Friday, February 26, 2010

Revisiting The Painting Of The Kitchen & Family Room Cabinetry

Since completing the Kitchen & Family Room Redesign a year ago I regularly receive emails requesting details about the steps taken to paint the cabinetry. So I thought it was a good idea to revisit this project and talk about the questions I get asked about most frequently.

First, I often get asked about the issue of painting cabinets, is it okay to paint wooden cabinets? When I first mentioned the idea of painting my cabinetry people who were within earshot responded with disbelief. What?! Paint perfectly good cabinetry?!

I think there is a perception that stained wood cabinetry is preferable and more valuable than painted cabinetry. I think it's a personal preference. I myself love painted cabinetry and in this specific case there were issues with the stain on the cabinets. This was the motivation that put the whole project in motion.


The cabinetry boxes, doors & drawers and crown molding had three distinctly different stain tones on them, almost different enough to look intentional. Look at the crown molding, it was much darker than the rest of the cabinetry. In the adjacent family room the built-ins had yet another stain color, this one with a burgundy undertone. After a couple meetings with the builder and the cabinetry company I received this explanation for the stain differences: all the various components of the cabinetry, while stained with the same stain, came from different factories. A complete lack of uniformity here! Fortunately I was able to negotiate a settlement, which paid for the cabinets to be painted. I was persistent in this process because I knew if I didn't address this cabinetry issue at the time, it could well become an expensive problem down the line when it came time to sell. (And no, there are no plans for this at the moment!)


The next step in this project, after I had negotiated a solution, was to obtain quotes. Yes, I did have the job done professionally, if I had attempted to it myself I'd still be trying to finish. The estimates ran about $45.00 a linear foot. I selected the painter that I was familiar with and who came with a great recommendation. LIC Painting, Inc. of Gervais, Oregon.

I then had this company paint two sample doors for me, so I could see what the finished product would look like. Luckily, the cabinetry company provided me with two cabinet doors identical to my original doors for the painters to use in making the painted samples. The cabinets are made of knotty alder, and I needed to see how the cabinets would look after the holes were filled, sanded and then painted, as well as a sample with the knots left unfilled and simply painted. I think in this case it was essential to see the entire process done on a door identical to my kitchen cabinetry before committing to the project. I needed to see the end result prior to making a decision. Do I have the holes filled or no, is this the right color, did the final result look high end? I knew if this project didn't turn out well I'd be stuck with it for years!


The samples were essential in helping me make the decision on which direction to take. I opted to have the holes filled for a timeless look and saw the color was perfect for this space. The sample also set a standard for the workmanship, which the actual job would need to meet. And you know when the painters came to start the job I had the sample door ready to show them, reminding them about my expectations.


The work began by covering all the surfaces that were not to be painted. Then the knots were filled and all the surfaces were sanded. Afterwards the filled spots were checked, filled again if necessary followed by another sanding. This team was absolutely thorough.


The day I stopped by to check on the work (a must with any job) and saw these red spots on everything, I was thrown for a second. What have I done?!

Finally, after all the effort to fill knots and sand, a layer of oil based primer was sprayed on all the surfaces. I thought it looked beautiful, mess and all.



Originally I had thought all the appliances would have to be removed and had contacted an electrician for an estimate. But the painters assured me this wasn't necessary. I trusted them and saved a bundle, crossing that line item off the to-do list.


And they were right. The team did a perfect job covering the appliances with exacting lines so that no paint got on these items while leaving every inch of the cabinetry boxes exposed to get completely painted.


The insides of each box were also lined with paper, so that this portion of the cabinetry would not be painted.


It was one smelly mess. The day I ran in to quickly to snap these photos I about fainted from trying to hold my breath! We obviously did not live in the house while this work was being done. My kids were thrilled to have a mini winter vacation at a nearby hotel, enjoying lots of time in the pool and eating out! "What project is next, Mom?"




The front edge of the shelves had originally been covered with a wood toned veneer strip. I had looked into having the edges stripped and recovered with a cream veneer, but again the painters assured me they could just paint them. I wasn't sure, but a year later these painted edges on the shelves are in perfect condition. Another item I was able to mark off the to-do list!


