Happy Throw Back Thursday, Everyone! This project is recently completed, and still our favorite DIY project of 2018! Painting Stained Cabinets! Come see a few before and afters (and more details) of our Butler’s Pantry remodeling project!
We moved into our new house on June 1, 2018. Immediately we set our sights on a few projects. Number One on our list was the original “summer kitchen”. Located next to the actual kitchen, it’s a large room with tons of cabinet space and potential. This is the before picture. Notice the cabinets are sitting on top of the granite and there is no counter space?
And we knew (by opening the doors) the granite went all the way to the back of the wall. Because of the cabinet placement, it left no room for a work surface, or place to put groceries other than the floor.
The cabinets are custom, and high-end, but they simple didn’t work for us. I think because the ceilings and cabinets are so tall, the builder put the cabinets lower in order to be more accessible. This made the extra space above the cabinets seem like wasted space. So, we immediately planned to raise the cabinets the extra 2 feet to the ceiling.
The laundry area is also in this room. The cabinets are by the same maker and beautiful, but were a different color and had different hardware. Our goal for this room was to make it more functional and cohesive. We also knew we wanted all of the cabinetry painted the same color.
After much planning and interviewing countless contractors, we found one (Jay) that understood our vision and could make it happen. First things first, Jay and his helper removed all of the doors and drawers. They removed the upper cabinets, flipped them over and attached a bottom shelf. Then they reinstalled the cabinets all the way to the ceiling.
Already this made a HUGE difference. Check out all of that glorious countertop space!
The space above the refrigerator and former broom closet seemed like a wasted opportunity as well.
So, Jay built two new cabinets to sit on top of the fridge and former broom closet. He primed and installed them, and reattached the original crown molding. They fit like a glove and look like they belonged there all along. And we gained two huge extra cabinets in the process!
In between, came the most important part. The electrician came to install my double chandeliers! (Well, also important were the under-the-counter lights and outlets.) The chandeliers offer much more light as each fixture holds four bulbs. And the crystals add the perfect amount of sparkle that I adore. What could be better than one crystal chandelier than two?
Then came the not so fun part. Priming and painting. After getting a few quotes on having the cabinets professionally painted, we decided to do it ourselves. One quote was for nearly $5,000, which was definitely not in our budget. My husband reminded me this is a DIY blog of sorts, so we rolled up our sleeves and set to work! We removed the doors and drawers and taped off the room. We lightly sanded the surfaces and primed them using Zinsser Primer Stain Blocker-Bond Coat in White. This is an oil-based primer for interior and exterior use. As an oil-based paint, the smell is very strong and pungent, so try to work in a well ventilated area if possible. (Which this was not.)
Below is after one coat of primer. Since we were painting over a very dark stain, it took two coats. (and a lot of patience.)
After the second coat, it all started to take shape! A professional painter would have taped off this area and spray painted the base cabinets as well, but we opted for a simpler and neater version and used a paint brush.
For the doors and drawers we set up a staging area in our garage using saw horses and boards. We drew a diagram of the Butler’s pantry and numbered each door and drawer. When we removed the hardware we marked each number in the hole with a black sharpie marker. (TIP: Put a piece of painter’s tape over the numbers so you don’t accidentally spray paint over the numbers. Yes, this happened. Then it was like a jig-saw puzzle putting the doors back. We figured it out, but live and learn.)
Ideally we would have liked to spray paint outside, but because of the wet and cold weather before Thanksgiving, it had to be done inside. My husband came up with a genius plan to build a paint tent inside one bay of the garage. Using heavy duct tape and plastic tarps we taped off the floor, back wall and sides of the garage and covered the main table. As a precaution, we moved our cars outside, and covered everything else with plastic tarps. Spray paint can travel. I should know.
We wanted the finish coat of the cabinets to look professional, so we purchased THIS sprayer. It’s by Graco and called Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer. On Amazon Prime it’s $281.10. It has 75 feet of paint hose allowing extra reach for large projects. The flexible tube allows you to spray paint directly from a one or five gallon can. (We used a 5 gallon pail and poured in two gallons of our paint.) (Graco Airless Paint Sprayer here )
Like an assembly line, we hand brushed two coats of primer on each side of the doors and drawers. Between each coat, we lightly sanded each side and wiped them off with a micro-fiber cloth. Then we were ready to paint!
For the paint color, we used “Smoky Taupe”. This is very similar to the trim color in the rest of the house and our goal was to have this room seamlessly match the others. The brand of paint is a Cabinet Enamel by Valspar in semi-gloss. It’s expensive but a very high quality paint and yields beautiful results. Expect to pay around $50 per gallon. We purchased this paint at Lowe’s and they custom mixed it for us. (If you’d like further details about the color, I’ll be happy to oblige!) We spray painted the backs and fronts of the cabinets then literally watched it dry for a day and a half. At this point, we were so anxious to finish!
After the paint finally dried, we reattached the doors, drawer fronts, and the hardware. We used the existing hardware because it matched so well, but were short a few because of the new cabinets. I wanted the cabinets in the laundry area to match, too. So, I ordered 5 more sets of hardware for around $20. The new handles are slightly different than the originals, so we put the new handles in the laundry area and used the old ones everywhere else. You’d be hard pressed to tell a difference.
Although we are not professional painters by any means, we are thrilled with the results! This is right after we reinstalled all of the doors and drawers.
My handy husband installed the backsplash under the newly raised cabinets. We were able to find the exact tile used in the rest of the room. I had a few extras from the previous home owner and I took them to a local tile shop and they matched them perfectly. We used stainless steel outlet and switch covers from Lowe’s as they matched the hardware and appliances in the room.
The under-the-counter lighting was another good call. It really helps light up the work and prep space. The lights are controlled by one switch, but there are actually four different light kits and have several dimmer settings. This allows you to have a night light setting, or the brightest setting for cooking, etc.
We finished grouting the tile right before Christmas. We served Christmas dinner in here along with an impromptu New Year’s Eve party. We are learning from experience how to best utilize this space.
Eventually, there will be a built-in ice machine in the opening to the right under the toaster oven. For now it holds a trash can.
The creamy color of the cabinets seems to glow in the light of the crystal chandeliers. Every time I go in this room it makes my heart sing!
Now the laundry area perfectly matches the rest of the room, making me very, very happy. It also makes doing laundry less of a chore.
We couldn’t be happier with our Butler’s Pantry’s transformation. It hardly looks like the same room! It was a lot of hard work and took months to complete, but we saved thousands of dollars by doing much of the work ourselves. Hiring out the carpentry and electrical portion of the project was a good call. Our motto is to hire professionals to do the tricky stuff and we can handle the rest. It may take us a while longer, but we have the satisfaction of saying, “We did it!”
Now when we are entertaining or hosting a party, we put the hot food in the Butler’s Pantry. The warming drawer keeps food warm prior to serving, and there are plenty of outlets for crock pots, rice cookers and places for chafing dishes. This way our kitchen stays nice and clean. And as you know, everyone seems to congregate in the kitchen!
We are currently waiting on our custom drawers for the pull-out pantry, which will be located in the former broom closet. (My husband will install those, too.) Apparently it takes 6-8 weeks to custom make the drawers, so once those come in, our pantry will be complete!
Along with the new year comes new projects! I think my next one will involve paint. Our house is 10 years old and is starting to show some wear. Plus, old paint is hard to match. I think a little refresh is in order, and winter is the perfect time to work indoors!
What projects are you hoping to tackle this year? Please share! I’d love to hear all about it! I hope you have a lovely day and we’ll chat again soon! xoxo Dell