Monday, May 23, 2011

Kitchen Re-Do on a Dime

(Or at least on a $100 Home Depot gift card, a birthday present, and a generous father)

One of the things that sold us on our condominium was the HUGE kitchen. However, it was also the room that needed the most work. When we moved in, it looked like this:


Hello, weird double-oven from the ‘70s and dark, depressing cabinetry in a windowless kitchen. I was kind of excited about having a double oven, but then it turned out that the top oven didn’t work, so we replaced it with a new oven/stovetop and an over-the-range microwave. My dad insisted on replacing the old, gross, uncovered fluorescent under-cabinet lighting with fancy, bright, shiny, new halogen lighting, though it was slow-going because DIY projects NEVER go exactly the way they are supposed to. He also gave me a fancy, bright, shiny, new sink faucet for my birthday (in October) that needed to be put in.

After staring at our cabinets for almost two years and HATING them while lusting after beautiful bright kitchens with white cabinets, I knew something needed to be done. Turns out, you can paint your cabinets, and what better project to tackle after completing your Master’s degree? Seriously though, I spent three years completely up in my head, physical labor sounded really appealing.

So I took a trip to Home Depot with a $100 gift card that Joe had squirreled away, picked out a shade of white (Behr Premium Plus Moon Rise - almost the most difficult part of this whole project), and bought some paint, drop clothes, and more brushes. I put up painters’ tape, took down all of the cabinet doors and removed all of the hardware, and spread the doors out on a drop cloth in our living room. Bad part about living in a condo? No garage to do projects in.

Meanwhile, my dad finished replacing the lights. I primed and painted the cabinet frames in one day. Here’s what it looked like:


Already looking brighter!

On day 2, Dad installed my fancy new faucet with pull-down sprayer. Again, not as easy as it sounds. The faucet had some weird nut that had partially corroded or something after 40 years. You can kind of see the old one in the picture above. Here’s the new one:


Much higher and more modern! I filled in the holes in our cabinet doors from the old hardware with wood filler. Fortunately, they didn’t require much sanding because they weren’t sealed with any kind of glossy finish. That made life a lot easier. Primed them, painted them, and let them dry. Allegedly, you’re supposed to let them dry for 3-5 days, but I’m impatient and started to hang them the next day.

The finished result:



Hello, gorgeous! I can’t believe this is the same kitchen with relatively little change. Yes, painting the cabinets was a lot of work, but it didn’t require a lot of skill or tools. Neither Joe nor I are very handy, DIY-type people, and he was very nervous about me tackling this project. Fortunately, he was very pleased with the final result! The most tedious part was taking the doors off and putting them back on, which was helped a lot by my Lyle Lovett and Lady Gaga Pandora stations. Also difficult, trying to keep little cat paw prints off of wet paint. But seriously, if I can do this, with a little time and effort, you can too. I absolutely love my new kitchen!

Have you ever tackled a major DIY project? How did it turn out?