I’ve loved this vintage sideboard for all its ornate carving and have meant for some time to convert it but time escaped me. No more!
Originally, this sideboard was a bit too tall to be comfortable to watch television from the distance of tv-to-sofa that we have in our family room. We lowered it by removing the two front drawers and bringing it down to a height of about 30 inches tall.
Cutting it down went pretty easily because this older piece of furniture is made with tongue and groove, as well as real wood. Tongue and groove allows you to remove the side pieces and put them back together like a puzzle. I think by removing the drawers, it shows off the remaining carvings on the front of the cabinet better. These photos have the front cabinet doors off (I’ll show those later).
The sides of this cabinet were damaged. One side had too much water warping to be saved, so we replaced that with a new piece of wood. Because I don’t plan on staining but painting this piece, it didn’t matter about matching wood grains etc… but if it did, you can buy veneer pieces you can glue over a lower grade board (i.e. plywood).
We also took a piece of the molding removed from the discarded top portion and used it at the sides; that is the grooved horizontal board you see here at the top of the unfinished panel. By reusing elements from the discard pile it helps to tie the new with the old.
The other side had a bit of water damage to the veneer. This often happens when this pieces are stored away in the attic, basement, garage, storage shed, etc.. and veneer can also splinter off due to the extreme changes in temperature and humidity.
A veneer repair can be approached in different ways. In this instance, since I know I’m painting the piece and not staining, I took the easy way out which was using wood filler and sanding it smooth. Not especially pretty but it’s all going to be covered with paint.
Another method would be using Bondo which is a car repair product that also can be painted but not stained. I would have preferred that because I like how smooth it spreads but we didn’t have any on hand and I wasn’t going to buy a quart of it for such a small job (it is rather expensive).
If you were going with a stain, repairing it with another piece of veneer would be the way to go.
Another change I made was putting a kickboard across the front and the sides of the television cabinet (former sideboard). Why? Because in its former incarnation this piece had become a home for dust bunnies when it was left open. With these kickboards, I can run the vacuum cleaner right up to the edge and don’t have to get on my knees to dust out from underneath this piece of furniture.
We were able to reuse wood from the part we had discarded so no lumber costs for this change! Yay!
This piece also had an interior shelf which we removed. Since we plan on stacking boxes within, I wanted nothing that I had to work around height wise. It will also make it easier to get items in an out of this cabinet.
I’ve used a commercial paint sprayer before and I love the finish you can achieve with these things. However, here are some things to keep in mind:
1.) Sprayers can spray EVERYWHERE. You will get overflow spray around the item you are spraying even if you use plastic drop cloths. So be generous with your plastic dropsheets!
2.) Make sure the humidity is right for your paint! We had 80% humidity today and a 30% chance of rain on Monday. So this project is waiting for Tuesday or Wednesday which is supposed to be sunny and dry here. If you paint during the wrong temperatures or humidity for your paint it will not cover correctly and you’ll be stripping your project or just having to live with a sloppy bubbly, alligatored paint job.
3.) Commercial sprayers use more paint then brush rolling or painting with a brush (although after I used this one, it actually used less so see my other blog posts about the process). However, what you get in waste of paint you gain in time and effort. It’s up to you what you prefer.
For me, I also like the very even and smooth coat coverage. I am doing the television cabinet with the sprayer before trying it on my king sized, four poster bed – both of which I want a very smooth finish on. Both have carvings and details that would be challenging and very time consuming if painting by brush or roller.
4.) Experiment with holding your sprayer. This one works best for items that can be vertical (i.e. doors, cabinets, large flat surfaces etc…) vs. ceilings or floors. Experiment with the trigger pressure on the gun. All this plays into the type of job you get. Sprayers take some getting used too – they are not as easy as they may seem and you need to put some time into figuring it out before doing that perfect job.
5.) Clean your equipment! When the nozzle gets jammed because you didn’t clean your equipment or because you didn’t thin your paint you have only yourself to blame. I’ll be straining my paint and then thinning it.
Hopefully, I’ll be posting part 2 in the middle of the week when the weather is best for the job!
Wow! It’s been a year since I posted! So I need to play catch up with what we got done on the house. One reason I haven’t been posting here is that lack of money kept us from getting much done on the house. Combine that with lack of time and you get a whole lot of lack of motivation.
However, come December, husband took time off of work so we got a lot of the little jobs that had been sitting around done and we are back to moving forward again.
1.) The Termite team came and sprayed. We had some damage on the front porch from these bugs and that needed to be treated. Once that got done, the wood siding came off, the plywood backing behind got replaced and new exterior boards put back on. We got a quote for $600 to do this; husband got it done for less then $40. Woohoo!
2.) We had two windows giving us troubles. One had a crack and the other had lost the seal so was getting moisture between the panes. This we did contract out for to have the glass replaced. Good as new. About $400 which was cheaper then I expected. If we could afford it, I’d replace all the windows with new but that isn’t happening.
