Kitchen Cabinet Makeover - Doors & Drawers Facelift!

During the week the Ed had off from college, we tackled several projects around the house; one of the most exciting is getting rid of the '70s "groove" in our kitchen.

To remind you:

See the "groove" in the cabinet doors that I mentioned?  Yeah, it was SO not working for me!

I did some research and landed on a Pinterest page that took me to Aimee's blog at It's Overflowing. She and her husband had the perfect solution to cover up our grooves, add personality, and give the kitchen a much more timeless look by creating Shaker-style cabinets.

Here's what we did:

We purchased a full sheet of quarter-inch plywood (called underlayment or Luan) at Home Depot, and the friendly guy there cut it into two large pieces, and then cut one of those pieces into 2-inch strips.  We took it home and cut the strips to length as needed using a borrowed saw. We cut up the other half ourselves, into the pieces that covered the drawers.

After removing the knobs and drawer pulls, we used clean, lint free rags to apply the de-glosser on every surface that will get painted.

Next, we filled in a bit of the groove with wood filler, otherwise that tiny bit would have peeked out at the junction of the strips. (Aimee's cabinet doors were flat.) **If we had measured more carefully, we would have made the strips slightly larger, and could have skipped this step.

Finally, we were ready for the wood!  That's My Hubs (below) with our new-to-us pneumatic brad nailer from a local pawn shop. It had a price tag of $29.99 on it, but they accepted our offer of just $20.00, and that sweet baby was ours!

Following Aimee's instructions, we measured carefully, then nailed the vertical boards on first; then measured and cut the horizontal boards to fit snugly.  Since the cabinets will be Shaker-style, the joint is not miter-cut at an angle. And yes, we HAD to measure each and every door. It made for a bit of slow-going, but the results were worth unwanted gaps!

The underlayment strips framing the doors have changed the look of the kitchen already...and I am THRILLED with the results so far!

Because our drawers also had the groove goin' on, we decided to just cover the entire drawer front, turning it into a flat smooth surface!

Once we were done with all the nailing, we gave the drawer fronts a very light sanding, for splinter control.
We used the original holes as a guide to drill the holes for the knobs and drawer pulls from behind, and re-installed them.  This will help keep oils and dirt from our hands from getting on the wood before we get them painted.
Speaking of paint...we have to wait. The temperatures here in North Idaho are still in the 50s, and the paint rep at Home Depot said to wait until the temps are in the 60s or 70s, otherwise the paint won't dry and cure properly.  Because we have a busy little 2-1/2 year old granddaughter in the house right now, there is no way that we could do the painting setup that Aimee did.

It will be tough waiting for the next couple of months until we can paint, but since we will have a new granddaughter arriving in May, that blessed event will help break up the time for me.

On the plus-side, paint is going on sale in a few days! YAY!
So far we've spent less than $100.00 on the kitchen facelift and that thrills my heart...saving $6500.00 is well worth it!

Be sure to jump on over to Amiee's blog at It's Overflowing and check out all her brilliant ideas and her house tour. You won't be sorry.

I would genuinely love to read your questions and comments.  Since I'm on social media, too you can always contact me there... Facebook or email me!

DIY Fireplace Mantle

We needed to update our downstairs fireplace with a wood mantle, so naturally we decided to do it ourselves!

Here's what it looked like when we first moved in, and as you can see, the mantle is just a 6-inch brick ledge. The brick ledge was very bumpy and uneven, and difficult to place items for display.

And here is what it looked like as we started the project:
We sold the wood-burning insert, because
we were told by the chimney sweep that it was installed improperly and was unsafe to use.  We love seeing the logs burning, too!

Supply list for 105-inch mantle:
  • One 1x8"x10' common pine board (cut to fit) top board
  • One 1x6"x10" common pine board (cut to fit) front board
  • Ten 2-inch angled brackets + 40 screws
  • One 8-foot piece of decorative trim molding (cut to fit)
  • Four 2-inch square flower blocks (found by the trim molding)
  • brad nailer and 18-gauge finish nails
  • miter box & miter saw
  • wood putty, wood glue, sandpaper
  • Heavy Duty Liquid Nails & caulking gun
  • primer & paint (I bought two 8-ounce samples)

First, Ed used a masonry chisel and hammer to gently chip off the rough clumps on the bricks (on the top of the ledge) to level them out.

Measure (and measure again!) and cut your wood; then glue and clamp the boards together in an L shape, and install the brackets.  This forms the top shelf (8-inch board) and the front facade (6-inch board).

