A Crazy Year to DIY the Kitchen – Kitchen Cabinets


DIY The Kitchen – Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Update

This is what my kitchen looked like right after I moved in, bought new appliances, and painted some walls.

This post talks about the kitchen cabinet outsides. My cabinets were in great shape, even though the cabinets were original to the 1974 house. The only weird thing was they put thin plywood on the inside (top, bottom, sides and back). And not very well.

I actually had done the kitchen cabinets a couple of years ago myself. I had used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit ($75). I lightened my cabinets from a darker oak to a vintage color. It took 5 days to do, completing the project only at night after work.

Go here for the post where I used the Transformations kit.

kitchen cabinet

After the first transformation with Rustoleum

t was a great idea at the time, but I decided I really didn’t like it after a while. No clue why, other than it was not inspiring. And my kitchen needs to be inspiring in order for me to cook something other than Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (my daughter’s favorite food).  Does that make sense?

Giving it a Second Go Around

So I decided to change the kitchen cabinets. Again. I was starting to fall in love with mid-century designs. I think I was born about 20 years too late. The 50’s are when almost every woman knew how to cook!

I was shopping in IKEA, and saw some plastic, translucent cherry red knobs and handles (a.k.a. hardware, or jewelry), on sale. I grabbed every one they had, and figured I would do the matching of doors and drawers to the hardware later.

This inspired me to do the kitchen in the style of a 50’s ice cream parlor. I have no clue where the idea came from, other than just staring at the handles.

I talked to my handyman, who could see my vision. We discussed the project and were in sync. I chose a white color for the cabinets. I wanted antique white, but he said a bright white would go better for the theme. We chose Polar Bear White, by Behr. We would go with a red pin stripe along the indentation ridge. He would try to find red paint as close to the handles as possible. I loved the idea!

So we started the process. It took way longer than it should have. I could have probably done it in a week, 2 weeks max, and that’s what I was quoted for a timeline by my handyman. He took almost 4 months! Never again! This home goddess will think twice before hiring out a job!

The Process

He started with the doors and drawers. He stripped off the Transformation paint, and then took off the stain. Yes, we are talking I had real wood, not veneer!

He spray painted the doors and drawers the Polar Bear White. The cool thing was once I saw them reinstalled, they actually looked slightly antiqued, because the wood grain insisted on not being covered all the way. A plus! He spray painted to avoid having brush strokes (although I did definitely see brush strokes on several of the doors). He said about 20 layers, but I truly believe that was a serious exaggeration.

Kitchen cabinet

This is the new hardware I got, discontinued through IKEA. Just what I was looking for retro for my kitchen!

He carefully put the pin stripe on. He said he could not get an exact match to the hardware, but I didn’t see any significant difference.

The hardware turned out to be a problem. The screws were too long for the depth of the wood. But the screws from the old hardware didn’t fit the threaded area of the new hardware. Nylon spacers can be purchased at home improvement stores to use the longer screws instead of trying to find screws that fit by trial and error. With the cabinets being white, it didn’t matter. Anyone who criticizes spacers on the inside of the doors needs to be escorted out of your home! We cut them in half with an exacto knife and a hammer, and they were a perfect fit.

kitchen cabinet

These are the nylon spacers I was talking about.

We got new hinges, shiny satin and nickel colored. We got some sharp looking ones, but they did not fit the old cabinets. Not a smooth move on the handyman’s part. The kitchen cabinet doors would not line up or close correctly. I looked at several home improvement stores, and most of them had the same style, which were made for cabinets designed today, not the old style cabinets. Fortunately, Lowe’s had the shiny material in the style of the original hardware! We ran over to the store and snatched them up.

I pulled out all the plywood except the side pieces. These were left in. I did not want to have to buy new shelves to account for the extra space, which I was afraid would happen. In hindsight, it probably would not have been a problem, but oh well!

The kitchen cabinet frames were stripped and painted. By this time I was getting extremely frustrated with the time it was taking. The handyman was trying to avoid me since I was getting upset with the timeline.

It was bad enough I had months with nothing covering my food and dishes (all the doors were gone for 3 months). Now I had two weeks where I could not use the kitchen at all! Everything had to be removed while he painted the cabinet frames. What a nightmare!

Kitchen Cabinets

Here is what they look like now. more on the backsplash later.

The kitchen cabinets are finally finished.


  • Paint – $120 (but I still have two quarts left)
  • Knobs and handles – $25
  • Hinges – $100
  • Handyman – $140 (low cost, was doing as a favor)
  • Incidentals – $100 (extra equipment and things to finish)
  • Contact paper (in another post) – $20

So basically, I spent about $500 for all new cabinets, totally unique, instead of getting new cabinets (at least $1000 for basic box box store cabinets, plus all the hardware and installation costs!)


  1. Veda says:

    Hi blogger, i found this post on 13 spot in google’s search results.
    I’m sure that your low rankings are caused by high bounce rate.
    This is very important ranking factor. One of the biggest reason for high bounce rate is due
    to visitors hitting the back button. The higher your bounce rate the further
    down the search results your posts and pages will end up, so
    having reasonably low bounce rate is important for
    increasing your rankings naturally. There is very handy wordpress
    plugin which can help you. Just search in google for:
    Seyiny’s Bounce Plugin

    • Thank you ever so much for the tip. I am still learning so much by accident. It’s good to see people who care enough to help each other. It is greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.