3.) Front door latch which was brass was being cranky due to being worn out; I mean it was 20+ years old! That got replaced with a brush nickel pewter colored latch which looks a lot better with the black door and gray house paint. I’ll be repainting the door a fresh coat of black come summer.
4.) The front exterior wall lamps all got taken down and repainted. $16
5.) The Garage Door got some magnet faux hinges on it as an upgrade. $45.
6.) Our walk in pantry got a fresh facelift. Everything was dragged out, the ceiling repainted, the walls repainted, the shelving repainted and a couple of the shelves up high got cut back in depth (these were installed over 2 decades ago by us when we had specialty items that needed a deep shelf but the deep shelf cut back some of the light).
Because food items in the pantry can stain the shelves (an onion had really done a number on one shelf!), those shelves are now lined with clear, ribbed shelf liner from Bed, Bath and Beyond – so no I’m not repainting these again! Ha!
I’m still working on that pantry (buying more food containers, putting in a built in bin etc..) but I’ll do a reveal when we are done.
7.) The single large recessed light in the hallway to the laundry room also got replaced with two halogen recessed lights, the short ceiling replastered and repainted.
8.) Most of the winter centered around the Kitchen. Originally, the house had 7 recessed lights that were the old style, large recessed can. They never provided enough even light in the kitchen and especially in winter, gave a lot of shadows and were constantly burning out.
Husband replaced and rewired for 16 new recessed Halogen lights so they now match in style with the lights he put into the adjoining family room. They provide a lot of lovely light and give far more illumination to the kitchen area.
However, this was a massive job. Not only were the new lights an investment ($265 from Home Depot which had a better price then Lowes), but the ceiling had to have drywall patches put in, then the entire surface was replastered, and all of it repainted. Instead of using flat white wall paint which didn’t look so great against the creamy white cabinetry, we went with the wall color at 50% lighter which worked great as we have 10′ tall ceilings in there.
Working above your head is no fun! However, we are very lucky husband knows electrical because to have contracted this job out would have been well over $1,500 I’m sure as wiring for one outlet in the garage for husband’s pottery kiln was $300!
10.) The Kitchen Shelf unit FINALLY got painted. After debating again and again what I was going to do with the colors in the kitchen, I found a $5 gallon of paint at Lowes at closeout. I thought it would just be the undercolor (with a topcoat of cranberry red) but once it went on we both loved it so much we decided to go with it. It got a glaze of black on top but is not distressed.
I’ll be doing a reveal of that soon too but I’m waiting on the countertop.
11.) We first painted the Island with the same color as the Kitchen Shelf as a test. But once again, when it went on we really loved it as it provided a beautiful contrast against the cream white cabinetry.
It made us completely rethink our plans which was to rebuild the island from the ground up. Rebuilding the entire island would take quite a chunk of change, and we now know that in 3 years or less the house will be on the market – so was it worth it? Nope!
We will be redoing the island instead with different types of drawers. I’ll be posting about that in the near future too.
Wax in no way will protect kitchen cabinets. And what to do about a protective coat when everything I know yellows when it is on top of white paint? I felt like house designer failure and it took me a long time (as you can tell from my blog posts) to feel like I wanted to tackle this problem again.
I even debated about repainting all the cabinetry AGAIN or calling in an expert to fix the problem. However, after doing a lot of research I’ve decided to go with Protect by Velvet Finishes. I’ll be cleaning up the chalk paint on there now, removing the wax that remains and going with Protect over the cabinet surfaces. Hopefully, this will fix the problem that I’ve been wrestling with for two years!
If I have a recommendation for you is don’t go with Chalk Paint in the Kitchen and if you do, use a medium to dark color so you can glaze and protect it with a top coat that won’t yellow over white.
So while yes, I’ll be posting again, it will not be on a very regular basis – only as projects get wrapped up or if there is one that I think is interesting enough you might want to know the process. See you soon!
More progress on the kitchen. The glass doors have been installed. Eventually the appliances will be replaced with stainless steel. I also have some cabinet pulls ordered for the tall doors (still to arrive). We’ll also be putting in lights in the glass door cabinets and the open cabinet over the fridge.
Just a very quick update on the Kitchen cabinetry with some cell phone pics…
Now… (cell phone camera)
Now… (cell phone camera)
I’ll have the last of the cabinet doors done over Thanksgiving and put in the top cabinet doors to the glass shop to be fitted up. We’ll start on the breakfast bar conversion to a bookshelf through December. I wish the Fairy Godmother could send some cash but as it is we are moving forward… just more slowly then I had planned.
Got a leap on the kitchen progress again. All the cabinets on the stove wall are in various stages of completion. Here the cabinet drawers are installed with the new cup-pull, hardware. The cabinet itself hasn’t been waxed yet so you can see the color difference between the waxed drawers and the frame (click photos for close up view).
Overall, the horizontal drawers (which replace cabinet doors) I think makes the kitchen look bigger.
Finally, something in the kitchen is starting to pull together and the vision can be somewhat seen. I love these cabinets but I’m still a bit worried about the durability of the chalk paint.
