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Painting More Oak Cabinets - a Black and White kitchen

This week's project is near and dear to my heart --my own kitchen!
I've painted many kitchens for my clientsand now it was my turn!

Our kitchen was last remodeled when Golden Oak was the rage.
It was then I learned how passionate men could be about wood. 
 At the time, I voted for new white kitchen cabinets.
Both Dearly Beloved and the Carpenter (why did he get a vote?)
 were in favor of oak, so oak it was. 
Fast forward.  Years pass. Updates and changes were made. 
Granite countertops.  Crown molding.Travertine floors.  New hardware.
Despite these changes, WE STILL HAD A 1990's KITCHEN.

Here's what it looked like just a few days ago.
Enter the Realtor.
(yes, we're thinking of selling...)
Her advice:  Paint the cabinets.
It's a small investment, but will help the house sell more quickly and for more $$$. 
That did it. 
The Realtor was talking in terms Dearly Beloved could relate to.
All my blathering about color, the morning light and ambiance, was a foreign language to him.
Money talks. So I painted.

Who knew a few gallons of paint (and some new appliances!)
could make a woman so happy.
In celebration of our new 'old' kitchen, we went out to dinner
--- let's keep it clean at least for a day! 
What colors did I use?

Tricorn Black and Spanish White by Sherwin Williams.
This white is not pure white. 
It's creamy,
chosen because it relates  to the warm colors in the granite and the stone floor.

The right white for your home might be different.
Thinking of painting your own cabinets?

Here's how I tackled the job -- maybe this will get you started.

1. Take the doors off.  Paint both sides!
Yes, it's extra work,
 but you want this to look really nice when you're done, don't you?

I left the shelves and interior of the cabinets natural --
but did vacuum up the toast crumbs and cereal bits!

2.  Remove all hardware.
Number each door.
  After taking off the hinge, I write the number in that hidden space,
then cover it with a piece of painters tape
and make quick map of where I started numbering.
When the project is complete, you'll know which door goes where.

2. Clean, sand, de-gloss
 Don't forget to remove the dust before painting.

 3. Prime 

I like Sherwin Williams bonding primer.
 BIN-White Shellac by ZINSSER will seal any discoloration from wood tannins.

4. Paint Points

These little pyramids make painting doors a breeze.

5. Use Satin sheen paint

Oil or Latex?  Your choice. I prefer latex enamel for durability,
and finish with 2 coats of clear polyurethane.

6. Place drawers into a trash bag.

If your drawer fronts aren't removable and you are spraying your paint,
try placing the entire drawer in a trash bag to protect the inside of the drawer from overspray.

7. Brushing vs. Spraying
Both work well.
 I brush cabinet boxes, but spray the doors and drawers.

  How to avoid brush marks?
Add Floetrol to your paint.
This is a paint conditioner  that gives latex paint the leveling performance of oil.
  It minimizes brush and roller marks to make your paint job look better with less effort.

You may like to try a foam brush.

Oak has a strong grain.
To some extent, it will always show.
This can be an advantage
 because it camouflages any brush marks.



  1. Your cabinets look fantastic. I want to paint ours but my hubby has the same hang up about painting oak so I am settling for painting the island. I might try a soft gold. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Hi Traci -

    It must be something primal in the male genetic code! Just like women and their shoes!

    If you'd enjoy reading a designer's take on this phenomenon and see some of here amazing transformations, check out the Decorologist.

    Here's a cut and paste:

    Have a great day - and best wishes making your own changes!


  3. Darryl, You are so right - for a relatively small investment, paint can change everything!


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