Kitchen Re-do on a Budget

Small kitchen organization

When my realtor and I walked through the door of my current home for the first time, it became a contender right away. Then we went into the kitchen and…wait…what?! Kitchens are supposed to sell houses, but not this time. The kitchen was very 80’s, and very brown. Floors, cabinets, doors, trim and counter tops—all brown. It was so sad and dreary. I wasn’t too concerned because I knew a gallon of white paint on the cabinets would perk the space right up. But I didn’t realize how inefficient the kitchen actually was until after I moved in.

My kitchen is small. I can handle small. And at this stage of my life, I’m happy to report I actually prefer small. But I can’t handle disorganization and poor use of space. After a handful of projects that I’ll share with you here, I gained a functional, charming little kitchen for not a whole lot of money. Here’s the completed project.

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I wanted to keep as much of the existing kitchen as I could, and since the previous owners had just updated the counter tops, I decided to keep them. I also decided to keep and alter the majority of the lower cabinets.

Plan A was to try to find new white upper cabinets in the same style as my existing lowers, so I would only have to paint the lower kitchen cabinets. I wanted to replace the majority of the uppers in order to upgrade from 30″ cabinets to 42″. I managed to find a kitchen design center that carried cabinets that were a very close match to the existing base cabinets I wanted to keep. Unfortunately, they were only available in stained oak. Plan B—order brand new stained cabinets and paint the whole darn kitchen white.

While waiting for the new cabinets to arrive, I had several projects to tackle, one of which was filling the grain and painting the existing cabinets (See how here.). See what I mean about the dreary brown?

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Things are looking a little brighter!

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

At this point, it just felt good to get the ball rolling.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Here’s a before photo of the other side of the kitchen.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Baby steps!

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Another project was to beef up the “wood” peninsula. What a difference this made!
See details here.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Next to the stove, was a corner cabinet that had a very small door opening, but lots of space inside. I made the opening bigger by replacing the board to the left of the door with a smaller one. Then I made some pull out drawers for storage using the rolling hardware from some of the cabinets I removed, and from some scrap wood I had on hand. Gotta love free. I built a small shelf unit that tucked back inside the cabinet next to the drawers for storing seldom-used items. See that project here.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Once my cabinets arrived, the fun began! Many of the photos you’re going to see, will be before (old oak), during (new oak), and after (oak painted white).

First, I had the base cabinet next to the fridge swapped out for one with drawers. Drawers instead of doors are a much more efficient way to go. No more digging for pots and pans!

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Here’s a picture of the “new” cabinet before painting.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

And here’s the same cabinet painted and with hardware installed.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Ditto to the left of the stove—I had a base cabinet installed that had drawers instead of a door—and went from a tiny 12″ cabinet to a less-tiny 15″ cabinet. I don’t understand why a 12″ cabinet was put into a space big enough for a 15″ cabinet, but no matter. Since the old 12″ counter top was then too small for the new 15″ cabinet, I had my awesome carpenter brother, Mike cut down the counter top from the cabinet in the last photo to fit this one. I trimmed out this cabinet the same way I trimmed out the peninsula.

  Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomigtonIL.wordpress.com

Another issue I had with trying to match the new cabinets to the originals was the change in hinges. My existing lower cabinets had visible hinges, and the new upper cabinets had hidden (Euro) hinges. That lead to another project of learning how to install hidden hinges. See how I did that here.

You can see the shiny hinges in the next photo, that I painted white in the second photo. But after my brother showed me the ropes on how to drill the cabinets for hidden hinges, I was able to get rid of the visible ones. After that, there was virtually no way to tell the new cabinets from the old ones. The last photo in this group of three was after the new hinges were installed. I opted for the soft-close hidden hinges, so no more slamming cabinet doors!

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

One of the first things I did to the upper cabinets was to ditch the decorative piece that ran in front of the window between the tops of my two upper cabinets. That opened things up right away. (You can see the piece I’m referring to in the next photo.) Bigger kitchens can handle those pieces, but in my kitchen, it’s just clutter. Be gone!

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

In order to use all the available space in my small kitchen, I decided to swap out the 30″ upper cabinets with 42″ cabinets. I was grateful that I didn’t have dry-walled soffits to contend with. I also ordered cabinets without those pesky stiles in the way. The easiest upper cabinet swap was the free-standing one in the next photo.

I had planned to install these cabinets myself, because I’d hung a few 30″ cabinets in a laundry room in a previous house myself without any trouble. But after seeing how massive a few of these cabinets were, I knew it was something I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. Little brother to the rescue…

Look at the difference between the puny original cabinets on the left and one of the new, taller cabinets on the right in the next photo.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

So here’s the old cabinet.

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Here’s the replacement cabinet before painting.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

And here it is painted out.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Next came the tiny cabinet over the fridge. It was replaced with one that was much larger than the old one.

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

On my “to do” list is to build a divider of some sort to go inside this cabinet.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

To the right of the fridge was this funky, mis-matched, cabinet-stacking wonder that I replaced with an open-shelving unit that I built to accommodate my everyday dishes. I made the counter top from wood I found curbside. The original counter top was the one we cut down and sacrificed for the cabinet to the left of the stove. See the open-shelving project here.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Now for the microwave/stove area. This took a lot of thought. This area was horribly inefficient. The cabinet to the right of the microwave had a door with only a 7″ opening. Not many kitchen items can fit into a 7″ opening, and there was a lot of blind storage space inside of that cabinet that I’d deemed unusable. I think this one was the winner for the worst cabinet in the kitchen.

Before…

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

And after.

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

The cabinet to the left of the microwave was only a 12″ cabinet and wasn’t much better than that last one, and was also replaced with a 15″ cabinet.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

The cabinet directly over the microwave was a bit of a mystery since there was a large filler strip underneath it that you can see in the photo below. By removing the filler strip and installing a cabinet that reached the ceiling, I gained a lot of extra storage space. This adjustment also raised the microwave a couple of inches which made for a bigger, brighter cooking surface on the stove top.

Here are before and after photos of that area.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I was then left with a 12″ space next to the cabinet to the right of the microwave that I filled with more open shelving. I made some corbels from scratch to support the shelves. The actual shelves were from the same curbside wood I used to make the counter top on the other side of the kitchen. It tied the two areas together nicely. See how I made the corbels and installed the shelving here.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I used the same wide beadboard on the wall behind the corbel open shelving that I used on the back of the open shelving next to the fridge to further tie those two areas together.

Of course you can’t have a kitchen re-do without new hardware. So pretty!

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Another project that helped this kitchen function better was a very DIY-friendly pantry door spice rack. See how to make one for yourself here.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I also added extra shelving inside the pantry so no space was wasted. I painted the shelves a crisp white, and what a difference! I swapped out the door, door casing and baseboard. I also permanently removed the door you see on the far right that leads to the laundry room. The two doors were constantly banging into each other. Note that the original pantry had only four shelves.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I added three additional shelves, but kept them shallow so items in the back are still easy to see and reach. I removed all of the original shelves and spaced them differently. I lowered the top shelf so there would be enough clearance for cereal boxes. The original bottom shelf was so high off the floor, that there was a lot of unused space in that area so I lowered that one as well. The second shelf from the bottom in the photo below, I made to be U-shaped to wrap around the side walls for easy access to my glass canisters.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I like to put the ends of my cabinets to work too. Here, I used one such area for cutting board storage, and love that they’re easily accessible.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonILjpg.wordpress.com

It’s all in the details. We hear it all the time, and I’m a believer. Here are photos of the trim I added to the bottom of the cabinets. And I do these types of projects the old-fashioned way—a hammer, nails and a nail set/punch.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I went with a small crown molding (1.5″) since I swapped out my existing 30″ upper cabinets for 42″ ones. If I had used a larger crown, it would have dropped my cabinets too low, and the space between the counter tops and the bottom of the cabinets would have been too small. I give my brother all the credit here for the crown molding installation. I added a few pieces of crown after he left, and I must say, it wasn’t as easy as he said it was!

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

And about that crown…I couldn’t find much information on the internet about the use of crown molding with 42″ cabinets, and I agonized over whether or not to do it. Unless you’ve got something tall that you must display on your counter top, there’s no reason why you can’t have a modest crown with 42″ cabinets. The space between my counter top and the bottom of my cabinets is just shy of 17″ instead of the “standard” 18, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. So if you’re contemplating whether or not to do this, I say go for it!