I can’t wait til the old green countertops and backsplash are gone and replaced with granite or quartz! It will look WOWSER!
If you’ve read the other entries on the kitchen, you know we’ve made some new drawer additions to the cabinetry. I always knew we would be painting cabinetry and with paint I would be able to blend the new blend with the old. This would be almost impossible to achieve if I had planned on staining the cabinetry. Blending old with new is done easier with paint, then stain.
When choosing wood to paint, try not to pick pieces that have strong grain patterns. It takes more paint to cover this up and may even require a primer for heavily grained woods like oak. I ended up using two coats of primer before using one coat of chalk paint. That got rid of the strong oak graining on the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers.
However, when doing an addition to old, try to pick wood that is all the same type (i.e. all Aspen, all Oak, all Pine etc…) instead of mixing. This will also help with the end appearance as one type of wood acts the same during painting vs. different types may require more layers of primer.
The steps on painting the drawers are basically the same as the cabinet doors but with a few extra steps…
1.) Clean and/or prep the wood (pick one or more of the following):
~ TSP (Trisodium Phosphate): removes grime and grease. It’s found at many paint stores and is a very strong cleanser so use with care and follow instructions;
~ Krud Kutters Gloss Off: I found at Sherwin Williams. If using Gloss Off do wear gloves as it is a skin irritant;
~ and/or sand the surface smooth using a rough grit (i.e. 80) and electric palm sander.
If you try to paint over the wood without any prep work your end appearance and durability of the finish will suffer dramatically. Please don’t skip this step!
Using Gloss Off, soak clean rag and wipe in a circular motion. Let dry for 10 minutes before proceeding. Be sure all grooves are completely clean of grime or build up. If you need too, use an old toothbrush to scrub the edges. I also like the fact Gloss Off doesn’t stink!
IMO the Gloss Off is a product that shines when you start to sand. Sanding with my Mouse (electric palm sander) took less then a minute per drawer and I believe the Gloss Off helped the shiny layer come off more easily as I’ve sanded without it and it took a lot more effort. I don’t need it down to bare wood but I need the drawer to accept a good priming coat.
2.) Help new wood blend with old: With the new wood drawers, I started somewhere different. I needed them to match when I distressed, so I bought some Maple Stain (on the test chip it looked the closest to the red-orange of the current stain). Using a cloth and wearing latex gloves, the stain was rubbed into the drawer fronts (two coats, drying between coats).
3.) Apply two coats of primer. I used Glidden’s Gripper in white (it also comes in gray). I use a primer because the Chalk Paint would have taken three coats to get complete coverage. 1 gallon of primer was $38; 1 quart of Chalk Paint was $38. You can see the financial logic behind using a primer!
The first coat was applied using a brush. With the first coat be sure to work the primer into any grooves yet maintain the edges as crisp and well defined, not blotchy with paint globs. This primer is thick and goes on thick.
I paint my drawers by paying attention to the edges first – this is also the most likely area for drips so always continue to check for them as you rotate the drawer:
The first coat of primer will show a lot of brush marks:
The second coat of primer was applied with a 4″ foam cabinet roller.
4.) Sand with 120 grit. The drawers were much rougher after priming then the cabinet doors were. This is probably because of the deeper grain pattern and the hard use they’ve gotten over the last15 years. Because of this, I decided to use the electric sander before applying the chalk paint.
Do very little – just skim, with a light touch, the sides of the drawers where drips are likely to have happened and make sure the front panel of the drawer is smooth. If it distresses some don’t worry – the chalk paint or your next distressing will fix it.
5.) Apply Chalk Paint with a 4″ cabinet foam roller.
The small, old drawers only needed one coat of Chalk Paint; on the new drawers,which started as bare wood, I applied two.
Drips are most likely to occur on the edges and sides of the drawers. Always do a smoothing pass over these areas before quitting the paint job.
Be on the lookout for any hickeys, blemishes, dried paint flakes that fell onto fresh paint, foam roller bits flaking off (the roller is old! trash it and get a new one), hair etc… Remove immediately and roll back over the area to smooth.
If you paint at night or dusk your light can attract bugs which will get into your paint finish.
Make sure your chalk paint is THOROUGHLY mixed! If not, you might get some gray or greenish bits of clay that didn’t get blended.
Because I was painting cream over white, sometimes it was hard to see if the cream thoroughly covered the white. Always look at your project from different angles and strong light to make sure that the last paint coat covered your base coats completely.
Chalk paint dries very fast so within the hour I could have started my final sanding. However, it was late at night so I decided to save it for the morning! Always distress when you are well rested and NOT impatient! It takes a steady hand and an eye to get it done right. If you are in a hurry, most likely you will take off too much.
BTW I did not apply Chalk Paint on the inside of the new drawers but only used one coat of primer. I’m not going to waste chalk paint on areas like the interior of drawers but I also don’t want to leave them bare wood.
When working with drawers, always use weights to keep them standing.
