Part II – Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Here it is…my Cowgirl/Red Licorice Kitchen. Whew! That was a lot of work and it took longer than planned because we had family reunion slap dab in the middle of my project, but it was a nice break, so I’m not complaining.

I mentioned in Part I that I would explain a little more about why I used wax to finish the kitchen cabinets. I also said that I would give a estimate on how much a job like this would cost as a DIY project and how much I would quote this job for. I want to start by saying that this is not a typical project. It is in my home so I used advanced paint techniques and bold color choices that I probably wouldn’t suggest to the typical client. I have bold taste and I have the ability to repaint at anytime if I need to tone the colors down a bit.

So first off…the reason I LIKE WAX, is  for the ability to touch up and blend in repairs without being able to tell the boo-boo ever happened. Okay, so you are saying to yourself…why would there be deep gouges, scratches and other issues that might need touching up? The answer…CAUSE ANYTHING PAINTED HAS THE ABILITY TO SCRATCH with enough force. I have kids, dogs and LIFE that happens every day. Not to mention, these cabinets are NOT even WOOD, so it’s not a question of if…it’s when it scratches, I can make the scratch disappear in minutes with very little effort. With any other finish they would need to be stripped, sanded and completely repainted. With Chalk Paint and Wax you can paint right over the old wax and then re-wax, making it all blend together…like it never happened. Now that is magic!

Now lets get down to the nitty gritty details of the job…

This job it not for the faint of heart or a first timer. There were moments that I wanted to sit in the floor and cry, but I put my big girl boots on and pushed through. I also made mistakes…I’m a human and I do make mistakes…the important part is having the knowledge to fix the mistakes. This only comes with experience and it’s the most valuable tool there is.

So all you DIYers out there here are the numbers…

China Cab 12
Island 15
Wall 22
Total Hours 49

and here are the supply costs…

Zinsser Primer $14
Chalk Paint ™ Primer Red (2) $70
Chalk Paint ™Emperors Silk $35
Chalk Paint ™Florence $35
Spray Paint (Hardware) $7
ASCP Clear Wax (2) $50
ASCP Dark Wax $25
Paint Brushes (2) Purdy Cub $35
Ultimate Wax Brushes (2) $50
Wiping Cloths $10
Total Supply Cost $331

Now for those of you that do not feel comfortable with tackling a project of this scale, here is what I would have charged for a job like this. Please note that this was more than just a single color paint technique. It was actually two colors (the second being a wash).

Cabinet Doors (Remove, Clean, Paint, Reinstall) 26 x $55 $1,430
Drawers (Remove, Clean, Paint, Reinstall) 12 x $40 $480
Pulls (Remove, Clean, Paint, Reinstall) 38 $25.00
Hinges (Remove, Clean, Paint, Reinstall) 52 $25.00
plus Island (same as 4 extra doors) 4 x $55 $220
Total Labor $2,180

Now add the supplies that labor cost and for about $2500 you have a whole new look. That is significantly less than replacing all the cabinets for a kitchen this size which, by the way is 15′ x 15′.

Here is how I come up with the quote. Each cabinet door is $55 and each drawer is $45. Obviously I’m not painting just the door and drawers…I’m also painting the cabinet itself, but this is just an simplified way to figure the cost quickly when doing a quote. Now there are exceptions to this rule when the kitchen has a large island that doesn’t have doors all the way around I just figure what it would be if the doors were there. (it’s simple, no hard math for me)

I just want to say this about painting a kitchen versus painting a piece of furniture…if it doesn’t turn out right, it’s a little harder to change out than a dresser or a table. It is a LOT of work and it is a major room in your house. It can also make or break your house if you are trying to sell it so make sure that you are prepared for the job if you are going to do it yourself.

Another note…there are a variety of techniques that could change the cost of this job, such as painting the inside of the cabinets and the doors, which is a lot more work and more money, but creates a very nice, finished look. You might also want to distress the doors, trim out flat panels or fill in holes for new hardware, etc, etc…which all changes the cost.

Overall it was a fun project and I’m glad it’s finished. Now who needs a kitchen makeover? I gettin’ bored already…I need a new project or I’m gonna start gettin’ into trouble, lol.

Happy Trails…



Red Licorice Kitchen – Part 1

Red Licorice Kitchen – Part 1

One of the things about owning a store is that you barely have time to decorate your own home. Everyone assumes that you have this amazingly decorated house, which in reality there just isn’t any time or energy left to do such a thing. That was one of the many reasons that I decided to close the retail store and focus on commission work and to work on my own home.

The first task on my long list of “to do’s” was the kitchen cabinets, which looked like this….Really bad 1980’s faux wood laminate. This is actually the built-in china cabinet, I’m still working on the main cabinets. Since this is a farmhouse I wanted barn red cabinets, so I used Primer Red (note that this is a color, not an actual primer) a base color and then used a wash of Emperor’s Silk to make a deep, luminescent appearance. For the shelves and backboard of the cabinet, I used a progression of Florence that I mixed with Cream to get just the right western turquoise color.

Of course I used Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paints since I used to be a retailer for the line and have the a lot of training with this product. Even though I no longer carry the line, I still believe that there isn’t another product on the market that is more suitable for painting kitchen cabinets. I have done several kitchen jobs over the years, using everything from oil to latex and Chalk Paint out performs all the other, especially on laminate.

Step 1 – Remove all cabinet doors and drawers.

Step 2 – Remove all hardware.

Step 3- Clean each door and the actual cabinet itself. I used Clorox wipes to clean the laminate. I used brake cleaner to clean the hardware.

Step 4 –
Even though Chalk Paint™ is a no prep, no prime paint, this is laminate so I wanted to use every precaution possible. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye Water Based Primer which is tintable and I mixed it with the Chalk Paint™ colors that I wanted to use.  The reason I wanted to tint the primer was so that if the paint was scratched it wouldn’t be stark white primer showing through.

Step 5 – A complete coat of Primer Red and the custom Florence color was applied straight out of the can, without thinning it with water. I wanted to add some texture to the paint since I was going to be using a lot of dark wax.

Step 6 – After the Primer Red had completely dried I created a wash of Emporer’s Silk by adding water to the paint. This coat needed to be very thin and almost transparent so the there would be a variation of color. This is what creates the depth and also once it is waxed the different colors will catch in the light.

Step 7 – I applied the 2 coats of clear wax, buffing between each coat.

Step 8 – As I like to say, this is when the magic happens…dark wax. This is the final and most crucial process in creating the variation and depth of color for this technique. I worked in small sections and very quickly practically scrubbing the wax into the paint. This is where the texture of the paint comes into play. That texture will “catch” the dark wax and make a variegated/antique look.

NOTE- in Part 2, I will address why, in my opinion, wax is the best option for a kitchen.

Step 9 – All of the original hardware was spray painted satin black and reinstalled. Let me tell you, paint works wonders on dated hardware and it saves a bunch of money when it comes to kitchens, which typically have 30 plus pulls. That could easily cost $200 in new pulls. I sprayed the hinges and even the screw heads so that everything looked shiny and new.

I am sorry for the poor picture quality, but these were taken with my iPhone. I haven’t located my good camera since the move.

Check back for Part 2, which will include more photos of the main wall of cabinets and the huge island. I will also give an idea of what this job would cost in time and money to DIY and what I would charge to do a job like this.

Until then…tootles. I’m hittin’ the beach.