Recently, I’ve been doing a little bit of painting and updating around my house. It has been quite a learning process. Mainly I have learned from my interior designer Mary Beth Brotzge how to make big changes with a minimum of time and money.
I scour Pinterest, looking at the perfect kitchens: perfectly white marble counters, with subway tile and distressed cabinets in a rainbow of muted, tasteful colors. New stainless or built-in appliances. Floors made from an old barn where Secretariat once walked. Blah blah blah. Sure, I could redo my kitchen to look like that, if we lived off beans and weenies (cooked on my new AGA stove) for the next ten years and I learned how to make all our clothes.
I needed a fix for my kitchen, which is still in its original 1980s state, with the warm, oaky cabinets and yellow walls. Inherently, the kitchen has great bones. It has a good working layout. With the exception that one cabinet is dedicated as a pantry, it has plenty of storage. The cabinets are in good condition, albeit dated.
I wanted the entire kitchen to be lighter, brighter and cleaner looking. I decided to paint the cabinets and the island a cream color and paint the walls robins’ egg blue.
My fix can be titled: putting lipstick on a pig.
For those of you unfamiliar with this terminology, it refers to a little paint on something not so attractive to make it better. It’s still a pig, but it’s a pretty one.
Here’s what I changed:
- Painted the walls
- Painted the cabinets
- Painted the kitchen island
- Removed indoor grill on island
- Replaced all hardware
- Replaced flourescent overhead light with two pendants
Here’s what I kept:
- Same window treatments
- Same counter top
- Same hinges, which I just painted
- Same lighting fixtures everywhere else
- Same appliances
First, let me state that this is not a good DIY project. My painter took all the cabinet fronts off and took them back to his workshop to professionally sand and spray paint them. Unless you have that kind of setup, I would not recommend doing it yourself. (Interpretation: it’s a complete pain).
I was not changing anything about my cabinets except for the color. They were still in great shape and I was not reconfiguring the layout.
I was changing the hardware, which meant replacing the pulls and the hinges. I found out quickly that since my cabinets were almost thirty years old, the type of hinges I needed are not sold anymore. I was going to have to have them custom-made, to the tune of almost $800. I got creative really quick and decided to spray paint all the existing brass hinges and screws a metallic brushed nickel metal myself so that they would match the new brushed nickel pulls.
Cabinet fronts were taken off, leaving my kitchen positively exposed. This called for an IMMEDIATE cabinet cleaning and organization project. I felt like someone was looking in my underwear drawer. It also made me realize that I could never have glass cabinets where I had to keep everything perfect all the time.
Walls were painted a robin’s egg blue to match my existing window treatments.
I removed the indoor grill (shown above) on my kitchen island and then painted the bottom portion of the island the same cream color of the cabinets. I hedged back and forth over painting the island a different color than the cabinets, even thinking coral, steel gray or some other statement color. I went with the cream because I know myself and know that I would probably never paint that island again, so I might as well keep it traditional.
Then the cabinet “frames” and trim were then painted by hand. The cabinet faces were brought back from the workshop, sprayed with two coats. They looked perfect. They were assembled with “new” hinges and hardware.
Lastly, we replaced the big ol’ flourescent light over the island with two pendant lights from Ballard Designs. That took my electrician about an hour.
The big hole in the kitchen island, former home of the indoor grill, was filled in by a custom-made cutting board made by my fantastic hardwood floor guy. (He does this on the side with scraps from his leftover jobs.)
Ready for the big unveil?
This entire process only took FOUR days. We were generally displaced during the daytime, but were able to eat breakfast and dinner (only had to eat out one night) at home. It was fine.
I used Mary Beth Brotzge as my interior designer on this project. She helped with the paint colors (differentiating between that many shades of blue and cream is nearly impossible for me) and the lighting. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone/text at 502-314-8407.
I used Pro Painters to do all the painting. They are the same painters who painted my stairs black as well. They are excellent and fair. You can reach them by calling/texting Pro at 502.767.2929.
I think my little piggy turned out really nice. What do you think?