After the primer dried the surfaces were sanded to ensure the final paint layer had a smooth finish.


Finally everything was ready for a coat of oil based paint, using Softer Tan 6141. Many people have written me that when they see this paint chip they are surprised at what a dark shade it is. I am too. I look at my fan deck and my cabinets don't look that dark! I think the color works in this space because all the trim and doors in the home are painted the same color, the rooms get good light and against the dark floors the color just naturally looks lighter in contrast.


I thought the built-ins looked so pretty painted. What an improvement, but again...the smell. I ran our whole house ventilation system 24 hours a day to help circulate air in and out of the home.


Finally at the end of the week I got a call from the painters, scheduling a time to remove the paper and plastic coverings. I got there just before they arrived and I seriously was like a kid on Christmas morning! I could not wait to rip back a section of the paper to see how the new subway tiles looked with the newly painted cabinetry. I was beyond thrilled with what I saw! The Metro subway tiles in alabaster are a shade lighter than the cabinetry, while the grout is the same color as the cabinets. This was done to help the two colors work well together, the grout is the "bridge". It worked and I sighed one big happy sigh of relief.








Since I get asked what a job like this should cost, I'll share that information as well. The quote came in at $4200 for all the work and at the end of the job I did get a 10% discount, making the final bill $3780. While not inexpensive, it did prove to be the least expensive option for fixing my cabinets and a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry. The job took a little over a week and yes, was an inconvenience as well as a lot of work on my part. But I am thrilled with the result. As long as I'm not looking at the "during" pictures I say I'd do it all over again in an instant.

Have a missed any of your questions? Let me know...

119 comments :

  1. totally the right thing to do. looks wonderful. love the subway tiles. great job.

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  2. Hi Janell-
    I have to say your kitchen was so wonderful before but the after is just amazing! Reading your post awhile back is what inspired me to paint my cabinets! Thank you for that. Have a great weekend.
    Kristin

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  3. That was quite the undertaking! But it turned great. Your backsplash looks perfect with the painted cabinets.

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  4. This was a dangerous post for me!! I looove our dark cabs but have been craving something lighter. I think just lightening up our backsplash will do the trick, but I'm also thinking about painting our black island a light cream...can't decide. This is beautiful!!

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  5. oh my mercy girl!!! that looks fab!! Now Im regretting my black cabinets & wanting to go light! LOL that is just stunning.

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  6. I would have done the very same thing , well except I would have painted the cabinets myself , but I am a DIY girl maybe DIM is better to describe it dit it myself , the spray job is obviously the way to go if you can afford it.
    We looked at a house once and I mentioned painting the brand new dark wood cabinets and the agent about died , some people aren't wood cabinet people , I am a painted cabinet girl myself , just had a client do it themselves , it transformed their kitchen in two days.
    Wonderful job as always.

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  7. Just gorgeous! Even though the cabinets were fine before, it made a tremendous difference. Painting the cabinetry just made your home so classic and definitely fit your style.

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  8. Is that beveled subway tile I see? A girl after my own heart! Using it in our kitchen, if our house ever gets finished, serenity now...But I am thrilled with your result too!
    www.peppermintbliss.com

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  9. Your kitchen is so beautiful! We are planning on painting our kitchen as well, but probably not for a while. I am glad you posted this, because it gives me some incentive to get motivated on the project.

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  10. Thanks! Here is the question I ask myself: "if I hadn't gotten this job paid for would I have still done it?" I hope I'd say yes, but I'm not sure! Janell

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  11. I think your kitchen is gorgeous! Now that you have been living with it for a while, how is the paint holding up? Any nicks/scrapes/chips to touch up? Why did you chose not to paint the inside of the cabinets?
    thanks!

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  12. I loved watching this transformation! My favorite kitchen by far!!!


    If you have time today, stop by my blog and see if you like my new blog layout/transformation!

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  13. Hi Janell, Your so welcome. I have enjoyed your blog so much! Just curious, what paint color did you use in your family room? I love it. Such a warm gray. You did a great job with the redesign. xo, Cristi

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  14. The paint is holding up fabulously!! No issues at all. I didn't paint the interiors because they are simply mdf...not plywood.
    Thanks for asking, I should have addressed this in the post!
    Janell

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  15. Wow, what a huge job, am feeling faint at the thought of it, but it does of course look gorgeous.
    Did you choose to change the tiles because the old ones would not have worked with the painted cabinet color? And, from the photo I'm not sure, did you leave the island as it was before?

