea of doing a grey washed look on the lower cabinets after being inspired by a Habbersham kitchen!  The washed look came out great, but after two weeks I felt it was too dark and made the kitchen feel broken up with the two colors.  So that meant I now had to paint back over them.  I had waxed them as well, and was nervous as to how the wax finish would affect the coating of Chalk Paint....
 I made this grey wash by mixing 50% Paris Grey with 50% Old White 
and then adding a little bit of water each time I dipped my brush into it. 
 Afterwards I distressed it with a sanding block.
 Chalk Paint® is a matte chalky finish paint that does 
not require priming but it does require a wax finish to give it durability.
 This color wash has that Belgian look that is very popular right now.
 You can see the two tone cabinets.  
It was very pretty however I felt it broke up small space so 
I am happy I went back and repainted it all with Old White.
 I would say that the Old White color is comparable to Linen White by Benjamin Moore. You can see that I lightly distressed the cabinets with a sanding block. I kind of hated to do it because they looked so good without distressing, but my idea was this to be a bit more relaxed with light distressing.
 Here is good view of our refrigerator area.  The corner to the left 
of it was so cramped you could not even open that bottom cabinet all the way.
 We took off the cabinets and left the crown molding intact 
and put the two cabinets to the right over to the left.
See the screw holes? Just unscrew it! We used a pry bar to gently 
separate it from the crown molding which just stayed there.
By the end of that day the fridge had moved over and we had a nicer workable corner!  Now this mini facelift involved changing out the counter tops.  I wanted marble but decided to try the new 180fx Formica product that is a laminate counter top with a pattern repeat of 8-10 feet!
So you can have that long running pattern without it appearing again.  I made an error choosing the edge and insist anyone who goes with this product order a pre-finished edge, not a "custom square edge" like I ended up with.  The reason being is that this is the place that you can instantly tell it is formica!  Other than that, I love this material and am very happy with it's appearance. It has an "etched" finish mimicking real stone.
Unscrew your counter top and yank it off!  I had the new counter top 
made to my measurements and the moment of truth was coming up~
Ok, it fit. But it looked less than swell~I hated the seams!! 
Oh well, my loss will be your gain.  Since then I had two people tell me to 
brush some white paint on the seam and it worked wonderfully.  At this point I could not wait to add real bead board so I used a roll of Martha Stewart Bead Board Wallpaper from Home Depot as my backsplash.  Sizing the walls first for proper prep (its like painting clear gel on the wall) 
it dried quickly and then I applied paste to the paper and applied it to the back splash.
 Then my smile came back, as I was loving the result. 
This kitchen was shaping up to be a space I was going to be very happy with!
 When I work on projects like this, many times I get ideas as I go along in the middle of the process.  One of these ideas was to create a mini hutch in the cabinet above the stove.  I pulled the doors off and added some cup hooks and piece of wood trim for a plate stopper so I could display a china collection.  I added a piece of poly foam architectural molding I found at Lowes to give it a bit of a furniture look.
 This is great stuff and we used the same trim in our bathroom 
above the laundry room cabinets, which you can read about by clicking here.
 This is how the mini hutch looks now, but I planned to add a bead board wallpaper interior.
Here it is with the interior paper finishing it off.  Its a great area for display!
 This shot shows how the window shelf we made with a scallop cut out shape.  
I covered it to look like it was made out of an old tin ceiling.  
You can also see the grey washed cabinets getting repainted back to Old White.
The wood shelf wax covered with a plastic product sold for creating faux tin looks.
 Did you know Chalk Paint® sticks to plastic and metal as well as wood?
You can see how I did that by clicking here. 
  At this point Mr. Maison Decor mentioned to me that if I wanted to change the sink, 
"now was the time".  Hmmm...I hadn't planned on it. I wanted an
 apron sink in a farmhouse fresh white porcelain. 
That would mean more money and changing out the cabinet that houses the sink...
so I came up with an idea that would give me what I wanted and for a lot less money.
I found a porcelain sink with a drain board that would work quite nicely.
  I found it on Craigslist~so hunt one down for yourself if you want 
to change your sink to one that has vintage appeal.
This faucet is the one that I ordered from for the sink.  I also ordered an escutcheon plate that will cover the two extra holes we don't need. This weekend the sink, the countertop, the bead board and the faucet are going to be installed by Mr. Maison and me.  I can hardly wait!

