Elrods Go DIY: Kitchen Cabinet Transformation

Well, if consistency is the key, then I’m an overgrown Alice in a room full of tears.

Sorry for the lengthy absence. So much time and so little to blog about.

Wait. Scratch that. Reverse it.

This post has been nagging me ever since the week of Thanksgiving, begging to be written. But I’m really good at ignoring myself, so it’s been “punted” {as my husband would say} from weekend to weekend, until today. In a strange turn of events, we actually have a Friday morning at home with nothing {urgent} to do or accomplish! Wee! And with my husband being home, I can sit almost undisturbed with my nose to screen and fingers to keys, giving you my mostly undivided attention! Don’t you feel so valued?

{I just heard a, “Woo-Hoo!” from the pot, a tiny behind asking to be wiped, and I didn’t have to go! Thank you, Jesus, for husbands! All the exclamation points!}

Okay, okay. I’m getting to the point. Please excuse my rabbit-trailing. It’s obviously been a while since I got out my creative-writing-bloggity side.

SO! Over the week of Thanksgiving, my hubby and I decided to take on one of the bigger DIY projects we’ve done in a while…we refinished our kitchen cabinets.

Meep! Huge undertaking.

Upon moving in, our newish house {we’ve been here a year and a half} had orangey, middle-toned wood cabinets. The quality of them is nice, but the color and look was just not our personal preference. I don’t have many before pictures, because like crazies, we didn’t take any before starting the project, but here is one that I scrounged up. A precarious picture of Cole at our kitchen table. I have no idea what is going on here, but it looks like disaster. IMG_0255Eck. Orange cabinets, honey-colored table, yellow chalk painted kitchen chairs…it all just screams missed-matched country kitchen. Yuck. And call me crazy {again!} but I am so over the chalk paint fad.

The project started when our church, in a current revamp, used Home Depot’s Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit to refinish the doors in the lobby. They turned out just lovely, so Tim and I, in an effort to get to know the product, started with our island. We used the smaller Furniture Transformations kit in the espresso color. We knew that long term we wanted light cabinets with a dark island, so we figured starting on the island was the least risky move. Once we finished, we were in love. Sounds cheese, but it completely transformed the island, just like the name of the product. It was an easy process, granted time consuming due to drying times, and the quality was wonderful . My kids have since spilled and splashed goodness-know-what all over it and I can wipe and clean it just like I could the original finish.

Bonus: That kit only cost us $35 and it completed our island with a ton left over. We have since used the remainder to refinish the top of that table Cole is sitting at, and the guest bathroom cabinet! Three DIY upgrades for $35? That’s winning.

We knew loved the product and felt confident in the execution, so we decided to move forward with doing the whole kitchen. We went back and bought the bigger kit that ran us around $80 {$100 once we bought two new paint brushes}, but this time we went with the Linen finish.

After kicking myself for not taking a before picture, I decided to document the work on our coffee station, since it was the last bit we tackled.

Ladies and gentlemen, [fanfare: bum ba-buh dum!] BEFORE!IMG_1259

The first step in the kit is a cleaner/de-glosser. Included, is a handy-dandy scrubby pad thingy. {We get real technical with the DIY terminology around here.} We removed all of the doors and drawer fronts and cleaned away. The cleaner requires an hour dry-time before the next step.

Step two is two coats of the base color. We expected the Linen to be a little more creamy than it was, so we freaked out the first time we applied it. It seemed white. Like white-white white. {Don’t you love how words start looking strange when you type them over and over?} However, once the glaze of step three was applied we achieved the color we liked. The base coats require two hours of dry-time each before you can begin step three.IMG_1260Don’t you love how {literally!} transparent I’m being with you, letting you take a peek inside my messy, mug-mashed cabinets? Oh, and the tupperware catch-all down below…let’s just move on.

Step three is the glaze. The instructions simply say, apply glaze, using a clean cloth to remove as much as desired. Okay…

Tim and I decided that in an effort to keep it consistent, I would do all of the glazing. Different hands work different ways and we didn’t want there to be obvious differences in the doors we finished. The glaze all came down to trial and error. I googled videos and tutorials, but in the end I found a method that worked for me. I didn’t want super streaky doors, which is kind of unavoidable with this product, so if I were to redo it all, I would probably buy a cream colored paint and only put the glaze in the corners and creases of the doors and cabinets. However, that’s not what happened, so I had to make it work with what we had. The end result is still great and we’ve had nothing but complimentary feedback. It’s just all about what look you are trying to achieve. Here is the glazing method that I came up with that gave me the creamy, shabby chic look I was wanting, with the least amount of uneven streaks.

