Kitchen Cabinet Conundrum

co·nun·drum /kəˈnəndrəm/ Noun
1. A confusing and difficult problem or question.
2. A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle.

I wish the definition of our conundrum was #2! Sadly, there are no puns or riddles here. Our kitchen cabinets need to be painted and they need to be painted ASAP! These beasts are outdated and making our entire space look dark and dreary.

Outdated kitchen cabinets

We need to get this project done and out of the way so we can start actually using our cabinets. We are officially all moved and we currently don’t have a place to store any kitchen supplies due to this project. Not only are we in the middle of this cabinet painting project, but we also just had a new dishwasher installed into our otherwise dishwasher-less kitchen. Since there was no dishwasher to begin with, our installer, Mike from Hammertime in Hazlet (what a guy!), had to cut a portion of the base cabinets to fit the new dishwasher. Because our cabinets are older, they weren’t designed with a dishwasher in mind, so we actually lost 1 whole cabinet and a portion of a 2nd. However, not to fear! At Mike’s suggestion, we purchased a new, 18″ base cabinet and 6 inches of filler to close the gap. Since most modern cabinet doors look very different from our outdated 1950s, flat-looking doors, we opted for a base cabinet with 3 drawers instead of the traditional 1 drawer and a door.

New kitchen cabinet

Of course, we also have some concern about how this baby will fit in when it joins the rest of our freshly painted cabinets. Will there be a noticeable difference in color? Will it be obvious that the drawers are newer than the rest of the cabinets? We’re not sure, but we’re willing to take the risk!

We were thrilled when our friendly, neighborhood Lowe’s paint expert recommended 1-2-3 Primer to us! With this stuff we didn’t really need to go crazy sanding the shellac off the cabinets.

1-2-3 Primer

We started by removing doors and drawers from the cabinets and removing all hardware. We weren’t going to remove the hinges at first, but we realized they are super rusty and obviously it will be easier to paint without having hardware in the way.

In addition to removing the hardware, we also removed some silly mug-hanging apparatuses that were literally stuck on the roof of this shelf.

Removing cabinet hardware

Andrew’s Mom helped out by cleaning all of the cabinets, doors and drawers to prep for priming and painting. While a few of us were priming and painting, Andrew’s Dad took to the ugly, dirty, brown-looking, plastic windows on the doors.

Kitchen cabinet doors

We busted these puppies right out of the doors. As soon as we get around to it, we plan on applying some new, Lexan ploycarbonate sheets. So far, our research proves that they might be a bit pricey, and we’ll have to cut them to shape and apply them with some sort of adhesive. Maybe between now and then, we will come up with a more cost-effective solution, but for now, that’s the game plan. Stay tuned here for our next post about this kitchen project! We’ve got some sweet before and afters for ya!

Things are looking up!

Alright people, we’re blogging to you today, not as the renters you once knew, but as proud new homeowners! And by “new” I mean, new to us. That’s right, we’ve really got our work cut out for us. I’m blogging through bleary eyes and a caffeine-induced typing speed of 60+ WPM. Pretty impressive, eh?

We made settlement on our house this past Friday, August 12th. Since then, we’ve painted 2 incredibly persnickety ceilings, 2 entire rooms (living room and master bedroom), and yours truly tackled the dirt and grime that doth come with a retirement-aged bathroom. (Stay tuned for some graphic photos of that nightmare). All-in-all, we’re chalking this up to a big win. However, we’re super ancy to get the rest of our immediate work done. On Sunday, Andrew and I removed all of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers and removed the hardware from them. This weekend, in addition to taking delivery of a new dishwasher, a new refrigerator and several new cable and internet hookups/installations, we plan on sanding (we found some great primer that won’t require sanding!), priming and painting these beasts.

Kitchen cabinetsUgh, talk about dated.

Speaking of dated, let’s backtrack to the painting for a moment. When we started this little venture, we knew we were going to have to do something about our atrocious ceilings. Here’s a “before” shot of these little monsters.

Acoustic ceiling tilesThere have been several items on our to-do list, but painting these ceiling tiles has always graced the top of the list. There’s just something so unattractive about them. So we originally consulted with our home inspector and he was able to tell us that these were acoustic ceiling tiles. (Not to be confused with drop ceiling acoustic tiles; our acoustic tiles are actually stuck on). However, they’re so outdated that there’s nothing available in Lowe’s or Home Depot to really compare them to. So after speaking with a few people at Lowe’s, we basically went with our own guts and just purchased Valspar ceiling paint. We started off with the regular white paint, and then switched to the “goes on purple, turns to white” paint when we needed to crack open a 2nd can.

