The Mister and I bought our home last summer and moved in late September. And we had one very ambitious goal– to host Christmas dinner for our families. Now that might not sound like a lot, but that meant we needed to replace all the appliances, refinish the cabinets, lay down new counters oh and prepare the meal. That’s a good chunk of work. (But we love it!) Here’s how we turned this greasy outdated mess into a bright, clean and lovely kitchen– just in time for Christmas dinner.
Let me also add that we did this on a small budget. Oh lordy, I wish we could have afforded to replace all the cabinets and countertops with nice new stuff from the home improvement store, but do you know how much that stuff costs? Like thousands of dollars. And y’all, I must have such good taste, because all the things I liked the were the most expensive. HA! So we used what we had and made it better. With our own two (four) hands.
First things first…
The kitchen needed a serious de-greasing. I mean, it was pretty much deep-fried from the cabinets to the appliances– everything was just covered. We’re pretty sure whoever lived here before us cooked a lot, but didn’t clean a lot. Actually, it was pretty amazing. Here’s some photos of the build-up we had to deal with. Buhhhh… I’m not even gonna show you the inside of the dishwasher or refrigerator cause I like you guys. Just know that it was bad. Real bad. (shudders)
Under the hood
Close-up of the top of vent hood. Kind of amazing, right?
Yeah, that’s what was built up right under the heat source. It’s amazing our home didn’t catch fire before it was ours.
Super-close-up of that nast.
If the oven face is this greasy, just imagine what the wooden cabinets felt like…
Check out all that grease just dripping down the sides of the stove. My tummy hurts just looking at it.
Gah, isn’t he a cutie? A pallette cleanser for sitting through all those photos.
So we replaced all those bad boys and will soon pay off those credit cards 🙂 Thankfully, I worked for a badass company that offered very nice discounts on one of our client’s line of appliances. Thank you unnamed maker of our new oven, dishwasher and laundry machines. That was totally awesome.
To re-finish the cabinets, we needed to put on our respirators and de-grease all faces of the cabinets, inside and outside. First we used a citrus degreaser, which should be fine in most cases. But for us, we still had a lot of gunk, so we had to bust out the big guns. TSP stands for Trisodium Phosphate and it used to be in lots of detergents and dishwashing liquids until we realized just how bad they are for us. It’s really nasty stuff and absolutely wear a respirator mask and open all the windows when using this stuff. You can read more about it here. Unfortunately that is just how intensely gross our kitchen used to be.
- De-grease using a citrus degreaser or, if need be, TSP.
- Remove cabinet doors and any hardware from the shelving.
- Label all your doors using a alphanumeric system. This will help reduce confusion as you try to figure out which-cabinet-goes-where in the end. A lot of times doors will look similar in size but end up being wrong– and if you don’t label them, you won’t find out until it’s too late and you’re cussing at inanimate objects. Don’t cuss at inanimate objects.
- I assigned each segment of cabinetry a letter (West side = A, South = B, East, C) and then in clockwise order, I assigned them a number. So I know that A4 is the fourth cabinet door on the east wall. Ladies, your loving husbands might say this is an unnecessary step and that he’ll totally know which ones go where. When this happens, smile sweetly and do it anyway. He’ll thank you when you’re not scratching your heads.
- Paint on a layer of sanding sealer.
- Sand by hand with a medium grit sandpaper, 150 is fine. (Also, sponge sanders are helpful for the beveled curves)
- Repeat last two steps until satisfied.
- Paint on a primer like Kilz.
- Using a basic indoor paint, go nuts on your cabinets.
Once we were all done with sanding, priming, painting and drying, we re-hung the cabinet doors and enjoyed the new look! Just in time for Christmas dinner.
Coming up next…
I’ll be posting Part Two of this makeover soon and show you how we did these awesome wooden countertops for about $300 bucks!
Trust in your hands.