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Painting Mom’s Kitchen Cabinets

My Mom really, really wanted a white kitchen. So for Mother’s Day this year I bubbled up for a week with her and got to work.

I used Country Chic Paint‘s Vanilla Frosting. The paint is a luscious thick clay-based matte paint. With zero VOCs, this made it perfect for working in a space that continued to function as a kitchen during the work. The warm white colour shifts from cream in shadows, to beautifully white in bright light. Still so pleasant to look at, without making you feel like you need to break out the sun shades!

My mom’s kitchen is a long galley kitchen with no island. This is the original kitchen with original cabinets. it was built by my grandfather in 1953, three years before I was born. I am not sure my early efforts at re-decorating mom’s kitchen were as appreciated as my later efforts lol.

I was about two years old here and as you can see, really making myself useful!

What’s funny though, is that we have come full circle and Mom‘a cabinets have gone from dark, back to the white she started with, all those years ago.

It took the better part of two quarts of paint to complete the project and create the lovely creamy finish which was sealed with two coats of CCP’s Tough Coat. One quart of Tough Coat did the job.

We used the original hardware from the previous paint session about 15 years ago. These came from Restoration Hardware in NYC. They actually looked prettier on this paint than they did the other.

"I just want them white", she said.

Painting the cabinets with CCP was the easy part. There was some rather unique prep work that needed to be done in order to complete this project. By the time I finished this old kitchen, I felt pretty confident I had run into pretty much every painting complication you could experience and CCP was up to the challenge.

One of the things I really like about CCP is the terrific tutorials they have on pretty much anything you can do with their paint and your projects. If you want to paint kitchen cabinets and need a little guidance you can find all the help you need here. This is exactly how I started out:

Kitchen Cabinets

Finish with Tough Coat

Prep work is critical with all paint projects, but with some, more than others. These cupboards are 66 years old. The kitchens then, were not the showcases of beauty they are today. The wood under the paint, was more like a hardboard with a veneer over top. Almost like what you would find in an old cottage. Practical, and initially finished with shellac I am guessing. The bread boards were in really rough shape and pretty much unusable for anything but a place to land a hot pot from off the stove. A little sanding cleaned them right up and with a coat of Hemp Oil to seal them, they are good to go again.

The prep work for this kind of a project can seem pretty intimidating, but if you take it step by step, it can be so rewarding! Especially the price! The all in price including prep materials, less than $250. Of course the labor in this case was free to my mom!

Here is the breakdown on the prep process:

I knew no matter how much we cleaned the top layer, there had to be all kinds of stains lurking in the undercoats, just waiting to pop up if not properly blocked, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

Each door had to be sanded down until the surface was integrated and there was no more paint peeling from the faulty water based paint on top of the oil base paint. This was time consuming, but not impossible with an electric sander. It was not great outdoor weather, so with the big garage door open, and a filter on my sander I had good air circulation for the job. A mask for this job is highly recommended!

Once that was completed, I shellacked everything. Can you see the pink colour blooms that are starting to appear? Without shellac, those pink splotches would have migrated to the top of my doors when I sealed them, and all my hard work would be a big fat fail. Now they are locked securely in shellac jail, with no chance of parole, lol.

Once this step was completed, I took the next day off and let everything cure. This is a critical step and ensures the sealing step is complete. Don't rush this step!

I did all the doors on one side at once, and then did the cabinet. By working in sections, the job just seemed a little less overwhelming. Week Two, I repeated the process on the other side, and began painting CCP on the first cabinet group.

Because there was such a difference between the dark and the light of the recovered painted surface, I added a coat of BIN primer to blend everything together. This easily saved me at least one extra coat of CCP Vanilla Cream. Regardless of what your favourite paint line up is, this is a useful step to remember if you are moving from dark to light. That saves some cost in the paint process, as primer add ons are always less expensive.

You can really see the difference in the primer coat on the bottom drawer. The one above it, has received the full coats of CCP Vanilla Cream, but no final sealer yet.

CCP's Tough Coat was the final step. I can't say enough good things about this product. The finish has a very soft glow to it, and finishes to a very hard topcoat. There is no scent and like all the CCP products is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. (your two year old child/pet can safely chew on the corners and remain unharmed... at least from the paint products).

Key thing to remember, WAIT at least 24 hours before applying it to your final project. The layers underneath need to be cured at least that long before the final application. Moisture trapped underneath can cause some blotchiness and you will unhappily have to redo it.

I loaded a damp paint sponge in one hand, and a damp brush in the other to catch any areas that had any little bubbles come along. This was most likely to happen at the beginning of my stroke, or at the end. Just a light feathering knocked the bubbles down and I was good to go. I applied two coats, gave it all a light sand with 600 grit and called it a day. The final finish looked like I had applied clear wax, but was so much stronger. Mom was thrilled and so that made me equally happy.

I sell all CCP products at Epilogue Studio and Gallery in Browns Flat New Brunswick and am currently fully stocked. We are open by chance or appointment currently, and observing Government of New Brunswick standards we will be open for private shopping after June 15. Feel free to private message to set up an appointment or a shopping spree, or if you have any questions about the Country Chic Products. I have completed the Country Chic Paint certification process and am happy to help you find the perfect products for your projects.

Happy painting!


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