After about an hour, you should be able to remove the clamps, and "dry fit" the mantle.
Next, we installed some small blocks for braces underneath where the brackets are, since the wood mantle overhangs the brick ledge about 2-inches. (sorry, no pic) The blocks keep the mantle level so it doesn't lean forward.
The mantle wouldn't fit tight against the uneven bricks, so we also nailed on a length of "shoe molding" along the back to give it a more finished look.

Here's the fun part!  Starting at one end, we glued on a 2-inch flower block; we cut three pieces (31-1/2 inches each) of decorative "ivy" trim molding, and applied it in this pattern using glue and nails:
 block-trim board-block-trim board-block-trim board-block.

By using the flower blocks, we were able to purchase only one length of the decorative trim board, plus the blocks add visual interest, by breaking up the length of trim.  If necessary, use caulk to fill any gaps. We had a secure fit, and didn't need any caulking.
At this point, we were finally ready to install the mantle using the Liquid Nails; Hubs applied it to the bricks and then we placed the mantle into place and put four 5-lb weights on top of it for about an hour.
Lastly, it was all up to me to apply a coat of primer and two coats of paint. (My advice to you is prime & paint it first before you install it into place. I learned the hard way...painting next to the wall was a pain.)
I'm thinking about adding a bit of tinted paste wax to bring out the detail of the trim and blocks.

So, what do you think?  I know I'm going to love decorating this pretty mantle for every season!
Our next project is the much-anticipated Kitchen Cabinet Makeover! Go check it out!

What DIY projects have you tackled in the past? Or maybe you are knee-deep in one now? I'd love to hear about it, just leave a comment below or catch up with me on Facebook!

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover - Researching & Planning!

The Hubs and I have been discussing our desire to change the kitchen cabinets since before we closed on the house two and a half years ago. We recently obtained a quote (from a big-box home improvement store) just to replace the doors on the cabinets and re-face the cabinet boxes.
Just the down-payment wasn't even within our reach.
However, we had a plan B! We've been researching, planning, getting opinions from others, and now we are ready (um, hopefully).  This WILL be an adventure.

The kitchen cabinets are dated, chipped and... well, get ready for some ugly:

Keepin' it real, man...
Why yes, those ARE cheap, plywood cabinet doors!  
AND they have a funky "groove", too! Verrry '70s!

Here's the low-down on what we will keep:
  • The wall color. We painted our main floor all one color, since the it's sort of open-concept, and there is no separation between the adjoining rooms. The color is "Worn Path" by Valspar. In person it doesn't look yellow, like it does in the photos!
  • All of our large appliances are white and fairly new so we won't be replacing them. 
  • We have lovely Corian countertops in "Riviera" with integrated white sinks so we're keeping them.
  • We just installed a top-of-the-line garbage disposal...something we didn't have before. 
  • The pretty oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures are newer and since we love them, we've already matched our hardware pulls to them.

Some things we would like to change, but are not sure if the budget will allow right now:
  • New flooring. I dislike this vinyl floor mostly because of the color; it's white but has a "pattern" in it that makes it look dirty even when it's clean. (Can we say "extremely frustrating"?)
  • New faucet to match the lighting and other hardware. (The one we have is perfectly functional, so it's not a "need", it's a "want".
  • Crown molding where the walls and ceiling meet. (I've never cut a mitered corner, and that scares me.)
Things we can't change:
  • The almost non-existent budget.  We've saved a bit from our income tax refund, and it has to
    s-t-r-e-t-c-h. A lot.
  • The hideous "popcorn" ceiling.
  • The fake "beam" that separates the kitchen from the living room. - Well, it could be removed, but then we'd have to tackle the "popcorn" and that won't be happening.
  • The time constraint. The Hubs has a week plus 2 weekends off from college classes (spring break) to help me get this project moved into the "after" category.   
Our biggest changes:
  • We will be using a technique we saw here to convert the doors to a Shaker-Style.
  • We have decided to mix-n-match the color of the cabinets: 

Light color on the upper wall cabinets, dark "coffee bean" color on the base cabinets.
We don't have the exact colors picked out yet, so stay tuned for updates!

We are really excited about our kitchen adventure and we want to share it with you!  Check back often for progress reports and before-and-after photos.
If you have completed a kitchen project like ours, especially on a tiny budget, I'd LOVE to hear what worked for you and what didn't, so feel free to comment below.