The Quick Fix Kitchen Makeover, Day One

Category: Restore & Repair

Day one of our three day Trading Spaces style kitchen makeover is over, and we didn't do half bad...

The big news is that we fixed up the back door! For those that aren't aware, this is a big deal...for the past two years the center of our back door has been a plywood board.

The door clearly had a glass inset, originally, so we've been hoping to restore it for quite a while.

When we started working on it, we also took a good look at the battered...but original...back screen door. The funny thing was that even after all this time we didn't notice the strange way that screen had been held in place in the frame.

That's right...the panel set in the window was shimmed with clothes pins. How did I not notice this for two years!? And furthermore...huh?

Anyway, Jeannie's dad was more than helpul in remedying the situation. We headed over to Clark and Devon Hardware in the morning and ordered some safety glass. A little molding to set it in place and we were in business.

By noon, we had it set in place and there was sunlight in the kitchen again. Probably for the first time in a decade.

Other than the window, the rest of the first day was consumed by prep work. At one point, Jeannie's mom pointed out that we've got more than our fair share of kitchen stuff, which we can't deny. Like most people, I can only say that the concept of fresh OJ from a juicer sounded like a great idea when we were registering for our wedding.

The last thing we did was prepare the cabinets for painting. Built from soft pine, we know that they were meant to be painted, not stained, because of the quality of the wood. In fact, below the current layer of paint, is and enamel hard layer of the original milk paint. Very durable, but wickedly difficult to strip. Over the years, it had be chipped away in a number of places.

So, we decided to stay with the original plan of keeping the cabinets painted. Because they had a high gloss finish, Jeannie did some research and discovered a deglossing treatment that would improve the adherence of the new paint to the old. It's applied quickly by rubbing it on with steel wool and it worked pretty well. Jeannie was sent away for this part.

After deglossing the cabinets we ended up putting it on all the trim, too. The only down side is that the stuff stunk to high heaven...I sent everyone else out of the room so that I was the only one to loose brain cells.

After getting everything prepped, we're set to start priming everything tomorrow. More photographs to come, no doubt...

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I am sure that light coming through the window will do ALOT to improve the feel of your kitchen. and it is truly amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do. Good luck!

What a fantastic website/blog you have. I feel as though I've visited your house. Thanks so much!

My husband and I are restoring an 1870's farmhouse in cental Illinois; our experience has similarities and differences to yours. We've been at it for a dozen years and after seeing your blog I may get inspired and create my own.

We had our share of ugly stuff in the house when
we moved in. Lots of cleanup that first summer. Some of it was particular to country living; we had 500 canning jars in our basement. About 300 were empty but the other 200 were filled with green beans of an unknown vintage. I gave them to a neighbor who raises chickens. The chickens loved the ancient green beans.

Good luck with your kitchen redo; replacing the window on the door must have made a big difference. The cabinets over your sink/range are priceless. ( They are what I am hoping to build into my own kitchen someday when we are done paying for kids to go to college.)

you guys know that i'm sort of a rabid preservationist, and i've been collecting vintage appliances and linens for years now, so that we could build our authentic 1932 dream kitchen that i've wanted all my life. but time and finances prevented that from happening, and we had to decide whether to do a quick cosmetic update, or continue to live with a kitchen that was almost as ugly as yours. so i reluctantanly (and petulantly) agreed to go with the inexpensive fix.

and i'll tell you what---a fresh coat of paint, new cabinet hardware, a tile countertop, and a fun checkerboard floor did wonders. instead of $20k, we spent about $3k. it's not exactly what i wanted, but it is 150% better than what we had before. it is absolutely my favorite room in the house. the "trading spaces" methods that we used went against every preservation principle that i hold dear. but sometimes, ya just need a clean place to make a cup of coffee...

you'll be much happier with your trading spaces redo than you are with your current kitchen---so says the woman who lives in a museum, so it must be true. ( :


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