Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

To say this kitchen renovation was a streamline flip is a bit of an understatement. In the beginning, it seemed to be the case though. Change out the doors, paint all the things, new finishes. Then all the small details started to rear their ugly heads. No cabinet dividers = build your own, girl. Un-even cabinets = pull your hair out trying to make drawer slides fit. etc, etc. I measured and re-measured everything a million times. BUT there's always that one thing, that you just DON'T see coming. Today we are going to talk cabinet hardware...

Initially I wanted something like...THIS.

I wanted the drawers and doors to have the same hardware, I wanted them to be long (to accent the larrrge upper cabinets and make the room feel taller), and chrome to match the stainless appliances/sink.

UNFORTUNATELY, my drawers were like, UMM NO JENN. YOU SEE, the old drawers were about 1/4" thick, which allowed the previous hardware to work (which had a typical reveal). NOW the drawers are about 3/4" thick, riddle me surprised when THIS happened.

Literally cannot open either drawer when hardware is installed

I searched the high heavens for hardware that I liked with a 5/8" reveal (I had a plan of slicing the length of the drawers down a bit for this to work...see above line on drawer top). All I found were these:

Hickory Hardware Camarilla 2-1/16 in. Satin-Nickel Furniture Ring Pull-P3190-SN at The Home Depot

Which were, whatever, fine. I wasn't in LOVE with them aside from the fact that they'd work in the space and I wouldn't have to alter MUCH. I was concerned that after awhile the paint would chip from fingers scraping the middle of the ring to grab a pull, so there was THAT.

Then I started to search for some TOP mount pulls, like these:
Colonial Bronze 713-2 2" and 4" CC Drawer Top Mount Drawer Face Cabinet Pull
As long as I could keep the overhang at 5/8", this would be a MUCH better alternative. In this case, i'd just have to cut a little on the corners of the drawers (you'll understand this in a moment), instead of slicing a bit off the sides (then the length of the drawers wouldn't match the length of the cabinets below and the whole world would fall off axis). 

SO, one nice Saturday afternoon I went strolling through IKEA and found THESE:


They even had a smaller version for my itty bitty drawers/cabinets. BOOM. Drawer hardware bought!

So now, instead of slicing these pesky drawers down, I just had to chop a little off the corner and ALL IS RIGHT IN THE WORLD.

As seen in the photos above - doors and drawers are being installed!!! *happy dance*

The Dining Room WALLS

I feel like since the dawn of 2015, a paint brush has been fused to my hand. Cleaning brushes has become an odd therapeutic act, and there are more frozen paint brushes in my freezer than there is food (do other people freeze brushes mid-project??). BUT- Painting is such a simple and easy fix for a room, and it quite literally transformed my dining room from a dark cave into a bright ray of sunshine! BUT, it was  a hard room to choose a color for...

I tested over ten colors in the room, each wall read differently. AND I wanted the dining room and kitchen (and the back entry, AND the hall) to have the same color - and ALL of those walls read differently too. The perfect grey read green on one wall and a cold blue on the other. A beautiful taupe color was too yellow on one wall, too red on another, and looked too...brown, on a third. Poke. My. Eyes. Out. 

THE BEFORE, lol those drapes though!!
THEN, my mom was like, why not yellow?? NO MOM. The walls were already a soft, almost Easter yellow and I wanted to venture away from that. SO, I kept testing, hating, testing....until I threw in the towel and tried Pale Honey. MOMS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT PEOPLE OKAY.

The previous yellow walls, sans drapes

SEE, already yellow, BUT what you DON'T see, is how bad of shape these walls were. Peeling paint and a million holes to hang those BEAUTIFUL drapes the previous owner had. NEWS FLASH, you don't need EIGHT anchors to hold up fabric. So, I punched in all the anchors, filled the holes, sanded, filled, sanded, THEN...paint.

Oh, first I painted the ceiling REAL QUICK (took 2 coats, ALWAYS takes 2 coats...), then 2 coats on the walls and OMG IT'S A WHOLE NEW ROOM.

Now, after a few month sabbatical, the room can once again be put back as a dining room. NOW, the room is NOT finished. And, of course, the last few details will take about 2 years for me to get around to, ya know changing out outlet, spray painting vents (brown vents do NOT match beautiful white walls), and (LOL) getting a light fixture. When I painted the ceiling, I took down the old...wood thing. Now it's just 3 (well, 2, one is burnt out casually) light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Super modern though so maybe i'll keep it....

NOW, back to that kitchen...


BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOPS! They are in! They are beautiful! I don't have to eat out of a crock pot anymore!!

FIRST, let me begin by confessing that, in the whole year I've owned this abode, this is the ONLY thing I've hired out to do. This isn't to say I haven't had help (Sup parents & Roger), BUT it's the first time that I went with the whole "hire a professional" route. Which to me, is a BIG deal. Could I have done this myself? Yes. I could have rented a table saw, taught myself how to use a router, and gotten the job done. Would I have freaked out the entire time? YES. Could I carry around the million pound butcher blocks? NO. Does my sanity trump my bank account? YES. YES, it does.

