Monday, March 26, 2012

work yourself.

I know! I haven't posted in a week. But I have a good excuse. I was busy turning the kitchen from this...

...into this (the still-totally-unfinished-but-in-a-different-way version):

Ignore the weird black gate - that used to separate the other half
of the kitchen from the family room. I took it off months ago.
And there it still sits.

I can't believe the amount of work that's gone into this room...and the amount that still needs to happen. But let's back that ass up and focus on what HAS been done, shall we?

I took advantage of the gorgeous weather this week and played hooky from work for a day and a half. Well, not "played hooky" so much as "was forced by a generous boss to go home and paint," but eh, same diff. Why this week? Priming the cabinets and doors was going to be a stinky affair, and it needed to happen with the windows open (in the case of the cabinets) and outside (in the case of the doors). It was in the 70s and 80s every day this past week - perfect painting temps - and I wasn't sure when we'd get a mild stretch like that again (possibly not until May, omg).

I had a meeting Tuesday morning that got canceled on Monday night, and I took that as a sign to accept my boss's offer to let me stay home to work on the kitchen. I literally couldn't sleep last Monday night in anticipation of starting everything on Tuesday morning. I was up and showered before sunrise (seriously), and I got my to-do list together quickly. I swung by Lowe's (for a couple random tools, crown moulding for the cabinets, and to check out range hoods), the Benjamin Moore paint store (for...paint, duh), and work (to grab some empty boxes for all of our kitchen crap).

Once I returned home, I packed up the contents of the cabinets, removed the last wayward cabinet door (with my new, tinier screwdriver), and got to work.

Tedious, tedious work.

And I loved every second of it. Like, forgot-to-eat loved it. Mmm, flow state...

But it was definitely tedious. I sanded all the doors (18 of them) and cabinet frames, which took for.ev.errr, mostly because of the wood filler I used to smooth out the routed designs and all the cabinet defects (dings, nail holes, gouges). After two rounds of wood filler and sanding, everything was ready to be deglossed.

So. Many. Holes. To fill. (Heh.)
Deglossing was, to put it simply, gross. Basically, it's liquid sander/cleaner, and it helps with kitchen materials because it cuts through the greasy, gunky build-up that accumulates over years of heavy use. I had no idea how disgusting some of our cabinet doors were until I tried deglossing them. Like, embarrassingly dirty. I half-wish I'd gotten a close-up of some of them, and am half-glad I didn't so I wouldn't be compelled to post them on the Interforevernets. Oh, wait. Here's one for you:

Gross drawer and door, complete with mysterious
drips, fades, gouges, routed design, dirt, and gunk.
The deglosser even ALMOST got rid of my favorite part of our kitchen - an upper cabinet door on which the previous owner had inscribed, "Tupperware Only Please." Look really closely and you may glimpse it...

We did not, in fact, use it for Tupperware. SINNERS.

On to the priming. I did it as quickly as possible, since I wanted to get at least one coat of paint on everything before the day was over. (No problem - I was done with priming by late afternoon.) I somehow skipped getting a picture of all the doors laid out in the garage, but here are the cabinets in their primed glory.

The cabinet interiors still needed to be de-gunkified at that point.

The only annoying parts to prime were the two open shelves between the upper cabinets on the right side. So many nooks and crannies, tops and bottoms and sides. Well, there were some other annoying spaces - the stupid undersides of the stupid upper cabinets - but, thankfully, I somehow forgot to prime half of them, which is good because I might not have ever found the motivation to paint, had I primed all of those. 

Finally - the paint! Now, I'm kind of notorious infamous awesome for having no decision-making skills discerning taste when it comes to paint colors, specifically in kitchen.

