We have been busy for the past few months: buying a new home, prepping our home to sell, putting it on the market, and finally moving! The new kitchen has a great layout, but I have been dreaming of a kitchen with white cabinets for years – so before we moved in, I jumped at the chance do a simple kitchen makeover with painted cabinets.
I considered doing the work myself (for about 3 seconds) but quickly realized that I would have been in over my head. After doing a little research, I discovered that in order for the new paint to adhere to the cabinets properly, they needed to be sanded down first, inside and out, not exactly something I had time for while I was packing and playing chauffeur to my two kids. So, we hired our favorite “sort-of” contractor to do the job, and even with his on-again-off-again crew of 3 men, the entire project still took almost two weeks.
The first week, we were were still sleeping at the old house, packing and keeping clear of the mess in the new one. During this time, they sealed off the kitchen with plastic sheets and sanded, sanded, sanded, and sanded. When we moved in, they still had almost a week’s worth of painting to do, so the kitchen was off limits. Fortunately, we have a big laundry room with a utility sink and a small refrigerator, so that functioned as our temporary kitchen.
Painted Cabinets: What Type of Paint to Use?
Until recently, painters always used oil-based paint in kitchens. It’s easy to wipe down, is durable and lasts a very long time. But lately, stores have stopped selling that type of paint in gallon sized cans and only sell pints. Maybe that’s because clean up is difficult, the fumes are nasty and it tends to make painters get dizzy. If we ignored the toxicity in favor of durability, the cost of the paint would have put a crimp in the budget for this project. Fortunately, improvements have been made on latex paints, making them go on almost as smoothly as oil, yet they clean up with just soap and water (bye-bye paint thinner!). They also tend to be low VOC, which means that they don’t release solvents into the air as they dry (aka. less stinky and toxic!) Latex paints take a few days to cure before they are durable, which added to our wait time of using the kitchen after the painting was completed, but the availability, low-toxicity and cost savings were worth it.
Before we were able to touch any of the cabinets, my kids would sometimes find me standing in the middle of the kitchen, daydreaming about flow and where each item should belong. By the time I was allowed into the freshly painted kitchen, the rest of the house was unpacked. All of the contents of the kitchen were temporarily housed on and under the dining room table, eagerly awaiting their new digs. Moving in to the kitchen was easier than I thought, since I had been mulling over where to put things for days.
After teaching cooking classes in so many other people’s kitchens, I have finally figured out what type of flow works for me. When the lighting is better, I’ll take photos of the whole kitchen and give you a virtual tour, explaining why I put items where I did. I’ll even show you the biggest problem area of the kitchen and what I plan to do about it.
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