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  16. Janell, wonderful! You were going to ge a e-mail from me too - but now I have most of my questions answered! When you say paint, you mean spray paint, right? To get that smooth look.

    I am thinking of also changing all doors and drawers because I do not like the look of them. (And having the frame of the kitchen spray painted). But I am not entirely convinced that is the way to go...

    Your kitchen turned out absolutely beautiful, Janell. And I think of it often!

    Happy weekend! xx, Mon

    http://www.splendidwillow.com

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  17. Janell, your kitchen is incredible! I loved seeing the step by step done by a professional. There great thing about a professional is they deal with the sprayer, especially the oil based paints inside ! Yikes, all that mineral spirits, eek. Oil based is totally the way to go on the kitchen cabinets, much more durable I find. It's completely wonderful - so light and bright. LOVE the white cabinetry, tile and I really like your family room cabinetry white too ! A worthy investment.

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  18. Your kitchen transformation is truly stunning! I love a white kitchen and painting your cabinetry and your built-ins was a great idea, they turned out beautifully! And what a great price, for so little you achieved so much!

    Kat :)

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  19. I've wondered about latex vs. oil based paint for cabinets. I've heard oil based paint is more durable, but I've worried it may yellow. Have you had any issues with that?

    I love your kitchen. I WANT that beveled subway tile. Good thing you don't live by me - you'd catch me chiseling it off your walls in the middle of the night :).

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  20. Although your "during" pictures also make me a little scared :) I would love love to paint our kitchen cabinets. Our kitchen looks so much like your before pics. And, it would be so nice not to have the exact same kitchen as everyone else in our cookie cutter neighborhood. Unfortunately, I think my husband would have a heart attack if presented with this idea. So, I will just look at yours and enjoy!

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  21. I just love your kitchen - and all your built-ins - def- worth the money!

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  22. Hi, visiting from TDC on twitter, but I was wondering if you painted the backsplash or if you change it altogether? It looks changed too! It turned out very classic looking. I am working on my husband to paint our bland oak cabinets...yuck! Have a good day...becky @ catheychaos.blogspot.com

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  23. Thanks for this, Janell! As you know, I had posted about painting our oak cabinets and I really love the way yours turned out. While I'm sure it will be a major undertaking to DIY, that is probably going to be the route I have to take if I want this done. Yours look just beautiful and provide even more inspiration to me to do this.

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  24. Thanks so much for this post. I've got a large kitchen built in 2001. The cabinets are fine, but they are oak which I hate. When I read your kitchen re-do posts a while back I finally decided to take the plunge to get them painted. The pricing info is helpful too...b/c I see my quote is coming in at a reasonable rate. They will paint the doors at their studio but seems like the rest of the process will be about the same.

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  25. I love your kitchen. Yours was the inspiration to paint my cabinets that same color. I do not miss my oak stained cabinets at all! And while it was a lot of work, it was totally worth the result.

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  26. Absolutely gorgeous. Love, love, love white cabinets! And that subway tile.... *drool*

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  27. I love the color you chose. It brightens your space up so much. You def. just proved why it's better to have a professional come in and do the work. (Though I do love DIY projects) The finished result is exactly that finished, and very well finished at that :o)

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  28. i love painted kitchens as well. 8 years ago, my preference was wood, but now, i love the clean and classic look of painted cabinets.
    your kitchen transformation is wonderful. thanks for re-posting all the pictures for folks like me that missed it the first time around!

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  29. This is SUCH a gorgeous renovation and seeing the process is so much fun. I am so impressed that you got in there and got those pics! I can't tell you how many times I miss out on before's and during's! Have a great weekend! Marija

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  30. OH MY GOSH, WHAT AN UNDERTAKING! I'm very impressed! Amazing how different the space feels. I've never loved our cherry cabinetry. It's very lovely but I've never fallen in love with it. Do I dare even entertain the idea???

