Mini Kitchen Makeover

July 7, 2011

So we took a little vacation last week up and down the California coast and we were gone for six days.  Apparently, the moment we locked the front door our refrigerator decided to turn itself into an oven, both the refrigerator and freezer I might add.  We came home to a dripping, gooey, moldy, horrible, like something out of a Halloween movie mess, with a super fun odor to go with it! 

Thankfully, the refrigerator was finally repaired yesterday, it needed a fancy shmancy part, but I lived without it for a week.  Why do I tell you this exciting story?  Because of this minor inconvenience I was forced to use the kitchen in our guest studio.  Yes, we have a little guest studio above our garage with a small but full kitchen.  We’ve had tenants over the years, but right now the studio is used for storage and is available for out of town family and guests. 

Anyway, prepping and cooking in this kitchen made me realize I was not in love with the color of the cabinetry, so I decided while I was up there, I might as well just refinish them.  I also swapped out the light fixture and added a much needed window shade. 


kitchen before


kates kitchen makeover after


I swear, it feels twice as big inside with the white cabinets!

The cabinetry you see is actually the same cabinetry that used to be in our kitchen  years ago.  When we added the studio and new kitchen five years ago, we reused the old kitchen cabinets up here which saved us a lot of dough.   We even reused the same sink, faucet, and refrigerator that were still in excellent shape from when the house was first built twelve years ago.  Funny, this refrigerator has never given me trouble, but the fancy shmancy one in my kitchen?  It has needed to be repaired twice now, grrr.

I decided to use the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations Kit that I had a chance to sample last year to see how it would perform on my own cabinets.  This 8’ x 9’ kitchen was the perfect candidate for a quick fix weekend makeover.  I chose the color ‘Linen’.

rustoleum kit

I also did something unconventional that I’ve never done before, I painted the doors and drawer fronts in place!  I didn’t bother to remove them like I always have in the past.  I just didn’t feel like carrying them up and down to my garage in the July heat!

refinished in place

I only got away with it because of the nifty hinges inside the cabinet, I just painted around them with a smaller brush. 

smaler brush

After the deglossing step, I applied the first layer of the bond coat thin enough that I wasn’t worried about drips, but thick enough to give good coverage, I was really pleased with it. 

The bond coat has the fluidity of paint, but the texture of primer once applied.  It does dry quickly like a primer, but I did not experience the same amount of drag or brush strokes that I have with latex paints (to which I typically add a conditioner like Floetrol to minimize the drag and brush strokes).  

one and two coats

I did notice after two coats there were small brush strokes on the surface, but if you’re careful in your application and use a good angled brush (I like the Purdy brand) brush strokes are minimized, and only noticeable when you get up extremely close to the cabinets.  I also noticed in some areas, I needed to go back over the cabinets or drawer fronts with a third touch up coat in spots. 

The kit also comes with a dark decorative glaze which is optional, but I prefer the clean look without the glaze, so I skipped it.  The bond coat dries very flat, which is why you’ll need to add the UV protective coat at the end for a subtle sheen and to seal the bond coat.  I have two entire quarts of this protective coat left, which I know I’ll use again and again in the future.

protective coat

The product is low odor, water based, with very easy to follow instructions.  It retails for $79 for the small kit and $149 for the large.  Refinishing cabinets the traditional way, I’d typically purchase a gallon of primer ($25) a gallon of paint ($30), a paint conditioner ($8), brush and sanding wedge ($20) and a quart of protectant ($12) for a total of $95, so I see this kit (if buying the large) as a small splurge for a kitchen project, however the ease of use, easy cleanup, and time savings makes up for the cost difference since there’s no stripping, sanding or priming required.  The kits often go on sale at OSH, Home Depot and Lowes. 

I still stand by my original review of the kit, and I will use this again.  I have 2/3 of a gallon of the bond coat left, enough to redo my hall bathroom and perhaps a piece of furniture or two.  I do recommend the kit as a great solution for a quick fix or weekend makeover. 

I replaced the light fixture and added a new shade as well.  The industrial style fixture was a find from my local ReStore, I picked it up for $12 and gave it a coat of spray paint on top. 

brass pendant


I love the contrast between the matte nickel top and shiny white underside, it’s perfect!

new light fixture

The woven shade is Levolor, cut as an outside mount to a few inches beyond the window.  You can find them at Lowes in five different colors, they cut them for you in the store, so easy!

Here’s a couple more ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots:

kitchen before left

kate mini kitchen makeover left side

Rug by Dash & Albert.

before right

kates mini kitchen makeover right side

A fantastic result in one weekend! 

This post is not sponsored or paid for by Rust-Oleum.  It is my honest opinion and evaluation of their Cabinet Transformations Kit based on my personal experience.



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