See part two of our kitchen remodel by clicking here.
(P.S. It came out great!)


  1. Your kitchen is looking lovely! Love the mini hutch and your china. This is one of my favorite kitchens in blogland.

  2. Amy- I read every word. What a lot of hard work you put into that kitchen. And it shows!!! I love it and you did a wonderful, wonderful job! xo Diana

  3. Your transformation is wonderful. I love the new look and the new finishes. So pretty. Hugs, Marty

  4. Amy, you really have done a lot to transform your kitchen. It looks so much better.

  5. You've been on quite a journey to get your kitchen where it is today! I know you're so excited to be on the home stretch to having it completed now. Can't wait to see the transformation!

  6. I found you from Enchanted Home and I have to say it was fun reading about what you've done with your kitchen...brave woman as I would have never had the nerve to paint my cupboards, well not now they're brand You've done an amazing job for very little money...bravo!

  7. I loved watching this all come about and I'm super excited to see the sink in! You are inspiring Amy!!
    PS you're not the only one with crap on top of their fridge ;)

  8. Amy you know I am a fan and always in awe of all you do. This was a fabulous makeover and I love the end result. Your cabinet color is stunning and yes it does have that charming slightly rustic Belgian look/finish that I LOVE!!!!

    You could so have your own show and I bet it would be a favorite for many!!!!!!

  9. Amy I love your cabinets! Of course I'am a big fan of painted cabinets. I just did mine recently and was indescisive about scuffing them up but after seeing yours I might take the plunge and do it! Traci

  10. What a beautiful transformation! I love your creative ideas that you put into place along the way. Looking forward to the finish line.

    Somewhere all the way, I saw a crystal light fixture ceiling mounted over a kitchen sink. It caught sunlight and was beautiful--just possibily an idea.

  11. Lovely! Thank you for all the information!

  12. Everything is looking so beautiful! I adore your mini hutch... is so lovely!

  13. I love the sink ! I can't seem to find one around here for less than $1000. That doesn't fit my budget.

  14. Amy it is looking wonderful! I have to say that I LOVE the mini hutch above the stove! i can't wait to see the sink and the other details! Thanks for your imput on hanging my tray!~Hugs, Patti

  15. it looks fantastic amy.....i especially love the shelf over the sink. i had wanted to do this too but couldn't figure out how to do it with the light fixture. i love the curved looks so dainty.

    you did a great job. i can't wait to see what it looks like with the sink and faucet installed!!!

    hugs, cindy

  16. Amy, it just gets better and better and better and better...! What an awesome ride, following your kitchen transformation... The little mini hutch is such an imaginative and perfect touch... how do you think of these things!? and you know we all are dying to see the rest!!!


  17. Wow, Amy, it ALL looks fantastic!
    Although I love to mix it up, and personally really loved your color selection in the two-toned kitchen--you couldn't go wrong either way!
    Absolutely beautiful! And I covet your island!

  18. Amy, your kitchen is beautiful! I love how your cabinets turned out. I'm giving chalk paint my first try this weekend. You've done a wonderful job!

  19. It's all so very beautiful! I've never seen the marble formica. I think your old counter tops are the same ones that I have now. I cannot believe you painted your entire kitchen cabs in 5 hours!!! Holy. Amy, it took me TWO days to paint 2 sets of cabinets (one is the tall area with the wine rack, etc.) but still! And, I worked ALL day for 2 days (hubs was on vacay). I washed, lightly sanded, painted, let dry, painted (dipping the brush in water and then the paint so the second coat glided on), let dry, and then lightly sanded...and I've only waxed one. Am I blacking out for hours on end and not realizing it? hehe!

