I have been wanting to completely remodel our kitchen since we bought our home in 2009. We had been tentatively planning on beginning the project after the new year. Then the family agreed to let us host our family Thanksgiving gathering. Jason and I looked at each other and had to speak no words. (We’ve been together so long, we can read each other’s minds!) We each knew that the other was counting the weeks that we had to be able to pull off a complete kitchen remodel BEFORE Thanksgiving. Turns out we had about 6 weeks.
We work well under pressure and thrive on deadlines. So even though we were hot and heavy into the busiest part of B’s soccer season and J was really busy at work, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it!!
One of the deciding factors came when we were browsing materials at our fav store (Lowes) and discovered that they had quartz countertops on sale for a limited time. There were only 4 colors to chose from on the sale, but one of the sale items was exactly what I wanted! (Thank you Lord!) Without the sale, we wouldn’t have been able to afford what we wanted and we may have just continued to wait to begin the project. After finding out we could make it fit into the budget, that’s when we made the final decision to begin the project.
Here’s the painting table all set up in the garage and ready to go.
No turning back now!!
Welcome to the Kennett Cabinet Shop!
Drawing on the countertops before they were removed. Fun!
Removing countertops and tile. It must be noted that Jason had pneumonia for 3 weeks and was really, really sick. At one point, we even ended up in the ER :( In almost 17 years of being together, I’ve never seen him so sick! As a matter of fact, in this photo, he was still running fever and could barely hold his head up. He was taking meds and doing breathing treatments during work breaks that night. But the new countertops were coming the next morning at 7am, so we had no choice but to get it done. What a guy I’m married to!!!
We decided not the paint the island cabinets. Instead, we stained them darker.
Here’s a pic of what happens when you don’t wear a glove under the sock you are staining with… :)
Papa came to help one Saturday. He helped Jason get started on installing the new tile backsplash.
Working on the backsplash
1 last sneak peak before it was finally complete
Now for the big reveal!!!
First—the before pictures!
Here’s what our kitchen looked like when we first moved in.
Here is a more recent pic from before we started the remodel. We got new appliances a few months after we bought the house and since then we added the curtains, the tv, new bar stools and some new decor.
Without further ado…. Here’s the big reveal!!
Here’s a night view. We installed some under cabinet lighting and you can see it here in this pic.
There you have it! We absolutely LOVE the new kitchen! I’m feeling so incredibly blessed to have this done after years of dreaming about it and planning it!
It was an insane amount of work to tackle a project like this ourselves, but our budget just barely covered the materials, so we had nothing left for labor costs! We had to use the free labor… ourselves!!
It took us the full 6 weeks to get the project done, but I must note that we were out of town 2 entire weekends for soccer tournaments during that time and Jason was sick for a few weeks, so very little got done during those times.
However, note that if you wanted to tackle your own kitchen remodel, there are certain things that can’t be rushed. You’d likely need at least a few weeks.
Here’s some tips and tricks that we learned and used along the way:
1. On the cabinet frames—after we removed the drawers, doors and hinges
** I used a paintbrush to cut in the angles and a Whizz 4” Styrofoam roller (made for doors and cabinets)
A. I sanded the wood with a 150 sanding block really well.
B. Then I used wet painter’s cheesecloth to wipe down the entire surface to rid it of all dust.
C. Next, a coat of Kilz oil based primer.
D. You need to wait at least 36-48 hours between coats of oil based paints.
E. After sufficient drying time, the next step is sanding with a 220 or 320 sanding block.
F. Wipe down entire surface with wet cheesecloth
G. Coat of oil based paint.
H. After sufficient drying time, the next step is sanding with a 320 sanding block. (Yes, Again!)
I. Wipe down entire surface with wet cheesecloth (Yes, Again!)
J. Coat of oil based paint.
K. After sufficient drying time, the next step is sanding with a 320 sanding block. (Yes, Again!)
L. Wipe down entire surface with wet cheesecloth (Yes, Again!)
M. Coat of CLEAR polyurethane.
N. After sufficient drying time (the poly is water based and can be used on top of oil based paints and stains. Drying time is stated to be 6-8 hours. I waited a minimum of 12 hours between coats to ensure that it was completely dry.)