They do make a 36″ cabinet that allows for larger crown molding, but I wanted all the storage space I could get. And since my kitchen is small, I felt a more modest crown molding was appropriate anyway.

I decided to add some wall-frame wainscoting, some beadboard, a chair rail and a picture rail to the small, adjacent dining area. The trim I had already added to the bottom of the upper cabinets established the chair rail height. I hooked onto it using the same trim, and continued it onto the wall. I also continued the crown from the cabinets across this wall, but added an additional piece underneath the crown to make it a bit more substantial.

I marked out my master plan with painter’s tape so I would have an idea of what it would look like first. See how to install wall frame wainscoting here.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Wainscoting Ideas/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

And here are a couple of close ups of the wainscoting/beadboard/picture rail.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I’m hoping to eventually find some wallpaper to put in the area above the picture rail. I painted a subtle stencil in that area for the time being.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

To finish off the dining area, I decided to use a table that I found on a curb several years ago. Yes, ladies and gentleman, someone actually left this amazing table in pieces on a curb and threw a mattress over the top of it! But I found it. Ha! I gave away my store-bought table that I spent good money on, and decided to use my found treasure instead. A little white paint gave it some extra charm.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

I discovered the chairs at a thrift shop, and they begged me like little lost puppies at a shelter to take them home. How could I refuse? I added a nice, thick cushion to them and re-covered them with some gorgeous fabric that my sis, Dee, discovered at Hobby Lobby. Here’s what the chairs looked like when I bought them.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

And here’s a newly covered chair.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Now for some before and after photos.

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/ HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

 Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

Kitchen Re-do On a Budget/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

This kitchen re-do was under $2000 (not including appliances and the new kitchen window), and the original cabinets I removed from the kitchen, were painted and used in my laundry room makeover–another post yet to come. So that $2000 actually transformed two rooms in my house.

I looked into getting a whole new kitchen, but I knew I would be just as happy with a more creative, less expensive approach that I could do myself…mostly. Nothing in this kitchen is high end. Nothing is fancy or trendy. It’s just simple, clean and beautiful. I got the bright, white kitchen I love, more storage and much better function on a small budget.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager/Redesigner. If you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.Wordpress.com.

Kitchen Open Shelving

DIY Kitchen Open Shelving

An area of my kitchen was in need of a makeover, thanks to the “resourcefulness” of one of my home’s previous owners. It looked as if they’d had one of those seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time moments while attempting to add some additional storage space. Their creation was one that made me stand and stare for a moment while thinking, “Hmm. Really?”

That’s the same reaction most visitors had when seeing my kitchen for the first time. It amused me to watch the the “Hmm. Really?” look wash over their faces when they rounded the corner and saw it. The “it” was two mis-matched cabinets—one stuck to the underside of the other—in an area next to the fridge. Here it is. Now you can have the “look” too.

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’m guessing a previous owner saw the “cabinet-stack” as a quick and easy storage solution. While I do respect their creativity and agree that the idea wasn’t all that bad, there were some obvious problems. The door styles didn’t match, the cabinets were made from two different types of wood, the stain colors didn’t match and one cabinet had exposed hinges, and the other had hidden hinges. And the doors were crooked. Yikes. It all had to go.

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since my kitchen is small, it was important to make the best possible use of space, and custom open shelving was the way to go. First, I must say that there should be a kitchen law that states any builder who installs 30″ upper cabinets (that don’t go all the way to the ceiling) in their kitchens should be thrown in the slammer. Upon release, they should be required to register as a kitchen offender. Thirty-inch cabinets in small kitchens are a bad idea because instead of storage, that full foot of unused open space above the cabinets is reduced to a dust-catcher.

I’ve heard the argument that an average-height person can’t reach the top shelf of a 42″ cabinet. There’s this thing called a step stool, and I’ll gladly use one in order to have a place to put seldom-used, but vital kitchen items like my waffle iron and my ice bucket that hasn’t been used since 1995. Needless to say, I was going all the way to the ceiling with my shelving unit.

Basically, I built a bookcase without a bottom shelf because I wanted the area to look “hutchy”. I agonized over how deep to make it. After all, this was my big chance to gain some extra inches, but I didn’t want the shelves so deep that it would look odd. I was trying to rid this kitchen of odd, after all. I decided to make the shelves 16″ deep, so I gained four inches of depth per shelf over the 12″ deep cabinets that were there previously. Here’s the shell assembled and painted.

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The beauty in all of this is I was able to space the shelves to accommodate my personal stacks of plates, the height of my drinking glasses and the size of my mixing bowls that I planned to display.

I added beadboard backing for interest, but it also helped me to keep the project square.  I drove nails through the back of the beadboard and into each shelf to give added support so the shelves wouldn’t warp over time. I built the unit with 3/4″ plywood that was cut to size for me at Lowe’s. I made it about a half-inch smaller than the opening to allow for any wonkiness in the walls. Even so, it had to be “persuaded” into its new home, and was then attached to the studs in the wall behind it.

Since I knew I’d be sliding dishes across the shelves, I decided to use laminated shelving rather than painted plywood. That turned out to be a good decision. I’ll never have to re-paint the shelves or worry about paint scratching or rubbing off onto my glassware. Plus I have a bad habit of putting away dishes when they’re still wet. Not a problem with laminate!

I had a nicely-shaped piece of routed trim that was given to me by neighbors who knew I hoarded that sort of thing, so I used it to trim out the top of my shelves. My super-talented carpenter brother, Mike, cut it down to size for me. He removed the excess from the middle of the piece since both ends were tapered, and then used my Kreg Jig to join the two pieces back together. You can’t even tell he altered it. Genius.

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Small kitchen. Small crown. I used a modest 2.5″ crown molding in addition to the very, very red trim piece (thank goodness for quality primer) for trimming out the upper part of the unit. It was the perfect size, and added presence without going overboard. I gotta be honest. My bro installed the majority of the crown molding in my kitchen. A carpenter I know (could’ve been my brother) said it’s not difficult to install. I disagree. Completely. I installed a couple of pieces and I’m grateful to whoever invented caulk. That’s all I’m gonna say.

I added fluted trim to the vertical sides, and had some smaller trim added to the front edge of the shelves to cover the rough plywood edges. And there you have it!

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had the base cabinet swapped out so I could have drawers instead of doors. It’s much more efficient for pots and pans. I also made a counter top out of some re-claimed wood (aka, wood I found and “claimed” from a curb). So a big thank you to whoever abandoned it, and I love the stain color you chose! Note the change in the counter top in the next two photos.

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had to wait a few months for the back-ordered drawer pulls, but it was worth the wait. Love them!

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now for the before and after photos. Note in the first “before” photo, that my silverware was stored on top of the counter. It lived there for a full year because the two small drawers in the original base cabinet weren’t wide enough for my silverware divider. Now I have a big-girl silverware drawer!

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

In the next two photos, you can see how the empty space above the cabinets went from dust-catcher to display space. So much better. I also swapped out the cabinet over the refrigerator with a deeper one.

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Check out the charming penguin wine glasses in the next photo. They were purchased at a thrift store here in Central Illinois called “Two Sisters and a Warehouse”. A dear friend owns the shop that’s full of unique treasures. For more information, check out their website at www.TwoSistersAndAWarehouse.com.

Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the whole area before and after. I changed out my door casing, baseboards, doors and door hardware, and swapped out my refrigerator for a stainless steel one.

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I love being able to store my dishes within easy reach, and love that this shelving unit holds much more than any standard cabinet would have. It also cost a lot less than buying something manufactured. I’m also happier with my lighter, brighter kitchen.

 Kitchen Open Shelving/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

More about the full kitchen remodel later!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager/Redesigner. If you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.Wordpress.com.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space

DIY Pull-out drawers for kitchen cabinetry.

How could this happen? Who did this? The cabinet in my kitchen with the tiniest opening—a mere 7.5 inches wide—was the cabinet that had the largest amount of storage space inside of it. I’d like to speak with the person who designed my kitchen.

This post is the second in a series on how I’m improving my small, non-functional kitchen on a budget. Since I can’t afford a complete kitchen overhaul, I’m keeping the majority of my lower cabinets, but the runt of the litter recently underwent a little surgery, and that’s what this post is about. More specifically, I’m sharing how I made access easier to the large, dead-space corner cabinet in my kitchen.

