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Oak kitchen refresh

My clients asked me to come up with some ideas on how to refresh their outdated 80s kitchen. Their home was built in the 1920s but the previous owners had changed the original kitchen for this oak one in what we could only guess was sometime in the mid-80s!

Before tackling any type of refinishing or painting, I took a look at how solid the units were and if they were worth putting the time and effort into. They ended up being in great shape, the drawers all functioned properly as well as all the doors and frames.

I put together 3 colorway digital renderings that I thought might compliment their existing wood flooring and the century old red brick wall. Interestingly enough, they chose an option I hadn't thought of but had seen while they were looking online for inspiration. They fell in love with the look of two-tone cabinets and chose white for the upper half and soft grey for the lower half. It was a nice compliment to their existing tile countertop as well which they may change down the road.

After removing all the doors, hinges and hardware I used sprayable TSP on all the wood surfaces. Once everything sat for a few minutes I wiepd it all down with a cloth and warm water in a bucket. You can't skip this step because it's what gets the built-up grease off and allows the paint to stick (you'll see how gross your water gets...change it often!)

After cleaning the doors and letting them dry I gave them a good sanding and vacuuming to get ready for the next step. I needed a heavy duty primer so I used KILZ with both a small angled brush and a roller.

For the paint I decided to use General Finishes MILK PAINT, that I had used before for a few other projects. I really love working with this high-quality product and I was able to have it tinted to both the soft white and soft grey colours we chose. The finish is very durable and doesn't need a top coat of varnish that others do.

For practical reasons I decided to tackle the cabinets in 2 phases, the lowers which included the large island, and then once they were dry the upper cabinets so my clients didn't have to empty everything all at once.

And here's the final result all finished! My clients are so happy with how everything turned out and to be able to give a second life to their 80s oak kitchen!


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