Several weeks ago, one of my sisters emailed me and asked if I would help her paint her kitchen cabinets. Because she lives in Virginia, and I live in Indiana, this was a little more of an undertaking than might at first seem obvious. I needed to shuffle a few eye and dentist appointments, send regrets for a baby shower and first birthday party, and figure out what to do about school. However, Glenn was very encouraging and he really felt I should go – and that I should take Alix and Kate with me. He knew it was an opportunity for memory-making that doesn’t happen often.
And he was right.
It was one of the most memorable times I’ve had with my sister since we’ve been wives and mothers. We laughed almost every day – most days at least once until we cried. What was so hilarious about sanding and painting cabinets, organizing drawers, and moving furniture in several rooms of her house? I can’t even tell you. It wasn’t one thing, it was a myriad of things – playful looks we gave each other and our kids, comments the kids made, funny little accidents like painting a few doors the wrong color, jokes about aches and pains and cankles.
We worked almost nonstop from Friday through Thursday evening of the next week. Although Alix and Kate and I took Wednesday morning to visit the Museum of Natural History in D.C., and eat lunch *in* the Taco Bell, we spent the days hard at work. Even the day we went to the museum, I put a quick coat of paint on the barstools while in my pajamas before breakfast. Alix and Kate spent time with their cousins, Cameron (11), Jordan (almost 10), and Caleb (7) and I think Cameron especially was glad to have some girl time with her cousins.
So here’s the result of that week of fun, hard work, and laughter.
Minda’s cabinets were red oak – and she wanted white. Because her counters and appliances are also white, we thought it would be good to have a contrast color for the island. This light gray went very nicely with the flooring and wall color, which she didn’t want to change.
We found a couple of lamps from other places in her house (mostly her closet I think) and put them on the counters to add warmth and coziness.
I spray painted all the knobs – who knows how many? – in Krylon’s oil-rubbed bronze, after first priming them with a spray primer. It would have been faster to use a spray polyurethane to seal them, but we already had a quart of Polycrylic. So I painted two coats on very carefully with a paint brush, making sure not to let it glob up in drips which would easily chip off later.
The little wire basket had been on top of her upper cabinets with some dried flowers in it. They looked a little sad, so we pitched them, but Alix used a degreaser on the little basket and it looked very cute on the island with some napkins and fruit.
We pulled a few of her hardbound cookbooks out of another cabinet and set them next to a sweet wooden recipe box. Next to that we set a plate rack with some pretty dishes on it.
We swapped out the old dark rug for a new, neutral-colored one.
From the front door, the kitchen looks inviting and draws you back into it.
Although I didn’t get a great before shot of the light fixture over the sink, believe me, it was somewhat tired-looking with the new white cabinets. So we picked out a new shade and a pendant kit and I replaced the old with new. I write that very calmly, but I have to say I was so thrilled when I was able to get the wiring right on it and realize that I changed a light fixture all by myself!
(Thanks to Glenn for showing me how to do it last year. )
Minda also found a tablecloth (maybe in her closet?) which was just the color she wanted to include in the kitchen. We just draped it over the existing rod.
This is the best “before” I have of the opposite side of the kitchen.
On this side, we decided to paint the pantry door with chalkboard paint. More for the contrast it would provide, rather than necessity. We loved it! We only painted the outside of the door and the edge which shows when it is opened.
That second picture helps you see what that wall looks like in its entirety, with the hallway leading to the front door. It also shows our creative way to store all the pencils that had been falling out of the little letter holder.
A crystal vase!
I also screwed little cup hooks under the upper cabinets in a few spots around the kitchen, to get the black wires up and out of the way.
On this wall is the chalkboard I made for Minda last year from a calendar frame we found at Goodwill. It looked a little lonely next to the thermostat, so I asked her if she had anything black and white to add to the space. Of course she did! I think she needs to sell admission to her closet for those of us looking to shop our house. She has a goldmine in there!
On the counter, we put a few things to add interest and texture, like the wooden mouse cutting board, a container of flowers made from wood shavings, a vase for her wooden spoons, and a little basket for coffee things next to the coffee maker. She already had all these things, they just needed to be pulled out of hiding and admired in new places.
The bar stools were dark cherry wood, so they didn’t look right in this new white kitchen. I simply unscrewed the rush seats, sanded the stools, primed, and then painted a coat of gray paint, with two white coats on top. I lightly distressed them so the gray would peek through. And there they were – *new* bar stools which looked great at the island.
One more look at the difference!
Since we were there and doing all that painting, we went ahead and did the cabinets in both upstairs bathrooms as well. I’m sorry I don’t have *before* shots – we were *busy*! But just imagine the same red oak cabinets as the kitchen.
We chose white for the kids’ bath, which brightened up the whole room considerably!
I painted these knobs, too. They used to be wood with brass rims.
And then dark gray, Benjamin Moore’s “Dolphin” for the master bath.
I wish I had taken a picture of the vanity side a few days after we took this one. While Minda was gone with the boys one evening, I hung pictures and pulled out the wicker hamper to a new spot, plus put a little white lamp with a wicker shade on the vanity counter. They looked homey – and she liked it.
Throughout the week, I was literally everywhere in the house - at her request - changing things, moving stuff and organizing as I went along. I had a blast!
Again – no *before* for this room, but we switched places between the large white hutch and the sofa, brought up the “coffee table” and basket from the basement, pulled in the standing lamp from the adjacent dining room, rearranged the small side table and the things on it, and created a gallery wall with pictures Minda already had in frames.
This room became so much more cozy by the changes!
And that’s it! A kitchen reveal and a little extry!
I’m sharing with these two fun ladies