After we had completed the prepping and priming stages of our cabinet refinishing project, we were so excited to paint! We used an oil-based primer, and we had originally planned on using the alkyd Advance paint by Benjamin Moore. Secretly, though, we were still wanting to use a latex paint, and we were relieved to hear from my mom’s professional painter friend that we could still get a nice, durable finish with a latex paint. He recommended yet another Sherwin Williams product called Solo.
It’s a 100% acrylic latex paint. 100% acrylic latex paints are more durable than your ordinary latex paints, which contain a mixture of acrylic, vinyl, and/or polyvinyl ingredients. It does cost a little more, but it has better adhesion, stain resistance/washability, and stain blocking, which is definitely worth it for this type of a project. We found that Solo had a really good open time (stayed wet long enough to work it like we wanted) and good self-leveling properties. It went on very smoothly and dried even better.
We chose two different colors, a light grey for the upper cabinets and a dark grey for the lower cabinets. For the light grey color, my mom chose the Sherwin Williams color On The Rocks.
For the dark grey color she went with Gray Shingle.
They both have slightly bluish tints, which appeals to my mom since one of her biggest concerns is that they’ll look too yellow. They still coordinate very nicely with her dark brown wood floors, too.
We did two coats of paint on everything, leaving at least 24 hours of dry time between coats. We had originally planned to use my paint sprayer to do all the painting, but thought painting with brushes and rollers might help to fill more of the grain. Her cabinets are a fairly open grain oak, meaning that the pores of the wood are larger and the wood appears slightly coarse.
We used a brush first to try to push a lot of paint into the grain, and then rolled over it with a 4 inch high-density foam roller to create a smoother, more consistent finish. On the front of the doors we brushed all the grooves using a high quality 2 inch angle brush. Then we rolled the outer piece of trim and the inset panel in the middle. (Couldn’t get her to hold the roller still for a picture! We were so eager to get done!)
The key on the front of the cabinets was to work quickly so that the paint was still wet when we were done and it had a chance to level out a little before drying. If you work too slowly, you’ll create drags if you try to roll the piece at the end or need to fix any drips or other mistakes. It could also cause some discoloration if you keep going over areas that have already begun to dry. On the base cabinets we used the same 2 inch angle brush (with a short handle so you’re not having to watch out for the handle or brush at inconvenient angles) and then used a 2 inch foam roller for the small beams and a 6 inch foam roller for the larger end pieces.
You can still see some of the pattern of the grain (none of the color, of course) from the right angle, but we all agreed we don’t dislike that look. It makes it obvious that the cabinets are made of solid wood and provides some added dimension that I think is sometimes lacking in new pre-fab cabinets.
All in all, the painting process went really well, and we loved the colors! (Though the wall colors might have to change…)
We started drilling holes and putting cabinet fronts back up (more on that process later), but we didn’t make it very far before we encountered a problem…which naturally had to happen or it would have all come together too easily.
Since my mom decided to go with brushed nickel hardware, they opted to ditch the grimy old “dirty brass” hinges (not really sure what the color is called, or even what it’s really supposed to look like) and get new matching ones. Little did we know, there are a LOT of different sizes of hinges. We made sure we got the right type at least, but apparently they were too big.
These hinges pushed the doors out further, so where there were 2 doors that should meet, they overlapped. We’re just lucky we started with two doors that matched up. She has several sections were none of the cabinets close together, so it might not have been an issue in those areas, and then we would have had a lot more to undo.
We ended up on a wild goose chase all over Little Rock with an old hinge and the new too-big hinge trying to find a type that would work. We found one, but they only had 2 in stock and would have charged over $6 for a set of 2. That’s a lot of dough. Needless to say, we felt so defeated. We’d come all this way and were so excited to see the fruits of our labor, only to realize that we’d have to order the hinges online and wait for them to ship before the kicthen could be put back together. I’d already been in Little Rock for 2 weeks, so I couldn’t wait around to help put the cabinets back together. Super sadness. 🙁 Whenever the hinges do come in, though, I’ll get them to take pictures so I can share the before and afters.
While in Little Rock, I also got to help my mom pick out her granite and tile for the back splash. I don’t know the name of the granite she chose, but it’s a basic granite and fairly easy to find, I think. “Basic” not only means it’s much more affordable, but also according to the people at the granite place it means better resale. My parents figure they probably won’t be in this house forever, so they’re always considering resale. It has very little variation and is not incredibly taste specific, so it should appeal to more people.
For the back splash tile, she chose a matte white hexagonal tile which will be grouted with white grout. This is a classic tile that’s really affordable, but still a really fun, interesting pattern. She chose a different tile for the area behind the stove, but we’ll leave that a surprise. I’m so excited to see how it will all look together!
Now my knees are so ready for a break! Cabinet painting is not easy work. On the bright side, Andrew and my kitty are really glad to have me home!