6.) Sand smooth and distress with 220 grit. Since I had done a smooth sanding at the end of priming, I started with a quick, light touch across the flat facing of the drawer to smooth the chalk paint and then immediately moved into distressing the edges.
Tip ~ Chalk paint makes a lot of dust! Do it in a ventilated area and you may want to wear a nose/mouth paper mask.
I only distressed the edges and corners of the drawers. Some folks also like to distress where the handle will go, simulating natural wear. For me this would have been too much distressing for a kitchen, though I think it would look fantastic on furniture.
Tip~ if your undercoats are tearing or chipping in away you don’t like, wax first, then sand.
7.) Compare your cabinet doors, drawers and facing.
Important!I learned this from my other cabinet project… If you plan on doing any distressing, you need to constantly compare the different components of your project so they match when you bring them all together (click photos to see close ups):
8.) Wax the drawer fronts (3-4times) for protection. The drawers get the most punishment in my kitchen as we open them when cooking and our hands are floured, wet, etc… and drips from the counter usually go down onto them. The cabinet doors (located on the wall, over the counter) will get only two coats of wax as most of their punishment is right around the knob.
I used the wax that is sold by the chalk paint manufacturer because I like how it glides on smoothly and is easily applied.
Waxing tips ~
Until you wax, your drawers are vulnerable to fingerprint dirt smudges and other damage. Keep them in a safe place until you can start waxing.
Wax picks up lint, dust and even eyelashes! Keep your application cloth or brush completely clean and don’t wax in the area where you are sanding.
Don’t skimp on wax. Especially be generous with the first coat.
Make sure you don’t get wax clumps in the crevices of your door or drawer profile. Wipe out these clumps with a lint-free, clean cloth.
Clean your kitchen doors and drawers with a non-abrasive cleaner.
Plan on updating with fresh wax in heavily used areas in about 2-4 years. This depends on how you clean and the wear an tear you put on your kitchen.
Remember! If doing white or cream colored cabinets do NOT use polyurethane or varnish! This will yellow.
The drawers have been waxed, but the cabinet unit has not. In this photo you can see the difference in the colors (drawers were installed to measure for hardware placement):
Okay, here we go folks, I’m starting the kitchen! Yeah!
Before I got started on this cabinetry project, I did a test door. This is essential on a large project of this scope where there isn’t room for error. These cabinets were solid oak and really the only issue is the original stain – they are not damaged or ill-made.
With the test door, I tried darkening it with stain and it gave very uneven and mixed results. Paint was definitely the way to go and if you choose to go with regular paint, go with enamel not latex.
The big reason I chose Chalk Paint is how it adheres to the wood, how it distresses and the end finish.
Cabinetry Prep Work
All the cabinet doors and their hinges were removed. It’s easiest to get a box and put all the screws, hinges and handles in it right from the start. This prevents stuff being lost.
If you were replacing with new hardware you might need to fill in and sand smooth original screw holes. However, this wasn’t necessary on this project as I was re-using the hardware I had installed and the drawers, which were getting new hardware, had never been drilled.
How much prep work you will need to do will depend on the condition of your cabinets. Again, I see a lot of folks skipping prep work because it is slow and tedious. However, lack of prep work WILL impact the end appearance and I don’t care what type of paint you use.
I started with a product new to me: Gloss Off by Krud Kutters. I found this product at the Sherwin Williams paint store for about $8; be careful not to buy the cleanser by Krud Kutters as it has a different purpose. The Gloss Off wasn’t a Miracle Product as it did not remove 100 percent of the polyurethane top coat, however, I did notice it raised the grain and made for easier sanding (80 grit with electric, palm sander). It did seem to help the primer adhere and gave a smoother attachment.
NOTE! If you decide not to use this option or do any sanding of the original cabinetry, try TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) found at Lowes, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams to clean the doors of any grime before painting or priming. Remember, lack of sanding will result in a more uneven, end surface and the paint layers will distress more.
After doing my test door, and seeing that it took three coats of expensive chalk paint before the oak pattern was covered, I decided I would use two coats of a primer (1 gallon = $38) to cut down on the costs of the chalk paint (1 quart = $38). I also think the primer helped the end cabinet as all the paint sanded nicely during the distressing.
The primer I used was another new product to me: Glidden’s Gripper (comes in white and grey). One thing I really liked about this primer is when I got to the distressing stage, it sanded off smoothly… sometimes with primer or undercoats of latex paint you get the paint peeling off in an unpleasant tearing strip. It’s the major reason to avoid latex paint if you plan on distressing.
I start with a foam brush and push the primer into the grooves of the cabinet door.
The face of the cabinet door has paint applied with a 4″ cabinet foam roller. Be sure you get all the edges of your cabinet door and paint the back. Continue to smooth, using the foam roller to work out any bubbles or blemishes. See the product’s advice on how long it should dry before coats. I did the primer the day before I did the chalk paint so it could dry overnight.