What I wish someone had told me before I started glazing:

After the second coat of step two had finished drying for two hours, I began with a latex glove {not included in kit}, two sections of cheese cloth, and the glaze. In general, I tried to keep one “drenched” cloth for applying, and one that was “clean” or had lesser on it for blending and removing excess. I started by generously applying glaze in the corners, creases, and edges of the doors.

PicMonkey Collagedoor Then, using the “clean” cloth, I would drag and blend the stain onto the flat surface of the doors, rubbing a little firmer, where I wanted to remove the stain. I found that my “clean” cloth would be good for about two doors, at which time I would need to switch it out for another.

After blending and getting the stain as consistent as possible, I would go back and add some darker accents around the edges of the inset. I would use my thumb nail and the drenched cloth to make as straight and solid of a line as possible down the edges and across the top and bottom. Then, using the clean cloth, I would blend in or remove the excess. This is the one touch that is inconsistent on each door, giving each one character and interest. PicMonkey CollagedetailI repeated the process on the cabinets and drawer fronts, making sure to leave darker accents of the stain in the creases of the molding, or edges of the drawers. iPhoto LibraryIMG_1345I have to admit, that even though I feel that anyone can do it, this process seems to be easier when you have a little bit of a creative eye and hand. I really didn’t want to just slap the glaze up there. I wanted it to have character and look intentional. I made the edges and sides of things darker, while keeping the inside, larger, flat faces lighter. I don’t think there is a right and wrong way. It’s just finding out what you desire to achieve.

One last tip: When I was working on a larger door, where dragging stain from the crease of a door was just simply not enough to cover the face, instead of adding more stain with my drenched cloth {which would result in a large dark stipe, regardless of how light-handedly I tried to apply it}, I would take a more saturated part of my clean cloth, press it to the drenched cloth to absorb a bit more stain, and apply it with the now-damp clean cloth. In doing so, it would give the face color without resulting in a lot of dark streaking. PicMonkey CollageextraSee? Things that are not covered in the simplistic explanation of the directions.

The glaze must dry eight hours before you can apply the fourth step, which is a polyurethane for protection. The directions said that you can apply two coats of the glaze, but I only applied one, seeing as how I had already achieved the look I wanted and didn’t want to go any darker.

After the poly is applied, you have to wait a bit {12 hours?} before you can put the doors back on. We’re rebels by nature, so after they were dry to the touch, we put them back on and left them ajar for the rest of the dry-time.

The end result is impressive, to say the least. The look and feel of our kitchen is completely…for lack of a better word, transformed! IMG_1565Since then, we have also moved the previous {now espresso-topped, like the island} kitchen table to the formal dining room, and my handy-hubby assisted his friend in building us this amazing picnic table for our eat-in. I’m in love! Yes, I’m the crazy girl that wants a picnic table indoors.

Oh and nevermind my kids’ messy lunch plates still on the table. IMG_1566DIY up next? Refinishing all of those orange banisters to the same espresso color, changing up the backsplash, and replacing both of the kitchen lighting fixtures.
IMG_1563I just love doing home projects. So rewarding.

Oh and one last tip: Your kitchen may be smaller than mine, maybe bigger, but either way, I feel this is a helpful thought. When we were taking apart all of our doors and drawers, we kept the hardware sorted out in labeled baggies according to where it went. I know all the hinges may look the same, but we found that some of them, either by design or builder-error, needed to go back onto the same exact door. IMG_1346So what do you think?!

Actually, lets stick to the advice of Thumper’s mother. “If you can’t say something’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.” [insert winky face here]

With love, Malorie


2 thoughts on “Elrods Go DIY: Kitchen Cabinet Transformation

  1. Your kitchen is just beautiful. You two are so creative. What is amazing is that you had three young children tugging at your coattail during all this. Beautiful, just beautiful.

  2. I saw this DIY in person during the Family Holiday Get-together and the kitchen is more lovely than the pictures depict. Great job Malorie and Tim! We all had a wonderful time and thank you for both for your hospitality. Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.

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