  20. Okay, I MUST tell you that this is one of the best posts I've seen/read in a while! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how you found ways to make your kitchen FABULOUS that didn't require big money. And I LOVE your kitchen; it really looks beautiful!! I can't wait to see what you do with that sink!!! Thank you for taking the time to post this. I know it had to take you a bunch of time to get the pictures and wording all least it always does for me! :) I think I'm going to link to it when I finish my post on chalk paint.

  21. I loved seeing the step by step, Amy! I never can get over what a difference painting cabinets can make. Yours look stunning. I wish I had of known about chalk paint several years back when I did mine.

  22. It is looking so good Amy! Can't wait to see the finish product! I think it was a good choice to paint the cabinets all white. It expands the space!

  23. I can't wait to see how great the sink looks once it's installed.

  24. Olá!!! Amei a transformação da cozinha!!!
    O seu blog é lindo, tudo muito charmoso e encantador!!!

    Beijos Eliza

  25. Ok, Amy ---- I had NO idea that you were THE Amy Chalmers featured in RH magazine! I am totally humbled and honored that you think I'm doing a good job on my JDA-wanna-be farmhouse. :) I go through those magazines so many times, I'm surprised that they're still in one piece. lol! I just want to crawl inside the photos and live there. :) Anyway, your kitchen makeover was seriously amazing and I spent a long time there looking and drooling over every detail! Great job! Wish I could talk my hubby in letting me paint ours.... ugh! Hey, have you used ASCP on any floor at all? I want to do out tiny little ugy parqueted entry floor with Graphite and just wondered what your thoughts were.... Thanks, my new friend! :)

    xoxo laurie

  26. Your kitchen has really gone through some changes this year and I know you are working this weekend on more. Are you happy now with the counters since you tried white paint on the edges?

  27. You've done an amazing job Amy - your kitchen is gorgeous!

  28. So pretty Amy! Love your kitchen, you've done a wonderful job. And that sink...oh, I would love it!

  29. All I can think when I see that photo of you holding the lit bulb is OUCH! Hope you didn't burn your hands! Your kitchen looks AMAZING!

  30. Just beautiful, Amy! I love the way the "hutch" above the stove turned out. What a great idea!

  31. I absolutely LOVE your kitchen transformation, Amy! You didn't leave one detail undone ... great idea relocating the outer cabs. It all doesn't even look like the same space ... well, WELL done !!

  32. Can I move back home?????

  33. Nice setting. I liked the brackets so much. YOu have done a nice job with that.

  34. Utterly FABULOUS!! Thanks for sharing all the details helpful!

  35. Amy, I just purchased my first can of chalk paint in graphite. My cabinets are stand oak and our plan is to paint them white under the black granite and graphite under the marble. I just completed the inside of one the cabinet doors to test my skills .. and I'm not sure if it looks good or not :( I put two coats of paint on, waited for it to dry, and then put on her clear wax. Next I used a soft hand sander and distressed it a little. I'm not sure if I buffed enough, or put on enough was.

    Your cabinets look great and I applaud you for having the courage to just go for it!


  36. you've given me so much inspiration for projects I need to get done. I have a big cabinet above my fridge that is crying for some of your wallpaper and trim! Thanks for all your great ideas.

  37. Amy, you have such a great talent! Everything is beautiful I love all your transformations! I just stumbled upon your blog and signed up immediately! What great ideas you have and I cannot wait to implement some of them into my own home! Kepp up the great work and I look forward to keeping updated on your progress. Thanks for sharing;)

  38. Looking at your kitchen I'm wondering how the bottom of your cabinets are made. It almost looks like basic 2" trim work is attached? I plan to add crown moulding and a bottom trim to our cabinets (mostly to update our kitchen but also to hide lighting). I'd greatly appreciate a tip or two from you regarding this. I love what you've done to your homes over the years - your style is wonderful!

  39. Looks great! I'm curious.... Did you use the chalk paint on the beadboard wallpaper and if so, how did that go and did you use their wax as well?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...