04 January 2016

The Great Disappointment

Ok. So in my head this project went a bit differently.

The kitchen cabinets are in good shape. The shelves themselves are solid wood, and the boxes are perfectly good. Someone bought quality stuff 30 years ago.

The doors are all falling apart after 30 years of use, so I figured I'd keep the bones and get new doors for a budget-friendly facelift.
I'd strip the stain on the kitchen cabinets, maybe sand a bit, to reveal beautiful blonde wood that's not a tad bit orange. Clearly the previous owners chose the wrong stain color. The plan was to simply strip away the 80's and paint the bare wood with a clear coat to make it shiny and protect it.

No painting, no re-staining, and the natural wood would look great with darker counter tops. Minimum effort, maximum output. The house we rented had a similar kitchen and I really loved it. Embrace the natural beauty of wood and put a farmhouse spin on it. I'd end up with a kitchen looking something like this.


Really. What was I thinking.

Here's what actually happened.

I started on a small section to test my theory and perfect the technique I'd use on the rest of the kitchen cabinets. I started with the bar.

Taped it all off, carefully sprayed a stripper that promised to remove stain. I just needed to let a second coat soak in, then scrub with soapy water. Which I did. Then I sanded to remove the last bits of extra stain.

After hours of work, I stepped back to take a look, and...

WOMP WOMP. It looks EXACTLY the same! Just a bit less shiny because the top coat is gone.

I couldn't even. I looked at it from different angles, turned a few lights on and off, then I just started laughing. Then I texted my sisters, who couldn't stop laughing. Ashley said it's like that scene in Beaches where Hillary dyes her hair the exact same color.

The door in the photo was removed, and remained untouched. I put it there for comparison, hoping to find a difference. Nope. None. Well, shit.

So what now?

Well, I have a few options. Listed in order of cheapest to most expensive.

1. I can stain a darker color to cover up the dreaded orange. Hopefully a staining project won't result in a bizarre color or a huge mess. Also since I plan to replace all of the doors, color matching might be an issue.

2. I can paint them. I'd most likely hire someone to do this, after stripping and sanding all of the rest of the cabinets so the job is easier for the contractor aka Carlos or Jose or I forgot his name... who painted the rest of my house. Because I'd want it done right and I'd want it done in oil-based paint for durability. And I don't mess with oil-based paint. The house would probably smell to high heaven for a few days/ weeks. I've always loved the look of white cabinets and a farmhouse kitchen look, but it's not exactly high-end and I've got to think about eventual resale value. Plus I feel like white cabinets would get really grody really quick and I'd constantly be cleaning them. Maybe nix the white but go with another color. Cue more research, aka pinterest.

3.  All new cabinets. Which is a huge undertaking and kind of squashes my "little by little" approach. We'd have to save up and completely demolish the kitchen to do that. Which will probably never happen because, life.

It sounds like painting might be the best of both worlds, but I haven't completely opted out of staining them. I'd have to pick out my cabinet doors and see if the doors and existing cabinetry would stain the same. If they do, then we're golden.

Ha, we'll see.

I can't believe I spent 3 hours and they look exactly the same!

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