Gray Matter

As we’ve shared, we’ve decided to paint the lower kitchen cabinets a medium grey.  Pewter Tankard by Sherwin Williams because it is warm without being beige.

Originally, we thought we’d paint all the cabinets white, just to keep everything light and airy.  Then, we examined the oak cabinets and realized how much grime was actually on the doors.  Partially due to the lack of pulls, but probably more because of two small boys.  So, we decided to paint the lower cabinets grey to disguise the dirt.  We’re also adding sleek drawer pulls.

After installing the face framing, filling the nail holes and joints and sanding smooth I gave everything a coat of primer.

Don’t worry if your primer doesn’t have 100% opaque coverage.  The point is to cover bare material for best paint adhesion and stain blocking.

Then, I finally started painting the cabinets.  For a super durable painted finish, we decided to use Acry-Shield paint by Columbia Paints in an eggshell finish.

Ben used this on exterior doors at the apartment and it has held up wonderfully.  Something super durable also costs more than normal latex paint, and this stuff ain’t cheap at $52.39 per gallon.  We decided to off set the cost by painting a coat of the cheaper Glidden before the Acry-Shield.  That, and we still have two gallons of Glidden paint left over from the drawers.

We considered spraying the cabinets before installing, but decided against it because we wanted to add the face framing after for the smoothest finish possible.  And  we should be able to touch up the rolled finish down the road without it being obvious.

For the record, I love the way the gray cabinets and red toned wood counters look together.  Haa-taa.

Even though we opted for a rolled finish, we still wanted it to look as professional as possible.  To get the smoothest finish, I worked in small sections using a good quality paint brush (we prefer Purdy) to get along the edge of the counter tops and the box detailing.  Right after using the brush, I follow up with a foam roller barely covered in paint.  Glidden paint goes on nicely and has a reasonably long working window.

After painting a coat of cheaper paint as a ‘tinted primer’ I started with the good stuff.  Actually, I tried, but it had a layer of gunk at the bottom that I couldn’t get to mix in.

I took a trip to the paint store and they replaced my old gallon of paint with a new, clump free can.  Back at home, I painted a thin and even coat of Acry-Shield.  It was a slight learning curve.  The paint is slightly thicker and dries a littler faster.  To counter this, I worked in smaller sections and made sure to go over the brushed areas well with the roller.

The color matched the Glidden paint perfectly, too.

Here’s what our kitchen currently looks like:

Sorry for the off colored photos.  It gets dark far too early for my liking these days.

You can see our stash of tile and sconces.

I’m glad to be done with that part of painting, but there’s still tons more in my future.  Gotta paint all the drawer and door fronts once they’ve been built (20 drawers and 8 cabinet doors).  And I’ll have to paint the giant refrigerator case.

Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink

Wednesday afternoon we finished installing the new 3/4 inch thick stained hickory floor.  And we’re completely in love.

With the floor done, we started installing the cabinets Thursday morning.  Because we’re washing dishes in the bathroom sink, getting a sink was a pressing matter.  Rather than incorporating the toe kick in the cabinet, we cheat and build separate toe kicks.  Two by fours are the perfect height and they’re durable, so Ben makes boxes three inches smaller than the overall cabinet size.

Using long screws, Ben attached the boxes to the floor.

That part went quickly.

For the next several hours, Ben drilled several holes in our floor and ran tons of wires.

Wires for what?  Ben’s awesome idea.  Under cabinet lighting.  And not the halogen task lighting.  Rope lighting under the toe kicks.  A similar idea to the crown molding accent lighting in our master bedroom.  We’ve had several people ask how to do this.  I’m no electrician, so don’t quote me here, but Ben starts with a piece of rope light with a plug-in end.  He cuts the plug off and strips the wires.  Then it’s just a matter of connecting the proper wires to one another and capping everything off with wire nuts and electrical tape.

The posts we have on each side of the stove are mostly for support.  In an effort to keep the posts as small and unobtrusive as possible, we decided to put our switches inside the cabinets on the living room side.  We’ll have a bar top across the cabinets with a six-foot opening between for bar stools.  Here’s one of the cabinets by the kitchen entrance.

Don’t follow?  Here’s what it looks like from the kitchen side.

While Ben ran wires, Everett and I cheered him on.  Every time Ben nailed or screwed something down, Ev would say, “Nice!”


Ben took the afternoon off to go hunting.  Fortunately, he shot a deer, so he’s done for the rest of the year.  Unfortunately, we still didn’t have a kitchen sink.  Which means he had to clean his deer in our bathroom.  To say I was displeased is an understatement.  We needed a functioning sink, stat.  Friday morning Ben started working again, setting cabinets.

A small kitchen requires maximizing every square inch.  Even though we’re losing an entire wall of upper cabinets, we’re gaining a lot of usable space.  In fact, the only wasted space is this three-inch gap between the peninsula and trash drawer.  The only reason for this is drawer clearance.

Shortly before the sink could be installed, Ben brought it up from the basement.


A little more wiring for the dishwasher, which we ordered and should be here on Thursday, before the sink could go in.

Then some plumbing.

After five days without a kitchen sink, we were back in dish washing business.

Then we had a little leak.  Everything worked, but the leak came from dishwasher hook up.  Because we don’t have a dishwasher.

Duct tape over the hole works for now.  And here’s the sink side in its current state.  Oh, you’ll also see we have the trash under the sink.  After buying a 10.1 gallon trash and putting it in the trash drawer we realized there would be a fair amount of wasted space above it.  Luckily, it fits perfectly under the sink.  Along with another can for recycling.  Which means, we’re gaining a small drawer stack in the place of the original trash drawer.

In other news, we hoped the wood for the counters would arrive this past Thursday.  Sadly, it didn’t.  Now we’re shooting for Wednesday.  Fingers crossed it comes in and we like it so we can get counters in.  Though, we’re lucky because Ben built the cabinets with flat tops, so we have a solid work surface.  Things could definitely be worse.

Many of you commented that we’re making quick progress.  Even though we’re living with a torn apart kitchen, I have to agree.  Everything is back to functioning order and it can only get better from here.

What do you think of the kitchen so far?  Progressing faster than you anticipated?  Just wait until you see tomorrow’s post.  Yes, that is a teaser.