SO, after much internal and external deliberation, I chose to hire out. I found a nice little (2 guys) company. They make their own butcher block so I figured this wasn't their first rodeo. They charged me by the hour and it took them from about 8am-2pm to get-er-done. I casually strolled through the kitchen at 30 minute intervals, ya know, to see how it was going.

AND IT WENT SO WELL. The back wall was a little warped (which I figured was the case), so that was a little tricky for them to get fit. And the whole, cut a perfect hole for the sink business...which is what took the longest to perfect. Then they cut a few holes for the faucet/soap and were on their way.

Once they left I got right to work. I had a goal: faucet installed by sundown.

First - I sanded everything down with a 100 grit. The edges were routed, so those needed to be smoothed over. Plus I wanted everything SUPER smooth. After that, I hand sanded with a 120grit, then vacuumed everything down.

NOW, let's talk sealers. There seems to be two ways, chemically seal (Waterlox/Poly) or naturally seal (oil). If you know anything about me, i'm sure you already know which one I chose, BUT, let's discuss...

SO many people are going the Waterlox/Poly Route. I think it's mostly because they want their wood a darker color, and this allows you to stain the wood. These products completely seal the countertops, much like you would any furniture that you stain. Some people have found issues with sitting water on this product if left for an extended period of time, but it seems people are happy with the results. The largest complaint it how much this still smells to put on. Like - leave your house for a few days -toxic.

The OTHER route is oil. Mineral oil to be exact. Really, any oil will be fine, but Mineral oil won't go bad over time like a walnut (food) oil would. It's also a laxative, so i'm sure the guy at check out had a chuckle when I strolled down the line with 5 bottled (they are about $4 a bottle, so cheap, too!). What REALLY sold me was this post but House Tweaking. My largest concern was that if I chemically sealed the counters and SOMETHING happened (stain/scratch/IDK), i'd have to sand down/strip the sealer off, sand down the wood and re-seal. With an oil sealer, the oil is to keep the wood moisturized, so water (remember science? Oil + Water don't mix?!) doesn't penetrate. Yes, marks can/will happen, but all that will need to be done is a little sanding and re-oil. That's what I LOVE, these countertops can look brand spanking NEW in 10 years with a little sanding/oil. YES, you can still do this with Waterlox/Poly, there is just an added step/smell :)


Prior to installation I put a few coats of oil on the bottom side of the wood, just in case? Once they were installed I saturated the counters with oil. Each day they got a HEAVY coat. By morning if the counters were dry i'd douse them again. I wanted to get to a point where, after 24 hours, there was some oil left on top. That meant they were saturated. I also did the water bubble test.

I oiled the two holes for the faucet & soap a few times (while I ran to the hardware store and taught myself reaaaaaaal quick how to hook up a waste drain. Then I got to work, installing the disposal, hooking up the dishwasher waste, and re-configuring errrrything to fit the new drain holes all perfectly and such. Only a few leaks since then so i'd mark it off as a success!

Make all the things white!

Armed with paint brushes and free labor, we finally brightened up the kitchen and dining room - something I have been WAITING to do since I moved in. It was always the intent - wood purist close your eyes, I am sorry...

Everything took 2 coats of prime (seen above) and 2 coats of paint with touch-ups (note to self, buy the expensive tape). THANKFULLY primer dries within 30 minutes, so we rocked out 3 coats on EVERYTHING in one day, and did the final coat the next day (the paint takes 24 hours to cure). Oh, and we painted the ceiling REAL quick, because it was the same color as the walls? Whyyyyyyy.

I used the same paint as the cabinets on the trim and wainscoting - Benjamine Moore's Advanced line in Simply White. For the box interiors I tried the Clark & Kensington line from Ace tinted in Simply White (I wasn't too impressed, and the white looked more yellow than the rest?). 

It is pretty amazing how bright the space feels, all thanks to the paint. The light just bounces off the walls and makes me super happy - or maybe it's the fumes I've been ingesting these past few days?! 

The primer + paint will take about a week to fully cure and harden, so i'll slowly bring things back into the kitchen to make it less-constructiony and more-livable, without damaging the paint. In the mean time, I have 16 doors and 8 drawers to start painting...

BUT OMG doesn't it look so much better ALREADY:

ON OTHER AWESOME NEWS: the DISHWASHER is installed and the COUNTERTOPS are NEXT! Fingers double crossed that all goes well - getting pretty sick of doing dishes in the bathtub...#theconstructionlife.

Since this is (obviously) an EXISTING kitchen (and a DIY project), there were a few challenges along the way (and more to come!). Like...cutting a hole for the dishwasher, fitting straight drawers/slides in no-so-straight drawer boxes. Super fun times. You can see in the image above, that these drawers/doors were made with SUPER small profiles (like, a little over 1/4"), where the new ones are more like 3/4". So things like drawers hitting drawers is an unforeseen issue to solve. Nothing that some strategic door hardware can't fix #hopefully :)