When we first bought this old house there were so many projects to do and we definitely didn’t have the budget or the time to do them all at once.
In the end, we came up with two categories.
#1 MUST DO projects
#2 WANT to do projects
Because our kitchen was functional at the time, the only thing we did in that room was to install a new floor (covering the torn linoleum was a must for me) and painting the yellow walls a more neutral color. Later, after I couldn’t stand the dark, dingy cabinets any longer, we (and when I say ‘we’ I mean me) decided that maybe a fresh coat of paint would keep me happy until we had the budget to complete the rest of the kitchen.
You can read all about the trial and tribulations of that project in this post, but here is the end result.
At the time the VERY dated panel trim didn’t bother me, but as the days, weeks, months and yes years (it’s been four) passed by, I grew to really dislike that trim.
So one day I took down one of the cabinet doors and decided to do something about it.
I’ll start by saying that whoever built these cabinet doors did a VERY good job. They are super sturdy and that trim, well….it was put on to stay on, that is for sure!
Luckily, I don’t give up very easily!
It just took the right tools and a little patience. (Something I usually run short of).
Sorry, I didn’t take any photo’s for this part of the project. Basically, I used a sharp blade and scored around the edge of the trim. I needed to break the seal of paint away from the panel. Then I placed the edge of a putty knife under the trim piece and tapped the end with a small mallet. Once the finishing nails were exposed I pulled up with the putty knife. The trim came off slowly but surely.
A few of the pieces were stuck on their pretty good and once the trim was removed I noticed there were some deep divets in the wood. But, when I showed Michael aka hubby and chief handyman, he wasn’t too worried about the divets.
Since we had decided that we wanted shaker style cabinet fronts, the plywood we would use to create the new face of the cabinet would actually cover up any divets left by the trim.
So let’s get started on how we changed our outdated cabinets into classic shaker style!
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Here are the tools and material we used.
Sandpaper (80 and 120 grit)
1/4″ x 4’x8′ plywood
Paint/Primer (We used Behr Ultra Pure White Enamel in Satin finish)
The first step was wiping down each panel with vinegar and water just to get any film or grease off. Then we sanded each panel to remove any splinters from the trim work-and filled in any of the divets that were deep with wood filler. (For those, we let the filler dry for several hours before sanding and adding more filler if needed. We repeated if necessary. )
Once all of the panels were ready Michael measured the length of each panel and began cutting the plywood strips.
Each strip was 2 3/4″ wide. Once the strips were cut he sanded them down to remove any splinters or sharp edges. Next, he attached each strip with a generous amount of wood glue.
We let the panels dry for an hour or so. Then Michael used his nail gun to attach the plywood permanently with the finishing nails. We then let the panels set up overnight to allow the wood glue to dry completely.
The next day we filled in any seams, cracks or gaps with the joint compound. Once that dried (2 hours) we sanded those areas with 120 grit paper. If any needed a further coat of compound we did that and allowed to dry again. (We repeated as necessary).
When all of the seams, crack and gaps had completely disappeared it was time for the first coat of paint/primer.
Initially, we used a good quality paintbrush but as you can see it was still leaving brush stroke marks. Not good. 🙁 Thankfully a quick sanding and re-coat with a roller did the trick!
We allowed each of the coats of paint/primer to dry overnight. Before painting the next coat we sanded the panel with 120 grit paper. It took a total of 3 coats.
After we allowed the panels to dry another 24 hours we added back the hardware.
Now it was time to hang them back up!
Here is a before and after side by side view.
We did four drawer fronts as well and I couldn’t be happier with the way they all turned out!!! I just love the classic, simple look of shaker cabinets!! But the best part is we were able to do this project for under $50! We had all of the material and tools except for the plywood and paint!
We also decided to change out the dated range hood (see before pic) for a new microwave. Our old microwave died two days into the project!) To do this we did have to remove two of the small upper cabinets. I was okay with that because I couldn’t use them anyway. The wiring and vent for the old range hood took up most of the space.
Michael took care of that problem after installing the new microwave. He not only covered up the wiring but installed a panel that can be removed for access.
The next must-do projects in this kitchen will be to replace the countertops, add a backsplash, remove the cabinets below the range and add a new range/ oven, and finally, remove the old and outdated wall oven and replace with open shelving.
Whew! That’s a lot! But I can’t wait because then the kitchen will FINALLY be done!
I hope this quick tutorial helps any of you folks who have outdated cabinets to make that HUGE change to your kitchen for not a lot of $$!
Blessings and hugs,