Here is a comparison of the first coat with the second coat of primer. It clearly shows the difference that another layer makes in hiding the oak grain pattern and giving a uniform, end color.
After the priming coats are completely dry, next is the Ce Ce Caldwell Chalk Paint in Vintage White. If you prefer Annie Sloan Chalk Paint the directions that follow will be the same.
This is applied with a foam paint roller. I did the backs (let it dry), and then the cabinet face and the edges (let it dry). This stuff dries quickly so this step will easily get done in a day depending on how many doors you have to do.
When you click on the above photo, you can see that the Vintage White has a creamy color, like light colored eggnog.
You may not be able to tell from this photo, but after the chalk paint dries, there is a rough surface due to the foam roller application and the nature of the chalk paint itself.
I used the electric Mouse Sander (also called a palm sander) with 220 grit and LIGHTLY sand it smooth. I first sand all the edges of the door as this is where drips may have occurred and then do the cabinet face. This removed the dimpling that the foam roller caused but be careful with how much you do or you will start distressing.
From the test door I did, I knew what distressing I liked. Using the Mouse Sander and 220 grit, I work around the edges of the cabinet profile. I am aiming almost for an outline. I like to change the direction of the sander, zig-zag it against the door edge, and apply different amounts of pressure depending on how much I want off; this is where experimenting with a test door can really help you.
One thing I noticed is that by having the two layers of primer and using a higher grit of sandpaper (220 as opposed to my usual 120) I got a much softer distressing which was exactly what I was going for!
If you want a rougher distressing use a coarser grade of sandpaper (i.e. 120) and don’t put on a primer. For example, this was my first test door with much more distressing (used 120 sandpaper, no primer with the electric palm sander was aggressively applied):
Distressing is a job that should be done by one person and if possible, all in the same day too for consistency. Always check the doors against each other as you progress through the job.
Wax top coat
Once everything is the way you like it, it’s time to put on your top coat application. You MUST topcoat your kitchen cabinetry – paint alone will not be enough. In this case, I’m going to use clear wax specifically designed for chalk paint (sold by the chalk paint dealers). The wax sold with the chalk paint products is a soft, malleable wax that is very easy to apply. The type of waxes you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot are harder, paste waxes and don’t go on as easily.
I apply three coats (because it’s the kitchen), with t-shirt rags in a circular motion and let it dry to a haze between coats. One problem I find with wax, is that it builds up in corners and seams. Use a piece of thin cardboard or poster-board to draw out any excessive wax that isn’t able to be smoothed out in these areas.
The wax SMELLS! So far everything has been low odor, but with the wax you need to work in a well ventilated area – open windows, work in the garage with the door open, or wear a respirator etc…
BTW I find applying wax to be hardest job on my wrists. This is another part of the job that having a back up helper would save you time and effort.
Be aware that in a few years, wax will need to be freshened up on your cabinets to retain their waterproofing. If this is a maintenance issue for you, I would choose another top coat sealant.
Other things you can do different with this project to change the type of end surface:
The chalk paint folks encourage you to wax and than sand. You might want to experiment with that, however, I have to scratch my head… why put on expensive wax and then sand it off? I would rather sand before wax application however, you may find that waxing and then sanding gives you an effect that you like better, especially if you want to use a tinted wax…. Use a test door to find out!
Use a custom tinted wax you mixed yourself (clear + paint color). Wax can be worked into the grooves for more definition and won’t change the base color of your cabinet face.
Use a dark wax for an aged look. Dark wax is already tinted however, be aware that on some projects it gives a “dirty” appearance that can overwhelm your project especially if you are working in white or cream. I just didn’t think it would look good on kitchen cabinets; I’d keep this back for your antiquing furniture projects.
Another choice would have been wipe-on Polyurethane but in my experience with it, it does not give enough of coverage (even after 2-3 applications) to really protect the undercoat. Polyurethane (and Varnish) will also yellow anything that it is applied onto so if you wanted white cabinets you will get white-yellow cabinets in the end. As polyurethane continues to age, it yellows even more.
If money was no object, I would probably have paid for the cabinets to be professionally coated and sealed. However, this is a DIY project so I do what I know I can afford and can achieve on my own.
Since this is a big project – far bigger then one blog post, I will be putting together several entries about how the kitchen was done, over the next several weeks.
After deciding to go with Ce Ce Caldwell’s Vintage White for the kitchen cabinets, it was time to do a complete cabinet door front. I followed all the same steps I’ve posted before and here it is with three coats:
Distressed with two coats of clear wax:
Indoors, the creamy color is more obvious, against the wall color:
Some things I learned doing the test doors:
1.) To save time and layers of chalk paint, I’m going to check out Gloss Off by Krud Kutter for cleaning the front of the door and Glidden’s Gripper bonding primer for the back of the door (where I won’t be distressing). I’ve used Zinsser and personally, not impressed by it on furniture.
2.) The first coat on the front, I will apply with a brush to get the paint worked into the crevices. However, I’ll apply the 2nd and 3rd with a roller. A brush or foam brush doesn’t give the smooth texture I want to the chalk paint. Chalk paint goes on rather thickly as part of it’s nature.
