Our kitchen is in total disarray at the moment, with all the cupboard doors removed and the contents of the drawers stacked on every available surface. It’s all in aid of sprucing up the room by revamping the units.
We installed the kitchen from scratch in 1995. Actually, we didn’t have much choice because the suspended timber floor collapsed – the result of a drainage leak we knew nothing about until it was too late – and everything had to be ripped out so that a new concrete floor could be laid. We took the opportunity to move the sink and change the layout to one that worked rather better. The new kitchen units and worksurfaces came from IKEA, and a few years later we rejigged things a bit more to add a built-in oven and hob. We’ve done very little since apart from changing the tiles and painting the walls.
The last of my major summer decorating projects is painting the beech kitchen unit doors and drawer fronts. I’ve bought some paint that is specially made for kitchen cupboards and gets very good user reviews on the B&Q website, so fingers crossed. We’re going white, which funnily enough is the colour of the old kitchen units, the ones that had to be pulled out when the floor collapsed.
Before the paint can be applied, all the doors, drawer fronts, end panels, filler pieces, plinths and cornices have to be thoroughly cleaned and lightly sanded. I’ve opted to remove everything that I possibly can rather than trying to paint them in situ – I didn’t fancy trying to achieve a perfect, run-free finish on vertical surfaces. I’m doing the various components in batches of 4 or 5 items at a time: on Day 1 I remove hinges and handles, sand and wash – my blocking mats are perfect for protecting the doors and drawers while they are being sanded outside, but it’s not doing the mats a lot of good;
they get the first coat of paint on the inside surface on the morning of Day 2 and then the outside surface in the afternoon; on Day 3 I do the same but with the final coat.
The following day I start on the next batch. Doing it batchwise keeps it from being overly daunting – there are probably 25 items in total – because it means only about 2 hours’ work per day.
The paint takes 3 weeks to cure fully and in the meantime you’re supposed to treat the painted surfaces gently, avoiding knocks, splashes and vigorous cleaning. I’ve opted to leave the doors and drawer fronts off during that time, to prevent any mishaps. Hence the disastrous state of the kitchen at present. We have leant boards against all the low-level cupboards in an attempt to prevent the cat curling up amongst the crockery and bags of flour. Curiously, although he normally makes a beeline for any cupboard we have left open for a moment, he is showing complete indifference when faced with a room full of doorless cupboards.
I have to say, having completed about two thirds of the job to date, I’m finding the process very tedious. But I am persevering because the painted doors look amazing. I’ve bought just one new handle so far, to see if I like it with the painted finish, and the combination of fresh white paint and a satin handle is such an improvement that I can’t stop staring at it.
The paint levels off beautifully as it dries to give a surface that is almost flawless. If I can manage to keep up this quality of workmanship for the rest of the job I will be very happy. And judging by the impossibility of removing dried-on paint from the metal parts of the roller, the finish will be hardwearing.
(For the record, I have no connection with the makers or suppliers of this V33 Renovation Cupboards and Cabinets paint, I just think it’s a good DIY product.)