Kitchen Overhaul Days 3-8: Topcoats

We are in the homestretch now, folks!! Last week I explained the sanding and priming processes – Today I am divulging anything and everything involved with painting the last two topcoats on our kitchen doors and the cabinet framework. When last I left you, I gave this tiny sneak peak of our final cabinet color – A deep, chocolatey brown from Valspar called “Mudslide”. At that point I had only managed to finish the island, but you’ll see a whole lot more of the color everywhere else today.

As I said last week, John and I came up with a manageable schedule of painting the topcoats for an hour each weeknight to make sure we stayed on track to finish by the weekend. We decided to focus on getting the doors done since that was something John and I could do together (the framework is all sorts of tight spots that is just easier for me to take care of on my own). If you remember, we had all of the cabinet doors arranged in two neat rows in the garage for easy maneuvering.

Our process? First, we unscrewed all of the hinges and hardware, keeping them within identifiable reach so as not to confuse which hardware went with which door. Then, using the angled brush, I put a thin coat of paint into the contours and grooves of the door face. I also did a quick sweep of the sides where the roller couldn’t reach (all illustrated in the photo below). Then John would follow behind me with the roller, making sure to even out all of my streaky brush strokes and coating the rest of the door with a thin topcoat of the brown.

We managed to finish two topcoats on the back of the cabinet doors and flipped them over to start working on the fronts, but then something pretty huge rang a bell in our minds and this had to happen:

All of the doors in their nice happy rows in the garage had to be carted upstairs to take up space on the kitchen floor.

The problem was the weather. As gathered from the side of the paint can, the acceptable temperatures to work with the paint was between 50 and 90 degrees. While the past weekend and beginning of the week itself were unseasonably warm for January in Virginia, the temperature was creeping closer and closer to unacceptable during the day and definitely freezing at night. So we had no choice but to lug everything back up to the kitchen where the wood could soak in all of our indoor insulated heat.

The other problem was that I couldn’t just bring them upstairs and start working right away because the wood was still icy cold. There was no hope for the paint to adhere correctly to the surface, so instead I had to focus on something else: the frame. (Sorry for the awful lighting – I was working on this from about 6:00pm to 7:45p.m. on a Thursday night)

Although our carefully-thought out process had a giant hiccup to deal with, it was nice to get the framework painted – You can see that it made a pretty big difference to the look of the room.

We had finally reached the end of the week and it was time for one last coat on the frame. Here’s what the dried final coat looked like on Saturday morning:

The last step in the painting process was the topcoat on the front of the cabinet doors. It had been two days since we brought the doors up from the drafty garage and they were sufficiently warmed up for paint. I thought it might be a bit easier to work on painting the doors screwed back into the frame, so John helped me put everything back in place. It gave the kitchen a sort of two-tone look.

Time to repeat our door painting process! Again using the angled brush, I painted into the grooves and then the paint roller came in to even everything out.

I’ll spare you the tedious process and just show you the “After” product of the first coat – I left all of the doors open to dry in case paint had crept inside to avoid sticky doors:

While the paint on the doors was drying, we decided to take care of a little detail we had not factored into our work schedule: The back of the drawer fronts.

At one point after having discovered this extra step, I tried to tackle the painting with the drawer fronts still attached. But as you can see, it wasn’t looking very clean or professional. So off came all of the drawer fronts. A quick roll of paint later and they were looking much better.

The last step of the day was to finish the FINAL AND LAST topcoat on the cabinet doors!!! I can’t begin to tell you just have elated I was when I finally got to put that brush and roller down for the last time…

Unfortunately, I’m going to make all of you wait until Wednesday for the final reveal…This post is too overloaded with photos and descriptions for me to throw in our slew of “After” pictures, but I will leave you with this tiny snippet of the final result:

See you back here on Wednesday for an earlier-than-planned reveal, complete with new hardware installed, a crafty and inexpensive alternative to fabric window curtains and a little problem-solving where the drawers are concerned.

Oh, and Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!! Hope it’s an inspiring one for you.

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