3.) I may sand the front smooth between the 2nd and 3rd coat to further lessen any brush marks or unevenness.
4.) I tend to skimp on wax and need to remember to really put it on there. The rag should glide across the surface when applying.
The project is ready to start… I’ll start working on the fridge wall this week. Due to the amount of cabinetry to be done, I’ll be doing it in stages: Fridge wall, Upper Stove Wall; Lower Stove Wall and last Sink, front and back, cabinets. The island is going to be completely renovated with a contrasting color (most likely dark brown).
When we had the house built we opted for a tall cabinet option. These original cabinets are 42″ high, leaving a 13″ gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. Not only is this gap irritating (wasted space, dust collector) but nowadays, the trend in high-end kitchens is to have the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling.
In a previous cabinet remodel we had extended the height to the ceiling to make it larger. I’ve been asked how we did that and since having tall, upper cabinets, wrapped in crown molding is a big trend in higher end kitchens, I thought I would show how we did it for the kitchen.
Here is the area we’ll be working with: the upper cabinets on the stove wall. The cabinet doors over the stove hood have been removed. There is a 13″ gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling (vintage kitchen items are there now) which we will be filling in to make a visually taller cabinet.
Intalling the Cabinet’s Face Frame
First the original trim is removed and trashed. Next a frame with scrap wood is nailed in. Make sure you recess this so the new facing will sit flush with the old cabinetry.
Because these cabinets will be painted, we don’t have to concern ourselves with putting up wood that would match a pre-existing stain. It’s easier to do this sort of project if you are going to refinish the entire cabinet to a new color.
The flat face boards are installed by nailing onto the wood framework. In this first photo, left is the new facing board, while right is still exposed. BTW a nail gun with compressor is a must have on this type of job. If you don’t own one, you can rent them.
Because the gap between cabinets and ceiling is 13″, we went with 12″ boards (standard size) which keeps the costs down and the 1″ remaining gap will be covered with crown molding.
Making Open Storage from a Cabinet with Doors
The cabinet over the stove will remain open for storage. In order to cover the cut outs made for the old hinges (when this cabinet had doors), we nailed a new framework directly on top. This will bump out the cabinet from the others, and make a more interesting face profile. It also will give more depth to the crown molding. Brackets and more trim is added to provide even more interest.
Bump outs on cabinetry, vs. a flat profile, is found in higher end, expensive cabinets. If I had more time and money, I would probably have made this bump out a bit more dramatic but for a house going on the market in a year, this gave it some umph.
Painting and Glazing Detailed Molding
It’s much easier to paint trim before it is installed; this is especially true of molding that has a lot of detail. This project will use a combination of base and crown molding as well as some brackets. Note: the entire cabinet will be touched up with a final coat of Old White to blend old with new and detailed in a later post.
One coat of Anne Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Old White is applied with a bristle brush over bare wood
For a glaze, I returned to Walnut oil stain (this can size is about $5 and I used about 1/3rd the can). The first application is applied heavily using a foam paint applicator brush. I use foam because afterwards I’m throwing it away and I also like how foam really crunches down into the recessed areas.
It’s wiped away with a rag. At this point if you think the glaze is too light, put on more. If too heavy, wipe off more. Being an oil stain you have plenty of working time.
When working with stain the areas of previous work vs. new area worked…
…can leave a mark. Be on the lookout for these blemishes and always correct by rubbing it out with your cloth before it has a chance to set and dry.
When the trim is finished, compare it and make sure the glazing is even throughout. Flat areas such as the baseboard will naturally appear lighter then heavily carved and detailed areas:
Installing Base and Crown Molding Trim on Upper Cabinetry
First, the base molding is installed. You need to measure and make sure that you continue to align it straight across. For this we used a board as a temporary spacer which is quicker then trying to measure the spacing with a tape.
Note: if you have an older house that is not level, you will need to make a decision on how you will align the molding – off the ceiling or slicing some off of the molding to give the illusion it is straight.
At this point of the project, all of the base molding is installed and the small gap you see between the ceiling and the facing will be covered once the crown is installed.
We opted for a speciality block at each end of the cabinets as a visual stop to the cabinet molding. The top part of the block must be big enough for crown and base to butt against it. In our situation the rectangular block on top had to be increased in height by re-building the box with thin pieces of Aspen boards.
In this next photo you can see how the base molding trim already installed, works with the crown molding.
Crown molding is cut on the table saw and it does take a bit of practice to know how to manage the cut. I recommend having someone help you the first time or watch a Youtube video (it’s rather complex to go into in this blog).
The edge cut of the crown molding can be lightly rasped to remove any fuzz left from the cut; this allows for a cleaner fit when the next piece is installed. A small wedge of crown is cut so it wraps completely around with a nice tight fit.
Another piece of base molding and some egg and dart trim are added to the bottom. This covers the joined area of old and new, as well as giving the entire unit more appeal.
