Okay this post title is a bit of an exaggeration, because we’ve had a kitchen for a long time. But after six weeks of pushing hard through some big projects, I am excited to share that we have completed the final major pieces of the renovation! There are still a lot of things to do, but the major work of painting the cabinets, installing all new hardware, and tiling a new backsplash is done!
Here’s how the kitchen looked when I last shared it:
That was just a brief sneak peek to assure you that I was making progress on painting, but I know I didn’t share many details and last time I really shared it was looking more like this:
And here’s how it’s looking now:
I owe you a lot of details — I’ve gotten a little behind in sharing because we spent a whole week posting about that time we were on reality TV and we also lost a week wallowing about the election results. Today I’m going to do a full recap of the cabinet painting (including installing new hardware and all the trim work), and then in a future post I’ll share the details of the backsplash, and the range hood, and then I know I still need to share how we cut down the big butcher block slabs we bought for a steal. I also want to do a post about the tools I used during the renovation that I absolutely needed (like the compound miter saw and brad nailer) and those I considered buying but didn’t need (like a paint sprayer) — I thought that might be helpful for those of you working on your own renovations!
In terms of cabinet painting, in October I shared my initial steps up through the priming phase.
Then I shared my many-part plan for seeing this through to completion. And except for a few hiccups, I very diligently worked through that plan! Here’s how it played out:
After priming, it was time to get painting. I used Benjamin Moore Advance paint (which is highly recommended for cabinets), and the color I’d picked is Hale Navy (the same as our back door).
For applying the paint, I used a small micr0fiber roller:
The cool thing about these is that they are covered on the end, so it’s easy to apply paint to crevices and corners (which made it possible to roll the doors even though they have some detailing — I only had to use a brush to get into a few tight corners on the cabinet frames). I bought a whole bunch of them, and confess that I threw some of them away in between uses to avoid having to constantly be cleaning them (since painting cabinets takes so many coats, as you’ll see). It’s wasteful, but eliminating the cleanup time lowered the barrier to doing the work so I was more willing to do a coat of paint in the evenings after work (putting in plastic bag in between coats is also a good approach).
In terms of steps, here’s what I did:
1) First coat on the backs of the drawers and doors and the cabinet frames, wait 24 hours to dry
2) Second coat on the backs of the drawers and doors and the cabinet frames, wait 48 hours to dry
3) First coat on the fronts of the drawers and doors, wait 24 hours to dry
4) Second coat on the fronts of the drawers and doors, wait 5 days to fully cure. I’m really happy with the very smooth finish even though I didn’t use a paint sprayer.
5) Drill holes for new hardware, install new hardware, and reinstall doors and drawers
Drilling the holes and installing the hardware took a very solid day. I purchased Lansa pulls from IKEA in a few different sizes to fit with our differently-sized doors and drawers.
They come in packs of 2 handles, and I bought 9 packs of the 9 5/8″ size, 3 packs of the 13 5/8″ size, and 3 packs of the 17 1/2″ size. That’s 30 handles, and even with $30 for shipping thrown in it came to just $153, which is about $5 per handle. That’s a pretty good price for kitchen hardware.
I actually ordered them back in June, but in October I finally busted them out and got to work. My first step was to lay them all out with their corresponding drawer/door to make sure I remembered which ones I had bought which size handle for. Fortunately it was easy to figure out (and I even thought to buy two extra for the pantry doors my dad and I still need to make, yay past Sage!).
Many people recommended getting a template that you use to mark the holes for new hardware, but those seemed to only work with certain standard sizes and didn’t fit these pulls with larger widths. So to help me mark my holes in the right places, I made my own guides out of cardboard.
It took awhile to mark the holes. Then I needed to drill all the holes. I got frustrated installing the first pull because the screw was stripping, and that’s when I realized I didn’t need to be drilling the holes so small. Unlike when you screw a piece of wood into another piece of wood and want the screw hole to be snug, for the pulls I realized I was just passing the screw through the door/drawers and it would tighten into the pull on the other side so it didn’t need to be a painfully tight fit.
The other complication was that for the drawer fronts, I would be reattaching them to the bodies of the drawers — and thus the screws on the back side of the drawer fronts actually needed to be flush with the surface of the fronts, not protruding since that would prevent me from screwing them back on. To make it easy, for each drawer/door first I drilled the screw holes:
Then I used a .5″ drill bit to create a shallow recess at the start of each screw hole so that the screw head would sink in completely.
This was also the time when I spewed invectives at my battery-operated drill (which kept dying), and remembering the suggestion of a reader so many months ago went to Home Depot to buy a corded drill with a lot more power. I got the Dewalt 3/8″ corded drill for $59.95, and it saved my life (or at least my sanity and my kitchen).
A mere 10 hours later, I had hardware installed and I’d put the doors and drawers back in their correct places (thanks to the numbering I did when I removed them). Good thing, because the doorless, drawerless kitchen was not a good look.
Of course the devil is in the details, because with work space cleared up in the basement it was now time to cut, prime, and paint the various trim pieces to finish things up — toe kick, quarter round, crown molding, and the back of the kitchen island (since it was still looking like two cabinets pushed together and needed to be covered by a solid piece of wood).
The toe kick was also going to be essential to cover up some of the cabinet Frankensteining I’d done:
I have very low ceilings (7′), so I only had a very small gap to cover with crown. I managed to find some trim about 1.5″ wide, and then also picked up quarter round. I’m actually not a huge fan of quarter round, but I knew I would need it because there’s a small gap between the new floors and the cabinets (they require a little space to breathe so can’t be installed right up against the wall/cabinets/etc). Quarter round to the rescue!
I used my new compound miter saw to cut the mitered corners for the quarter round and molding. It was quite time consuming because getting the measurements right with the angles takes a little additional thinking, but I got through it.
I also cut some thin mdf I had on hand into strips to serve as toe kicks and then bought a new piece of mdf I could cut to size for the back of the kitchen island. Next I repeated the whole process of priming and painting with all of these.
To prep for installing the crown, I realized I needed to add some blocks on top of the cabinets to give the crown something to attach to. I just used wood scraps and secured them with wood glue. High tech, I know.
Once the finishing pieces had all dried, I got my nail gun and air compressor and nailed everything in place.
In a few places I first needed to cut and install some filler pieces, like on the side of the cabinets and the front of the pantry where the cabinets changed depth. I just cut some simple wood strips the same width as the crown to fit snugly along the ceiling, then nailed them in place:
That left a level surface to nail the crown to.
With the trim in place, I filled the nail holes with wood filler and caulked the seams and mitered corners, and then I was done!
But not really. I took photos for this post, but I actually still have to do paint touch ups over the wood filler and caulk. But I wanted to share this update before Thanksgiving, so I figured you’d forgive me for not being 100% finished with the trim. It still looks pretty darn good if I don’t say so myself (although I have decided that the light above the island isn’t working for me, I’ll post more on that soon).
I really love the hardware:
Obviously there’s also more work to be done on the pantry wall side of the kitchen…like install pantry doors, build the cabinetry for under the bar area to the left of the fridge, and install open shelves to the right of the fridge.
My dad and I will do the pantry and other cabinet together, so we just need to find a time that works for both of us for him to come visit. But everything feels so much closer to finished now that even with the work still to be done, I feel like I’m in the home stretch! Now let’s take a minute to remind ourselves where I started, and where things stand today:
We’re taking Wednesday of this week off to focus on time with our families. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we’ll be back next Monday!