Picture ID, baked goods, dresses.
Someone's in a big girl bed! Also: job update. Because you were on tenterhooks I'm sure.


Take a gander.

Photo (4)

Photo (3)

Photo (1)

Photo (2)

Isn't it a beaut?!

I don't know what those cabinets are called. I've seen them in a million houses, but I have no idea what to google. And no one ever posts before pictures of THESE cabinets. So I've been feeling like the kitchen is sort of a lost cause, at least until we have the requisite bazillion dollars for a total gut job. Besides, it's totally functional and I don't hate using it, the way I hate the bathroom layout every time I go in there. It's been low-ish on my list of things to stress about. 

Until it occurred to me that I wouldn't HAVE to wait until I had a bazillion dollars to make some substantial changes. Namely, my evil enabling SIL found a bunch of pictures online of THESE cabinets with a Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations makeover. I'm just going to apologize now because I? Cannot find these pictures anywhere. I'll have to have her email me the links. But anyway, people PAINTED these cabinets. And they looked AWESOME. I mean, as awesome as painted laminate cabinets go, which turns out is pretty awesome. I was super impressed. SIL spent an entire afternoon investigating the possibilities and yes I did go out that very evening to purchase my own paint kit. 

This was our vision: 

  • dark gray cabinets ('Castle' on the box, although later I found out I can have that paint tinted any color I want. It doesn't have to be one of the colors on the box.)
  • ripping off the oak trim "backsplash" and replacing with a strip of sea glassy tile in blues and grays and translucents
  • some brushed nickel modern hardware
  • painting the oak trim around the tile counters the same aqua as the walls in the little room off the kitchen OR
  • staining the oak trim around the tile counters AND the butcher block bar height counters a deep espresso

My house is super white and light and I felt like I could pull off a darker kitchen. I think clean lines, dark colors, and Ikea-looking pulls would look "right" in this house. I got super excited, mainly because it felt like something I could DO. I'd still have the same beat up floor and the same tile and grout countertops, but everything else would feel so different. And I could DO it. It would take a while, it would be inconvenient, but I could DO it. 

Then, right before the kitchen designer dude (the consultation I got for free from Home Depot) was supposed to arrive, Phillip and I had a Discussion. 

Here's the thing. I am... impulsive when it comes to house stuff. And I don't have a lot of patience, I don't like to wait around, I'd rather spend an entire day doing something and getting it done rather than a few hours here and there during the week. I don't zero in on the professional way to do something or the "best" way, I tend to look and see what other people have done, what the options are, and go from there. Which isn't to say I just up and paint something. I spent a loooong time reading about painting furniture before I cracked open the primer for my craigslist cabinet. And I feel like I have some experience now. I now have opinions about what to use spray paint on, what tools to use for regular painting, etc. Painting is no longer intimidating to me AT ALL (see: the archives from when we bought our townhouse. HA.)

PHILLIP on the other hand... opposite of impulsive. In every way. Maybe I've mentioned that it took two years for him to suggest that maybe we start dating? Phillip's perspective was: we just finished the deck. We just shelled out a ton of money. What is this new thing my wife wants to do now? What sort of mess will I have to live in? Does she know what she's doing? What if it looks worse? Aren't you supposed to use a sprayer on cabinets? You can't paint LAMINATE! I'm tired of things not being done! I'm tired of things not getting put away. THIS IS STRESSING ME OUT. 

It was a hard conversation, mainly because as soon as someone implies that I am not going to do a good job I immediately get offended, hurt, indignant, and irrational. So then I was all, "What evidence does he have that I will screw this up? What else have I done around the house that sucks? Where else did I do a bad job?" and getting super upset because HEY I'VE MADE OUR HOUSE REALLY PRETTY. AHEM. 

But see, this is where the enneagram comes in really handy, people. I'm serious. I'm a Three and Threes feel loved/valued for what they accomplish. Someone expressing doubts about me and what I can do? TWIST THE KINFE A LITTLE MORE, WOULDJA? Phillip is a Nine with a One Wing. Nines want to be comfortable, not living in a DIY kitchen zone. They also hate making decisions and someone throwing questions at them at lightning speed? Like me? Demanding answers? Makes them IRATE. Can't they just go sit on the couch and eat some chips and NOT DEAL WITH THIS? Also, that One Wing - the Perfectionist - makes him liable to zero in on the screw ups, the places where the paint chips, the brush strokes are visible, the way his wife thinks she can just sand and stain a butcher block countertop where it IS... WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER? 