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  31. Oh, my goodness! When I saw the original photo of your kitchen, it was like standing in mine, only someone had updated it! We have exactly the same positioning and layout as your kitchen...only our fridge is in the spot where your double ovens are. (and ours hasn't been updated since the 70's other than wallpaper and a ceiling fan to replace the black spanish fixture!) Gives me such great ideas for redoing ours!!!

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  32. looks great. i had no idea that you painted your cabinets. i like that you kept the island dark. the change in the backsplash made a huge difference, too.

    love that you shared the process with us!

    kelly

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  33. I guess it turned out to be a lucky thing that they messed up the original stain? :-) They did turn out beautifully and I have to admit I'm a little jealous. I think my cherry cabinets are pretty, but the only reason I didn't go with white enamel when we built was because it was more expensive. I know I would have loved them.

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  34. Wow, what a transformation. Looked good before, looks beautiful now. Enjoy!

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  35. I appreciate before & after projects. Seeing the process unfold is like 'Christmas'. You took 15 years off your home and the painted wood looks stunning. How I would love to have a team come in & paint every remaining exposed wood feature in our home. I'd at last get to say 'bye, bye 80's'.

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  36. It really is amazing and a wonderful transformation. Have you had any problems with nicks/scrapes? That is my only concern with painting cabinetry, espcially ones so dark. We have cherry cabinets and I crave having ones light like you've done!!

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  37. I was thrilled to find your website because I have been wanting to do the exact thing to my only 2 year old cabinets. Is your home a PULTE home because so many elements look identical to mine (appliances,cabinet style, and granite). I appreciate you addressing the cost because I wasn't sure how to determine my bids, not really having a ballpark figure to begin with. It's hard to think of your cabinets as tan when they look very cream, but it totally helps distract the orangish color (which I hate) out of the granite. I'm still looking for over the island lighting..can't wait to see if you find some cool ones! Thanks for sharing..I'm so inspired now and can't wait to start!

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  38. I forgot to ask one thing: did you leave your island stained, or did you paint it black? It's hard to tell from the pictures. I'm thinking of leaving my the dark just for some contrast.

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  39. A few questions to answer! Thanks!

    Yes, the backsplash was changed just before the cabinetry was painted. I replaced the tile because the original tile was quite busy, especially against the granite (which I couldn't change!!) and with it's orange tones the tile brought out the dull orange tones in the granite. I knew if the backsplash was lighter it would end up lightening the look of the granite. It worked!

    Yes, I did leave the island with the original stain. Here the stain differences aren't as noticeable, and I wanted there to be some contrast, I thought all white might be TOO WHITE.

    And speaking of white, SW Softer Tan is a very creamy ivory, looking at my photos the cabinets do look a bit lighter than they do in person. But even in person the cabinets do not look as dark as Softer Tan does on the fan deck.

    Yes, the cabinetry is holding up very well, they don't look any different than they did a year ago. The painters did not skip any steps and as a result the paint is very durable.

    And yes, I'd like to find more interesting pendants to hang at the island. Someday I'll stumble across just the right fixtures and I'll post an update.

    Thanks for all your questions and glad this post was helpful to many of you!!

    Janell

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  40. beautiful!! seriously love it. i love white cabinets.

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  41. I have your kitchen and family room saved in my future house file, and I love seeing pictures of this space over and over. I think you made the right decision in painting them, the after is just so stunning!

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  42. Awesome ~ just awesome. What an amazing difference. So bright and cheerful and classic. I love it.
    Paula Grace ~

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  43. Just found this blog thru Decorpad. It's fab!! Love the drastic change! It was for the better... very stylish kitchen- warm and inviting. It's know saved in my 'dream kitchen' file!! Thanks!

    One question, I love the lines of your stools. Would you share the designer, please?

    I've added to my Google reader!

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  44. It looks beautiful! I love it. We have a white kitchen, too and I love our bright it is. We're going to replace our countertops soon and we're looking at granite choices. Can you tell me what kind it is? I love it.

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  45. Wow! Those look beautiful. Great decision to paint.

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  46. Gorgeous "new" cabinets {I would not have guessed SW Soft Tan). I love the white on white look in your kitchen. Love that the island stayed dark and adds contrast. Did you have a new mantel put in as well?

