Wednesday, January 18, 2012

how bad do you want it?

Seems like we have a lot of projects going on around the house all at once... to the point where it's a bit of those many projects: painting our kitchen cupboards white.  Kind of a big project, but I REALLY wanted white cupboards. We didn't want to spend the money on all new cupboards and quite frankly it would be really dumb to replace them all because they are in good shape.  So, our idea: paint them.  That shouldn't be too hard right?

So let's just start with the before pictures.  I'm sure some of you are thinking "why on earth would you paint over those cupboards?"  "Is that oak???!"  "You're painting over oak?!"  Um, yes.  I don't like them.  I want them white.  It's my house.  I can paint them if I want to paint them.

We decided to have a friend of Dan's from Ames who is also a professional painter, paint the doors and drawer fronts.  He used a sprayer to get a nice even coat and a mixture of lacquer and white pigment to get a strong, durable finish.  We would prep the doors for him to cut cost on the labor.

We began by taking off all the doors and drawer fonts.  This left TONS of little screws EVERYWHERE.  Kaiden had fun with it though...

kaiden's truck full of tiny screws

check out the carpet in the kitchen... 
 Once the doors were off, it was my job to prep them for painting.  We used a lacquer thinner to wipe down each and every door and drawer front and then sanded each one so that the paint would really stick to those doors.  Let me tell you- I was  I think there were like 500 doors all together.  But, this is how bad I wanted those cupboards white.

wiping doors with lacquer thinner
Once we had the doors and drawer fronts ready for the painter, we were ready to prep the face-fronts.  OK, this should be easy.  Just sand them real quick and call it good, right?  Nope.
Several years ago the existing cupboards had been refaced.  Meaning, they glued, yes, GLUED a new, thin layer of wood over the cupboards.  We first had to pry this layer of plywood off.  We pried and chiseled and scraped that wood for days... only to uncover streaks of old, dried glue everywhere.

I then spent hour after hour and day after day scraping the dried glue with a chisel.  I can't begin to explain how tedious this was, but I was stuck.  There was nothing I could do but finish it. There's no turning back now and I really want white cupboards.

Then came the sanding.  We sanded off any last remnant of glue and prepped them so they were ready for paint. We filled nail holes, then sanded, then filled more and sanded more. It felt good to finally get that done.  We're almost done!  Just kidding...

Dan then added a new crown molding on the top and moved one section of cupboards above the stove to make room for a microwave.

Then the day finally arrived...  we were ready to paint the cupboards.  Well, sort of.  I guess if you consider primer paint.  We began with a coat of primer, then another.  OK, now we're ready for the paint!  Since the doors were being painted with a tinted lacquer, we had to find a paint that would match the tinted lacquer.  We got a coat and a half of paint on the cupboards and realized the color of the cupboards and the doors didn't match.  That's right, they were two different colors of white and it was  noticeable.  So the next day I made a trip to Sherwin Williams to color match the doors and mix some more color in the paint that was already a fourth gone.  After adding a little more color in a few times, we finally had a match.  We then painted another coat of paint on the cupboards.  Still, the color of the doors and cupboards weren't the same.  We traveled to Sherwin Williams again to mix a little more color into the paint.  Perfect.  We finally got the color right.  We painted two more coats of paint on the cupboards and we rejoiced that we were FINALLY DONE!  That is after Dan flung oil-based paint onto my hair and had to soak my hair with lacquer thinner to get it out.

washing my hair with lacquer thinner
After nearly three months of prepping and sanding and scraping and painting, I literally jumped for joy when the first door was placed back on the cupboards.  It was glorious.  Though we're still not finished putting all the doors back on (we're waiting for the new countertop to be installed so the newly painted doors don't get scratched) I am sooooo glad we went through all the work.  I say it was so worth it.  That's how bad I wanted these kitchen cupboards painted white.


Now we just need to get the rest of the kitchen looking as good as the cupboards... stay tuned for the big reveal...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

scrap wood + 5-gallon bucket + 20 minutes = a spice rack

If you're like me, or rather, have a spice cupboard like mine, you've most likely experienced the drudgery of searching through the millions of spices, that all seem to look the same, lifting each and every one up to read the label and at the same time realizing you have two dry mustards and two oreganos because the last two times you looked for the dry mustard or oregano you thought you were out because they were hiding behind the celery seed.  Well, anyway, that was my experience and I had had enough.

spice cupboard that annoys me

I began organizing my spices only to realize there was no way to organize them without some sort of spice rack.  So I asked Dan if we (meaning he) could make some sort of spice rack to fit in the cupboard on the lazy suzan (making it even trickier because it had to be round).

Check out what the carpenter made for his wife with a little scrap wood, a 5-gallon bucket and 20 minutes...

my new, FREE spice rack! I can see every spice with just a spin of the lazy susan.
It ain't pretty, but you know what?  It doesn't need to be.  It's behind closed doors so it doesn't matter.  What matters is it brings me a bit more sanity.