The "discussion" ended with me saying I was not going to paint the kitchen cabinets. It's just not worth it. I'll give Phillip a few months to roll it around in his head and me a few months to decide if that's really something I want to do. I think Phillip DOES trust me to do a good (and mostly right) job, but it's not fair for me to just up and decide that we're going to do this huge project. 

But then the designer came over. Sigh. I found him... pleasant with a touch of annoying. He wasn't a designer so much as a Home Depot sales guy who knows how to put cabinets together. Part of talking to him was great - he was there to sell us on refacing cabinets and he figured out a solution for our tiny wall oven, creating a new space for that, building new cabinet frames, getting rid of the ledge where the old microwave is currently sitting, all that. So helpful. He made it sound POSSIBLE, which is what I like to hear. He also described things in phases. We could do the cabinets and oven as Phase 1. We could get new appliances for Phase 2. For Phase 3 we'd get new countertops. Whenever we could afford to make those things happen. 

Then he said that just refacing the cabinets we have (and building a couple of new boxes for the wall oven situation) would be in the range of $16K to $20K. 


Maybe I've been watching too much HGTV, but I thought that would be the cost for entirely NEW cabinets. Maybe I'm totally in la la land, but $16K to $20K just for CABINETS doesn't seem worth it to me at all. I feel like I should get brand new insides for that! At least! After a few snide remarks about Ikea (whose cabinets I happen to like more than any other store's, so far) he left his card and a brochure and drove away. We ended up feeling like, "Well! That is good information to have!" 

And so I go back to the painting cabinet idea. One thing Phillip could handle if I wanted to do something NOW is testing the paint kit on our bathroom cabinets which are exactly the same. The kids' bathroom would be a great place to test out all our ideas, right? I still very much like the idea of painting them, but since that weekend I've seen a few other things and now I have a few other ideas. 

This concrete countertop idea, for example. I thought you had to pour concrete into forms to make this happen, but this link Elizabeth sent me is basically painting concrete onto your existing countertops. INTERESTING. Also CHEAP. Phillip and I have both talked about concrete countertops as an option, so when I sent him the link he was actually amenable! But I couldn't do dark gray cabinets and concrete counters. Now I'm wondering if I should try the dark gray in the bathrooms, see how that works, and decide about the kitchen. If it does work I'd also want to test out the concrete. If we were going to go with all of that for the kitchen (and honestly, just TRYING it sounds kinda fun to me) then I'd definitely want a lighter color for the cabinets. I'd get either a new kit or go the Centsational Girl laminate route, where you use oil based primer and then whatever color you choose. (No primer in the kit.) 

Also, Phillip, being an Almost Perfectionist, suggested we get a paint sprayer if we're going to do this. Did you know he considered getting me a paint sprayer for Christmas last year? This is hilarious to me. ME. A PAINT SPRAYER. (Would I even know how to use it?) 

So... this is all definitely on the table still, just farther down the table. Seriously, if it's going to cost 20 grand just to switch out cabinet doors, then painted laminate, a $15 concrete mix, and a $100 worth of backsplash tile sounds super great to me. Even if I have to do it myself. Even if I don't do it perfectly. It sounds FUN and it sounds like DIFFERENT. I like both of those things! 

I also want to say: MY KITCHEN IS JUST FINE. I need to say this to ME. My kitchen is fine. It's big. It's functional. Everything works. Everything fits. It's light. It's bright. Just because I'd tear down walls and redesign the whole thing if I COULD doesn't mean I am currently living in Kitchen Misery. That's ridiculous. White quartz countertops will not make me happier. (At least not for long.) Sleek modern cabinetry will not make me a better person. An oven that fits my biggest cookie sheet WOULD be an improvement, but we certainly manage to bake and eat heaps of cookies without it. Much like my pants size, how pretty my kitchen is should not determine how I feel about myself. 

All right. That caveat out of the way - I think it'd be SUPER FUN to start painting/tiling/concreting things. As soon as my marriage can handle it, we'll get started. WHEE!




A couple things. First of all, my parents had the same kind of cabinets for forever, except their's were a lovely "harvest gold" color. (Yellow. They had a YELLOW kitchen. The countertops matched the cabinets.)

Second of all, $16-20K just for refacing? Sounds insane to me too. My parents redid their whole kitchen 2 years ago, including all new custom cabinets (because their kitchen is a weird shape) with a ton of those pull-out shelf drawers plus granite counter tops for 30K.

