The Great Kitchen Makeover

The lights. The damn piece-of-crap florescent kitchen lights.

These lights have taunted me since the day we moved in. That was 11 years ago.

It’s not even the lights that make me crazy. It’s the 80s bendy plastic that covered the P.O.S. lights. Basically, everything in the kitchen looked yellow. It was the worst place to take pictures, everything was yellow. Where else am I supposed to take food pictures?

And let’s talk about the oven.

I’ve been challenged by that oven since the first day I used it. Trying to get something to cook anything evenly in that oven was like trying to get an even tan. It was impossible. Eventually, I’ve given up the idea of trying to cook altogether. With the exception of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve perfected the timing of when to flip them around to avoid the half burnt/half raw cookie situation.

Apparently my constant pinning of kitchen ideas (and perhaps the constant complaining) has paid off and we have begun the great kitchen makeover!

Here’s the before. Those LIGHTS!!

Kitchen makeover

The Before – look at those lights!

Kitchen Makeover

The before! I put up with this kitchen for 11 years!

We had this great idea to do it ourselves. Thanks to many bloggers out there, I was confident in my home-improvement abilities to sand down and paint the kitchen cabinets. They are in fine condition, but are just UGLY.

Did it take a LONG TIME? YES. What it hard? No. Did it hurt my hands sanding down all the cabinets? HELL YES. Was it worth it? I think so!

The steps…in short:

  • Remove all the cabinets. CLEAN THEM with Clorox Wipes. These wipes are a necessity. I’ll explain more on that later.
  • Label the cabinets – because after working on them for countless hours, you WILL forget from where they came.
  • Start sanding! We used a little mouse sander – start with a low number on the sandpaper. You want it as rough as possible. This portion takes forever and it is messy!
  • Once both sides are sanded down, wipe the cabinet down with Clorox Wipes. These wipes are like magnets for the dust. It’s amazing and will save what little sanity you have left to continue with more sanding.
  • Once the cabinet is dry, sand it down again with some higher numbered sandpaper, like a 400. The cabinet will be nice and soft and you will think to yourself, wow – this looks really good. Maybe I should hang these up just like this? No, you don’t want to!
    Now, continue this step about 1-million times. And oh yeah, you need to do the baseboards inside the house – so we set up a plastic bubble workspace to avoid getting sandpaper everywhere. This was the cue to the cats to lose their minds.
  • Apparently our boring kitchen turned into the Crazy Cat Cave (trademark pending) and our house turned into a constant mess of sand print paws on the wood floors. Again, thank you Clorox.
  • After the sanding, we used some shellac to try to get rid of the wood grain. It mostly worked.
  • Then primer. Then paint. And more paint. And more paint.

And then trying to figure out how to hang them back on and make them straight because we had to buy new hardware. And of course we couldn’t find anything to match the same size of the hold hardware. So more drilling and swearing and levels…and finally…we have a kitchen that looks kind of great!

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