Playing catch up with lots of house projects

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.

12.) Which brings us back to the Kitchen cabinetry that I did in Ce Ce Caldwell’s Chalk paint (the same problem would have happened with Annie Sloan) and topped with wax. A BIG reason I haven’t posted in this house blog is that project was a disaster I was not happy about at ALL.

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!

Fridge wall of cabinets nearing completion

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.

kitchen_fridge_cabinets_before_after_paint1

 

kitchen_fridge_cabinets_before_after_paint2

 

Making Headway with the Kitchen cabinets

Just a very quick update on the Kitchen cabinetry with some cell phone pics…

Before

Now… (cell phone camera)

Before

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.

Kitchen – Regular Program In Progress Now…

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.

Another View

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!

Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinetry with Chalk Paint (drawers)

Before reading this post, remember that I’ve done a test door and I’ve already done many of the cabinet doors. This blog post goes over making the new drawers blend with old drawers by using stain and chalk paint.

Matching Old with New

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.

Black and Decker Mouse 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.

Troubleshooting tips!

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):

I’ve still got plenty of more painting to do!

Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinetry with Chalk Paint (doors)

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.

Chalk Paint

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.

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.

Options

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.