Anyway, I hope you get to start on something soon! And I want to see it all when you do!

Also, if you want recommendations for paint sprayers I can give you some brands. Weirdly enough.


I think you should totally try painting them if you're in the mood for a change. I think you'd do wonderfully!


Home Depot is good but expensive. When you're ready for the whole kitchen thing, have Phillip ask his parents to ask their friends for recs on where to buy cabinets/countertops. It's amazing how much cheaper the labor and material costs are by going to Chinese places (they do pre-manufacturing in standard sizes in China where labor is cheaper and then they do the final customizing on-site). We did granite counters and custom cabinets in our current house and spent the same as we did on our old house where we used Home Depot and got standard cabinets and Corian counters and the current kitchen is bigger. We even did granite counters in the laundry/utility room because it was something ridiculous like $200 for materials.


Oh dude, I'm not a nine, but once again I must say I GET PHILLIP. Not in a 'I don't think you should do this' way. I totally think you should do it. All of it. Take LOTS of pictures.

But I would much, much rather sit on the couch and eat some chips and not deal with it.


When i first saw this i though, is that a new kitchen? haha shows how bad mine is. and wow that is an INSANE quote, no way i would pay that. I've seen painted laminate, it comes out pretty good; good, new brushes and not over working it are the best way to avoid brush strokes.
Hope you get something similar to your dream kitchen :)


Ok - I know this is going to sound like SPAM but I promise (pinky swear even) that it's not. I have used this company twice for cabinetry for my house and have found them reasonably priced AND a delight to work with. Try cliqstudios.com. Their cabinets are, in my experience, built as well as the high end cabinets that you pay more for at HD (you did know that even the 'expensive' cabinets at HD have more than 1 quality option - right? Yeah. The cabinets from here are cheaper than their 'low end' option but with the quality of their 'high end' options).

Kaitlin P.

Just have to jump in and say the Rustoleum Cabinet paint is AMAZING. Like magic. The process is a bit tedious, but the final product is incredible and worth the work.

Charity Richards

I find it helpful to photoshop some different things before doing it...I recently painted my milkshake pink kitchen with natural plywood doors from 1950 some new colors and it really transformed it and actually made using my teeeeeny kitchen less stressful and awful :) I could photoshop-apply your ideas onto these photos to help Phillip see how much nicer it would look or I bet you could do it (even if you don't have photoshop).


That quote is Ridiculous. The end.


If you are interested in changing the look of the cabinets there are wonderful places online where you can buy just doors. Paint the boxes or whatever. New doors. Anything you want can be gotten. You have a good number to get, but srsly that HD designer was smoking crack. And I am a person who did a gut remodel on the kitchen in my condo using hd. Just so's you know.


I agree that the quote is way overpriced!! We did Ikea cabinets for the kitchen at our last house. Love their kitchen planning system and with solid wood cabinets and new appliances it was way less than the quote you got for refacing. I don't think they charge to just go for an appt and get design plan. I went after I saw Sarah Richardson shop there on HGTV.
I've also heard great things about the rust oleum cabinet paint. I'm sure you've googled bloggers who've used it. Can't wait to see what you decide!


I just found this show and I think you should submit your kitchen! They have great ideas (maybe you can get some tips on the website?) for painting cupboards and counters and easy fixes. https://www.facebook.com/knockitoffTV It's Ethan's favorite new show now :)


I just watched my first episode of Knock it off! Go for it Maggie!!


I was trying to figure out if those were before or after pictures until I started reading, so obviously I don't think it is that bad.

Now, would you like to come over and mess around in my house while you wait for your husband? We could use some paint. I will let you paint the kitchen aqua.


Those cabinets are called "European Style" cabinets. I only know this because when my husband and I lived in our old apartment, they advertised "luxury European style cabinetry." HA. As if it's really something to boast about. They aren't awful, just not that attractive (of course, that's just my opinion). I'm sure what ever you guys choose to do, it'll look great! And, not sure if I missed it, but have you posted pics of the new deck yet?


I, too, am volunteering my kitchen if you need to get some painting done! Although first, we should rip up the CARPET in the KITCHEN where small children eat and spill food. It is so gross.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that you've given me hope for the time in between right now and ripping out the kitchen. I'm loving the concrete counter tops.

Amy J

We had quotes for refacing. Home Depot 16K. Sears 12k. All new cabinets? 8 K.

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