    Enjoy that beautiful kitchen of yours!

    xo,
    cristin

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  47. I have just found your blog. Your kitchen and family room makeover was so incredible!! I love it!! Your rooms now get a 10+++ from me. Great job! And I am a new follower tonight.
    AK

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  48. Hi Janell, I've just found your blog thanks to the lovely Kristin over at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, and all I can say is I wish I'd found you a week ago! I've just spent that time painting my timber kitchen, and although it was a lot of work, it was SO worth the effort! Our home has far too much timber for its own good, and painting the kitchen white has made an enormous difference. So glad to have found you, and after spending the past hour reading through your fantastic posts, I'm so inspired! Now your latest follower.
    Kerri xx

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  49. Hello,

    I am a new follower and love your sense of design!! I was just curious what color paint you used in your living room? Thanks!!

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  50. The kitchen looks FABULOUS! I wondered... where did you get your barstools?

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  51. Janell,

    You have been so helpful to me with answering my (many) questions regarding paint colors. I am at the place of painting my kitchen and I am torn between 2 colors. Apples and oranges really. I love the looks of blue/green/gray with pops of yellows, oranges, and reds in a kitchen. But I also love the look of your kitchen. I have a color in my kitchen right now that is similar to yours. Crabapple by RL. I love the rich look of this type of color as well. My house is full of molding. A colonial style home. My backsplash and countertops were updated by previous owners. Not my choice but too new to redo if that makes sense. The backsplash looks all tan but there is a gray hue o some of the tiles. And the countertop is a grayish/green. So I'm trying to best compliment those.

    I'm torn between RH's "Silver Sage" and SW's Relaxed Khaki.

    I have some pics of my kitchen on Flickr. I put them up there for my mom in FL to give me some advice. If you would like to take a look and give me your opinion I'd love it. I just love your style.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50317204@N07/

    I'd also love to know the name of your living room wall color. Very rich and beautiful. :-)



    Congrats on the Nate show!

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  52. I know that you said the painter provided 2 different whites for you to choose from on the cabinets, do you know the color of the white you chose?

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  53. Theresa,

    SW Softer Tan, if you see it on the fan deck you will probably not believe it is the color I used. It is very dark, whereas in person it is warm and not too dark at all. I think it has to do with how much light the space gets, along with the contrast against the darker floors. I ended up selecting this color because it was the same color the millwork/doors in the house were painted. It works.

    To pick the right color you'll just have to test a few, most likely, to see what works best in your space. Good luck with all your projects!

    Janell

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  54. janell -
    i absolutely love the color of your kitchen! what color paint did you use?

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  55. Hi Anne,
    The kitchen is painted SW Universal Khaki and the family room SW Quiver Tan. Thanks for asking! Janell

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  56. Janell, your posts about painting your kitchen and living have been SO helpful to me. We are about to undergo the same project! Painting cabinets/crown molding in living and kitchen, put in hand scraped wood floors, backsplash, new granite...have I lost my mind doing this with 5 yr old twins and a 3 yr old?? How long did you have to be out of your home when painting? Also, any other tips on finding the right painter. I'm so nervous about making that decision as its such a big step to paint all of this wood. How did you get the 10% discount?! ;) Good to know someone survived and it looks awesome!

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  57. Hi,
    Sounds like a big, but wonderful project. We were out of the house for about 5 days during the painting. It was in the winter, so that probably didn't help. I ran the 'whole house' ventilation system around the clock to help air out the house, but obviously I couldn't leave any windows open. It did helped that the cabinet doors were done at another location.

    I was fortunate to use the painters that the builder of the house uses for all their painting in new homes and the crew has a lot of experience painting things besides just walls! I refer them to a lot of people & I got the 10% discount for that in addition to paying cash. You might inquire what options/incentives you might be able to work out with the painters you select. Apart from referrals from people you may know who have had similar work done I would also check out www.angieslist.com and I also think finding painters that work on new construction homes is a great way to go, if they have experience painting the trim, doors, mantels, built-ins, islands, etc.

    I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions as you move through this process! I also encourage people to learn all they can about the process of the work being done and check in often to make sure things are going in the right direction. All the best!!!

