Project: kitchen cabinets

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2005 at 11:16 am

Another project I tackled the week Karen was gone was the kitchen cabinets. While not 100% done, good progress was made, and one cabinet is complete. It started out as you can see on the left – the interior paint was chipped, scratched, and battered, and there were only two shelves that spanned the cabinet. We ended up with a ton of dead space in there as we tried to fit plates, bowls, cups and more – there was just too much room over certain items but no good way to stack them. So I pulled the dishes and shelves out and started to sand the paint on the back wall. After about 10 seconds it occurred to me I had no idea how old this paint was or what it was made of – there could be lead in there! So I stopped sanding, researched lead poisoning and testing, and the next day bought a home lead test kit. I was nervous because a lot of kits have trouble testing red paint (it’s actually red, that picture doesn’t show it well), but this one included a test to make sure the paint didn’t "bleed" into the test. It didn’t, and the test showed no lead, so it was off to the races!

First thing I knew I wanted was several sub-shelves – portable units that would fit on the existing shelves to divide them vertically and horizontally. I also wanted a glasses rack for the top shelf, we had a bunch of wine glasses just standing in there asking to be knocked over and collecting dust. I ended up getting Medium Density Fiberboard (2′ x 4′) to make the shelves, and a nice piece of 1×3 white pine for the rack (short cuts and painted wood, so the white pine’s slow curves seemed ok). I’d never worked with MDF before – it was a good price compared to plywood, so I bought it – but it seems nice and worked well for the job. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for future projects.

I ended up buying a quart of Behr’s Pottery Red paint — we are maybe planning on using it to repaint the whole kitchen, so I thought a test batch in the cabinets would be good to see before we did all that work. So far it’s a bit pinker than the swatch looked, or maybe it’s just different in context..? I’m not sure. We’ll need to look at it more closely to decide.

So after much measuring and cutting I was able to use almost every square inch of the MDF, biuld the shelves, paint them, and install them all before Karen got home! Well, most of them – this is the only cabinet that got painted, the rest still need it, but with the shelves installed it’s a great start. We now have some room to spare in the kitchen! (Temporary, I’m sure…)

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3 Responses to “Project: kitchen cabinets”

  1. M&R Says:

    Since you now have a can of the Pottery Red, why not just put some on the wall and live with it for a few days to see how you like it?

  2. M&R Says:

    Nice work! You skills and creativity will be put to good use in your new house. And lots of projects take more time than money, so you won’t even break the bank!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, I’m impressed. Our kitchen cabinets all need re-doing—any possibilities of your taking vacation time and bringing your talents here?

    You know who