Fifty Shades of Ugly

      23 Comments on Fifty Shades of Ugly

What On Earth Was I Thinking?

Some really ugly paint on the insides of our cabinets :(

Some really ugly paint on the insides of our cabinets 🙁

…Or, What on Earth Were THEY Thinking?

Ugh…sweat drips from my nose onto the wrinkled surface of paint bubbling up with paint stripper. This is the third layer I’ve scraped from the INSIDE of the cabinets. What on earth were these people thinking? I’ve seen some questionable paint choices in my life, but the previous owners of our home really take the cake. I think that every single room in our house was painted red at some point. Not that there is anything wrong with red, but really…who wants an entire room painted fire engine red?

More red paint!

More red paint!

Remodeling Our Kitchen this Summer

Our kitchen doesn’t function very well. I realized that as I unpacked our pots and pans 4 years ago and noticed that there are absolutely no bottom cabinets to store them in. So when Tom decided that we should remodel our kitchen this summer, I was all for it! Woo hoo!

Then the realization of how much work it would take settled in. I felt a little overwhelmed. But we remodeled our last kitchen and we can do it again, right?! After looking at the cost of replacing the cabinets, and thinking about the waste and trees being harvested for my convenience and desire for ‘new’,  I decided to refinish the ones we have and add a couple more. No biggie, right?

Not pretty, but I can make them work. Sure, Lisa, anything you say. ;-)

Not pretty, but I can make them work. Sure, Lisa, anything you say. 😉

Wrong! Although the cabinets aren’t in terrible shape, they are 30 years old. Plus the insides and ends are all laminated particle board…not a great material for refinishing. I know I can cover the ends with a veneer and stain them to match the doors. I can also paint the interiors to look fresh and updated.

What I really wasn’t prepared for was the multiple layers of paint on the interior of some of the cabinets. They were painted baby poo gold and ketchup red when we moved in…so I covered that with a cream color. But underneath that were several layers of brown, blue, grey, and a color that I can’t quite identify. Add to this the fact that the previous owners didn’t seem to understand the importance of sticking with latex or oil, and I have an interesting mix of peeling, crappy looking paint to deal with. Sigh.

The wall cabinets are down...looks better already!

The wall cabinets are down…looks better already!

I’m not even half way into this refinishing project and I really want to cry. Yesterday was the tipping point for me, as I tried to scrape away layer after layer of UGLY paint. So even though there really aren’t 50 shades of paint to deal with…it kinda felt like it by the end of the day. At one point I pretty much lost it and started yelling that I HATE THOSE PEOPLE. It didn’t make me feel much better when Tom reminded me (for the umpteenth time) that he was willing to buy all new cabinets but nooooo, I decided against that! What on earth was I thinking? I regained my composure and managed to remove most of the ‘ugly’ before I called it quits for the day.

Then I went and just stared at the cabinet doors that are stained the pretty shade of black cherry that will be the finished look of our new kitchen. I had to focus on the positive before I went in the house to shower and collapse on the couch for the rest of the evening.

My pretty 'new' cabinet doors are stained with a black cherry color that will look soooo nice when this is all over and done.

My pretty ‘new’ cabinet doors are stained with a black cherry color that will look soooo nice when this is all over and done.

I’m feeling pretty impatient to get this stage of the remodel over with. I should be able to get most of it done before the heat of July sets in and makes this unpleasant job even worse. Today is another day…and I need to go finish scraping, sanding, and staining the top cabinets.

Then the guys will remove the bottom cabinets and bring them out to the garage. Thank heavens they didn’t paint the insides of THOSE cabinets!!!

Have you ever refinished cabinets or remodeled your kitchen? What was the worst part of the job?

23 comments on “Fifty Shades of Ugly

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  3. Controlled Jibe

    Wow – that makes me want to put our kitchen remodel on hold! We remodeled the kitchen in our last home, however, and decided to just removed the entire cabinet system. We hung shelves, reclaimed boards by copper pipes (also reclaimed). The open shelving system isn’t for everyone, but we loved it and we didn’t have to deal with stripping cabinet paint! Good luck and we can’t wait to see the finished product!
    – Katie and Mark

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Lynn,
      So true! But this home has studs placed close together, solid fir trusses in the floor, and everything was built to last. Some of the new homes we’ve seen are not nearly the quality, even if they look nice. 🙂 So it’s a trade off.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. a

    Do people still do open kitchens with shelves instead of cabinets? My kitchen is a horrible, run down mess. I can’t afford cabinets, but shelves are a definite option. I even thought of trying to find a good deal on some stainless steel restaurant tables with lower shelves and using those with baskets instead of lower drawers and cabinets. But maybe that’s just weird.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi A,
      Yes, there are people who still use shelves instead of cabinets. If you aren’t worried about resale, you should do what makes the most sense for you!
      One of my few tv indulgences is watching HGTV and I have seen them do some really nice kitchens with open shelves on the top. If it’s done right, you would be improving the value of your home too!
      Best wishes!

  5. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Oh my goodness, girl, you deserve and award. I just know that I could purchase new when the old were as you described I’d jump at the chance. Maybe because we had our first house built and was blessed to have beautiful new cupboards. It spoiled me for life! We’ve moved several times and nothing has been as nice as those in my first house.

    I must say that I might be tempted to have some open shelving….those blank walls sure give your kitchen an airy feel.

    Kudos for keeping with it! I look forward to seeing your finished kitchen!!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Diane,

      It is wonderful to have a beautiful, new kitchen! We completely remodeled our last kitchen with all new maple cabinets and I loved it!