    Janell

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  58. Thanks so much for your quick response! All very helpful. I have a feeling I'm going to reach out to you during this process again! Our tastes are very similar and love of DIY mixed with knowing when to hire :) Just wish you were in Texas :) I always look forward to your posts!

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  59. I'm back. We're about to begin. One more question. I have oak cabinets. So, I just got my sample door back from painter and it is white but you can see the woodgrain movement. Is alder the same way? If so, does it look good? Or am I making a mistake? Its not possible to make oak a totally smooth due to all the "movement in the grain" (not sure the correct term). Thanks for your thoughts!!

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  60. I can't tell you how helpful this post was. I have been back several times to re-read it. I have a painter coming next week to give me an estimate for my kitchen. I have a new blog at www.onsuttonplace.blogspot.com.
    There isn't much there yet but that will change. I added you to my blog roll...thanks for your time.
    Ann

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  61. GOOD LUCK ANN!! Let me know how it goes! Janell

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  62. Janell...Love your blog...quick question. Thinking about the before version of your kitchen(bc it is earily similar to mine)...would you still do the drum shade pendants with that style? I want to, but I am not sure it fits?????

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  63. Yes, I'm still liking them, guess that says a lot because I change things a lot! The pendant kit fixtures with fabric covered drum shades was a tutorial I wrote of HGTV.com, see my sidebar if you haven't already!
    Thanks! Janell

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  64. It looks beautiful!! It's on my to-do list. I just don't know what I want to do exactly :)

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  65. Wow, what an incredible change this was for about $4000. You must have added 3 times that in value to your house. Changing the mantel on the fireplace to touch the bookcases was so inspired. Great job!
    Thank you for the inspiration.

    Anne

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  66. Beautiful! My husband is going to freak out when I tell him I've been wanting to paint the cabinets (they're only 3 years old) but the honey oak is going to kill me if it doesn't go away! We have dark silestone counters, and that creamy color would look great with them I think! I'm thinking of painting the island a darker color completely...what do you think? Have you seen this done?
    Awesome kitchen again! :)

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  67. Hi Janell - Wow, you have the most modern AND warm style I have seen and I love that you were brave enough to paint your cabinets to change the look of the room/s!!! We have a kitchen with a gorgeous island that is painted a dark sage with a black/brown wash. (the rest of the cabinetry is sort of a honey-stain). It was here when we bought the house, but now the paint is chipping everywhere on it, sometimes if you just wipe it with a damp cloth. Advice? I am ready to call the professionals like you did and just re-paint it, but want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.

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  68. I love it! I prefer white cabinets, but my husband hates painted anything. Furniture, cabinets, walls! When we met not one wall in his house was painted..and he even gave me a hard time about painting our new house! He likes everything wood. The furniture, cabinets, etc. I don't dislike the latter...but I love the white so much! He might come home from a deployment one day - to a white kitchen! O:)

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  69. I'm glad I found your very informative blog. Adding some home hardware like kitchen or room cabinets and dividers will improve the look of the house. Thanks for sharing!

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  70. A silly question... what sheen did you use for the cabinets.. semi gloss? I'm going to paint our kitchen cabinets. You've inspired me. Thank you.

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  71. Hi! Beautiful! Can you tell me what color you used for the cabinets? Thanks!

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  72. http://www.certaproloudoun.com/exterior-painters-leesburg-va/

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  73. Thanks for answering the question you got frequently asked about painting cabinetry, I love my stay here and it was a great tutorial for me.

    painting reston va

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  74. Do you happen to know what product was used to fill the knot holes? I'm contemplating this very same project, but want to be sure we use the right material!
    Thank you.

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  75. Hi Sue,
    Yes, believe it or not the painting team used Car Bondo, and here is a link showing a furniture re-finisher using the product. In the video he uses tape around the crack he fills, but for the knots on my cabinets the painters filled the holes, wiped off the excess with a putty knife and then came back to sand the filler to a smooth finish flush with the cabinet surface after it had dried a bit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcJZobAnAvI

    I would definitely find some similar wood/cabinet to do a test on prior to working with this product on your cabinets... but after nearly 5 years my cabinets and the filled knot holes look just like they did when the work was completed!

    Good luck and email me directly if you have any other questions: janell@isabellaandmax.com

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