Here’s what I started with. The cabinets are actually sturdy and in good shape so I’m keeping as many as is practical. They’re just not functional and not all that attractive. The 80’s are alive and well in my cabinets.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

You can see how much space is inside this cabinet, but the opening is so tiny that it’s difficult to fit anything in it. I had a mountain of stuff piled in there.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I wanted to cut out part of the board to the left of the opening to make it bigger, but I knew it would be impossible to make a nice cut with a jig saw–especially in oak. And my original plan was to then install a stationary shelf to put a basket on, and leave the cabinet open.

So I consulted my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike about my dilemma. He suggested removing that board entirely, cutting it down to a smaller size, and then replacing it with the factory cut edge showing.

You can see here that it’s a separate piece.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s what the piece looked like from the inside of the cabinet.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

He told me in order to remove the board, I’d have to hit it like a carpenter, not a painter (I just happen to be a painter). He said I’d have to hit it hard. Real hard. So I prepared myself for battle.

First I carefully removed the stile with a jig saw.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I took a 2 x 4, put it against the cabinet and took a mighty swing. The hammer bounced off that board like a soccer ball, and I laughed so hard I nearly passed out. I tried again and again…and again. Honestly, my brother had way too much faith in me on this one.

So I carefully took my jig saw, and cut as far as I could along the top and bottom of the board. I couldn’t cut through the entire length of the board because my stove was in the way of the saw. After cutting as far as I could, I decided enough was enough, and gave that board a Ninja kick that I’m confident would have impressed Jackie Chan.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Finally!

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I cut out the remaining dowel rods that held the piece in place, and sanded them smooth.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided to replace the board from hell with the smallest board that I could, but being sure to leave enough clearance around the oven door for pull-out shelves. I changed my mind about the stationary shelf. A woman’s prerogative.

So I used a 1 x 3 in the space.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This was my first opportunity to use my new Kregg Jig K5 for drilling the pocket holes in the 1 x 3. Now if I decide to change the cabinet again someday, all I have to do is unscrew the piece instead of risking a fractured foot.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the piece installed. I planned to paint my cabinets white, so I didn’t have to worry about wood types matching. I’ll be filling the grain on the oak before I paint so they’ll look the same after painting.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a side view looking through the stove handle showing proper clearance for the pull outs.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I whipped up this simple shelf for the inside of the cabinet. It’ll be tucked in to the left of the opening, and will sit beside the pull-out shelves.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Fast forwarding here, I built a simple box for the first pull out drawer. I used the hardware from the original drawer and scrap wood I had on hand.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I tried the first one out before making the second one. It was a good thing, as the first one didn’t fit the opening and I had to disassemble it and make it smaller. Ugh. Here’s drawer number two. There was a pull out drawer in this cabinet originally, so I was also able to use the hardware from that one too. I just had to build a new  drawer the right size for the opening.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since the hardware for the pullouts wasn’t white, I had to spray paint it so it would blend in better. The photo is of the drawer upside down.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had this dentil molding leftover from an old project, and had just enough to use as decorative face plates for the pull outs.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

For your amusement, here’s an ugly picture of the cabinets after I filled the grain prior to painting.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now it’s starting to look like something!

Here’s the much more functional cabinet. It’s not any bigger than it was before, but with the added shelf unit inside, the larger opening and the pull out drawers, it just makes life easier.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here are some before and after photos.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

In case you missed the original peninsula re-do which was the start of this makeover, here are before and afters of that too. (See peninsula tutorial here.)

 photo IMG_6775.jpg How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’ve got many steps left on this makeover—making a wooden counter top and cutting down another one until I can afford new ones, building open shelving, replacing the current 30″upper cabinets with taller 42″ ones, adding trim and hardware, having a few doors drilled for hidden hinges and more. Baby steps.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager /Redesigner. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-DIY

DIY Kitchen Peninsula Upgrade

Want to get rid of that builder grade faux wood paneling on your kitchen island or peninsula? You know the stuff. It resembles those wood panels that used to be on the sides of station wagons. I’ve had it in every kitchen I’ve owned. But I’ve learned that I don’t have to live with it. And neither do you.

This peninsula update is the first step of many to come in a mini DIY remodel that I’m about to undertake in my small, non-functional kitchen. I’ve had smaller kitchens, but my current kitchen, hands down, wins the award for the least functional. It also ranks right up there with the least aesthetically pleasing.

So here are my before pictures. Pretty standard as far as peninsulas go. This kitchen is one big ball of patterned brown. I love brown, but there are brown patterns that fight each other in the oak grain, the flooring and the countertops. Makes me dizzy. This kitchen is not a safe place for anyone who is prone to seizures—that’s for sure.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’ve been collecting posts on Pinterest for kitchen ideas, and to give credit where credit is due, I copied this design from “Remodelaholic”. And I combined her project with a photo I saw on “DIY Network”. This transformation can be done with basic carpentry skills, and isn’t all that expensive.

Step one was to remove the corner trim piece so I could pry back the existing paneling and locate the studs, water lines and electrical wires. My dishwasher is in my peninsula, so I was aware that the potential existed for an electrical shock or a flash flood if my nail hit just the right spot.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Unfortunately the installer for my new dishwasher had to remove some studs in order to get it to fit into the space where the old one was. That leaves me with only a few studs to attach my boards to. I knew that was going to be my biggest challenge. However, I was relieved to find no water lines running through the studs like I had in my last house, and there were only two electrical wires that were going to be relatively easy to avoid. Here’s one of them.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So I marked my stud locations on my counter top with some tape, and I taped another area to mark a board from the back of a cabinet that I could use to nail into. And of course, there will always be a 2 x 4 on the floor, on the outside corners and against the wall that were used in framing.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had to remove a piece of baseboard on the wall adjacent to the peninsula since it was going to have to be trimmed down afterwards.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The only other out-of-the-ordinary item I had to deal with, was an electrical outlet that I had to move up about 1/2″.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided to use bead board paneling for this project, and Lowe’s had a new kind that looked like traditional bead board on steroids. The routed groves were much larger and farther apart. A  4′ x 8′ sheet of traditional bead board paneling ran around $20. The more unique version that I decided to use was $30 a sheet. The extra $10 was worth it to me.

Lowe’s will cut plywood for their customers, and so will Home Depot. Not only does it save me the hassle of cutting it, but a 4′ x 8′ sheet won’t fit in my tin can of a car. I had them make me four panels which required four cuts. The first two cuts were free, and the second two cost me 25 cents. Again, worth it. I also had a large scrap piece leftover to use on another project.

I had the panels cut to a size that was 1/4″ shorter than the actual height of my counter tops so that I could mount them off the floor a bit. Dishwasher + leak = potential water on the floor at some point. Cutting it short also allowed for any wonkiness as far as the possibility of the sheets not being cut perfectly square (sorry Lowe’s) or my floors/counters etc…not being square (sorry house).

So I attached the bead board to the peninsula, setting it on a ruler to raise it while I hammered. I’m happy to report I only hit my thumb once, but I’ll admit I did bend a handful of nails that had to go in the garbage. I also broke two drill bits while pre-drilling. Like I said, I’m not a carpenter. I also used a level to make sure each sheet was plumb.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a photo after the bead board was attached. Since I didn’t have much of a selection of studs to hammer into, some of the pieces only had one nail on top and one on the bottom, but I knew when I added the trim, some of those nails would also be penetrating the bead board to hold it on too. The trim itself would also help secure it.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had to trim around the outlet, and I also had to shave down part of the toe kick that extended past the end of the cabinet in order for the bead board to lay flat against the cabinet.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, I added 1 x 4 pieces of MDF that I cut down from a leftover sheet I already had, and attached those. I also kept those up off the floor. MDF and water do not mix.When MDF gets wet, it puffs up like a toasted marshmallow.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next came the horizontal pieces. I had to cut a hole in the trim piece that went around the outlet.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s how it looked with the horizontal pieces added.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The bottom board is a 1 x 8, so that once I put the baseboard on, there will be a reveal equal to the rest of the 1 x 4 trim.

