*Have you been following along with the house tour? If not, you can start the tour here.
Recently, my husband gave me that look and said, “Hey, you wanna come with me to Home Depot?”
My heart skipped a beat. He still knows just how to make me woozy after all these years.
Even though it was a date, he wandered over to lumber while I dawdled around the paint aisle to see if I needed to buy paint for, you know, something.
That’s when I saw it. A display of this product:
“Does that stuff really work?” I asked the saleslady. I was thinking of my dull, golden oak kitchen cabinets, these ones, behind this shameless picture of my adorable twins.
The sales clerk had wonderful things to say about the product, but at nearly $80 a box, I wasn’t willing to take the gamble on a product that might not work.
Well, Home Depot loves me almost as much as I love them, and while I was pondering whether or not a kitchen transformation was worth $80, they dropped the price. $39.99, baby. That’s a deal.
I quickly ordered two kits in Espresso. I wasn’t sure if one kit would be enough, and I didn’t want to pay full price for a second kit if I needed it later. In other words, I was too lazy to figure the square footage of my cabinets and decided to play it safe.
When the product arrived, I watched the DVD tutorial that came with the kit. The Barbie and Ken homeowners in the video assured me that this was a simple project I could do in a weekend. Let me assure you. Unless your “kitchen” consists of a microwave stand and a cupboard for Cheetos, this project will take longer than a weekend.Much longer.Had I know that at the beginning, I might not have had that slight mental breakdown around Day 4.But I’m getting ahead of myself.The first thing I did, as per Barbie and Ken’s instructions, was to clean my cabinets thoroughly. I wasn’t sure how clean they had to be so I baptized those bad boys in an ammonia solution I cooked up and applied out on the deck so I wouldn’t pass out from the fumes. It is very likely I didn’t need to work that hard. But I’m an overachiever.
I let the cabinets dry overnight and then went to work on the first step of the kit, the deglosser. This is a watery solution that strips the finish off the cabinets. It is the reason Rustoleum can make the claim that if you use this kit, you won’t have to sand your cabinets. Let me just tell you a secret. You still do. It’s just you don’t have to do it with sandpaper. You get to scrub the solution onto your cabinets using a green scrubby. This sounds easy, and in one sense, it is, especially if you have bionic arms. But my, oh my, if you don’t have bionic arms, your hands will hurt by the end. Furthermore, whatever you do, don’t forget about those four doors you left drying in the tub because when you find them after you think you’re done “deglossing,” you will cry.Fortunately, Rustoleum is very generous with the deglosser. You will have plenty to last for days and days and days and…In fact, the two large bottles I found when I opened the kit should have been a clue that I was going to be “deglossing” for a good long time.
Still deglossing…It took me two days to do this part of the process. Barbie made it look so easy. This is what I looked like:
I don’t think I brushed my hair for two days. Nor did I clean my house:If you look closely, you’ll see Paul is on the floor with his shirt on backwards.
Here I am, thinking of what I’m going to do the next time my husband sweet-talks me into going to Home Depot. When at last the deglossing is done, I moved on to the second step, which is applying the Bond Coat, or cabinet color. The Bond Coat is like a cross between a paint and a stain. It allows the wood grain to show through, but it doesn’t penetrate the wood the way a stain does.
This was definitely the most fun part of the process for me. Once you begin painting the cabinets, it starts to feel like you’re actually getting somewhere, and you’ll be so happy, you might even manage to put on mascara for the first time all week.
But somewhere along the way, you’ll realize that you have to do two coats.That’s all those cabinets…times two.It will begin to feel like this project is never going to end.
Note to husbands and small children: Now is not a good time to ask “What’s for dinner?” Just don’t do it.Because even though it looks like I was sitting around eating bon bons for four days, I was actually quite busy. In between slapping on layers of Bond Coat, I spray painted the old hinges so they’d blend in with the cabinets.
Does this seem like a cheap short-cut to buying new hinges?
Not at all. There are several reasons why it’s okay to spray paint hardware without feeling the least bit guilty about it.
First of all, if you own an older home (and trust me, anything that predates my high school graduation is considered an older home), it might be difficult to match the hinges on your cabinets. If you can’t find matching hinges, you’ll have to putty the old holes and drill new ones to accommodate the update hardware.
That sounds an awful lot like the kind of work I don’t like.
Second, if you get a high-quality spray paint it will be very durable. I prefer Rustoleum to Krylon for anything that gets handled, like hardware. I really like their Metallic Finish series because it has a texture to it that hides imperfections like rust or general griminess.
Third, if you’re trying to redo your kitchen on a budget, buying new hinges is an added expense. Sure, it’s nice to have all-new stuff, but if you can salvage what you have, this is one area you can skimp and save a few dollars without giving up much in the quality of the final product.
I also chose to add crown molding to the tops of the cabinets and above the pantry door. The Cabinet Transformations product will stick to fiberboard or engineered wood which is a great thing because that is so much cheaper than real wood trim.
I bought the length of trim I needed, watched a few YouTube videos on how to install crown molding, had my husband help me when I couldn’t figure out how to unlock his miter saw, watched more YouTube videos because the first video neglected to tell me that I needed to cut crown molding upside down so I totally ruined it, bought more trim because of said mistake with cutting, and finally, had my husband help nail up the final product.
While I was rockin’ the power tools, I used the table saw to cut wainscoting to classy-up the island, which looked like it used to have a wall attached to it.
Because it did.
The wainscoting and trim made the island look more substantial and less like it was once attached to a wall, especially after the Bond Coat was applied.
Here is the island, in process.
After the trim was on, I was able to complete the last step of the Cabinet Transformation process, the protective polyurethane coat. The kit included a decorative glaze, but because I was using the Espresso color, I felt the decorative glaze was an unnecessary step, and by that point in the project, I was ready to eliminate all unnecessary steps.
So good-bye, decorative glaze. I’ll save you for another day.
The poly coat was tricky. I wasn’t a big fan of the polyurethane included in the kit. It dried super, super fast which made it difficult to get a nice finish on large, flat surfaces, like the ends of cabinets or the pantry door. I ended up sanding and applying a second coat to some places that I just couldn’t get right.
Additionally, the kit comes with plenty of product except for the poly. I had to buy more. Unfortunately, Rustoleum doesn’t sell their polyurethane in the store! I had to purchase a different brand and hope the finish matched. Fortunately, the new polyurethane was much easier to work with!
If I could do things over again, I would have ditched the polyurethane from the kit and finished the entire project with a different brand.
But, it all worked out okay in the end. Here is the island, completed.
We added stainless steal cabinet pulls that I purchased from Overstock.com for a fraction of the cost of buying the exact same thing from a box store.
Even with a coupon, the cabinet pulls cost almost as one of the Cabinet Transformations kits, but it added so much to the final look of the kitchen, I was glad we did it. I’ve already shown you the before and after pictures of this room, but here are a few in case you missed it:
Above is the before, and here is the after:
Now. I complained a lot about the work involved with this transformation. It certainly would have been easier with a Fairy Godmother or a magic wand for help.
But I love, love, love the end results. Every realtor who has come into our home has commented on the cabinets. It looks and feels like a whole new kitchen. Sure, it took a lot of effort, but every good thing takes effort, right?
In fact, I loved the results so much, I ended up using the second kit to do the cabinets in our master bathroom, which I’ll show you during the next part of our tour!
So even though it was a lot of work, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
How about you? Are you ready to tackle a kitchen transformation of your own? If you need a little motivation, check out the side-by-side shot one more time!
*I was not paid for any portion of this review, or supplied with product, although that would have been super-awesome.