Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My New Favorite Thing…

I hate the cabinets in my home; frankly it is my biggest regret when we built our house 13 years ago. Within 1 year I knew I hated the golden oak but what was I going to do? Gut the kitchen and bathrooms? Clearly that was not an option so instead I have lived with them for 13 years.  I have thought about painting the cabinets, but that is such a scary commitment and once it is done you can’t go back. I don’t need that kind of pressure in my life! Whenever I go to Lowes I spend far too much time lusting over the beautiful cabinetry, especially the painted, distressed look. However, this is nothing I would attempt to do myself in a million years, despite my knack for DIY projects… that is until I discovered the wonder that is Chalky Finish Paint!
Inspiration Cabinets
I’ve seen this product used on one of my favorite DIY shows, Flea Market Flip, but didn’t really get the full awesomeness of the product until a lunchtime visit to Michael’s with a coworker who was refinishing an old, beat up side table using American Deco Chalk Paint. That afternoon I started trolling Pinterest for projects using chalk paint when I stumbled upon an image of beautiful, gray kitchen cabinets that were refinished using *gasp* homemade chalk paint.  I quickly went to the corresponding blog site where I found step by step instructions on how to use chalk paint to refinish cabinets, referencing this magazine image of a modern kitchen as inspiration:
I was astounded that such a dated looking kitchen could be transformed into a modern show-stopper using this painting technique to update the cabinets. The next day, I was on the hunt for the perfect chalk paint in a blue-gray color, and of course who else but the domestic goddess Martha Stewart herself would make the EXACT shade of gray paint that I was envisioning. 
Now, I am still not crazy enough to tackle my kitchen cabinets, but the cabinets in the master bathroom were another story. After endless internet searches and You Tube videos, I finally felt like I had enough information to move forward with the project this weekend.  In addition to the paint, I purchased a deglossing product to help the paint adhere to the cabinets (despite the paint instructions indicating that sanding or priming is not necessary) as well as an ultra-matte varnish made especially for chalk paint. With products in hand, I dove right in.  
  1. First I removed the cabinet doors and hardware and taped off all areas around the cabinets. As you can see, I didn't even have to take out the contents = bonus!
  2. Next I applied the deglossing agent to the sections of the cabinets that were being painted. The deglossing agent will dry after 10 minutes and will require another application therefore work in sections.
  3. When it came time to paint, I used the standard paint brush I use for all of my wall-painting projects. Some chalk paints recommend using an expensive ($28) brush but I was not spending that kind of cash on a paint brush. Once the first brush stroke was applied I knew there was no going back which gave me heart palpitations.  This paint is very thick and has great coverage even after 1 coat.  I allowed 2 hours of drying time between coats however after 2 coats I didn’t feel a third was necessary so I wrapped up painting for the evening. In total, painting the unit took about 3-4 hours.
    First Coat
  4. I let the paint cure overnight before I applied the varnish. (The paint will be very soft and easily scratched prior to varnish application so be careful!) I used a foam brush to apply the varnish; however I would probably use a decent quality paint brush for this step in the future. I really liked the look of the matte varnish once it dried. I also had the option of using a crème wax but when I learned that I would have to reapply the wax every few years I had to pass! 
  5. Within a couple of weeks the varnish and paint will cure into an extremely durable finish.

I love the look of the finished project! To further make the look even more modern and polished, I replaced the knobs to an acrylic faceted knob that I scored on sale at Target yesterday.  
This weekend, I will be tackling the guest bathroom cabinets using the same paint color. While I don’t know if I will ever have the courage to paint my kitchen cabinets, I have a feeling that Chalk Paint projects will definitely be part of my DIY future!!  Tell me, what do you think of the finished look and would you give this painting technique a try?

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