Nail holes are filled with wood putty. After it dries, blemishes are sanded smooth. Painting the entire cabinet will be covered in a future post. I will also be putting some decorative trim on the shelf front and the backing of the open cabinet will become beadboard.
This is a three day project: one day to paint and the other two to put in the molding. Molding was finished by us in one 1.5 days but I would plan for two.
At this point of the kitchen remodel project the ceiling has been re-wired for drop pendants (4) and for future cabinet lighting; the ceiling was re-plastered and painted; and the upper cabinet (stove) wall refinished with carpentry. I’ve planned to do this in stages to decrease the time the kitchen will be out of use, and to fit within my budget.
Next up will be the fridge wall of cabinets with matching ceiling trim of the crown to tie the two together and finishing off the two open shelf cabinets. From there I’ll paint these two sections before moving on to the lower cabinets and island. Unfortunately, due to finances this is a long project with here and there, so bear with me and I’ll update photos as we move along.
The Project: builder grade, oak cabinets installed when we built the house 14 years ago. They have one layer of stain and varnish to deal with and are in excellent condition, needing no repairs. If you have older cabinets, with more paint layers you may need to do more prep work (more sanding or a chemical stripper) then I did.
Here is our master bathroom (before) ~ nice but still a builder grade cabinet with a medium oak blah finish that is very dated:
Before working on paint colors know exactly what else you will be changing in the room. Eventually the counter, sinks and faucets will be replaced, the mirror framed, new lighting installed and paint color changed (for the Pinterest Idea Board look here). Overall, the room will be in the brown-tan, off-white creamy family (here’s the overall planning post).
Hardware was removed; drawers and doors were taken off and moved to the garage. All the cabinetry was first sanded (electric sander, 80 grit and then 120 grit) to remove the top, shiny coat and encourage paint adhesion.
The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) states you don’t have to sand or prime but if you are re-doing cabinetry, either bathroom or kitchen, I would at least give them a good clean with detergent to remove oil, grease, or any residue before painting. I did do a test board that was sanded and another that was not sanded: the sanded side had better paint adhesion and a smoother, end appearance.
To make these cabinets special, I’m adding wood appliques and some very nice hardware. These appliques were found at Lowes but you can also find them online in a wide variety of patterns and sizes:
To apply, two tiny holes are pre-drilled for small (brad) nails. Wood glue is applied on the back and then the small nails are tapped into place after the applique is properly aligned:
Three coats of ASCP in Old White was applied to the vanity, cabinet door fronts and drawers with a 1″ brush and a 4″ foam cabinet roller. Love it!
For the cabinet door appliques, I first painted the door with one coat of ASCP, and spraypainted the wood applique white before gluing and nailing it down. This made it easier on getting the second and third coat to look even.
The first day cabinet door backs, drawer fronts, and the vanity were painted. The second day I painted the cabinet fronts with three coats and applied their wood appliques.
Tip: when painting both sides of a project like doors, be aware when you flip it and the newly painted (but dried) side is down, it can be damaged. Make sure you have a clean and non-stick surface for it to rest upon when you paint the second side. When I’ve used plastic garbage bags they also removed fresh, but dried, paint. Now, I use a plastic sleeve from a box that originally contained blinds, over the top of the sawhorse.
Quart cans of paint and stain are used to elevate cabinet doors so I can paint the edges and let them dry. You can use cans of vegetables/fruit from your cabinet too.
The drawer runners make these drawers stand slanted, so gallon cans hold the drawers in place so all painted edges can dry without falling over.
Tip: If you are uncertain as to your color choices on your cabinets, it’s always best to do a test board; this will save a lot of time and aggravation! Especially, if it is a project that would be a big pain to redo or is a very important feature to your house (we can all afford to experiment on a small table!).
After doing a test board, I decided to go with ASCP Old White and a glaze of McColkseys (same as Valspars) Buff glaze with the glaze applied with a ragged on/off method (used about 2 cups). This method was done on the cabinet door fronts, the drawer fronts, and the front board where the appliques were mounted on the vanity. Other flat surfaces were left ASCP Old White.
Ragging on is the application of glaze with a clean cloth (i.e. cut up t-shirt). This method works well across large flat surfaces. Depending on the color difference between undercoat and glaze, you can have a high or low contrast. The cloth is saturated with glaze (how much depends on how much color you want applied). I like it soaked but not dripping.
The rag is crinkled in a long tube and then rolled across the surface. I re-crinkle the rag about every 3 to 4 times of rolling and every other roll I change direction. This gives a random pattern.
If you get too much glaze or want more exposure of the undercoat you can rag off. Take a clean cloth with no glaze and roll across the wet surface to remove glaze. You will need to keep using clean rags to keep removing; using one that has glaze on it will re-apply the glaze to the surface.
Here I use a clean rag to pat/blot off excess (pat down and lift straight up so pattern is not smeared) or I can use it by rolling it across the surface to remove paint (ragging off) which softens the overall pattern.