The next step was to install the remaining vertical boards. These will cover the areas where the sections of bead board paneling meet.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The previous photo shows that my vertical board placement didn’t line up with any studs (marked by the blue tape on the counter top). In order to attach these two pieces, I just pre-drilled at an angle so my nails would go into the horizontal pieces that were nailed into studs. This is where I managed to snap my last 1/16 bit. Sigh.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

A suggestion from the “Remodeloholic” post, was to round over the edges of the trim boards, so that once installed, there is an intentional space where the trim boards meet. That way, there’s no need to caulk or putty those areas.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here all of the trim pieces were installed.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next came the baseboard. The baseboard is the only piece placed directly on the floor to cover the gaps from the bead board, the corner trim and the 1 x 8’s. It would be simple enough to replace if it were to get wet.

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

In order to keep costs down on my projects, I usually buy “lesser” quality pine boards and then spackle over any knots or dings at the same time I putty all my nail holes. I sand and paint, and the imperfections are impossible to find afterwards.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next a coat of primer.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After the primer dried, I caulked every place that the trim met the bead board, and along the top of the baseboard. This is an important step, and makes everything professional looking.

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I painted everything with two coats of paint, sanding in between coats. Finished!

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now the traditional before and afters.
 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Add Character to a Kitchen Island/Peninsula-HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since I had some of the pine boards and MDF already, I don’t know exactly what this project cost, but I would approximate not more than $50, with $30 of that being for the bead board.

A cheaper version would be to leave out the bead board and mount the trim directly onto the existing faux wood paneling. Give the paneling a light sand, a good primer and a good quality paint and you’re on your way. I’ve done that too!

Honestly, the worst part of this project was the major splinter I got in my hand when picking out the wood. It was all smooth sailing after that.

Author’s edit: And here she is after surviving nearly two weeks in the palm of my hand. My daughter, Sophie, was my splinter remover, but she moved to Los Angels. Now I’m on my own in the foreign object removal department. (Thus the two week hibernation period.)

 photo IMG_68361.jpg

Now on to another cabinet…

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager /Redesigner. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Add Trim to Builder-Grade 42″ Kitchen Cabinets–Crown Substitute

Crown molding substitute

If you’re looking for a way to add interest to builder-grade cabinets, here’s an easy and inexpensive upgrade.

I happen to have those run-of-the-mill, builder-grade, ho-hum oak kitchen cabinets that everyone on the planet seems to have. I painted them white and added bead board wallpaper to the insets a few years ago (See previous post “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets“). I loved the transformation, but always wished I had crown molding on my upper cabinets.

The problem was, my 42” cabinets butted up against the ceiling so there was no room for crown. However, my combination OCD, tunnel vision and I-will-have-crown-if-it-kills-me attitude were not to be defeated. I made the decision that I was going to add some type of trim somewhere to catapult my cabinets out of Dullsville. I went on a search for trim, knowing I didn’t want to use the standard quarter round. Here’s the winning trim from Home Depot.

 Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here are before and after pictures of the bottom of one of the cabinets without trim, and after trim was added. I didn’t think I’d be able to find trim small enough to fit in the area below the cabinet doors without it looking too small and chintzy, but this was perfect.

 Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I sandwiched a piece of screen molding as a spacer, in between the new trim piece and the side of the cabinet. Otherwise there would have been a gap because the cabinet corners protrude past the flat side of the cabinet. You can see it in this photo.

Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I then flipped the trim upside down, and installed it at the top of the upper cabinets against the ceiling. Again, the space for decorative trim was pretty small, but it fit nicely. It’s not crown molding, but it added a decorative touch, and covered the ugly crack where the cabinet met the ceiling. I caulked around all the trim and painted…again.

 Add Trim to Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

To make the project easier, I primed the trim and put one coat of paint on it prior to installation. After I installed the trim, I puttied my nail holes, caulked and put a final coat on the trim.

The trim for this project was only $15. I needed basic tools, including an inexpensive miter box, hammer, trim nails and a caulk gun. This project shows that a tiny piece of decorative trim can go a long way to adding some much-needed charm to boring cabinets. Your turn!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

DIY Rolling Pantry Tucks Into Space by Fridge

Rolling Pantry for kitchen

Do you have an empty space in your kitchen next to your refrigerator? If you do, and want to make good use of that space, you might want to add this rolling pantry to your honey-do list.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. I saw it on a Facebook post, and decided to construct one, only with a couple of tweaks to make it work better for my situation. Here’s the original post—http://www.instructables.com/id/Hidden-Fridge-Gap-Slide-Out-Pantry/.

I agonized over measurements for about half a day before deciding to build the pantry one inch smaller than the width of the space. This allowed for a decent amount of wiggle room when wheeling it in and out.

I purchased MDF (medium density fiberboard) from Home Depot, which is my all-time favorite construction material. It’s amazingly smooth, doesn’t splinter or have distracting knots, and it paints beautifully. The only con I’m aware of is that it can’t be exposed to water, so it can only be used on interior projects.

I bought a 3/4″ thick, 4′ x 8′ sheet of MDF, and Home Depot cut it down into seven boards, all at a length of 5’4″ by 6 3/4″. I originally wanted the pieces cut at seven inches, but I went with 6 3/4″ instead so I could get an extra board out of the sheet. I allowed 1/8 inch loss of material for each cut made, as that is the saw blade thickness.

I used two of the 5’4″ pieces for the sides of my unit, and cut the rest of the boards at home for the individual shelves, and the top and bottom pieces. I had a nice sized piece left over for another project too. Hernia alert!! MDF is very heavy. If you plan to purchase a sheet of it to cut at home, be sure to have help carrying it! Here are my cut pieces.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I constructed the rolling pantry as you would construct any bookcase, and used a bead board plywood scrap that I had on hand for the back to keep it square.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I used several garage sale purchases that I had on hand to keep the cost down, including finish nails, the handle, the wheels and some upholstery tacks.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

First I cut my bead board to the size I wanted my unit to be. I then constructed a box with simple butt joints to fit the size of the bead board, being sure to glue all four corner butt joints. The top and bottom pieces should be placed in between the two side pieces, rather than on top and on bottom of the two side pieces. It makes for a more sturdy piece, since gravity would be working with your nails if they’re perpendicular to the floor instead of parallel to the floor. You want your nails working against gravity whenever possible.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I like using upholstery tacks for attaching backing to a shelving unit because the big heads don’t allow the bead board to pull off. If finishing nails are used, the bead board can be pushed off right over the top of them. I used wood glue here too.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I decided where I wanted my shelves to be, based on what I anticipated storing on them.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It’s much easier to paint shelves before installation, so I put a coat of primer and a coat of finish on the shelves, and all the semi-assembled pieces.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I installed the shelves, I caulked, spackled and applied the final coat of paint. Caulking the cracks makes for a much more professional-looking job as you can see here.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s when I realized the importance of using the right kind of wheels. I have a bucket of miscellaneous hardware that I pulled this first set of garage sale wheels out of.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I tried wheeling the pantry on these wheels, and as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, they weren’t a good choice. They were made of glass or porcelain, and I’m guessing they used to be on an antique piece of furniture. They would probably have been just fine on linoleum, but they weren’t well-suited for ceramic tile since they wouldn’t grip the tile. And since they were small, they were catching in my grout lines. So back out to my junk bucket I went. I found these larger, rubber wheels, and they worked much better.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since my garage sale wheels didn’t come with screws, I searched my garage sale screw stash and found the perfect size.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the finished rolling pantry. Ta-da!!

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Going…

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Going…

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Gone!

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It tucks quite nicely in my little space.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This magnificent contraption holds lots of kitchen stuff, and frees up my “real” pantry for my most often used items.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomestagingBloomingtonIL

Toddler alert! Although I love this idea, it wouldn’t be a safe storage solution if you have toddlers who could possibly pull the unit out and tip it over. I placed my handle out of reach, and it would take a pretty strong child to pull this out of its resting place, but best to rule on the side of caution.

I had originally planned to insert wooden dowels a few inches above each shelf to keep items from falling off as was shown in the original post, but I decided it wasn’t necessary.

As far as cost goes, the MDF plywood was $27.00. The rest of the supplies were either garage sale bargains or leftovers from other projects. I got a lot of bang for my buck on this one!

For other kitchen storage ideas, visit my posts, “Creative Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids“, “How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display” and “Organize My Kitchen Pantry With What?!“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Don’t Be Afraid of Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen. Here’s How!

