I had been thinking about adding kitchen cabinet painting to my portfolio, so when the opportunity came up — a referral from Mike Girouard of Quality Painting, qualitypainting.com  — I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I had already been painting bathroom cabinets and other furniture pieces by hand, but hand-painting an entire kitchen was not the best way.  I traveled to the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes in June to get trained by Jim Brooks of Anest Iwata, the best spray system on the market.  Once I used the spray gun, I was hooked!  Spraying gives such a smooth, beautiful finish, and I was amazed at how easy it was to use!
Here is a breakdown of the process:
  1. Removing Hardware and Hinges:  We have a numbering system where we keep track of all of the doors so that the doors, drawer fronts and hinges go back in the exact place they came from. 
  2. Taping and Covering all of the Surfaces:  The door and drawer openings are taped off.  Everything is covered from the counter tops to the appliances.  We use a zip wall system which basically creates a “room” of plastic with access through a zipper that is placed on one of the plastic walls.  Fans are used to provide adequate ventilation.
  3. Sanding and Cleaning: The cabinets are then sanded and cleaned with mineral spirits or TSP.
  4. Priming:  A good stain blocking primer is a must.  We spray two coats and sand in between for a super smooth finish.
  5. Painting:  I like General Finishes Milk Paint.  It’s durable and sprays on easily.  I can also have it custom-tinted to any Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams paint.  Think of all those color choices!
  6. Glazing:  If a glaze is desired, this is when it’s put on.
  7. Clear Coat Protection:  The final step — two coats of General Finishes Enduro Satin Water Based Polyurethane.

Depending on how many doors and drawers the kitchen has, it could take up to a week to do all of the taping and prep work to get the kitchen ready to spray the base cabinets. If a glaze is done, it will take a couple of days longer but you’ll be able to use the kitchen after that.  The doors and drawers fronts are brought back to my basement studio and could take another one to two weeks to spray and cure depending on how much detail they have and if a glaze will be added.  A small inconvenience, but much easier than a ripping out the entire kitchen and spending either double or triple the amount of money on new cabinets.  If you had your cabinets refaced, they add a veneer to the cabinet bases which (in my opinion) is much less desirable than having them painted.

Here are photos of the makeover with before and after photos.  Although this kitchen was beautiful, it had only one window and the cherry cabinetry and counter tops made the space very dark.  The homeowners wanted to brighten up the kitchen with a lighter finish on the cabinets.  We painted the cabinets with General Finishes Milk Paint in Antique White and I hand-glazed everything with Van Dkye Brown Glaze Effects which brought out the details in the molding and completely transformed this kitchen. They love how it turned out and so do I!  To see more photos of this kitchen transformation, visit my Facebook page, Classic Fauxs and Finishes.