DIY White Farmhouse Kitchen {Part I - Painting the Cabinets}

April 26, 2016

Hi friends!
Thank you so much for the amazing response to my white kitchen reveal! If you missed it and need to catch up you can find the reveal here.
I promised you a source list and the secret of how exactly I made over my kitchen, on a budget and by myself without hiring out. I have to tell you that this entire process took well over a year with planning and execution (and I'm still not 100% finished!!). I'm sure if I wasn't on a budget it would have been completed much sooner, but honestly I appreciate the project and the process so much more knowing I stayed on budget and did it all myself. It is such a feeling of accomplishment and seeing my vision come to life is a major plus.

Now, when I say I tackled this project myself, by "myself", I'm referring to my husband and I. But, for the most part I did the majority of the DIY stuff and ALL the painting. Did I mention ALL the painting??  My husband was kind enough to remove all the cabinet doors and the upper cabinets and he also was a major help with the DIY open shelving (more and all that later!) So, that being said, if you are planning a makeover like this, just be sure you have some helping hands along the way. Also, the only outside labor we brought in was our plumber who installed our new faucet. I am not a plumbing or electrical specialist, so that stuff I recommend hiring someone out. It can get pricey, so ask around to find the cheapest price! We have the best plumber who we have used for years, so we got a great price for the install and including the cost of the faucet itself, we were still under budget!!
Ok, on the project details. Today I'm sharing all the info on what I used on our cabinets and how I did it. This is going to be a long sappy post, but I am going to give you all the info you need to do this yourself. If you aren't into long posts and have done a project like this, then this is not the post for you. However, if you are a "new be" DIY'r or are planning a white kitchen makeover in the near future then stick around because this is the post for you!
Fist, I am quickly going to go over my budget for the entire project. I set my budget based on what I could afford and because I wasn't paying to have someone do it, this saved me a ton of money! I also took into consideration the inspiration for the exact look I was going for. I created a Pinterest board and kept it secret. I chose to do a secret board because it was more of a planning board and I also kept all my sources on it so I would have it for this post! Clever right??
So my very first step was my inspiration. I spoke about it briefly in this post. This was the original inspiration photo for my white kitchen makeover. I pretty much knew I wanted white cabinets, open shelving, class knobs and a chrome faucet. I would have loved to redo my counter tops because they are on the darker side, but of course that was NOT in the budget by any means, something I could tackle on my own. So, I'll be saving that project for my kitchen island!

Milk & Honey Home
 And here is a photo of our kitchen before.
Sorry for the dark, grainy, un-styled cell phone photo, my blogger skills were not in affect when this photo was taken. None the less, you can see why I had my heart set on a kitchen makeover!

When we originally purchased our home more then eight years ago, there was not Pinterest and I had not a clue what I was doing (as you can see). I love the style of the cabinets, but the color was not what I originally ordered. These cabinets were delivered and signed off on while we were on our honey moon and they were custom so no sending them back! The color is opal maple. YUCK!!
Ok... moving on. I loved that island, but once I painted the cabinets a crisp bright white, the cream color of the island did not work. So I sold it on a Facebook tag sale. Which was great because that extra money went to the makeover! I also had the hubby take down the upper cabinets on the left to make for open shelving. Best decision ever and I could not be happier.

Here is the kitchen from our dining room view. The first part of this process began with painting our living room white. You can find that post here

Now that I had my inspiration and the living room was painted white, I was ready to take on the kitchen. My total budget for the kitchen make over was $1,500. This included the primer, paint, stain, supplies, new kitchen island, open shelves, knobs, pulls and new faucet. I did not include decor or lighting into my budget only because I wasn't positive if I wanted to add pendants over the island. I know now that I do, but that's an entirely new budget and plan... So I'll get into that later on.
Now. There are two things I did not skimp on when it came to this project and this is part of my secret to staying on budget. I wanted this paint job to last, so I chose to use good quality paint as opposed to chalk paint. I watched hours of tutorials on how to paint kitchen cabinets and I decided to go follow this tutorial and use an oil based paint. The reason I chose oil based is because it's easy to clean and durable. Some oil base paint will tend to yellow, some spots have yellowed over the year, but I simply went over the area again and it's stayed white. I think using the oil based paint right away and not letting it sit is a major factor to avoid your paint job yellowing. Oil based paint tends to be a bit thicker and harder to work with then latex paint (hence the durability) but I took my chances. I did have a paint thinner on hand just in case. This one works well too. If you decide to use a latex paint be sure to sand your cabinets well or your paint job may not last as long!

