PT. V of the Kitchen Chronicles
The final step of our kitchen project is to complete the one step that started it all. Paint the cabinets. Oh sure, changing the floor and replacing appliances were technically steps one and two, but the first real step of the kitchen face lift was the subtle hint Cori dropped, “I want these cabinets painted.” Can’t accuse her of beating around the bush! Before Sheldon and Stewart Painting could come in and brush on his particular brand of magic, there was work to be done to the canvas (read: cabinets).
First off, the oak cabinets needed to be fixed up. The styles (vertical members) and rails (cross members) of several of the raised panel doors had been cracking and separating for quite a while. After some quality time in a clamp with some well-placed glue, they were back in shape. The Gorilla glue would expand out of the crack, but that’s fine since we were painting the doors – I didn’t need to worry about glue stains as I would if we were to keep a stained wood appearance. Sand it down smooth, and we’re in business. I did have to take care not to glue the panel in place – that needs to float freely within its frame to allow for expansion and contraction with changes in humidity. Even with the utmost preparations, the doors will still eventually swell and shrink, cracking the paint at some seams.
While the doors were in the clamps, I filled the bolt holes where the handles were attached. We were changing the hardware on all the doors and drawer fronts. It’s a great way to upgrade the look of your cabinets. It’s surprising how different the kitchen will look by making this one, seemingly small change.
The one other important change to the doors was the hinges. Original to the house, the surface-mounted hinges were attached to the face frame of the cabinets, and they were looking pretty old and tired. I replaced those with European concealed cup hinges that are hidden from view when the doors are in the closed position. I had the Forstner bit to drill out the doors where the hinges would be placed. I just needed to make sure I was perfectly perpendicular to the work surface. I didn’t want to wobble off course and, heaven forbid, go all the way through the door…yikes! So off to Mid Cape Home Centers I went and bought a base for my cordless drill that turns it into a rudimentary drill press (any excuse to buy a new tool). Not only does it keep the drill nice and straight, but it has a stop on it that’ll keep me from drilling clean through to the other side.
With the hinges installed on the doors, and the doors mounted back onto the face frames and looking sharp with the new hardware, it was time to take them all down again. Well, Sheldon wasn’t about to sand and paint the doors in place. I brought all the doors and drawer fronts to his shop where they could be professionally sprayed. I gave him a key to our house so his men could paint the cabinet face frames, and we took off. I highly recommend, if you’re going to paint your kitchen cabinets, to do it from Jamaica. It’s nice having a contractor you can trust. Stewart Painting went in and took care of all the painting while we were gone. They did a gorgeous job painting – the color is Benjamin Moore’s Sailcloth, and it looks amazing! I have to say, Cori was right. Did I just say that? Cori was right. Wow, it’s getting too easy to say, but she was. The cabinets did need painting. What a difference it made. It really pulled everything together. Upon arriving home, all I had to do was re-attach the doors and drawer fronts. Our new kitchen was complete! Well, almost…
Now that the cabinets looked like a million bucks, it made the kitchen walls look, in a word, blech. This is where a little foresight goes a long way. When planning your project, try to look down the road to where it’ll end. Many times you just want to change one thing. That one thing starts a chain of events that goes something like, “While we’re doing this…” or “While we have this wall open…” and it usually ends with, “…and so we might as well tear the house down and start fresh.” Okay, I may be a tad over dramatic, but when the next major project comes up on the planning board (farmer’s porch, two-car garage), I may suggest we go and buy a house that already has it. Not that I’m done with this one just yet. I still need to paint the kitchen walls, which flow into the first floor hallway, which will make the (fill in the blank) look old and dingy, and while we’re there….