Monday, June 6, 2011

Shiny, happy, kitchen

Sorry for the long gap between posts, but there's a lot going on now so stay tuned! Well, there was a long going on before, but it was mostly baby-related and not so much craft/DIY/renovation-related. :)

So what happened to the Silhouette? Well I still love it, but in the abstract sense. I still haven't taken my new toy out for a test drive. It seemed like there were umpteen tutorials and frankly, I don't have that kind of time or patience. I'll probably end up just pointing, clicking, and cutting to get my feet wet and then read the tutorials, lol!

I generally don't like to juggle projects, but it's become necessary. While my husband works on the downstairs half-bath, there's nothing I can do...assuming there was even enough room in there for both of us, which there isn't. He just finished laying the tile floor yesterday and will be grouting this week. In the meantime, I've been pinning nonstop and wondering how to cheaply renovate the kitchen before it drives us both crazy. We have a 1987 two storey Colonial (yes I know it's "story" in the US but I grew up in England and it just doesn't look right). I don't think anyone has made any improvements to the house ever! Okay, except for the addition of a sunroom off the den, which is a lovely place to look at the water behind the house. The rest of the house is basically builder's grade, still painted that nondescript off-white, and the kitchen is showing its age. Blah brown cabinets with terribly tarnished brass pulls that the previous homeowner left spotted with grease...ewww. Plain beige Formica put on a couple sections of the wall as a backsplash and faux butcher's block laminate countertops.

But what could we do about it? A new kitchen with cabinets, floors, countertops, etc was completely out of our budget. And in case you're wondering, our budget is "Spend as little as possible." So as my husband Remi and I wandered around Lowe's/Home Depot a few weeks ago, I noticed something new: Rustoleum's Cabinet and Countertop Transformation Kits. (Note: I am not paid or sponsored by anyone, I just blog about what I use and whether it works.) I spent some time doing research on the internet to see if it worked as well as it claimed. Apartment Therapy was especially helpful, as they had the opportunity to try out the products. I was convinced and my husband was too! I told him that even if this didn't work, it couldn't possibly leave our cabinets looking worse than they do now! Lol, I guess the only direction we can go is up!

After a week or so of debating over the many cabinet colors, we narrowed the many choices down to Harvest (glazed), Paprika (glazed) or Rustic (glazed).
We eliminated Rustic as being too close to our current cabinet color and I used Rustoleum's Virtual Tool to get a better idea of the other two. Paprika won by a landslide, Harvest just didn't look the way we thought it would in the Virtual Tool.

In preparation for the big cabinet makeover, I took off all the cabinet and drawer pulls...the brassy, tarnished, greasy things that I've tried (and failed) to get properly clean in the whole year we've lived here. I don't know if you can really see how yucky they look in this before pic:

I was seriously considering putting them in an acid bath of CLR (Calcium-Lime-Rust, a type of caustic cleaner). Unfortunately, the back of the label said not to use on brass. I'd read about someone else online who dipped their brass in CLR and it came out reddish colored. I didn't particularly care about the color since I plan to spray paint them anyway, but I steered clear of the CLR just to be on the safe side.

I tried brushing on baking soda and then pouring on vinegar. No dice.

Boiling water. Nada.

The employee at Lowe's had suggested Brasso but I thought it'd be too much work. I've used Brasso before on a big urn and the amount of cleaner and elbow grease it took made the idea of doing 20 detailed cabinet pulls by hand seem pretty daunting. So I fished around under the sink for a new plan and found an oldie but goodie...Comet. Not wanting to play around with the kitchen sink again (the drain stopper can be a bit wonky), I used a clean disposable aluminum casserole dish. I put all the cabinet pulls in it, dumped a generous amount of Comet on top, and filled the whole thing with boiling water. I intended to only wait 15 minutes (per the label), but a fussy baby meant that I didn't get back to it for 3o minutes, maybe a little more.

The pulls came out covered in green Comet-y slime and I rinsed the first one off to see how it looked. I wasn't too impressed, but I tried scrubbing the next one before rinsing off the Comet-slime. Success!

Some look better than others and there are a couple where the brass completely eroded away (oops) but the difference was me at least.

My husband wasn't too sure about the whole "noticeable difference" bit. Apparently ugly cabinet pulls aren't on a man's radar. Not to be deterred, I pressed on with the spray paint. The weather is perfect today for spray-painting and I wanted to get it done before the temps hit the 90's. Remi showed me a neat trick for mounting the pulls on some cardboard before painting, which worked out really well.

And voila! Satin nickel cabinet pulls...aren't they great?

I love that we were able to work with what we had. Tomorrow I'll attempt another deep-clean of the greasy cabinet faces so I can start the transformation!

Update: After comparing the color of the "new" pulls to other finishes in the house (stainless steel, brushed nickel, etc), it seems that the pulls are actually silver colored. They're unmistakably silver when held next to the dishwasher. I'm still pretty happy with them, as they look much better than before. I must admit though that I'm kinda disappointed that the special "satin nickel" spray paint (also by Rustoleum) is just silver. Now I'm wondering if their stainless steel appliance paint that we bought to redo our white fridge is going to measure up.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I'm a little late to share this, but just for future reference. You can use Blue Magic (a car polish cream) and steel wool to polish brass to a chrome-looking finish: It really doesn't take very long, either. At any rate, love the updated pulls. :)