O. the next step is sanding with a 320 sanding block. (Yes, Again!)
P. Wipe down entire surface with wet cheesecloth (Yes, Again!)
Q. Coat of CLEAR polyurethane.
Then you’re done!!
See, I told you this wasn’t for the faint of heart!! Or the lazy do it yourselfer, I might add. When working on a project like a kitchen, using the right materials and methods are of utmost importance to ensure a lasting finish as well as something that’s done in a professional looking manner. Remodeled kitchens can add a lot to the value of your home if done properly! If not done properly, it can hurt the value and/or hurt the future resale potential. And who wants that?!?! Unless you’re planning to stay in your home forever and never sell it, I guess. :)
2. On the cabinet doors
** We used a GRACO paint sprayer for all coats on the cabinet doors. It is WONDERFUL for getting a light even coat of paint. But BE WARNED--- you MUST thoroughly clean the sprayer between each and EVERY time you use it. And when using oil based paint, you must clean with mineral spirits and then with water. It has to be completely taken apart and every little piece cleaned. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to clean it sufficiently each time. If you try to short cut this cleaning step, you will RUIN your expensive paint sprayer and then there’s nothing you can do about it. **
A. We set up makeshift tables in our garage made from sawhorses and 2x4’s. (See picture of Jason working in garage above.) Don’t forget to cover the entire floor with drop cloths. We used the disposable plastic ones.)
B. Sand the entire surface of both sides of doors with 150 sanding block.
C. Wipe down one side with wet cheesecloth.
D. Coat of Kilz oil based primer on one side.
E. After sufficient drying time (36-48 hours), I flipped the doors and sanded with a 220 or 320 sanding block.
F. Wipe down with wet cheesecloth.
G. Coat of Kilz oil based primer on one side.
H. After sufficient drying time (36-48 hours), I flipped the doors and sanded with a 220 or 320 sanding block.
I. Wipe down with wet cheesecloth.
J. Coat of oil based paint
Then lots of repeating…
Between each coat, it must be sanded and wiped down. I alternated and flipped from side to side after each coat.
** On the doors, we did 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint and 2 coats of the clear polyurethane in a glossy/satin finish. Multiplied by 2 sides, that’s 12 uses of the paint sprayer.
** I will repeat…. this is not a project for the faint of heart or the lazy diy-er! :)
3. On the island- drawers need to be taken out and cabinet doors and hardware taken off first.
A. Sand with 150 sanding block
B. Wipe down with wet cheesecloth
C. Using a soft, clean cloth or a thick sock (with a plastic glove on your hand under the cloth/sock! See above picture of what happens if you omit this step!) apply an even coat of your stain. I used Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. It was the darkest color I could find. The Gel stain is thick and will not run. Highly recommend.
D. I chose not to sand between coats because the stain has a different texture than the paint. It wasn’t recommend to stain between coats, so I did not. I did use wet cheesecloth to wipe it down after sufficient drying time. (I waited 12-24 hours between coats)
E. I did a 2nd coat of stain. You can do as many coats as it takes to achieve the color that you want.
F. After the 2nd coat dried, I wiped down with wet cheesecloth and then applied 2 coats of the clear polyurethane—the same that I used on the white cabinets and doors.
4. The countertops we chose is a quartz solid surface countertop. We purchased it from Lowes and they installed it. We were extremely satisfied with their prices as well as their customer service throughout the process.
5. The sink is a brown granite composite sink that we purchased from Lowes.
6. The backsplash is Travertine. To remove the existing tile, the sheet rock was getting badly damaged and it was taking a very long time. It was recommended that we just cut down all of the existing sheet rock and then install new concrete backer board before installing the new tile. That’s what Jason did. It seemed like it was a much easier and faster process than ripping down all the existing tile and then repairing sheet rock would’ve been.
So there you have it, Kitchen Remodel 101 according to the Kennetts!!
We are pretty darn proud of ourselves for tackling this project and doing such a good job on it :)