13 Jun 2012

The Kitchen: Painting the Cabinets

I know, I know....I've had you on the edge of your seats for a few days, haven't I? I shared all the painting and priming awesomeness with you last week, and then interrupted the flow with the tile dilemma and a post about getting old.  Well, don't worry. The wait is over. This post is all about painting. Are you cheering yet? Hang on, this is going to be a wild ride.

Or not....

Let's be serious. There is nothing wild about painting cabinets.  Unless the fact that random spice bottles keep falling out of the doorless cabinets onto my head classifies as wild.

When we left off with the cabinets last they were all primed and just waiting for some paint.

I have known for years that I wanted white cabinets, but when it actually came down to picking a white it was quite a frustrating experience.  Do you know how many white paint chips are on the market?  Enough to make a person go blurry eyed.  I knew I wanted to use a Benjamin Moore colour so that we wouldn't have to colour match.  I was really leaning towards Ballet White, but after I painted it on the credenza and the end table, I decided it was a bit too dark (too dark of a white...I know, it sounds ridiculous). So back to the white swatches I went.  I narrowed it down again to Oxford White and White Dove.

In case you have never stood in front of a paint chip wall and gone slightly insane,  here's a shot of all of the colours classified as 'white' on the Benjamin Moore website.  See the issue? There are so many whites....and none of them look white when compared to another white.

After much discussion with the paint guy, we decided to go with White Dove. Honestly, there wasn't much difference between the two.

The lovely folks at our local Benjamin Moore store then mixed a gallon of Advance paint for us in White Dove.  We decided to go with the pearl finish so that it would be durable but not too shiny.  

Sorry about the French side again.....I forgot to take a picture before we poured the paint, which dripped and pretty much covered the entire English side of the can!

We were so gung-ho that we started by doing the first coat on the front of the doors without much thinking.  We used the same technique as we did for the priming - use a small brush to cut in and then a foam roller for the rest.  That night I was lying in bed and it occurred to me that painting the front side first wasn't the smartest idea.  If we painted the front first and then the back, we had more chances of scratching up the front while they were flipped over painting the back.  I nudged Mr. Swell and told him my brilliant idea - that we needed to stop painting the front and do the back next.  He grunted, and I took that as approval of my brilliance.  

So the next morning we flipped the doors over and painted the back, along with the cabinet boxes.  24 hours later a second coat went on, and then 24 hours after that we flipped everything back over and did a final coat on the front. Two coats covered brilliantly and then we had to deal with the worst part - 5 days for the paint to cure before we could put everything back together.  I love Advance paint - I really do, but the drying time sucks.  There is no way around it. It's truly painful. 

5 days later (no cheating) we hung the doors back up.  Thanks to the handy numbering system (explained here) we knew exactly which door belonged to which box.

What do you think? It's a pretty big difference, isn't it?

It took us just over a week to get the upper cabinets painted and hung back up, and now we are in the middle of doing the lower ones.  It's a long process, but really doesn't take much time each day.  Each coat only takes us an hour or so. If you are at home with a baby who only naps for an hour and a half at a time like we are, have faith - you can do this! It might make you a bit batty in the process, but it's so worth it. 

Once the bottom cabinets are cured and hung I'll be sure to show you how it looks.  No more two-toned kitchen for us.

I'l leave you with a before and half-done after.


  1. Kelly, the cabinets look great! I laughed when you said your husband laughed with approval. Ive never used the Advance paint, does it have certain attributes that make it a better option in the kitchen?

  2. Thanks Jeff. I love Advance paint. It acts like an oil paint but is water based so its super easy clean up. After the 5 days of drying it forms a hard enamel, so its easy to wipe and doesnt chip as much as regular latex does. Its my go-to paint for furniture because of its durability.


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