As you saw in our last kitchen post, we decided to embrace the existing counters and go for a tone-on-tone look for Phase One – just because why the heck not?! When else do you get mauve counters to work with? Note: you can read more on why we prefer to make smaller updates & live with the kitchen we have for a nice long time (versus gutting it right away) here.
After doing five quick & easy updates to our kitchen that made a pretty big difference a few weeks back, we knew that painting the old chipping cabinets would also really go a long way in making this room feel a lot less worn out. So after testing two potential colors on the doors below, we both ended up liking the darker color on the right cabinet that almost exactly matches the counters.
The winning color = Sherwin Williams Artsy Pink (we used their “Emerald” paint in a satin finish). And today we’re going to share how the whole cabinet painting project went, along with a couple of other updates we did to our old kitchen cabinets at the same time, including installing hidden hinges – which really did make a huge difference for a nice low price.
Here’s the kitchen as it looks right now (yes, we succeeded in our goal to also paint the dishwasher that we mentioned here – and it worked! More on that in a second).
And for reference, here’s the kitchen as it looked when we bought the house. It definitely feels significantly more open and just generally a lot more like “us,” which makes it a lot more enjoyable to use.
This room is in the heart of our house (literally, it’s in the middle of it all) and we’re all in here all the time – especially with virtual learning going on (one kid is often down here at the table while the other’s upstairs at the art desk) so we’re grateful to have a spot that feels comfortable and functional.
Going back to the color choice for a minute – you know I love a full circle moment. And this progress photo was snapped while the soffits were being removed and the floor was being patched (you can read more about those renovation details here) – but look what color the kitchen walls once were! That’s right. This room was destined to be mauve. The even funnier thing is that when we were crouching down on the floor painting the cabinets, the toekick of the cabinets were ALSO MAUVE! So at one point the walls and the cabinets in here were that color!
The other funny thing about the color we picked is that it’s on the exact same color swatch as the pink that we used for the duplex doors. Those doors were Sherwin Williams White Truffle, and Artsy Pink is literally on the same swatch card, touching White Truffle, just a shade deeper. Note: you can see other duplex paint colors & sources here.
How We Painted The Cabinets
We already have an extremely thorough cabinet paint tutorial (with a video!) that you can follow, but here’s the quick version of what went down in here. First, we removed all of the doors and drawers from the frames, along with all of the hardware and hinges. These are actually the new hidden hinges we added as part of this update!
We wiped the doors and frames down with liquid deglosser (it’s especially important in a kitchen where cabinets can be covered with oil drips and grease, which messes with paint adhesion). And in the case of one door, we scraped off an exterminator sticker from 1991. Let’s all pause to appreciate that 1991 is nearly THIRTY years ago.
We also chose to quickly sand each of the doors with our electric sander, since we couldn’t be sure how good the original paint job was (if you’re painting already-painted doors like ours, it’s a good idea because your new paint job is only going to hold as well as the one that you’re going over). We’re glad we did because we definitely uncovered some spots with poor adherence.
Then we primed both sides of each door using our favorite stain-blocking primer and a small 4″ foam roller for smooth surfaces (these give you a really smooth result without brushstrokes). Also note, these seven doors constitute our entire kitchen (plus 5 drawers). SEVEN. So even though this was a methodical process that took a few days, thanks to drying and curing time, each step was super fast.
Once both sides of the doors were dry from their coat of primer, we then painted each side Artsy Pink (ugh, I wish it had a less cheesy name) and let them cure for about 4 days before reinstalling (the longer you let the paint cure, the harder and less likely it is to get dinged up). Another pro to having so few cabinets to paint – this whole cabinet paint job only took less than a quart of paint. And that was with two coats on everything!
Meanwhile, back on the cabinet frames in the kitchen, we sanded and patched any holes with wood filler, like where the old hinges had been screwed in.
Then we could proceed with priming and painting the cabinet frames themselves. With all of the doors off, we also used this opportunity to paint the INSIDES of the cabinets, which made them feel a lot more fresh & updated. You can see how raw they were all this time – just unfinished plywood boxes against unpainted drywall.
I can’t underscore how much better it feels to have all of that primed & painted with two coats of semi-gloss white (Pure White by Sherwin Williams). In some ways, it was this part of the project that made the cabinets feel the most “refreshed” because they felt extra unfinished inside before.
We’ll share more info about how our kitchen is organized in another post (we had around 3 or 4 times as many cabinets in our last kitchen, but everything we need fits in here, thanks to a few tricks we’ll share in that post). But for now I can enthusiastically say that if you have a small kitchen it can definitely be worth it to repaint the inside of the cabinets while you’re doing the doors and drawer fronts. Sherry even added these thick clear shelf liners to keep things from scraping up our new paint job.
So that’s how we got this room to this current point, and the quart of paint, a few other painting supplies like rollers & wood putty, and the hidden hinges that we bought all added up to about $96 spent! YES, it was UNDER $100 for this entire update!
In person the new paint job makes a big difference. You may remember from previous posts that they were actually pretty scuffed up and worse-for-wear up close.
But now they’re fresh and smooth, inside and out.
Painting The Dishwasher Mauve
I mentioned we wanted to paint the dishwasher to blend in with the cabinets here – and I’m happy to report that it worked. Our backup plan was going to be to add some sort of thin wood cover that we could paint if the mauve didn’t stick to our appliance paint base (more on that here) – but it was pretty straightforward and the adhesion has been great.
We did lightly sand it before rolling on the same paint we used for the cabinets – and even after plenty of steaming cycles, it’s holding steady.
It helps to keep this small section of lower cabinets from feeling chopped up by a stark white appliance (the “white” dishwasher color was more stark/cool than the “white” stove color on the other side of the room – so if it had balanced more and felt the same tone we might have left it alone). I never thought we’d get excited about a purply-pink dishwasher, but again, here we are.
As I mentioned, this kitchen only has about 25% of the cabinetry that we used to have back in our Richmond kitchen. So if you’re curious about downsizing or how we’re making a lot less space work just as hard, we’re got this small kitchen organization post that shows you exactly what’s in all of these cabinets and how we’re making the most of the smaller storage space.
UPDATE: We’ve since fully renovated this kitchen with all new cabinets (from Ikea… which we also painted mauve!). You can tour the whole new kitchen here and take a tour of how we organized our new, more spacious cabinets!
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