I’ve long been considering painting the cabinets and replacing the hardware in our kitchen to update the existing honey oak, but was a little overwhelmed by the project, choosing materials, and how it would turn out. So, I decided to try it out on a smaller scale – the upstairs bathroom vanity. I figured if it turned out badly, no big deal! We have the same honey oak cabinet fronts with laminated plastic/fake wood grain end panels (next to the trash can) in both bathrooms and the kitchen, right down to the same brass pulls all around (also on the chopping block).
I also wanted to paint the frame around the medicine cabinet/mirror. It is also plastic fake wood grain, with a gold painted inner edge and worn chrome-painted plastic knobs. Not anyone’s finest decorating hour…
I bought primer and water-based satin finish enamel at Sherwin Williams, since priming sounded like a better option than sanding cabinets with a laminate panel. They tinted the primer for me to make it easier to cover with a really deep color.
I chose “Rainstorm” for the vanity and mirror frame — it’s the darkest of the 7 colors on the same paint chip as the walls, which are Mountain Air, the lightest color.
I wiped down the cabinets and frame to remove any dirt and grime, removed all the hardware/hinges, and took the doors and drawer faces down to the basement to work there.
The primer went on pretty easily, and actually looked pretty good!
It looked awfully blue, though, for only being tinted with black! That should’ve been a tipoff that the blue paint might come out less dark and more bright than intended.
One coat of Rainstorm
So… yeah. That’s a lot bluer than I had anticipated. Two thumbs down. In smaller, less well lit doses it might almost be tolerable…
but up close, under the glare of a flash, it’s an epic ‘no.’ It makes me think of circus performers. 😦 Unfortunately, the warm tones that made Sleepy Blue (see family room and powder room; also on the same paint chip) so watery and non-snowy, made this blue too bright and gave it almost a mallard bluish green look.
As an aside, at left is the first coat, now dry. The enamel goes on very thick, almost like an oil based paint. I’m not sure whether a 2nd coat will get all the brush stroke marks down, or whether a third coat will be necessary. It’s a little difficult to work with because of the thickness, particularly keeping the brush dry enough to avoid paint pooling in the corners on the cabinet door fronts, but you get the hang of it.
Tomorrow, I’m going to take the quart (of which I’ve used… a sixteenth?) back to Sherwin Williams to see if they can re-tint it for me. Upon re-visitation of the paint chip fan, I’m thinking of trying Dark Night (SW 6237), which is a little darker and grayer. If they can’t do that, I’m just going to ask them to add enough black to turn the current paint navy. The nice thing about this project is that it doesn’t have to match anything (except coordinate with the floor), so the paint color doesn’t have to be a reproducible formula.
While the bad news is self evident, the good news is that while this paint job is clearly a flop, it’s easily redeemed with subsequent coats (which it would’ve needed anyway), and the painting process is nowhere near as hard as I thought. I am totally on board to paint the kitchen cabinets after I correct this. The paint and primer covered the laminate so well that you can’t really tell that the material under the paint isn’t the same.
The only thing I need to figure out (besides what color) is how to set up a big enough station to paint and dry all the cabinet doors efficiently. Hmm.
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