Andrew's Dad using Valspar color-changing ceiling paintAbove is a pic of Andrew’s Dad applying some of the Valspar color-changing paint. That stuff was fabulous! The process was super tedious and it took 4 – 5 of us about 2 hours just to paint the whole living room ceiling. Things were literally looking up – serious cricked necks abound.

Painting acoustic ceiling tilesBecause acoustic tiles are generally porous, we had to apply tons of paint to the brown lines running between the tiles. Some of the crevices were deeper than others, so it took awhile to fill everything in.
Partially painted acoustic ceiling tilesOnce we got all the lines filled in, we noticed a huge difference already! Then all it took was a little rolling action, and voila – no more yucky brown in the ceiling. Just clean, crisp white! The ceilings now seem several feet taller and your eyes aren’t drawn directly upward upon entering the room.

Painted acoustic ceiling tilesThe above picture is before the rolling process, but you can definitely see what a huge difference the white paint has made!

Now check out the before and after, back to back. (The before also showcases our fabulous purple door)!

Living room before paint

The picture of the final product comes complete with a peek at our wall paint; “Minted Lemon” (Behr paint and primer in one).

Painted living room

All-in-all this was a tedious process, but it was well worth it in the end. We did the same thing in our master bedroom and will eventually be following suit in the office. Until then, I don’t even want to look at a paint brush. 😉

We got a lot of work done over the past week, so stay tuned to the blog and our Twitter account for more updates about all of our initial home improvement projects!

First wedding-related post!

Andrew is in Charlotte, North Carolina on a last minute trip for work, so he still has yet to make his debut as an author on the blog. But with Andrew away, that just means I have more time to crank out a good post (mainly because I’m bored and the silence around here is already killing me).

I am so sick of all this house stuff, so I’m going to switch gears now and make a post about the wedding! We’ve got big DIY dreams for our house, but that won’t be our first time dabbling in do-it-yourself projects. The entire wedding planning process has been filled with DIY goodness. First of all, we did all the research and booked everything ourselves – no wedding planner(s). Our venue is The Smithville Inn. It’s an awesome restaurant in a little historic village near Atlantic City.

Historic Smithville Inn

Smithville Village

This pretty much sums the place up…

Smithville Village

Here’s the actual Inn all done up for a wedding…

Smithville Inn Wedding

The wedding date is September 30, 2011. Save-the-dates were sent out in March and the invitations were just sent out at the end of June. We’re well on our way. We had our good friend Matt LaRoche take our engagement photos for the save-the-date, so that was FREE! To create and print the save-the-dates thru Walgreens it cost about $40.00. We found some great invitations at Michael’s that we could make and print ourselves. We also got place cards and table numbers to match. For all of that, we only paid about $100.00 because it was all on sale. If you do some research online, you’ll find out that ordering custom invitations can cost almost $2.00 per person (or more)! At about 115 guests, the invitations alone would have cost over $200.00. I’d say we did a pretty good job. Here’s the save-the-date and a little glimpse of the invitation:

Save the Date

Wedding Invitation

Now that all the invitations have been sent, we’re starting to organize our tables. Another little DIY trick for you…we cut some little circles out of paper and got some little sticky tags to write names on. We created a sticky tag for each guest and started placing them around the tables. Now we can drive ourselves crazy, arranging and re-arranging the tables just by moving the sticky tabs around. Here’s a picture so you know exactly what I’m talking about:

Wedding Tables

Our tables look a little lop-sided, but we’re still in the process of receiving responses from guests, so we’ll have a little more re-arranging to do before we lock this setup off.

I swore this was a total wedding post, but just to keep everyone in the loop with what’s going on with the house – we’re sick of lawyers. Our attorney’s paralegal caused some issues for us and basically got the sellers p.o.’ed. Our realtor stepped in, made everything nicey nicey, and now the sellers have completed even more work than requested on the house! We’re also looking at having an earlier closing date. We could be in the house as early as August 12th at this point! We already started picking paint colors. Sneak peek! …

Paint Colors