Aaand it ended up blue. Whatever.
But for some reason, I just kind of...went for it with a shade of white for the cabinets. I knew I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Advance paint, which is supposed to be the shit. It's high-quality, low-VOC, self-leveling paint magic, and word on the 'Net is that it's the perfect durability for kitchen cabinetry. And I saw a picture once, way back in the day, of some cabinets done in BM's White Dove (BM...heh), and I thought it was pretty. On someone else's cabinets. With a different color scheme in their kitchen. Not taking into account the effects of lighting, etc. So, why not buy a gallon of it and spend a week painting the main room of my house with that color? Whatever, I don't understand me, either.


Good news is, I think it looks good. I'm still getting used to the shock of white cabinets, and it looks super weird with our off-white countertops and our stained beige-and-green flooring...so I'm doing my best to just close my eyes and go with it. Worst-case scenario is I have to paint them a different color when it's all said and done. Which would be a sucky scenario, but not the end of the world.

Picture darker countertops and actual doors...can you see it yet?
Because I can't, and it's kind of freaking me out.

Another sucky scenario?

As you can sort of see in this picture, even though I sanded for-freakin'-ever - even used my random orbital sander for a bit, until the sandpaper flew off and would not re-attach and I didn't have a back-up piece (FAIL) - you can still see where the wood filler went in around the old routed design (FAIL AGAIN). Everything was smooth to the touch, but the fancy-pants paint somehow highlights my overzealousness with regards to wood filler. I'm crossing my fingers that the half-round moulding I'm using for a new design masks it, but I'm also pissed because I should have just filled in the corners of the design instead of the whole thing - since the moulding design would have covered the sides of it anyway. Oh, well. Live and learn and cry when you think it's ruined and threaten to just have open shelving from now on.

...Right. So - this week's to-do list:
  • Exchange 30" upper cabinet from the ReStore for a 36" one (for the fridge surround), because I think the 30" one is going to be too disproportionate
  • Donate old 12" base cabinet/find new-to-me 15" base cabinet at ReStore
  • Buy trash cabinet conversion kit
  • Start cutting half-round moulding for the cabinet doors
  • Return nail gun (because - well, THAT'S a funny story for another time)
  • Finish drawer for IKEA dresser hack
  • Call the electrician, who never called me back with a quote (WTF)
  • Call the HVAC guy, since having our fridge in front of the only kitchen vent does, in fact, make our kitchen colder, despite his reassurances that it wouldn't
  • Get new microwave, dish rack (ours is broken beyond repair), and range hood
  • Craigslist the old bathroom light and the kitchen gate
So I worked 14 hours straight on Tuesday, 10 hours straight on Wednesday, 4 hours after work on Thursday, and straight through the days/evenings this weekend. There were a couple times where I wanted to throw things (again...nail gun story) and when my back muscles were screaming at me, and I may have developed a psychosomatic aversion to the new Florence + the Machine album (which played on a loop Tuesday and Wednesday and is now permanently associated with endless, fruitless sanding)...but, guys, this is so much fun. I have cuts all over my hands, bruises on my legs, and paint under my fingernails. I can handle my caulk like a pro. (Yep.) I have a hacking dry cough that's either sawdust irritation in my lungs or seasonal allergies. And - best of all - now I'm at the part where there's less deconstruction (removing doors and hardware, scraping and sanding, ripping down cabinets) and more putting-together (returning cabinet contents, building drawers and cabinetry, attaching moulding and hardware).

J.J. and his dad also bought the wood for the fridge surround and the pantry, and I'm hoping those will be constructed this weekend. I seem to have saved my decision-making crisis for "pantry placement" instead of "paint color," but I'm working through it, if mostly by channeling all my negative energy into sanding. I mean, talk about therapy. This is some of the best mental health work I've ever experienced (no offense to my very talented and patient therapist). Yeah...work it, work it.


  1. You know I have a friend who says every time she hears the word "caulk", she thinks of the other word for a rooster in a British accent? So she says it a lot - "caulk caulk caulk" - and I'm glad that you can now say you handle your caulk like a pro. Cuz that is awesome.

    1. I can't stop hearing it now! "caulk caulk caulk"...lolol



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