April 3, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Changing the Bathroom Cabinets (part 1)

Let me just put it out there: replacing or updating our bathroom and kitchen cabinets is not in our to-do list (you can find it here). I can very well live a quiet life without doing anything to the cabinets. It does the job of storing our stuff. That's all I want.

Years ago, we had a kitchen designer come by and discuss our dream kitchen. Which, from his estimate, would cost upwards of $10,000. No way! I'd rather travel with that money.

But this time, if we're changing stuff, why do it half-assed? We're replacing the faucets anyway. Why not try to update the current cabinets? I want to keep the current ones. It's more eco-friendly to use what we have and keep the cabinets away from landfills.

As it turns out, many people paint their cabinets. I came across two cabinet kits that seem to do a good job.

The first one was Nuvo Cabinet Paint. I saw pictures of cabinets painted with Cocoa Couture (US$69.95) and fell in love. I also looked into Rust-Oleum's Cabinet Transformations® Dark Kit.

The bug to paint our cabinets bit me and bit me hard. I kept watching YouTube tutorials on how to get it done. It seemed to involve a whole lot of elbow grease, a whole lot of waiting and a whole lot of patience. Not exactly my strengths.

Then I stumbled upon this post. It's possible to change how the cabinets look like for less than US$100? I'm down with that! The post motivated me enough to try painting our guest bathroom cabinets tonight. I read it last night, read other similar blog posts, mulled it over during breakfast today, then headed out to buy the supplies in the afternoon. If I waited too long, I might chicken out from actually doing it.

I went with General Finishes Java Gel Stain and a topcoat. Each pint was $18+ (can't remember exact price). It wasn't available from the home improvement store chains. I found the gel stain and topcoat at a nearby unfinished wood furniture store.


The rest of the supplies, I got from good ol' Dollar Tree. I figured if I mess it up, at least I didn't spend so much. If you're not familiar with Dollar Tree, each item in the picture below costs US$1.


Now you might be wondering, "how bad does their cabinets look like?"

Well, here's how it's been for years. Just your usual dings and scratches, normal wear and tear. Nothing dramatic.


Now here's the cabinet with the first coat of gel stain. If it looks streaky, well, it's supposed to be like that with the first coat. Then it's supposed to improve with the second and third coatings, plus the topcoat. I'm not worried. Instead of using the recommended white sock, I used a foam brush to apply the stain.

Here are the two doors and two drawers with the first coat.


Like usual paint jobs, it's the prep work that takes so long, what with the taping and sanding. I wonder if it's worthwhile to rent a sander when it's time to paint the other cabinets? If this turns out great, I have 14 more cabinet doors and 7 drawers to sand and stain. Oh boy!

Anyway, I'll take some more pictures tomorrow when I've done the second coat. I'm supposed to apply the second coat after 12 hours, then the third coat after 24 hours. But since it's still not summer here, I'll wait 24 hours before applying the second coat.

To be continued...

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