Two Week Kitchen Remodel Project Day #1

kiss the cook piggy
Mr. Pig, a.ka. Mr. Cholesterol watches over the kitchen remodel.

Most gardeners seem to know their way around the kitchen.

The two passions go hand in hand:  grow what you eat, eat what you grow. The sensual, tactile qualities of each activity appeal to a certain kind of  soul.

Well, that said, I love to cook and we (me and my partner Jeff) are taking on a two week kitchen remodel project, to be ready in time for Thanksgiving, perhaps my favorite holiday (I really like stuffing and scalloped corn).

Our cupboards are fine. This isn’t a gut job. Our cupboards are fine, builder grade, but they do the job and are solid and a fairly inconspicuous oak. We are sanding, staining down a few shades (we settled on a ruddy  English Chestnut to pick up a maroon hue in the granite) and adding some handles (cupboard bling). Yay… at least $1,000 saved!

Prior to this morning, Jeff sanded down the doors and the previous evening I sanded down the drawers and cupboard faces (about a 3 hour project, including emptying time). Luckily, our cabinets only had a light coat of polyurethane, that a medium sanding block quickly took off. After sanding they were surprisingly silky smooth.

kitchen before
A before shot of the kitchen. Not bad by any means, but in need of a freshening up.

We were up at 7 a.m. to stain the cabinets doors and drawer fronts. We hopped to it, as the weather reports predicted three days in the 60s and we could have the windows open to air out the fumes. Jeff did most of the staining, clad in grubbies and latex gloves, he rubbed the oil based stain on with a rag, then wiped off the excess, repeating to reach a nice, husky tone. They are drying, leaching their toxic fumes in the garage, but we breathe in the fresh air outside, and watch for headaches. The doors and drawers will be reunited with the cabinets in a couple of days.

The countertops will weigh a ton! We are going for the kitchen gold… granite countertops. Money saved on cupboards will be applied to this phase of the project. A few weeks ago we trekked out to Affordable Granite and Cabinetry in Hopkins and hooked ourselves us with kitchen design diva Jane and she made it easy and fun. New Venetian Gold is our choice and because we have a small, galley style kitchen, our stock is coming from a remnant. So, our choice was fairly environmentally friendly. Jessie came out and measured our space this week, and the countertops will be coming soon.

kitchen paint after photo
Heavy cream walls with a chalkboard backdrop.

Day #1 involved painting out the walls in a Behr “Heavy Cream” primer and paint in one. We did not mean to get the primer and paint in one, but found the chip we loved in this particular rack and never thought to ask for it in a paint alone. The plan was to use leftover paint from other projects as primer, but, oh well.  It was about $32 andt covered like a dream. Like glazing a Bundt cake. Painting out the ceiling in the same color makes the room seem taller… no stopping your eye as it travels up. The back wall, the wall you see as you enter the room, is painted in chalkboard paint, to allow for changeable, graphic schnazziness. I plan on drawing roosters and kitchen whisks and the like on the wall. The pure black paint was grayed out a bit with some deep gray flat, $5 “oops bin” paint from Hope Dept. You are supposed to wait three days to see how it chalks up, but I tested it and we are set.


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