      Since we are planning to move again in about 5 years, I really didn’t want to go for broke and order new. I just want it to look nice for resale and also improve the layout. Hopefully I made the right decision!

      I’ll share photos when it’s done!

  6. Philenese

    Yes, I have remodeled several kitchens but the worst was in Oklahoma. The cabinets were oddly spaced and a previous owner had opted to contact paper the insides and doors of the cabinetry. I’m thinking that stripping layers of ugly paint (and your pictures show really ugly paint) would have preferable to using engine cleaner inside and out on those cabinets. Why engine cleaner, because it was the only thing we found that would even start to lift the goo and gunk! The job took two summers but the finished remodel was worth it!
    Hang in there and you will enjoy your new kitchen soon!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Philenese,
      Oh my! I definitely don’t envy you the job of cleaning contact paper off of cabinet doors…crazy! I’m glad you were able to get it done and they were worth saving. 🙂 Thanks for that reminder that I’m not the only only one dealing with a big pain in the butt!

  7. Kathy MacInnis

    Hi: Yes we have remodeled one and a half kitchens. We remodeled our kitchen in our old house. Our cabinets were the original ones that were put in the house when it was built. I painted them over three times. Before I did them the third time, I stripped them completely. I can certainly identify with your feelings and it was all of my own doing. I ended up with a horrible case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at the end of the task. I was in pain for weeks afterwards and my wrists have never been normal since then. I also believe in restoring rather than throwing things away. The house that we are in now has also got the original home made cabinets. They are very well made but really not finished well. They were done in a very plain style with straight lines and corners. Luckily, there is only one coat of shellac on them, that is peeling in many places. Also, the previous owners, who also built this house, had the bad habit of using the cabinet fronts as a writing surface, thus, I can see the indentations of their hand writing in the cabinets. The lower cabinets were installed shorter than the conventional height of cabinets. The uppers were also installed lower, so that there is not enough room between the counter and the bottom of the uppers to be utilized properly. My hubby is going to take them down and raise them up and he is also going to raise the lower cabinets up to the proper height. I am 5’6″, so I need them higher for the sake of my back. He is also going to router the edges of the cabinet doors to give them a little bit of a style. They are knotty pine, so I will be giving them a nice milk wash paint finish to match the country look of my kitchen. So in answer to your question, the worst part of the job is stripping paint. I am grateful that there is only a think coat of shellac on these ones and it can probably just be sanded off.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Kathy,
      Wow! You really have to wonder why people do the things they do. Why on earth would anyone use their cabinet door as a writing surface?!? Crazy! I hope you are able to redo your cabinets without doing any more damage to your hands and wrists. Mine are definitely feeling the burn, but then I have been abusing them for years. 🙁
      Best wishes with your re-do!

  8. Anonymous

    I just re did my cabinets using Rustolium Cabinet Transformation from Home Depot. It is sooo easy & they look great! You can still see the wood grains it’s a great product. Going to use it in bathrooms next.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I bought two different cabinet transformations kits and found that the white didn’t cover the old color well enough. So I got the dark kit and didn’t like the color…oh well. But I think I can use the dark kit to cover the interiors of the cabinets and it will look fine.

  9. Vickie

    Ugh – I just finished painting my cabinets. I painted them an off white about 10 years ago and they held up pretty well! They were originally the 90s oak and were in excellent shape, I just wanted a lighter, brighter feel in my kitchen. Especially since I don’t have a window in there – though there is a skylight. So, after 10 years there were nicks and scrapes that needed to be freshened up. I went to our local box store with a cabinet door and had them match the paint, thinking I could just “feather in” the spots that needed help. Nope. We tried several times to get the paint to a better match. Couldn’t do it and they gave up. So, I ended up just painting the entire kitchen cabinets… again. Oh well. It looks good now! Hopefully you will be done removing the paint before your arm (or sanity) is done! 😉

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Vickie,
      I think my arm is ready to be done! And my sanity, well, that was pretty much gone years ago. 😉

      I’m glad that you were able to get the cabinets repainted and you’re happy with the way it looks. I haven’t had very good luck with matching paint either.

      I wanted to go with white cabinets, but realized on my test door that it would take about 5 coats of paint to cover the dark color. I know the cherry will look great though!

  10. sunny crips

    Your kitchen looks like mine ,LOL. As you work chant. … I love my house, I love my house …repeat! LOL. After your project is done you will have a life time of pride in your work. And great story’s to tell!
    Really Lisa, I admire your desire to save money and to call it your project from start to finish. Hang in there girl it will end eventually and you will have a beautiful kitchen. Please remind me of these words when I redo my kitchen in the fall.LOL

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Sunny! Yesterday was a good day and I was able to get the rest of the stripping and washing done. Most of the sanding is also done. Today I plan to sand the last few drawer fronts and stain all of the cabinets. I’ll need to paint the interiors of the wall cabinets, but the base cabinets look pretty good inside. Whew…getting tired just thinking about it. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!

      Best wishes with your remodel job this fall! Let me know how it goes!

  11. mrevilwrench

    I’m actually building a new set. I’ve done some shelves and cabinetry as an appetizer, ready to dive into the main course. I figure I can build something more solid than what I can buy at a reasonable price. Sounds like yours are almost bad enough to be worth taking out, deconstructing, sanding, painting/staining and reconstructing. If it’s solid, even veneer plywood, you’ll have much better results and less of a headache. Particle board like my old ones, well, we don’t speak of those.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That’s great that you have the carpentry skills to build your own! I wish I was able to do the same, but I’m not that handy with woodworking. I think that these ones will look pretty good when I’m done, but there is (unfortunately) some particle board in them. 🙁

      Best wishes with your project! Let me know how it turns out!


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