The Brighter Side of the Linen Cabinet

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Stacey, with The Nest@112.  And I am somewhat obsessed with painting things.  All sorts of things. If it’s old, paint it.  If it’s ugly, paint it.  If you are bored, paint it.  My husband does not get this.   Nor do my kids - or most of my family for that matter- but that’s for another blog….

We have lived in our house about 10 years now and it was built in the 1990’s.  What does that mean everyone?  You got it.  Oak, oak, baby – and lots of it. 

We’ve been updating this house the whole time we have lived in it and I have painted some of the cabinetry, replaced flooring and painted oodles of walls.  One would think after 10 years it should be near completion.  I wish. 

Not too terribly long ago this great little thing happened in my life called “Pinterest”.  Now, this is a classic example of one girl’s dream (mine) being another man’s (the hubs) worst nightmare. I have now ENDLESS examples of these PERFECT homes, staged immaculately, that I’m pretty sure I can re-create in my own home on any given weekend.  Right. Good luck sister.  Ya hear me?

Well, lucky for you all, I am a girl on a mission to get this blasted house finished.  I also like to experiment at home.  I will share my journey with you, as well as some of my own tips and tricks on how to do stuff on your own!  You can wade through the trials and errors as we knock out some of these projects I’ve put off for years.  You can be my accountability to finish some of these ideas floating around in my head for far too long now!

So, first up is an easy one - a quick weekend project I did to update my hallway cabinet!  Several years ago we put down some very dark wood floors – which I to this very day – still love.  However, the corner cabinet in my hallway was very blah and the space quite dark.  I am also currently in the process of updating my wood stair railing (blog coming soon), and the color I chose for the corner cabinet is the same “Antique White” by General Finishes (find a General Finishes retailer near you here https://generalfinishes.com/where-buy#.WVe8LIgrI2w) that I am using on the spindles of the staircase.  This will not only brighten that area but it will also flow well since the two areas are within a fairly close proximity to each other. Just so we are all clear, this blog includes affiliate links.........mama needs new paintbrushes to keep these projects going ya know?!  

 

Important: When you are working with wood, and painting a light color – especially a white or cream – I would always recommend using a primer or stain blocker.  While this is not needed for adhesion with a milk or chalk paint in most instances, you will need it to keep the natural wood tannins from bleeding through the paint.  Note: I did not do this on this cabinet and have a few spots coming through!  UGH!  I know better, but I got a little too excited to paint.  Trust me on this, it is not a step you will regret.

First, I removed the doors from the cabinet, the hardware from the doors and cleaned everything thoroughly with a degreaser and/or de-glosser. 

Next put a coat of primer on.  Remember when painting, you do not need a really thick coat. Thinner coats dry better and look better when you are done, so go easy.  I am also very particular about brush strokes.  Keep your brush strokes going in the same direction as your grain.  In the areas where your grains meet, just work the paint to thin and spread as needed in the appropriate direction.  If you are working with less paint, this is much easier to do.  The cabinet box was fairly easy to smooth the grains on because it was large sections with not much overlap.  Doors get a little trickier.  I’ll insert a number of pictures that show you the order that I do doors in.  This is what works best for me, you will figure out your own method but this will give you a starting point!

  1. My cabinets have a raised panel so I started on the top on one end of the inset portion. Paint, smooth brush strokes at joints.
  2. Continue on side of inset, smooth brush strokes, including in the middle - especially where you are going against the grain in your inset.
  3. Bottom of inset, yep, smooth brush strokes.
  4. Last side of inset, you're getting this now. 
  5. Now do the middle, smooth out all sides.  This is your focal point.
  6. Now for the bottom inset.  Same song, different verse.  Top of the inset portion, smooth brush strokes at joints. Do the same for all sides of the inset and the middle.
  7. Finish all your out portions.  I do one side at a time both top and side  edge.
  8. Smooth all, check for missed spots.
  9. Repeat for next coats until desired coverage is achieved!

After the primer dries, you are ready to paint!  Give your cabinet a good feel to make sure you don’t have any lumpy spots and if you do, just smooth them out with a little sanding.  The steps for painting the cabinet and doors will mirror what you just did with the primer.  Less is more in terms of paint and watch your brush strokes with the grain.  That’s it.  Watch the magic happen!  I used a cheap 2” chip brush to apply the paint and since this type of paint is water based, it cleans up easily with soap and water. Chip brushes are an inexpensive way to paint and I love them because I don't feel guilty when I toss it.  Now, these brushes will shed a bit so either fluff a bit first to rid of extra hairs or just remove as you go.  It really doesn't bother me that much because I prefer the convenience of a throw away brush.  Here is a link to 12 pk that's super cost-effective!

 

Once you have the desired coverage you are looking for, let the doors dry completely.  With chalk or milk paint, this won’t take as long as other types of paint, which is one reason I like them! 

Before I put on my finish coat, I wanted to give the cabinet just a tad bit of personality.  I did what is called a “rub-through” on the edges of the doors.  It’s a very clean look, but gives definition to the door.  Painted furniture and cabinets get a bad rap and it’s my opinion that it’s because many times the little details like this are ignored, leaving the finished project looking boring and cheap.

Once I fine-tuned the details I was ready to top coat.  I used General Finishes High Performance Satin top coat for this project.  It works beautifully and I haven’t had trouble with it yellowing (also called “ambering”) on me.  It provides a resilient protective coating to your newly finished work, brushing on with a chip brush and cleaning up with water since it’s water based.  Score one for the lazy painter here! 

Here is the finished project!  Now I am on to continuing the staircase project and the rest of the trim in the house……………..don’t ask. Yea, that’s for another day too!  Remember....it's just paint!