I recently spent hours trying to find white paint for my kitchen cabinets that would compliment my white appliances. You wouldn’t think this would be all that difficult, but I spent hours online, time on the phone and trips back and forth to different specialty paint stores picking up color samples. I finally found the perfect custom appliance paint color. There is a God.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

A few years ago, I got up the nerve to paint my builder grade oak kitchen cabinets white (See previous post, “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets). After many hours of work, they were done, and I was elated to have bright white beautiful cabinets. Then I got a new white dishwasher, and then a new white refrigerator and all was still well.

Unfortunately, when I got a new white microwave, my e-lation turned to de-flation. Now that I had a new white appliance installed right up against two of my cabinets at eye level, the bright white microwave morphed my beautiful cabinets into a dingy shade of yellow. Sort of reminded me of dirty, stained teeth. Yuck.

I did my best to ignore it. I paint for a living so I really did my best to ignore it. (I was feeling like the plumber with leaky pipes.) Let me be clear. My cabinets didn’t turn yellow over time, nor did I choose a creamy white paint. The paint I had was white. If I would have pulled the nice, new microwave out, they would have looked white again.

I scoured the internet for paint color solutions, as I was confident that someone, somewhere surely made a paint color designed to complement white appliances. Nope. All I could find was a barrage of disappointed people who regretted their decisions to have all-white kitchens because they ended up with cabinets that looked “off” just like mine did.

I never wanted stainless steel appliances in my kitchen because in a small galley kitchen, I believe it’s best to have everything all one color. Small spaces don’t accommodate visual color interruptions well. And white appliances will never be “out” in my opinion, just as white kitchens themselves will always be classic. I think stainless steel is beautiful, but in ten years it may be the avocado of the 70’s, and my budget isn’t going to allow for all new appliances in ten years unless I win the lottery.

I went to my “go to” specialty paint store here in my city with my stove knob in tow for a color example. They do color matching for me all the time with brought-in items. They tried, but it was a no-can-do. I went to another specialty store and got my second no-can-do. I was beginning to feel like those disappointed folks on the internet.

The third time really was a charm in this story. Here’s what Don Smith Paint Company in Bloomington, Illinois did for me. They sent me home with six different base colors of different products that they sell, on the ends of paint sticks for me to take home and put up against my appliances. That is—paint right out of the cans of their various paint lines with no colorants added.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I picked the one closest to my appliance color, and a store employee/genius named Rick (aka-my new hero) added a smidgen of black and it was a fantastic match.

The paint is Coronado by Pratt and Lambert, and it’s a water-based Acrylic Rust Scat Enamel paint. We used the white base as opposed to the pastel base.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the formula on the sticker, keeping in mind that this is a quart of paint, not a gallon.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
I went from a satin that I painted my cabinets with the first time to a semi-gloss, which looks much better with the lighting that I have. Normally I’m not a fan of semi-gloss, but I really love the look of this paint. It was very quick to dry, and I can tell by the way it feels that it’s going to be durable.

I was so excited about re-painting that I forgot take a picture showing how yellow my cabinets looked after the new microwave was installed by my son, Ross and I. (Eat your heart out, Sears. You didn’t get a $150 installation fee out of me to install a $200 microwave.) But here are some after photos.

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided while I was at it, I would remove my cabinet doors from the cabinets above the microwave. And although it doesn’t show in the photo, I installed paint-able wallpaper with a beautiful raised design inside of them. I may invest in some pretty baskets for storage, but that’s for another day.

The paint cost was $20 for a quart. I got by with a quart because I didn’t repaint the inside of the doors, or the back of a peninsula that isn’t pictured here, although there was another bank of cabinets not pictured that I did paint. And since they were already white, I only needed one coat.

Matching Kitchen Whites / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

If you are one of those people out there who really wants an all-white kitchen, but are scared by the prospect of trying to match whites, I say go for it, now that you know what paint to use. There’s nothing more beautiful than the classic look of a crisp, white kitchen.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Don’t you just love those crisp, white kitchens with beautiful open shelving? I’ve been craving that look for my kitchen. And how wonderful to take dishes straight from the dishwasher, and put them in a place of honor. I’m happy to report that after finally saying farewell to the dishes I’ve had since 1980 (yikes!), I bought some simple white ones that I would love to be able to display.

But my kitchen is tiny, and although I love my fresh, white dishes, I can’t designate an entire 42″ cabinet to openly displaying them because I have lots of other not-so-beautiful stuff in with my dishes. You know the stuff I mean. I can’t seem to part with those plastic sippy cups from when my grown children were toddlers. And what about that random assortment of sentimental coffee mugs, and those all-too-ugly rusted metal baking pans stacked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Definitely all keepers. So, you see, I can’t just remove the doors from my current cabinets because of my meaningful junk.

But what I can do is make use of a blank corner that I’ve wanted to do something functional with ever since I relocated a cabinet that used to be there.

Today’s the day I build a “mini” version of my dream so I can have that same look, just on a smaller scale. A much smaller scale. I must confess, I’m a painter, not a carpenter. And I’m a girl! If I can do this, you can too. It’s very simple construction, and there’s really nothing to it. And if yours turns out not-so-great, you can use it in the garage for storage or give it to somebody for Christmas–someone you’re not real fond of.

I want my cabinet to be of the same construction as my existing cupboards so that they all look like they were born and raised together. Fortunately, I have paint that matches my other cabinets because I painted them a couple of years ago. (See previous post, “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets“) Here’s my empty space.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decide to make my cabinet 1/2” smaller than the wall. Since my wall space is 15″, I decide to make the cabinet 14.5” wide. (As you can see, I’m a whizz at math.) I make it deep enough to hold the bowls and plates I’m itching to display.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

First, I study how my existing cupboard is constructed. I can make it look identical, even though I’m not going to router the grooves for the back piece of the cabinet to slide into. No one will ever know it’s not made the same way. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Here are my materials. The 1 x 2’s are to form a back frame, and to trim out the front of the finished cabinet. The 1 x 8’s are for the sides and the shelves, and a scrap of bead board (not pictured) that I have left over from another project will form the back of the cabinet. I also use finishing nails that I already have on hand.

Note that my 1 x 8’s have knots and other imperfections in them. I buy lesser grades of wood for projects like this, and durabond over the knots and any other dings or imperfections so that it’ll be a nice, smooth finish when I’m done.

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I would like to take this opportunity to show off my new saw horses that my son, Brandon, got me for Christmas. I love my saw horses. Space at my house is limited, so I love that they fold up so tiny and store in a very small space. They’re also adjustable with the flip of a bracket. Thanks, Brandon–I love you even more than my sawhorses!

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So step one is to build a simple frame out of the 1 x 2’s as you can see in the center of the picture. I just used easy, peasy butt joints.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This frame is what I use to fasten the sides, top and bottom to in order to construct the actual cabinet. I simply hold up the 1 x 8’s against the sides of the frame, and nail them on with finishing nails. I use bar clamps since I’m doing this by myself, but a spouse, neighbor or other human being could hold the boards while you hammer if you promise not to hit their fingers. I also have done this without the bar clamps, so don’t let it discourage you if you don’t own any. I use wood glue so it’ll be a bit more sturdy, and so I can feel like a “real” carpenter. I measure so that the height of this cabinet is exactly the same as the height of my current ones – 42″.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The 1 x 2 frame is also what the bead board plywood will rest on, and it’s what I drill through in order to attach the cabinet to the wall. Now what I have is this box with no back or front.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I measure my bead board plywood, cut it to size and drop it down into the box so that it rests on the 1 x 2 frame. I only loosely tack it in since the shelves will eventually butt up against it to hold it in place.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The next step is to decide where I want my shelves. I decide to make them permanent, and place them so that they fit the items I want to display. I want wine on the top shelf, and I decide how I want my dishes to stack on the remaining shelves. This cabinet will be located right above my dishwasher, so it’ll be nice to have so close when putting my dishes away.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I use a speed square, running it in both directions to make sure my shelves are exactly level front to back and side to side.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I tack in all the shelves without pounding the nails in all the way to be sure everything’s where it needs to be before I commit. Once everything looks peachy, I pound away. If you’ve read my other posts, you know I’m not gifted in the use of a hammer, so I pre-drill all my holes. (If there were a “Hammering For Dummies” book, I’d buy it.) It’s especially beneficial here to pre-drill, so the shelves don’t jump around while I’m hammering since they need to be perfectly level. Then I counter-sink my nails with a punch.

