my kitchen cabinet renovation project OR why dante should create a unique circle in hell for people who promote DIY projects

2013-04-24 09.49.44

Cabinets BEFORE. I didn't think they were so bad, actually. I was WRONG!

The other day as the kids watched television, I tried to tell them something. (Yeah, I know... ) It was: “I’m painting cabinets in the garage and Daddy went out to get some food.” I said it twice and then paused the show and said, “What did I just say?” This was not a sociological experiment in child and television interactive behavior (Is that a thing?), it was simply me being deluded enough to imagine my words might have done anything but lap gently against the sides of their heads. Here is what they heard: the boy, “Huh?” Blank look from one twin and from the other, “Daddy went out for new shoes?” At least she gave it a shot. Once they understood what was actually happening, I returned to my cabinet painting.

So, this whole DIY ordeal blossomed out of a single word—the most highly utilized adjective prospective buyers use to describe my kitchen:


My beloved kitchen! One person described it as “dated, but spotless.” That’s right. Spotless. That was nice.

2013-04-24 09.49.29

Too bright! Oh, my blinded eyes!

So I decided that the least I could do to tone down the datedness was to spray paint the handles to take them from a glowing 80’s gold to a contemporary brushed nickel. Then Steve (not his real name) said, “Should we just paint the cabinets?” This would be unremarkable if I had not expressed this very idea—a near and dear desire—repeatedly over the years, at which he scoffed every time. Yes, scoffed.

(He will say this never happened. But it did. Repeatedly with repeated scoffing. You should see him scoff. It is something to see.)

Allow me to take a momentary aside from your mental image of Steve (not his real name) scoffing (I’m sorry) to clear some confusion. “Steve” is not the real name of my husband. It is a pseudonym I chose to use on this blog for his own protection. From what? Who knows, but most likely very bad things, which kind of makes me a superhero. You're welcome, Steve (not your real name). I wanted to mention this because several people have contacted me wondering what happened to the old guy I married and who was this “Steve?” Steve (not his real name) is the same old man I’ve been running with for the past 15 years. Confusion cleared.

2013-04-26 13.37.04

Our exposed food.

Back to kitchen DIY. Here’s a super-fun project for you! (Just kidding. It’s not fun at all. AT ALL.) You can give your kitchen a nice little inexpensive facelift by painting the cabinets. For my dated kitchen, I was shooting for a shabby chic/countrified (wow, according to spell-check, that’s a real word) feel.

Painting cabinets is super-easy. Ha! Not true! Well, it’s not exactly hard, either, but statements such as that imply super-funness (not a real word according to spell check) when really what you are more likely to experience is super-pain-in-the assness. (I knew “assness” wasn’t a word. Spell check did not have to tell me that.) First, remove all the hardware, then take the cabinets off the hinges, then remove the hinges (DO NOT get them all mixed up)—this will take so much longer than you think it will. SO MUCH. Use wood putty to fill any errant holes. Next, figure out where the hell you are going to paint these damn things. Rearrange crap in the garage and if you have 1,000 cabinets like I do (it totally does not look like that many when they are installed in the kitchen), also the cellar. This will take so much longer than you think it will. SO MUCH. Scuff all of them with fine sandpaper, wipe them with a damp cloth, roll on paint then brush with a fine paint brush to give it a finished look. Repeat last 2 steps. In between coats, scuff the cabinet boxes and roll on paint then brush with a fine paint brush to give it a finished look. Repeat last 2 steps. Put the hinges and doors back on, which will take so much longer than you think it will. SO MUCH. Also don’t forget (and this is a crucial step) to inadvertently fill in the holes that are supposed to be for the handles with wood putty so that you have to go through the extra step of knocking hardened putty out of the holes to reinstall the handles. This will take so much longer than you think it will.


2013-04-26 15.48.42

Here is me—unshowered day #3. Yes, I DID wear the same clothes for that amount of days, too.

You should definitely do this project (which is super-fun and easy) when under continued duress of possible house-showings and have 3 little kids you homeschool (they are always here—always). Don’t expect supper to make itself or the laundry fairy to make an appearance. She won’t. She is a selfish, selfish creature and I am starting to lose belief in her. So, all that regular crap will still need to get done—by you. (Don’t try to fool yourself.) Now (and this is another crucial step) go sew your own curtains. Go on now.

2013-04-24 09.52.37

Now that the kitchen is finished, I really am happy with the result. It is just the feel for which I was going. So, would I do it again? You bet! Why? Exactly. 2013-05-02 11.59.38

(How would you function without this blog guiding you with its bottomless well of logic and creativity? Tell me. You can’t, can you. I knew it.)

2013-05-02 11.59.26