Friday, February 4, 2011

Kitchen Facelift: Questions Answered

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the great comments on my kitchen facelift! Thanks to Jen and Stephanie Lynn for featuring it too. I suppose that with all reveals and transformations, come a wave of questions. So, I'm going to take a step back and answer the questions that I've been getting. If after this post you have any more questions, keep the emails coming.

How did you change the counter tops?

A little confusion occurred with the how I updated the counter tops. I didn't get new counters, I just changed the existing counters. This is how I did it.
The counter tops are run of the mill laminate with oak trim. The oak trim is what I painted and the laminate stayed the same. I taped off everything, the wall and the laminate

Just like the cabinets, I primed with Zinsser 1-2-3, two coats.

Next, I used semi-gloss latex paint in a very similar color to the laminate and painted two coats.

I was so happy how it turned out. It was really a shot in the dark, but getting rid of the oak was number one priority, and it actually worked.

Did you paint the inside of the cabinets?

The cabinets have melamine on the inside, so no, I did not paint the inside. I taped off everything and just painted the oak.

Can you see the wood grain through the paint?

Yes, but in a good way. I think it looks great and it lends itself to a more high end look, rather than a perfectly smooth white (or black) door/cabinet.

What paints did you use?

I used the paint line from Martha Stewart found at the Home Depot.

Upper Cabinets: Tailor's Chalk MSL001

Bottom Cabinets: Silhouette MSL280

Wall Color: Bedford Gray: MSL246

Primer: Zinnser 1-2-3

I had all colors mixed in semi-gloss. So far, I haven't had any problem with chipping or sticking. One reader mentioned a sticking problem on the doors but I used those little bumper pads made for cabinet doors to avoid that. If it starts to be a problem, I will consider a coat or two of poly, but so far so good.

What was your painting process?

I washed the cabinets with an ammonia and water solution and got everything really clean, I mean really clean. I used the Zinnser primer, formulated for slick surfaces, and sanded in between each coat. I did two coats of primer, two coats of paint. Sanding between each coat was a pain in the butt, but the final finish is so smooth, I'm glad I took the time. I let the paint dry for approximately 2 days before I put doors back on and drawers back in. According to the reading I did on the Internet, latex can take weeks sometimes months to fully cure, so I am being a little extra careful here in the beginning. Really though, I am so happy without the oak, any maintenance I have is worth it.

Do you have regrets painting wood?
This is an age old problem that is always a sore issue. No matter what your style, or taste, painting wood is typically frowned upon. For me, painting oak cabinets from 1990 is not the same as painting an 18th Century sideboard. I would feel strange about painting an antique but cabinets? No way. I admit that I felt more nervous painting the uppers and lowers a different color than I did about painting the oak. Not to mention in such contrasting colors, it was a leap for me, but I am so happy with the end result (have I said that too much? :)

Thanks again for all the love I've gotten on this project, and really, if you have anymore questions, fire away. Thanks for stopping by.

If you would like to see the posts leading up to here, check out these links:

Kitchen Progress

More Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Facelift Reveal


  1. It really looks amazing! And I like how you can see some of the grain also!!

  2. Michelle,
    It really is a lovely makeover, we plan to do the same with our kitchen, except the same color on uppers and lowers (cream). We have oak also and at first I thought that I would hate the grain showing through, now I can't wait. The new Pottery Barn catalog has some dark colored furniture that shows the grain through also and it looks great!
    So pat yourself on the back, you're right in step with PB!

  3. I think my new laundry room might be the same color as your kitchen walls. I love it. Great tips.
    Mary Ann

  4. It's so great, Michelle! I hope you're thrilled with the end result. I know what a TON of work that is!! And you guys really did it right. Congrats!! It looks like a million dollar kitchen now.
    xo, Andrea

  5. Just wanted you to know that I featured your kitchen on my blog yesterday!! Love the transformation!

  6. I have never had a problem with painting wood. It's all about personal preference. Why live in a home where you don't like something?! Change it :) and be totally happy with your choice. Love the look, btw!

  7. Just amazing. I've been dying to do something with my countertops. I just haven't had the guts yet :) Just beautiful!

  8. Now... go and do the laundry room.


Thank You for taking the time to comment! Because of the insane amount of spam comments, I had to stop anonymous comments-sorry for the inconvenience.