This is the exact paint I used. Right off the shelf. I chose not to sand down my cabinets. I'll tell you now that the cabinets have held up well so far, only a few chips on the garbage drawer but that is the drawer that is used the most on a daily basis! Choosing not to sand my cabinets was my personal preference. Most of the tutorials I watched sanded extensively, but because I was doing this project solo and also because our kitchen was still being used daily during this process I just didn't want to deal with the mess of sanding and cleaning it up. Lazy? Maybe. But again, my choice.
 I primed all the cabinets as well as both sides of the cabinet doors. This was the most labor intensive part of the painting process. Another secret....

I used this spray paint to prime all the cabinet doors. I used a total of twelve cans. So roughly $65. It may seem like a lot, but it was well worth it! 
I started spraying the inside of the doors first then the outside. I decided to do three coats because I didn't sand the cabinets first. I can say they have held up really well so far!
While the cabinet doors dried I primed all the base cabinets with the same primer. 

This is the paint brush I used for painting cabinets and bases. This is actually the only paint brush I used when painting. It is the perfect size for smaller hands! 

As you can see it wasn't just the cabinets I had to paint! I also primed and  painted the island bead board and legs! 

Part 1 - Painting the Cabinets


 - Clean all cabinet doors and bases and any other area that you will be painting. I used this cleaner.
*If you are sanding your cabinets, sand then remove dust before priming*

- Remove all hardware from cabinet doors and drawers and remove cabinets from bases. If you have a very large kitchen I would work in sections so you know exactly where you cabinets go when it's time to put them back up! I have a very small kitchen with not very many cabinet doors so the process was much easier for me.

-Prep your area for painting. I covered my floors with this brown paper. This step is a must!!

-Prime the cabinet doors and drawers first. I used spray paint primer, and I did three coats on both sides. I set up two construction horses on my patio and went to work. If you are doing your painting in doors be sure the area is well ventilated and prepped for paint spills. Trust me. You will at some point spill, splatter or drop your paint brush or roller. Prep your area!

-While the cabinet doors and drawers dry, prime the cabinet bases and any other area that needs painting. Be sure to start with the inside of the cabinet doors first then the outside. You want to do this so the outside of your cabinets dry properly.

- Be sure your primer has dried completely before you start to paint. This process of the actual painting is up to you. We still used our kitchen during the entire painting process so I decided that getting all of the base cabinets and island done first, then I saved the painting of the cabinet doors for last. I also hung them back up before my last coat. I made it easier for me to get smooth looking coverage. And at this point I used a small roller. I highly recommend using a roller for the larger area of your cabinets! You will get a much smoother finish and no drip marks!!

- Take your time! This entire process took me almost a month. Yup, one month. I had to do what I could when I could. I also had two kids to take care of in the process. Taking on this type of project yourself simply can not be done in one weekend. That is of course unless you have a ton of helping hands. Even then you still want to be sure everything is dried completely before moving on. Although I hung my cabinets and then did the last outside coat with them hung, I did it on a day when I knew my family would not be going in and out of the kitchen cabinets. It is little things like this that you need to take into consideration before you start a project as extensive as this.




Now that you know the steps to take to start your white kitchen makeover, lets go over the budget and actual cost of just painting our entire kitchen white.

The paint, primer and all supplies cost roughly $200

I used 12 cans of Zinsser Bulls Eye Spray Paint Primer = $65

1 entire gallon of Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer Water Based Primer = $20

One entire gallon of Benjamin Moore - Satin Impervo - White C235 01 = $62

All Misc brushes, rollers and supplies = $50

A few years back I got a quote from a local paint professional to see how much I was looking at to have our cabinets professionally painted. Included in the quote was just my cabinets, drawers and doors, not the under side of my island or the legs. They said it would take a total of seven days. They would come in, prep and ventilate the entire area, sand, clean, prime and paint just the cabinets, drawers and doors for approximately $5,000!!
 With that amount I could pretty much redo my entire kitchen with all new cabinets from Ikea and a new back splash and counter top! NO THANK YOU! Not in the budget!
So taking on this project myself I saved $4,997!
Was is a lot of work? Absolutely!
Would I do it again? If it meant getting it done and saving my self  $4,997, of course.
The bottom line is, I wanted a white kitchen and the only economical way of getting what I wanted was to take on the job myself. I did all my research and the hardest part was getting started. It was frightening at first because it was my first time and I only had one shot to get it right. Worst case scenario, It would come out horrible, but because I was prepared all the way and most importantly, took my time it really did come out amazing!
My number one tip/secret to all this? Plan, plan, plan and take your time!! Don't be in a huge rush to get it done! Do your research, have a plan and do what is best fit for your skill level and time frame. Do not take this project on if you're having a party or guests in a week or two. This one man job could take well over three months. Like I said, it took me at least three weeks to just get the painting done and cabinets up. The money saved on labor is well worth it, but it doesn't come without a ton of hard work! I will be sharing the sources for the rest of the kitchen including info on our open shelving, hardware, faucet and new kitchen island.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments!
Have a great week friends!!

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