My Kitchen Makeover: Stripping Paint

My Kitchen Makeover: Stripping Paint

This is not a pretty post. In fact, this post is darn near disgusting! The first step in this makeover is to strip the paint. In fact, striping the paint is why we don’t really have a choice about doing this, we have to do this. I think the following photos will explain why.

This step of stripping paint is broken down as follows:

Strip paint:

  • Strip paint from hinges in order to remove the cabinet doors off the cabinet base (We start with citrus strip, which is safe for indoor use. We cover the stripper with aluminum foil to keep it from drying)
  • Further strip the hinges in order to remove them from the cabinet doors entirely
  • Utilize the crock-pot method of removing paint from hardware (we bought one from goodwill for this purpose only)
  • Strip paint from the grate under the sink
  • Strip paint from where I am guessing a cutting board is; it has been sealed in by many layers of paint
  • Using a metal scraper, scrape paint from both sides of all cabinet doors
  • Scrape paint from drawer fronts
  • Scrape paint from the cabinet base
  • And, finally, scrape paint from walls
  • After everything has been stripped and scrapped, sand with a power sander.
  • If more paint loosens after sanding, scrape again. Then sand again. Repeat until no more paint comes off.
  • To smooth out holes and ridges between layers of paint, fill with dry wall spackle.
  • We finalize by sanding with a fine grit paper and wipe clean with a tac cloth.
  • Then coat with one layer of primer. Sand more. Prime more. Repeat until surface is smooth (or you’ve just had enough).

Hopefully, the above process will end the cycle of peeling paint in our kitchen!

The hinges alone took a significant amount of time; I think it took us an hour to remove the hinges from the first door, but it sped up over time.

I still haven’t figured out how to clean the black (rust?) off of these hinges to get these things looking brand new; if anyone has any ideas, please let me know in the comments!

I wonder if this grate was originally metal or painted; I think it was probably painted, but you never know! I’m undecided about whether we are going to paint it again, I kinda enjoy the metal patina. It does need to be finished off, though.

Once we managed to free the cutting board (after about an hour of slicing through layers of paint), we cleaned it off and gave it a great long sanding. The cutting board had large gouges in it that wore through the butcher block, so we are unsure if we will actually use this particular cutting board with out one of those plastic sheets you can just lay on top of it, but having this space is VITAL in our small kitchen with virtually no food prep space! It’s been so fun to use it already! And we will still season it with mineral oil, just in case any food accidentally falls off our plastic boards.

Once we got all the hardware off the doors and drawers, they went into the scraping-sanding-spackle-primer cycle until they were smooth. They aren’t perfect, but there is a HUGE improvement! :) We definitely need to adjust the ones under the sink so they are level with one another.

You can see the issues you run into with peeling paint in a kitchen full of painted cabinets (vs. just a plain ‘ole wall). The work is really no fun, but I think the outcome is worth it. Mostly, it is really enjoyable to have the kitchen feel clean; you just don’t feel clean in a room full of peeling paint. Also, the peace of mind that your kid isn’t playing with and/or ingesting paint is priceless.

Kitchen to-do list:

      • Strip paint (*incomplete – still need to do the upper cabinets and the utility room. )
      • Install chair rail in breakfast nook
      • Prime (*incomplete – still need to do the upper cabinets, the walls and the utility room. )
      • Wax all drawers and drawer runners
      • Restore cutting board (*almost done! Just need to oil it)
      • Re-grout tile
      • Finalize a decor style
      • Paint
      • Lay in new shelf liner
      • Hang wine glass racks
      • Install shelving
      • Install blinds
      • Install rack in front of window for herb garden
      • Install new light fixtures
      • Paint storage benches
      • Add baseboard to storage benches
      • Make cushions for storage benches
      • Pillows for benches
      • New, extendable, rectangular kitchen table
      • New, smaller, microwave to sit on the shelf above the stove
      • Find a rug
      • Portable kitchen island

Many of my friends and family are commenting about how my landlord should be paying me to do this. He is paying for the supplies and paint, but not the labor. Of course I think my landlord should pay me to do this, but the fact of the matter is, he won’t pay for professionals to come in here to do it right; he’ll pay for someone to come in here and slap some new paint on (in a color that I have dubbed “smoker’s wall”), and we’ll be back to this point in another 6 months (and for the fourth time). No, my landlord absolutely does not deserve the work we are putting into this kitchen. But my husband, my daughter, and I deserve to have a clean kitchen free from paint debris more than my landlord doesn’t deserve free labor. If the only thing standing between me and fresh, new kitchen for my family is some hard work that I am capable of, you BET I’m gonna do it! Also, let’s step back for a moment and recognize that while my LL and apartment manager don’t seem to care for or put much effort into doing more than the bare minimum maintenance of this building, they also are rather un-bothered by painting, putting up moulding, changing fixtures, hanging shelves, removing doors, etc. So, for me it is a fair trade. I’d rather be able to make a place more my own and further determine my taste and skills (something I talked about in this post), in exchange for putting in some of my own hard work. I understand that it is not a view point everyone shares, and I do recognize there are many reasons not to care too much about your living environment in a rental. Okay, I’ll stop talking about it because I can go back and forth forever, and (clearly) I’m also having to remind myself of my larger goals every time I start to get really frustrated by this situation! :)

So now our kitchen cabinets are primed and ready to go! I can’t explain to you in words how much better they look even though it is just primer, and I don’t think photos are doing it justice! The cleaned hardware pops nicely, the doors SHUT (/gasp)! We bought an ULTRA white, and I’m so excited to see the cabinets a bright, bright white. Five years ago I would have never thought that I would choose white, but I love a bright white in a kitchen, and our floors are white-ish. I am thinking of adding some pops of color somehow. I’m pretty sure my next post will be a few mood boards — my dream kitchen, a totally colorful, trendy kitchen, and something in between. I have to admit I feel completely unsure about what direction to go in for style and decor!! :(

4 Responses to My Kitchen Makeover: Stripping Paint

  1. Michelle says:

    a huge improvement already!!!

  2. Thanks Michelle! I agree, and I was hoping it came across in the photos. ^_^;

  3. Aimée says:

    Looks great! Wondering if fine grain sandpaper might help with the black residue on the hardware?

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Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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