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next comes the 1 x 2 frame that sits on the face of the cabinet. This covers up the cracks where the shelves meet the side panels, and just gives the cabinet a more finished look. And more importantly, this is how my other cabinets are made.

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s how it looks now. Front, side and back views. I must admit I surprised myself with the sturdiness of this cabinet. When you have the sides, top, bottom and the shelves all holding it together, it makes for a pretty solid piece of awesomeness. (Looks like someone needs to clean out their garage.)

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I caulk all the cracks–every last one. That is, anywhere one board meets another. It looks much more professional when there are no cracks showing. If you don’t have visible cracks, it means all your cuts are precise (or that’s what we want people to believe). Now is also when I skim over the knots, dings and nail holes with durabond. You could use spackle as well. Sorry I got carried away, and didn’t take a picture of the patch job over the knots and dings. You’ll have to use your imagination.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s my shelf primed, painted and installed, but not quite finished.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After living with my new cabinet for a week or so, I decide the side view is pretty boring so I buy trim, cut my 45’s and add some interest. It looks a little less home-made now. Much better!

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Before fabulous trim–

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After fabulous trim–

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the bar code from the trim I bought from Menards.

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s my new open cabinet!

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This project cost me $27. Keep in mind that I already had nails, bead board, caulk, paint and primer. Here are some before and after photos.

Before–

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

After–

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Before

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I love my new cabinet so much! When you have a kitchen with limited storage, adding a cabinet like this one, even though it’s not huge, makes a significant difference. Plus it’s just so darn cute! So of course when my friend, Rachael and I went to garage sales today, I bought a few more dishes–just because I could.

If you’re looking for other ways to add storage to your kitchen, visit my posts, “DIY Rolling Pantry Tucks Into Space by Fridge“, “Creative Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids” and “Organize My Kitchen Pantry With What?!“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula

DIY Peninsula upgrade

Greetings, fellow DIYer’s. I’ve got a bad case of the winter blah’s here in Central Illinois where today the forecast is for up to seven inches of snow. The best way I know to un-blah myself is to do a home improvement project. I’ve been wanting to spruce up both my kitchen peninsula, and my fireplace for a while now, and today’s the day.

This project is short and sweet, and is pretty DIY-friendly. It requires simple tools, and not much in the way of skill. Perfect for me! I’ve seen many pictures on the internet where beadboard is added to kitchen islands and peninsulas, and I love, love, love how that looks, but I already added beadboard to my cabinet fronts, and want something different. I also love the beautiful, chunky, ornate corbels and fluted trim that dress up many of them, but grand “ornateness” doesn’t fit my house. So I ultimately decide on a simple wallframe to take both my fireplace and my peninsula out of builder grade status.

I installed wallframe wainscoting in an adjoining dining space and foyer (See previous post, “Wall Frame Wainscoting and the Importance of Architectural Details“, and I thought it would tie the two areas together nicely. I’ll only be posting about the peninsula re-do, but I will post before and after pics of the fireplace at the end of this post.

So as you can see from my before photos, my peninsula is currently my wall color.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I painted my kitchen cabinets white last winter (previous post), and ever since, I’ve wished my peninsula was white to match.

So step one of this project is to patch any imperfections in the wall first so we’re starting with a nice, smooth surface.

Here’s a picture of the spackle I’m using…or not.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It’s shrink-free spackle from Sherwin Williams, and unfortunately, mine is frozen after spending too much time in the trunk of my car. So important tip number one, don’t let your spackle freeze. Looks like I’ll be using drywall mud instead. At any rate, the best way to patch the area is to shine a light sideways onto the wall so that imperfections show up easily.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Once the patches dry, I sand them smooth. I find I have to repatch some of them because my mud shrunk since some holes are too big to fill with one application. Although this next photo looks like an “innie” belly button, it’s actually a photo showing a patched hole where the spackle shrunk when it dried.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

If you don’t take a few minutes to re-patch something like that, people will wonder why you have an innie on your wall, and tell you to patch that nasty thing. I usually make it a habit to overfill the hole just a bit, and then sand it down flat.

Here’s a helpful patching tip. If I have drywall protruding from where I removed a nail from the wall, I take the handle end of my putty knife and push the drywall back in where its pulled out so that I create a divot, and then spackle it. After all, we can’t patch a hole that’s not a hole, now can we? Anytime a nail is pulled out of drywall it’s going to pull some of the drywall out with it, and it’ll leave a bump that you can feel if you run your finger over it. I use the “divot technique” to fix these. Here’s a picture of what it looks like after I’ve pushed the drywall back in to patch the hole. Now when I fill my divot with mud, I’ll get a much better result after it’s sanded again.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

Here we are all patched up!

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I sand all the patches smooth, I prime the whole area with white primer since my wall is going to end up with white finish paint on it. Sort of ugly with just primer but that’s ok. If you try to take the cheap and easy way out, and don’t prime over your spackled areas, you’ll be sorry because they’ll show through your finish paint. Trust me.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After the primer dries, I put on my first coat of finish paint. I put one coat of paint on before putting up the wallframe because painting around the trim isn’t all that fun. Why do it twice and be frustrated two times when I only have to be frustrated once? I’m using Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 in an egshell finish in the color Pure White. We’re looking better now!

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now it’s time for the wallframe. I purchased my trim at Menard’s at a price of $3.99 each for two 8′ pieces. My fireplace that I’ll show later, also took two pieces of trim. So both projects together cost me $16.00. (I already had the paint, spackle, nails, etc…)

I have a power miter saw, but since I only have a few cuts to make, I decide to bring my miter box inside so I can cut the boards in my nice, warm house instead of my subzero garage. Incidentally, my miter box was purchased at a garage sale for a few dollars, and was still in the box. Score! They’re not that expensive to buy new if you want to invest in one, and they make nice, clean cuts. If you’re a DIYer, I’m guessing you already have one. If you’re a DIYer-wanna-be, go get yourself one! I promise you’ll use it again.

I put up a “pretend” frame made of tape first so I can decide exactly where I want my frame to go. I make sure my paint is nice and dry so my tape doesn’t pull the paint off the wall. Also, no need to press the tape down all the way. I just lightly tacked it up for a visual. When I remove my tape, I always pull it off by pulling it sideways against itself as opposed to pulling it directly towards me perpendicular to the wall. That also helps in not pulling my new paint off the wall.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now that I’ve got my measurements, I cut my trim to size at 45 degree angles, being sure to cut opposing pieces at exactly the same length so my frame will be perfectly square. I pre-drill holes into my trim where I want to put my nails, since I’m not all that great with a hammer. It also helps to have a hole at least partially drilled ahead of time so my nail will hold itself in the wood. This frees up my fingers to hold the trim, a level and a hammer.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I make one tiny dot with a pencil, not a pen where I want to put the end of my trim piece. Since I’m using a level, there’s no need to draw any lines. I tack up my top piece. Yet another helpful tip–never use a pen on a wall that’s to be painted because it will manage to successfully bleed through a ridiculous number of coats of paint. Or you’ll have to buy a primer that’s specially formulated to stop ink bleed-through. If you have small children, you may already be knowledgeable in this area.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I don’t drive my finish nails in all the way until all four pieces of trim are in place, just in case something isn’t quite right. That way, if I need to remove my trim for some reason, I won’t damage it during removal.

I use nails that just barely go through my trim, and into the drywall because I know I have water pipes running through this wall. My plumber’s a great guy and all, but I’m not wanting to see him today. I use 3d Finish Bright 1 1/4 inch trim nails.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

There is no need to nail the trim into a stud because after the trim pieces are nailed up, I will be caulking around them, and the caulk will help secure the pieces to the wall. There’s no need to glue the pieces before nailing for this reason also.

