Flippin' Doors

Considering that we don't plan to be in this house for more than 5 or 6 more years, we didn't feel it was necessary for us to replace the cabinets. Even though the bases are a combo of particle board and solid oak, they're surprisingly sturdy and solid for being 31 years old. There are only a couple spots where the wood is starting to crumble, and none of these compromise the structure. So, paint was the best option for us.

As you saw from the previous post, I decided to paint the upper cabinets white–Benjamin Moore Advance Satin in Super White–and the bottom cabinets dark gray (Benjamin Moore Advance Satin matched to Martha Stewart "Seal"). It is a lovely dark gray with taupey undertones. I had a hard time picking a gray because I wanted a color that would complement my vinyl floor, which is a marble-y mix of mid-range grays and taupes, while also not clashing with my fawn colored oak floor in the dining area. Having both studied art in college, Pete and I are both really particular about subtle undertones. To say that it took us awhile to choose the color is an understatement.  

If I could have afforded to replace my cabinets, I would have probably picked a Shaker style door, with a single straight frame around the perimeter. But my '82's are your classic double bevel border, so I just figured that I would live with it and hope the color change would minimize the curves. 


Then one day as I was opening my cabinets, I had an idea–not sure if it was genius or just plain stupid... The inside of my doors basically looks like a Shaker style door. Why not flip the doors over and rehang them so the double bevel is hidden inside??! So, I started toying with the idea. Just ignore the nail holes, and this gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Kinda cool, right? 


To flip the doors meant way more work on the front end–especially since it meant I would also have to flip and re-drill my drawer fronts. Originally I was planning to reuse all my hinge holes, but when I decided to flip, it meant that all the previous holes would have to be filled and re-drilled on the other side. I also ran into a hinge glitch, because the flat screw panels on the new standard hinges I got from Home Depot were not long enough to cover the beveled border on the (now) back of the doors. I thought it might pull the plug on the door flipping saga, but it turned out that my local Ace Hardware carried a slightly different style hinge that extended far enough over for the screws to skip over the ridge on the far edge.  I just shot this pic tonight on my iPad to demonstrate, so you get a preview of my white cabinets :)


Of course these new hinges cost 3x as much as the old! $6/pair instead of $2, but my handles ended up being a lot cheaper than I budgeted, so it all evened out. But I may or may not have hauled my poor children to Ace Hardware three times in less than a week. Actually, they didn't really mind because Ace has these cute little metal kid's carts that E loves to push around. And they are super friendly and helpful. And did I mention they also have stickers? Go Ace.

So, back to the doors. Once I had the hinges, I knew I could proceed with prepping the doors for paint. Prepping cabinets takes a ton of time and work. And having 6-8 holes per door to fill, sand, refill, resand, etc. certainly didn't help make it easier. Thankfully, since I was painting the cabinets two different colors, I was able to do everything in two rounds. I started with the upper cabinets (only five doors), which gave me practice with the whole prepping/priming/painting process without feeling rushed to get the doors back on. This wouldn't normally be an issue, but I have a 17-month old, and starting with the uppers definitely helped, since he can't reach them. yet. 

It turned out that the week I planned to paint, Pete had an extremely busy week with work and other commitments, so I did a lot of it myself. I knew ahead of time that it was going to be that way, but it was still exhausting. My goal was to have all of the upper cabinets painted and rehung by the time the new countertops came in a week or so later. I am not going to lie. It was chaotic, stressful, and tough on everyone. I don't think I have ever worked that hard on as little sleep, except maybe in labor. We ate out. We ate frozen pizza. We ate other nice people's food. Basically we got by. This is what our eating area looked like. And yes, I used paint test pots and cans of chili beans to prop my doors on to dry :)  


I knew it would be really crazy for a few days, and I had help with the kids from my wonderful mom, who lives really close, and also painting/scrubbing help from my kind and willing sister-in-law. And Pete totally pitched in whenever he could. I am so blessed by my family. Next up, more prepping, priming and painting...