The Originals

As I’ve mentioned before, when we moved into our house the kitchen was nothing special. Actually, it was special, in a bad way. The original oak cabinets had been pickled and coated in a high shine poly. The mishmash of lower cabinets, all 60″ of them, had been faux finished to match the pickled uppers. The bottom doors did not close all the way, the base of the cabinet under the sink was rotted and smelly, the drawers barely held anything, etc.

The best picture I have of the cabinets before white paint

The immediate and short term fix was to paint everything white, which did help. When it was finally time to buy some new cabinets, we assumed we would gut the whole kitchen. But then those 1920s original built-in-place and attached to the window frame upper cabinets schemed their charming way into my sentimental (and cheap) heart. I knew I wanted white shaker cabinets so why not keep the already existing white shaker cabinets? And so they were granted a pardon and I am glad we made that choice.

They are in good shape, especially for being about 90 years old. My short-term fix, crappy paint job, peeled off as discussed here. So after peeling and sanding and cleaning I got ready to re-paint the cabinets properly. This time I did my best to do everythng right and the results are pretty nice.
First, I peeled and scraped off all the paint that was not adhered to the cabinet. I then sanded both sides of the cabinets with a medium and then very fine sanding sponge. I filled the divots and holes with wood putty and sanded that smooth, vacuumed everything, dusted off with a microfiber cloth, and then cleaned well with a damp cloth (this makes sure to remove all the dust and dirt).
Then I primed, using Zinsser Bullseye 1 2 3 water based primer. I have used it on a few things so far and really like it. The only thing I don’t love is how quickly it can become tacky.

I let my primer coat dry for 24 hours, and then sanded down any drips or heavy brush strokes. Again cleaned it well to remove any dust, and we were ready for paint.

I chose Benjamin Moore Advance Paint. It is supposedly the best of both worlds, oil and latex paint. It cleans up with soap and water, but dries hard and durable like an oil based paint. I read about it through Young House Love, and picked up a gallon in Super White. It is a lot more pricey than big box hardware store paint (around $55 a gallon). But for something that I want to look great and last a lonnnnng time, I think it’s worth it. I also plan on using it on the trim and doors all around the house, so I am sure I will get my money’s worth.

For painting small surfaces like trim, furniture, or cabinet doors I like to use just a brush. A lot of people love using high density foam rollers, but the orange peel texture that they always leave for me is the scourge of my existence, so I stick to a nice brush. I use this Wooster short cut I found at Home Depot for $6. I like it just as much as my $20 Purdy and the shape works better for my little hands.

BM Advance dries slower than latex paint so you have more time to work without pulling at the paint. It also does an amazing job of “self-leveling”, meaning even if you can see brush strokes, they tend to level out by the time the paint dries. I see why people love this stuff so much.

I let each coat of paint dry for 24 hours before re-coating. I used 2 coats, and 3 in some spots that need a little more coverage.

And then we put em up. We used concealed European hinges, to flow better with the new cabinets. We attached the full hinge (they have 2 parts that clip together, one that is connected to the cabinet door and one that connects to the frame) to the cabinet door. We held the door up and marked on the frame where the hinge needed to attach, unclipped the frame part of the hinge, attached the hinge to the frame and then clipped the door into place.

Euro hinges are great. They can be adjusted in three ways, up and down, in and out, and left to right making it much easier to get the perfect door placement especially with inset cabinets.

We attached some hardware and here are the new old cabinets!

You can see how they complement the new lower cherry cabinets.

1920s cabinets have details you don’t see anymore (or would pay a lot to get). I love the curved edge where the cabinet frame attaches to the window.


Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Satin, Super White

Wall Paint: Glidden (Home Depot) Satin in Antique Beige


3 thoughts on “The Originals

  1. These look great! What a difference a fresh coat of paint makes. I love the fact that your kitchen is from the 1920s – at least that’s when stuff looked cool. My kitchen is from the 70s – there’s just not much redeemable from that era, like popcorn ceilings.

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