Next the two side pieces go up using only one nail in the center of each piece in the beginning so I can still move the pieces back and forth on the tops and bottoms. Even though the trim will be moveable, I make sure it’s plumb before tacking it up. I’ll secure the ends of the side pieces after the bottom piece has been tacked up.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now for the bottom piece. Again, tacking the side pieces up in the centers only allows me to make slight adjustments at the corners while adding the bottom piece. I can now tack in the four ends of the side pieces.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I stand back, and take one final look to make sure everything is up to snuff before I drive my nails in all the way. I use a punch to sink the nail heads below the surface of the trim. Good heavens, my hands look like man hands! Goes with the DIY territory, I suppose.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, I putty all my holes, being sure to overfill them a bit. It looks like I’m just being sloppy, but it really is a better result if I overfill, and then sand down the spackle rather than to try to get it too smooth initially.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I sand the puttied areas, and then prime over them with my primer–not finish paint–so they won’t show thru the paint. If you skip the step of priming over the spackled holes, you’ll regret it on a sunny day. You’ll see a different sheen where you spackled, and you’ll say to yourself, “Gee, I should have listened to that lady who wrote that post.”

Now it’s time to caulk around all sides of the trim. (For a more detailed explanation on how to caulk trim, please refer to my post on wallframe wainscoting–click here.)

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I also caulk where my corners meet, even if they appear to be snug. Caulking the corners is messy, and if you’re a dude with big fingers, you can use a wet cotton swab or rag to remove excess caulk from the grooves on the trim.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Caulking everything takes your project from, “Did you do that yourself?” to “Wow, who did you hire to custom trim your gorgeous peninsula?” OK, maybe not, but it does make a huge difference. Check out my progression photos of the corner joints before, during and after caulking.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Once the caulk has dried, it’s time to put on the final coat of paint. I start with the trim itself, then move quickly to the inside of the box. I use a brush on the trim, and then a small roller on the inside of the box. I work quickly so that I roll over my brush marks that lap onto the wall before they dry. Then I paint the wall surrounding the box. And there you have it!

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It’s my life’s mission to rid my house of all things builder basic. Giving my peninsula and my fireplace a little boost adds a bit of personality, and it’s nice to know everything in my house isn’t just like my neighbor’s. Here are my before and afters of both my peninsula and my fireplace which were both done using the same technique.

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here’s my fireplace. The added wallframes on the sides just make it a little more prominent, and a little more interesting.

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Budget-Friendly Spruce Ups for Your Fireplace and Kitchen Peninsula / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’m trying to find the time to complete my foyer area by running wallframes up my stairs. The challenge on that project will be the funky angles I’ll have to cut. Stay tuned!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets!

Are you one of those people who are bored with your oak kitchen cabinets? I was such a person, but no more! I took the plunge and painted them, and I can tell you step by step how to paint your own and have them turn out beautifully.

But, please heed these words of caution! If you don’t have a lot of time, endurance and patience, or if you know your painting skills aren’t up to par, my advice to you would be to leave your cabinets alone.

I remember a few years back looking at a house that I was interested in purchasing, and someone had done a not-so-lovely job painting the kitchen cabinets. They were destroyed by drips, globbed up hardware and very heavy brush strokes. It kept me from buying the place. I would have preferred to have the outdated, unpainted cabinets that I could have redone myself. A bad paint job on cabinets–or on anything for that matter–is difficult to correct once the damage has been done. And of course it can hurt your home’s resale value so I hope you’ll keep that in mind. But if you believe you have the patience, I say go for it!

I have always wanted a white kitchen, but all of the homes I’ve owned have had stained, usually oak, cabinets. Oak in the kitchens. Oak in the bathrooms. Oak, oak, oak. Enough! I think oak is nice and everything, I’m just in oak overload. My current home is very cookie cutter, and I’m trying to give it some personality. As you can see, I have a teensy, weensy kitchen, but it serves me perfectly. I like having everything within reach and it’s quite functional. But this kitchen is sort of tucked into a windowless corner and feels dark.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a brief kitchen history. When I moved in, the countertops were white, with a raised-up section by the bar stools that I had removed to make better use of my limited counter space. (Sorry, no pictures of the old countertops.) I thought the raised area looked really nice, but I needed to be practical with gaining every possible square inch of work space.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I added the two far right end cabinets (upper and lower pictured below) to give me more storage and more counter space. I had to strip and restain the bottom one since it was brand new and didn’t match exactly to the old cabinets. And now after all that work, I’m painting over it!!

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I also changed my sink from a double bowl to a single bowl, which I love. A large cookie sheet will lay flat in it, and a single bowl takes up less counter space. I also changed the hardware from brushed nickel to oil rubbed bronze. My idea in switching from white counter tops to dark ones was in anticipation of someday mustering the courage to paint my cabinets white. My friend, that day has arrived!

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since I don’t have a basement to work in, and it’s too cold to work in the garage in February here in Illinois, I’m working in sections in my kitchen. I need enough space to spread out and work on the doors I’m going to remove. I start with all the uppers for my first round. Step one is to remove the hardware and then the doors themselves. Tip: When taking down the doors, remove the top hinge last. Trust me on that one.

As I remove each door, I number them inside the hole created for the door hinge after I pop the hinge out. It’s a much nicer paint job if you remove the hardware as opposed to trying to paint around it.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Please do not underestimate the importance of this step—especially if you have doors like my lowers that are the same right side up and upside down. This is especially crucial if you don’t have holes drilled for knobs or pulls. Numbering them will save you a trip to your “happy place”. My uppers are curved at the top so at least it’s clear which end is up, and I have pilot holes for knobs which helps too. I label them none the less as I learned my lesson long ago. I like to remove every screw and every hinge and put them in a bag separate from the knobs and handles and their corresponding screws.

Next I remove all the bumpers with a razor blade. If you paint over them, it doesn’t look very nice, and it’s pretty difficult to paint around them. They’re also a place for drips and runs to form if you leave them on. It’s worth the extra time to remove them and put on nice, new ones when you’re finished. If your cabinets are old, I’d bet my first-born that they’re pretty smushed from all the wear and tear anyway.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had “Merillat” stickers on some of my doors. I break out the “Goo Gone”, and spray where each of the bumpers and stickers are, as well as areas where I have grease and grime built up. I let it sit for a minute and razor off the adhesive and then completely clean those areas with more Goo Gone and a paper towel. It doesn’t matter what you use to clean your cabinets, but all the dirt and grease has to be completely removed in order to get a good result. I would advise using a cotton rag instead of a paper towel because I have some areas where I rub on the door fronts, and some fine bits of paper towel pull off into the grain. The “fuzzies” will be sanded off in the next step, but an ounce of prevention…

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I use the sander (using 100 grit sandpaper) that I borrowed from neighbors George and Deb. Thank you for making my life a lot easier, guys! As always, the idea isn’t to remove all the varnish or polyurethane, but rather to rough up the surface to help the primer to adhere. The areas I can’t get to with the sander, I sand by hand. I wipe all the dust off the pieces, using an old brush to get into the groves. Now comes the time-consuming part. My kids say I’m obsessive compulsive, and this next step might just prove they’re right.

I would like my cabinets to look as close to sprayed as possible, not like hand-painted oak cabinets. The problem is oak has a heavy grain that shows through when you paint it. Sanding alone will not get rid of this. If I just paint directly over the wood, my cabinets will scream, “This lady couldn’t afford new cabinets so she just painted us white–and we’re oak!” How embarrassing to have screaming cabinets. Especially oak ones. And maybe having the grain show through isn’t an issue for a lot of people, but it bothers me.

I did some checking into grain fillers that are designed to fill the grain on woods like oak. It sounded to me like you had to be a professional wood worker, an engineer and a rocket scientist to be able to use it, and I didn’t want to experiment with it on my kitchen cabinets. So this time I have a plan B. I read on the internet that you can float a thin layer of joint compound over grain to fill it. Drywall tapers and woodworkers everywhere will find that idea amusing I’m sure, but I tried it on a frame of an oak cabinet in my laundry room that I bought for a dollar each at a garage sale, and it worked perfectly.

