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 These beasts are outdated and making our entire space look dark and dreary.

Outdated kitchen cabinets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 Since most modern cabinet doors look very different from our outdated 1950s, flat-looking doors, we opted for a base cabinet with 3 drawers instead of the traditional 1 drawer and a door.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!

Gray is the new black

Last weekend, we closed on our house and we got down to business right away. We already showed you what we did to the living room and talked about our ceiling woes. We are slowly chipping away at the bathroom and continuing to come up with ideas for how to make it better livable. This weekend, we’re tackling our kitchen cabinets by adding a fresh coat of white paint and some new, modern hardware. We’re also getting a brand new fridge on Saturday and on Monday, we’ll be getting a new dishwasher installed! It’s already been a whirlwind week and we’ve just started getting our feet wet with this DIY/home improvement stuff.

That was your re-cap of the past week and your forecast for the coming weeks. Now I want to share some snapshots of our freshly painted bedroom. 🙂

Again, we had some brown lines running in between the ceiling tiles. By the time we finished with the living room though, we were already acoustic ceiling tile painting pros! We finished the ceiling toward the end of the night, so the next day we painted the walls. As we mentioned in a previous post about paint colors, we chose Behr paint and primer in one’s “Burnished Metal.”

Bedroom paint

Andrew was pretty skeptical about this color at first and everyone else seemed a little put off by the idea of a “gray” room. But that’s not the way I saw it (in my head at least). Ever since we bought our Dwell Studio for Target duvet cover (blogged about it here), all I could think about was a futuristic, urban, modern, yet neutral silver-ish color.

Dwell Studio for Target Duvet Cover "Orbit"

My idea stemmed from the gray color found right in the duvet cover. It would be next to impossible to match the yellowy color perfectly (and I wouldn’t want to do that anyway). Black was obviously not an option! So Andrew decided to trust me in the end (which is a good thing because he is partially color blind!), and now we’ve got an awesome silver/gray room that looks really great with the pre-existing white trim.

Bedroom paintBedroom paint

We couldn’t be happier with this color. When you hear gray you think dark and gloomy, but it’s just not so! I’m here to dispel this rumor! Gray is like off-black, but unlike off-white, it has more pizazz! It’s much more ballsy, I guess you could say, to go with a color like silver or gray than to opt for some neutral shade of off-white or beige. And remember, the overall theme of just about everything we’re tackling in the house is “down with brown.” We don’t like brown. It just makes us think of dirt (mainly because some parts of the house have been made brown from dirt itself)! The moral of the story here is, if you’re looking for paint that’s neutral yet unique, give gray a try!

Next on our to-do list for the bedroom:

  • Get our furniture in there! (Finally moving our furniture this Sunday)
  • Install new, higher ceiling fan
  • Paint brown door white!
  • Replace closet door with curtain? (As opposed to more painting)??
  • Post pics of our progress!

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!