One lesson learned in the cabinet/counter/backsplash renovation was that timing is everything. We tried to run both projects in parallel, which proved to be fairly difficult. This is because the cabinet painting itself was a 7 step process, and took the better part of a week and a half. Whereas, once the granite/travertine was removed from counter/backsplash, the installation of the new marble/subway tile could actually be done in about a day and a half. But we wanted to get the cabinet frames painted prior to installation of the other kitchen elements, so we inadvertently tripped over our own schedule feet a couple times. Oh well!
Regardless, the kitchen cabinet painting SEEMED like it may be easy enough (and much cheaper) for us to do it ourselves. We are so glad that we didn’t. Much like the other painting (which we found out we weren’t great at), it would have been super tedious and required many long nights. To give you an appreciation of the process that was followed, it was seven steps in all. This included removal of the doors, sanding, priming, re-sanding, priming, painting (multiple coats). See below for a couple of the “in-flight” pictures.
Once the cabinet doors were ready to re-install, we had to go ahead and switch out the knobs for stainless pulls (pictures below). The only complicated part about this was that our cabinet painter said he had never installed new pulls before. Much to my surprise, I said “ok” and decided to figure it out on my own. After sourcing the pulls from Amazon (MUCH cheaper than buying them all at Lowe’s since there were over 30 pulls in the whole kitchen), all I needed to do was drill a secondary hole to secure the pulls. The reason this was required was that the knob only had 1 screw/hole, whereas the stainless pulls needed to be anchored with two screws/holes. There is a template that you can buy in the cabinet hardware section at Lowe’s that has many of the common offsets already there. I highly recommend using one of those and a mechanical pencil to lay out your hole drilling plans.
Here are some of the pictures (without spoiling the surprise of the finished counter/backsplash):
One of the first things we did upon move in was to paint the fireplace. In case you couldn’t tell, the town home originally had severe Tuscan vibes all throughout – with a plethora of oranges, greens, and browns. The fireplace was one of those focal points that we knew we wanted to get more updated. Our solution? White washing the bricks. The bricks in the “before” part of the picture clearly show a lot of dark and earth tones. Given that we had just gone with the Repose Gray throughout the home, we opted for a standard white wash. The process couldn’t have been simpler, actually. We used equal parts white chalk paint and water (i.e. a 50/50 mixture of the white chalk paint and water), and simply painted it onto the bricks judiciously. The only key is to make sure you clean the bricks first with a lightly soapy water solution to “clean” the bricks and rid them of any topical dirt and dust. Once dry, simply apply the white wash mixture with thick bristled brushes (and finer brushes if there are small enough crevices). Then, viola!
See below for the “before” and “after” comparison:
The first (and most obvious) thing our house needed was PAINT. We were somewhat disgusted with the sheer volume and weight of the oranges, browns, and greens throughout the home. So we knew we wanted to go with something more contemporary to bring some light and air to the space. We opted to do the same color throughout common living spaces, and slightly darker shades in the bedroom and bathrooms. Our main color is one of the new “hot picks” for modern home painting/design. It is called “Repose Gray” from Sherwin Williams. We knew it would still play with the lighter colored floors, also given that we knew we would be doing some updating to the kitchen as well. We were so happy with our first “big decision” on the home improvement front. It really set the stage for future success all around.
One lesson learned though: definitely pay a professional to paint. Not only will they be able to buy the paint at wholesale prices, they’re just flat out better than you will ever be. We actually opted to paint the guest bedroom/bathroom upstairs ourselves because it ended up being almost $450 cheaper (we got a very good rate on the common areas + master bedroom, which made a “small bedroom” seem like a ripoff at that price). After investing around $150 in our own materials, and the better part of 1.5 days apiece, we decided that it would have not only been less stressful, but way more clean to just leave it to the pros… We still have a few touch-up areas we need to finish in that bedroom we painted ourselves, too. “One of these days” I suppose 🙂
Take a look and see how much of a difference the new paint makes, though!
Before I add detail to the mountain of work we have done to clean our place up, I wanted to provide some context with a set of “before” pictures. Fortunately, our house was very clean upon move-in. Especially considering it was a townhome constructed in 2006. Most mid-2000’s townhomes were build with good-but-not-great materials, and start to show serious signs of wear 10 years in. Not ours, though! The pictures below were actually part of the original realty listing, and are very representative of the overall cleanliness we saw upon purchase and taking possession.