For comparison, here is a ragged on, glazed door with Buff (left) and an ASCP Old White only (right) cabinet door comparison (click photo for a close up):
You could stop there if you like that look but I wanted to take it further. After the glaze was left to dry for the afternoon, the edges were distressed with an electric palm sander (Black and Decker Mouse) with 120 grit. I blew off the sanding dust with a hair dryer (set on cool) before moving to the next step of glazing with Cabots’ dark Walnut stain (project used about 1 half pint).
A coat of dark Walnut stain was wiped on and off (wear a glove if you don’t want to get your hand stained; I clean my hands with NEXT brush cleaner). Or you could use a chip brush which I did on the door backs and vanity.
Saturate the rag or brush with some stain and then wipe on your cabinet door, paying careful attention to the distressed areas. Because this is a distressed finish, the stain can be applied in a criss-cross pattern or rubbed on in circles.
Wherever you have sanded down to bare wood, the stain will be asborbed. Aim for raised areas such as the edge of doors and drawers. Work in circles and straight lines to get the stain worked into the crevices. If you put on too much and it gets drippy, just wipe and blot off with a clean rag.
A stain glaze is asborbed by the undercoat paint more then a traditional, glaze medium; depending on the product it may have a faster drying time then a traditional glaze medium. It’s important you immediately get a feel for how quickly the glaze you are using dries. Different brands have different working times which can be further extended with other products.
The stain on the back of the cabinet doors and the base cabinet was simply wiped off with a clean rag used in a circular motion. The stain on the cabinet door fronts, I wiped off and Ragged Off using clean t-shirt rags. The ragging caused the stain to make a really neat, aged pattern!
Why did I go with the Dark Walnut stain and not the dark wax? To use dark wax properly, the entire piece has to be coated with clear wax first then dark wax, making this project even more expensive ($28 a can of wax) and time consuming. I also find, for my taste, the dark wax can start looking dirty over certain colors.
I like the clean lines of a liquid product such as stain or glaze and the variety of colors to choose from (ASCP can be diluted into a glaze also). A similar door glazing project (using black glaze over gray paint) is shown for the downstairs bath. I guess it comes down to a personal choice but I prefer glaze over using wax for distressing cabinets.
I left the Dark Walnut stain to dry overnight and the next day (fourth on the project) I darkened the back of the cabinet doors so they would be more in keeping color-wise with the overall project when opened. After everything dried, Annie Sloan clear wax (for water protection) was put over the cabinet doors and drawers. All the hinge hardware was given an oil rubbed bronze spraypaint and left to dry overnight. The vanity was stained and also left to dry overnight.
The fifth day the vanity was was waxed and buffed. MISTAKE! When I brought the doors and drawers back in, I realized I had made a mistake on color. The vanity was more chocolate, the drawers and doors a bit lighter. To correct, I sanded them down lightly with 120 grit on my palm sander and applied more stain glaze. This set me back a day as I left them to dry again overnight.
Sixth day, the doors and drawers were waxed and buffed, the hardware installed and the door and drawers put back in place. Wow!!! So happy with these new cabinets! (but totally disappointed with the photos which don’t show the loveliness as the flash washes out the color)
This was the first time I’ve worked with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on cabinets and here are my thoughts on the matter:
~ The paint dries incredibly fast with good adhesion, has little drip factor (in it’s original mixture it’s quite thick), and has very low to no odor. This makes it great for in-house projects and “get-it-done-in-a-day” projects.
~ This paint screams to be distressed. Over sanded wood that was quite smooth, when being brushed applied at full strength it did not go on smooth and clearly wanted to become distressed when being brush applied. The unsanded, test door immediately displayed craquelaure when paint was applied in the second coat.
~ It gives a flat, chalk feel and color to the paint; there is no shine unless you wax or coat it.
~ It sands amazingly well! This makes it ideal for distressing as over the counter latex paints peel when sanded.
~ I was concerned about how it would work with other products but it did well with the Cabot’s stain and the Buff glaze.
~ The chalky feel concerned me that it wouldn’t be protective for cabinets, but once it was glazed and waxed the surface is very protective.
~ The project went faster then using the enamel white paint in the kids bathroom so working in a team of two we were able to get them done with three coats of paint, front and back of doors, along with a glaze coat of ragging, a stain coat, and a wax coat in five days (not counting a mistake day).
~ It was brushed on over oak, the hardest grain pattern to conceal with paint. After two coats the undercoat of stain and oak grain were still visible. This is not a high conceal paint. If you want a solid, smooth coat, like I did on the kids bathroom cabinets, I would pass on this product for that purpose.
~ The paint produces the same amount of brush strokes as other paints, latex and enamel, when used without Penetrol. Because it dries so fast it is a bit harder to “feather out” brush marks.
After working with it, I do think it’s a do-able paint for the downstairs kitchen as long as I wax the doors twice. I’m excited that we’ll be able to trim costs and have me give the kitchen a professional finish without paying a professional. woohoo!