Cornices for the kitchen bay window breakfast nook

Originally, we had built cornice boards that had a shelf that ran connected over the top of all the windows in the breakfast nook area. I actually really liked these upholstered cornice boards however, at the time we were thinking of putting the house on the market and wanted this area simplified.

To make it match the rest of the kitchen, we went with a wood, on the wall, cornice of crown molding. I’ve already gone into quite a bit of detail of how to make one over on this blog post, so here I’ll just show some before and after photos.

Supply list:
Crown molding 24′ (2 pieces of 12)
Base edge trim 20′ (2 pieces of 10)
1×8 boards 16′

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We still need to put in some molding under the window sill, finish the base moulding and replace the chandelier but this is a big step forward! Yeah!

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.

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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!

DIY Changing Solid Cabinet Doors to Glass Inserts

I found a great article here about the step-by-step process of converting solid cabinet doors to glass. We lucked out and our cabinet doors were panel doors. In the long run, this saved us some substantial money as we were able to change the look of our kitchen without paying a carpenter!

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Like I’ve written before always do a test door before proceeding with your actual cabinets. I had several cabinet doors I was removing for good (converting to open cabinetry) so it wasn’t a problem for me. However, if you don’t have a spare door, check out your local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore where they sell odds and ends for home remodeling for dirt cheap prices.

Husband used a router but if you don’t have one, they are available for rental from tool shops. You can also find them used at tool consignment shops, on sale during Black Friday at Home Improvement stores, and off of Craigslist. They have great uses!

In the following photos, I marked important areas with a black Sharpie so you could better see what we were doing. Lime green lines are to show areas of interest.This work is done on the INSIDE of the cabinet door, not the face.

For this DIY experiment, we used the paint test door I made for the kitchen.  The areas marked with an X will be removed during this conversion.

When you look at the door edge you can see where the pieces have been fitted together to make the door. A panel cabinet door is not cut from one piece so it makes it easier to do this conversion.

Measuring this area tells you the depth to set your router blade.

Measuring off this side joint, you can figure the depth of the long cutting line from the edge of the inside of the cabinet door. We first measured the longest sides of the cabinet door, the short side, and lastly, the short side with the arch.

We will be clamping down a guide board. The Guide Board helps the router give a steady pass down a straight line. Measure the edge of the router to the edge of the other side of the blade, like so:

The Guide Board is measured at both ends to match the router edge to blade measurement and is clamped down.

The Guide Board was adjusted after we checked the router blade at the draw cut line. The router blade is sitting on the inside of the cut line and that is where it should be (click photo for a close up view).

VERY IMPORTANT!

The Router must be moved around the OUTSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a COUNTERCLOCKWISE movement.

The Router must be moved around the INSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a CLOCKWISE movement.

If you goof up that is okay – the above directions just make it easier for the router to cut.

The first pass of the router doesn’t make the cut we need so we go back for a second pass. This isn’t unusual during the first cut and you can always adjust the blade. We did the two longest sides first, the short side, and lastly the side with the arch. If you look closely at the second pic in this series (click on any photo for a close up) you can see how the panel is made up of fitted pieces:

The Guide Board is moved when we do the short ends.

All four sides of the inside of the panel are now cut.

The arch of the panel (on the inside of the door) also needs to be removed. You can do this with your router, by just scrubbing the bits out by running the router against the edges.

The inside of the panel lifts right out:

and the cabinet door becomes two pieces…

The doors were painted with chalk paint and went from orange oak stain to an off-white and distressed.

Glass was installed by Robinson Glass with 4 doors: 9″ x 21″ glass inserts with “seedy” (glass with a slight bubble pattern) at approximately $14.50 each panel ($54 total). If doing the glass installation yourself, remember to use a clear silicone caulk.

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Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….

Room: Kitchen updates on the progress

Of course, the kitchen is the most expensive house to renovate and it’s because appliances, cabinets, countertops, and floors are big money investments.

Mine is no different – between buying new kitchen counters (granite) and putting in new appliances (via Craigslist), I’ll probably be working on it in stages over the next several months. Knowing this is why, among other reasons, I choose Chalk Paint for the cabinet re-do.

Completed:

Wiring and installation of four drop pendant lights, two over the island and two over the kitchen sink prep area.

Wiring for cabinet lights is in place. Still have to install the actual lights (they are rather expensive LED strips).

The four solid cabinet door fronts have been cut open for glass. They are painted and just need waxing before being dropped at the glass co.  (I’ll be updating with a link on the how-to a bit later this month).

Plastering and painting of the kitchen ceiling. The ceiling paint color is white mixed with some of the wall paint color (Rock) so it is not pure white.

Building of the new open shelf cabinetry over the stove and the fridge.

Installing the crown molding to make the upper wall cabinets taller.

Installing the new, pull out, pot storage drawers (4) in the lower cabinets.

Current To-Do:

I’ve decided on what to do with the cabinets. I was planning on using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White but that product is no longer available locally. So next I tried Ce Ce Caldwells Chalk Paint and decided to go with their Vintage White color, distressed with clear wax. Since I’m doing it in sections I probably won’t be fully done until the end of September.

I’m still getting quotes on kitchen countertops and my tentative plan is to use the 2013 tax refund to pay for their installation as granite will not be cheap. After looking at a lot of white/cream kitchens online, I really need a very dark countertop,  in the brown family to add contrast to the cream cabinetry (which fills up a LOT of the kitchen) and the white tile floors. The brown has to have no pink or red tones or it will pick up the pink vein in the floor tile which I’m trying to downplay.

Until I finish the cabinets – then decide on countertop, I won’t have a firm decision on backsplash. Right now I do know that 1.) it needs to be a simple cream, off white, 2.) be non-busy and 3.) have texture.  4×4 tiles are very outdated right now but I also don’t want something like piano tile or glass tile which is trendy and will date itself within the next 10 years.

These are Travetine, Subway (3×6) tiles:

This is a rough, tumbled, dry stack look but don’t know if it would work with the kitchen use:

Here are the sizes of the countertops and the backsplash.

I’m debating though on the island counter — should I go ahead and match it with the other counter granite or go with an aged and dark stained wood counter? I kinda like the idea of doing the wood counter top but perhaps it would be too risky…?

The island itself will be changed, most likely around Thanksgiving – right now it’s a huge block of cabinetry right in the middle of the kitchen. I want to keep the three drawers (very handy), but open up the bottom with a shelf. Four new corner post legs will be added for interest and the bottom will have baseboard molding to hide the lack of tile underneath this structure. It will be similar to this in terms of design but smaller and not white.

We also decided to go back to the idea of removing the breakfast bar (it doesn’t work as the space is too tight for stools AND a breakfast table) and instead, put in a shelf unit (something like this perhaps but with all open shelves).

The original sketch … but we will probably change some measurements…

He is also going to re-do the molding around the bay window area sometime in November.

Husband is going to DIY a new, copper vent hood for the stove! We found a website that sells distressed copper and he thinks he can remake our old black venthood into something like this but not as ornate. For obvious reasons we can’t buy a copper vent hood (KA-CHING!) but if he can pull it off it will really be something! I’ll post more when we start that project sometime in October.

The sink faucet I’m currently favoring is from Overstock.com:

The hardware will be knobs I’ve got on hand, as well as some additional cup pulls in rustic brown for drawers from Overstock.com.

The hardware will go well with the pendant lights from Lowes we installed over the island and kitchen counter. BTW I don’t know why this light got negative reviews, did not have the issues other people did and the product is fine.

Lots to do and while it would be nice to show you all a finished kitchen tomorrow, it’s really down to money AND time. Just got to stay focused and moving forward as we can.

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!