Kitchen Makeover - Chalk Painting Kitchen Cabinets

You all remember that crafty little sister of mine? You know, the one who upcycled an old storage locker into a pantry? Yeah...that sister. Well, she's at it again! This time, she took on a slightly bigger project than just a storage locker. Like...an entire kitchen! Yeah, we just may be related. Seeing as both of our ideal weekends would include some sort of home project during the day followed by a glass (or two) of wine at night, I think it's safe to say we're cut from the same fabric. However, where we differ is our home decor style. While I am all about bright, cheery open spaces, Emily prefers a more rustic, cozy ski lodge look. Several months ago, she and her husband purchased their first home, a log cabin, giving them the idyllic backdrop for her to achieve her country style. While the space is great, and the house has a ton of potential, there are always things you want to change when you move into a new home. Since the kitchen is one of the primary living spaces, she decided this room was going to take priority.

Here are a couple Before pictures...

As you can see, there is A LOT of wood...floors, ceilings, walls, cabinets. You name it, chances are, it's made of wood.  If you look hard enough, you can even see Bob Vila hanging out in the corner, admiring all that knotty pine.

The goal was to maintain this rustic charm, but to break up all the honey colored wood. The plan - paint the kitchen cabinets. One of the challenges she faced, and I think it's safe to say, it's a challenge for many people wanting to do some sort of home upgrade, is working around features you're not crazy about, yet not ready to replace. In her case, it was the granite counter tops. They are relatively new, and really, there is nothing wrong with them, besides the fact that she doesn't like the pattern. So, they are a feature that she had to consider when deciding on cabinet colors. 

One step she took to help transition the stark granite with the warm colored cabinets was to add a stone back splash.

When deciding on a color, she consulted with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockists at Birds Gotta Fly Vintage. They mixed up a whole slew of custom colors, and Emily was then able to pick which color best suited her kitchen. She opted for a 1:1 ratio of Graphite and Barcelona Orange. It sounds like an odd combination, but produces a warm gray-brown shade. To give it an extra dose of warmth, she sealed it with dark wax.

Here is how the cabinets turned out...

The darker shade of cabinets and stone back splash really help to add warmth to the space and add a bit of contrast.

I'm betting Bob Vila isn't a fan of painting wood, but I think even he would approve of this kitchen makeover!

Here's an up close look at the cabinets.

To achieve this rich shade, she omitted the clear wax, and just used dark wax to protect the paint. She used the steel wool to really rub it into the grain and to help even it out.

It's such a unique color, and fits the style of the house perfectly.

To add a bit more contrast, and to lighten things up a bit (perhaps at my suggestion) she went with an off-white shade for the island. She mixed a bit of Graphite into Old White, then sealed it with clear wax.

In my opinion, it really helps to brighten up the room, yet not take away from the overall rustic feel.

Isn't that right, Sally?! 

One thing to point out, painting kitchen cabinets is tedious! Deceivingly tedious! You go into the project thinking, "Piece of cake, paint a couple of cabinets, seal them with wax, and I've got myself a new kitchen!" However, to really do a quality job, it can be pretty time consuming. When you consider each cabinet door has a front and back and needs several coats of paint, followed by a coat of wax, what may have originally seemed like a quick weekend project, can quickly take over your life...and not to mention your kitchen!

I advise working in sections. Doing this helps to maintain some sort of functioning kitchen, and not to mention your sanity!

Overall, the kitchen is a much more inviting space. The warm colors mixed with the natural wood create a cozy setting and comfortable environment.