Instead of regular joint compound, however, I use Durabond which is a type of drywall mud that dries much harder than regular joint compound. It comes in a powder form that I mix with water, and it dries more quickly than joint compound depending on which type I choose. I believe you can buy anywhere from 5 minute to at least 90 minute Durabond. The minutes would be my working time before it sets up. It generally sets up before the number of minutes listed, but it depends on the temperature of the water I mix with it, the humidity and other factors. To mix Durabond, I just add the powder to water (as opposed to adding water to the powder) until it’s a consistency of thin peanut butter. Then I’m good to go.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I want to put the Durabond on thin enough that I can see the wood showing thru or else I’ll have a lot of unnecessary sanding to do as well as a much bigger mess. Keep in mind that Durabond is harder to sand than regular mud which is another reason not to put it on too thick. Remember, the idea is mostly to fill the little holes from the grain and cover any raised grain areas. I only floated the frames of my doors on the uppers because I have a process for the panels for later. I was too impatient to wait for the mud to dry on its own so I helped it along with my hair dryer.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonILt

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Once they’re dry enough, I sand them smooth, being careful to leave a very thin layer of mud. All this prep work is very time-consuming and very messy but it all pays off. I realize I could have put the Durabond on even thinner than I did. Mental note for when I do the lowers.

Now I get to paint. First I prime the fronts and backs and let them dry. I use a brush where I need to get into the nooks and crannies and use a small mini roller to do the rest. I also prime the cabinet boxes on the wall.

I use 220 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the dry coat of primer before I apply the first coat of finish. This removes any little bits of “stuff” that float around in the primer and get stuck on my project. Since I’m getting to the end of my can of primer, it appears that those little floaties have been multiplying. You can strain your paint to cut down on the little varmints with a paint strainer that you can purchase anywhere paint supplies are sold. I most certainly should have done that.

I’m using Sherwin Williams’ “pure white” in a latex satin. Most people would use a semi-gloss for kitchen cabinets, but I don’t want that much sheen.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

For the center panels on just my upper cabinets I want to apply bead board wallpaper. I tried this out on my laundry room cabinets and was very pleased with it. It actually has raised areas and grooves just like real bead board and there’s no way to tell it’s not the real thing. Time will tell if it’s durable enough to use on my kitchen cabinets. If it gets too beat up or tears, I’ll simply remove it and paint in the panels. I prime the panels before I insert the wallpaper.

I purchased the wallpaper at Menard’s, and it’s plenty wide enough to fill in even the widest panels on my cabinets without having a seam. I follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply it, which are pretty standard. Wet it, book it and it’s ready to install. It’s pre-pasted, which is nice, but it’s difficult to cut. I use a fresh blade for each cabinet, score it well and still have trouble with it tearing instead of cutting. It’s a bit like cutting wet tissue paper, so I just have to baby it a little. Despite the cutting issues, I still manage to do a good job, and remind myself that I’ll be caulking around the perimeter where some edges are a little rough so it’ll be just fine. You can see a bit of a gap where the “bead board” and the frame meet.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Pardon my glob of caulk. I tried to slow down so my son could take a picture, thus the glob. Normally you would want a nice smooth bead, and then you want to smooth it with a wet fingertip to make it nice and even and push it into the groove. I use caulk all around each panel where it meets the frame on all the doors.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I did some research online about this bead board wallpaper before I purchased it. I read some complaints about it coming loose when you paint it so I prepare myself for a bit of a battle, but I don’t have any problems with it at all. I make sure it’s completely dry before I paint over it, and I think that probably takes care of any potential catastrophes. FYI-this wallpaper is designed to accept paint. Otherwise I would NEVER advise painting over wallpaper! If you want to see a painter squirm, mention painting over wallpaper.

Yet another home purchase was knocked out of the running for me because the homeowner had painted over all the wallpaper in the main living areas. Every seam was accentuated and screamed, “Look at me! I’m wallpaper that no one wanted to take the time to remove, and look how obvious it is!”. The only thing worse than screaming cabinets is screaming painted-over wallpaper. Once it’s painted over, it’s very difficult to remove because the paint forms a barrier and makes it harder for the wallpaper to become saturated for removal. Wallpaper isn’t fun to remove under the best of circumstances. No need to add to the misery. If you remember nothing else from this post, I hope you remember never to paint over wallpaper.

In addition to caulking around all the panel edges, I need to caulk the cracks where all the separate cabinets meet on the boxes so the cracks don’t jump out at you. (We don’t want them screaming too.) They’ll show up as black against the white paint. Pretend not to notice the prescription drugs. Oops.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a crack caulked halfway up so you can see how much better the caulked area looks.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

For clarification, I want to prime, let dry, lightly sand, apply the wallpaper, let dry, then caulk, apply a finish coat, let dry, lightly sand again and then apply my last coat of finish. Order is important here because I don’t want to be sanding right after caulking or I’ll mess up my caulk. Remember the sanding after priming and then between coats of finish paint is with a high grit like 200 or 220. And after sanding each time, I need to brush off all of the sanding dust so it doesn’t end up in my beautiful, smooth paint job.

FYI–I also had to redrill the pilot holes for the hardware because they filled with Durabond when I floated them. No big deal because the holes show on the backs of the doors where I didn’t do any floating, so I know exactly where to redrill.

So after 14 hours of labor, I complete the upper cabinets. Yes 14. Yikes. This was for 7 doors. Keep in mind it took longer because of my OCD with the grain issue, but I’m thrilled with the smoothness of the wood. They’re as close to looking sprayed as you can get. That’s what we want!

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now for the lowers. Deeeeep breath. Some of my drawer fronts don’t want to come off because I realize my pilot holes for the screws that I installed a year or two ago for new hardware are too small. The screws are in the wood so snugly that they won’t budge. I can’t even remove them with a hammer. Live and learn.

So I’ll have to paint some of the drawer fronts while they’re still attached to the drawers. And a huge pain in the patooty is working around the random screws that were too stubborn to come out. As you can see, I’ve put tape around the threads so as to not fill them with Durabond or paint. I’m careful not to get too much paint built up around the screws so the paint won’t pull off when I remove the tape. Sorry about the blurry photo.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I float mud on both the frames and the panels this time since I’m not inserting wallpaper on the lowers. Again, it’s a lot more work—and mess–than just painting them, but well worth it for this DIYer’s peace of mind. This picture is after I floated the door.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This photo shows how little Durabond is left after sanding.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Again I prime, lightly sand, caulk around the inserts and the cabinet boxes, apply finish, lightly sand, and apply the final coat of finish paint.

Here’s a picture of my paint shop, aka workbench, aka kitchen table.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decide not to keep track of my hours for the lower cabinets because it’s way too scary. All the DIYer’s whose blogs I read before I decided to go through with this all said they wished they’d done it sooner, and I whole-heartedly agree. They also warned of how very time-consuming it is, and I agree there too.

There will always be the oil verses latex, satin verses semi-gloss, to polyurethane or not to polyurethane debates. I have painted many vanities and pieces of furniture over the years, and I did a lot of research on the internet about different processes people use to paint their cabinets, but ultimately decided on what works best for me. I’m expecting to have to do touch ups on my paint job over time just as I have to touch up my interior doors and trim that are currently painted white. I love the crispness, brightness and contrast that white paint adds to my deep wall colors, and am willing to do the work to keep it that way. Check out my before and after photos.

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets! / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I hope if white cabinets are your heart’s desire, that you’ll give this a try. It does take some time to do it correctly, but if you break the job down into manageable sections, it’s not quite so overwhelming. There’s no reason why you can’t do a section, take a break for a few days or a week or two and then start again. If you have a basement or garage to work in, that would be a huge plus, but it can be done in a tiny space like mine too. And if you do it yourself, it’s immensely cheaper than investing in new cabinets. Everything I needed for this project, I already had on hand so I didn’t have to buy anything. But had I gone out and purchased the wallpaper, primer, paint, caulk and sandpaper, it would have cost less than $75.00. Now I feel like I have a new kitchen. Why did I wait so long?!!!

Update: Three years after I painted my cabinets and published this post, I purchased a new white fridge, microwave and dishwasher. Unfortunately, the color of my new appliances didn’t look the greatest with my cabinet color. After an exhausting search for a custom color to match my appliances, I found the perfect appliance white! I repainted one quick thin coat of semi-gloss paint on the cabinets, excluding the insides of the doors and other areas that weren’t affected by the new appliances. If you have issues with trying to find a paint to match your white appliances, see my post, “Don’t Be Afraid of Matching Whites in a Mostly White Kitchen“.

In addition, the bead board wallpaper has held up perfectly. No issues with it whatsoever. Above my range hood where my exhaust discharges, I have had to add some additional caulk where it pulled away slightly do to the air blasting it from my stove hood, I’m guessing. I’ve been very pleased with my white kitchen.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.