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Kitchen Mini Reno - The Coffee Bar Goes In

One Room Challenge - Week 3

The Coffee Bar Goes In | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design

It is Week 3 y’all and this week was a little more of the fun kind of progress! New stuff started to go in! Waaaaaaaaay more fun then prep and ceiling paint I had to do last week! Before you go any further, if you haven’t checked out the first two weeks of this kitchen reno - head here to see them! You can check out the design plan and before pics in Week 1! And after you get through here… immediately head over to the One Room Challenge Blog to see the absolutely amazing projects that are going on around the world! I mean, seriously you guys, the amount of talent out there is pretty unbelievable!

As a quick recap of last week - I did a lot of prep drywall work to the kitchen ceilings. The drywall was really sagging so I had to fix all of that before I could knock out the paint! While I was painting the ceiling, the plumber came out and added my new sink plumbing for the giant coffee bar that is going in! WOO HOO! But all and all it was a pretty boring week. What can I say, prep and ceiling paint isn’t the most riveting content.

My main goal for Week 3 is to get the new cabinets installed on the big back wall of the kitchen. These babies have been sitting in my garage/kitchen in their boxes for MONTHS. It's time! To remind you what this wall looked like before, it is a huge blank wall in the back of the kitchen. It is really meant for a tiny table but it is a super poor layout so a table would be real tight. So we put some bar furniture there and made it a mini coffee bar, but it just wasn’t real effective before.

So here is my sketch I did about a year ago when I was selling this kitchen reno to Jeremy. I also drew it to scale so I could play with what cabinets I wanted to have. I knew I wanted to add some serious storage so 2 pantry cabinets will be HUGE in giving me so much more places to store stuff! The sink will be in the middle with the coffee stuff on one side and a wide open countertop on the other side. It has 12’ of lower/pantry cabinets. TWELVE FEET. This is nearly going to double the storage in this kitchen by using a totally underutilized wall! This, my friends, will most definitely be my favorite part of this kitchen… I already know!

Sketch  | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design

So now I gotta put these bad boys in. And, well, I have never installed cabinets before. Not that I think it is insanely hard, I just get nervous about trying some things for the first time by myself, and this is one of them! Somehow, I convinced my Dad to come up to Michigan for the weekend to help me. He lives about 4.5 hours away in Indianapolis where I grew up so it isn’t a quick drive. But he enjoys (I think/hope) helping me with things like this as he has always been a huge DIYer himself.

So I had everything ready to go so we could get started right away when he arrived Friday evening! And honestly, it went super quick and it really was pretty easy, especially with 2 people and even more so since we had no upper cabinets to install! Until now, every project I have ever had him up to help me with always takes at least twice, if not more than twice longer than I plan and we usually don’t get it all done in the weekend. But it was Saturday morning and cabinets were installed!

Let’s take a minute to appreciate 1. how awesome it is that I got something done FASTER than planned (for the first time ever I think) and 2. how freaking amazing this new wall of cabinets is going to be. The added functionality is enough to make this wall my favorite, but when I get done with this wall, I’m pretty positive it will be the focal point of the kitchen. The kitchen was so blah before, even after our little glow up. I‘m hoping this will give it a little more of a wow factor (fingers crossed).

So I didn’t really have any kitchen reno related projects that I really needed my dad’s help with so I had him teach me how to frame a room and we framed my soon-to-be basement bedroom - hopefully that is the next project on the list after the kitchen. And, shockingly, we got it all framed too! It was seriously such a productive weekend… even if it wasn’t all work on this kitchen project!

After my Dad left, I got to work starting to paint these new base cabinets - so I took off all of the doors/drawer fronts first, gave them a super good sand because these unfinished cabinets were rough, and then I got them all primed.

Since I have been planning this kitchen reno for about 2 years now, I already had the gallon of paint ready for these cabinets. I am using Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. I seriously love this paint. It acts very similarly to oil based and doesn’t show your brush marks as badly as traditional latex paint does. Also, after it fully cures, it turns into a pretty hard coating that is easy to clean and doesn’t scratch easily. And lastly, it’s WATER BASED people! So many of the benefits of oil based paint but with water clean up and no awful fumes! I used this paint to paint the Adirondack chairs that my dad made me. I painted them 2 summers ago, let the fully cure, and now they sit outside all summer and they still look like I just painted them.

On the flip side, it does take awhile to get used to painting with. I think it dries fairly quickly so you have to be a decently fast painter or the wet edge will turn tacky on you fast. I struggled with it at first. Also, it takes A LONG TIME to fully cure. Somewhere around a month is what my SW guy told me. And I can attest to that. I painted my interior doors with it. I painted them by hand on one side on my sawhorses. I let them dry for about 1.5 weeks (yes weeks). I flipped them over and painted the other side and there are sawhorse imprints on the first side because they weren’t fully cured.

Ok, enough of my soap box about this paint. I already had the paint tinted about 2 years ago to match the navy wall in my living room that the kitchen opens up to but in Semi Gloss. So I painted all of the new bases in SW In The Navy in Semi Gloss after I primed them. I am hoping to use the same can of primer for both the blue and white cabinets so I didn’t have it tinted dark for the blue - this made me have to do a third blue coat.

Since I decided to hand paint the bases, I wanted them to be as smooth as humanly possible. I used a mix of a brush and a foam roller to get a smooth finish. In between every coat including the primer coat, I sanded everything with 220 grit and wiped down with a wet paper towel. This allowed me to get as many imperfections out as possible.

Shiny Cabinets | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design

After they were all painted… I just think they are too shiny. Hard to tell from the picture but they are pretty shiny. I always did my trim and cabinets in Semi Gloss in the past. That is what they always tell you in the store. But man have a learned a lot over the past few years of owning this business and doing so many renovations. Shiny is not better unless you are going for a super contemporary design (I’m not). Also, the higher the gloss, the more imperfections you can see. And to be honest, these days, even Matte paints are super washable. And even though the SW Emerald Urethane Enamel is a $100+ can of paint… I just couldn’t have the cabinets that shiny.

So, to the paint store I went. Satin in the lowest sheen that the Emerald Urethane Enamel comes in, and honestly I think this paint is slightly less shiny than it’s counterparts in corresponding sheens, so Satin would be just fine. Since I had to repaint and buy a new gallon anyways, it gave me the opportunity to revisit the color. After discussing with Jeremy and looking at my SW large swatches, I decided to switch it up to Naval. While I love In The Navy, Naval is a slightly more charcoal-y navy in comparison. And honestly, they are so close that you will never notice the difference between the Living Room wall and the cabinets.

So I painted the bases again for the 4th and 5th time with the new color/sheen. And I’m SO HAPPY WITH IT! They look amazing! I’ll tell you something. I didn‘t really want to spend another $100 (although I caught a 40% off sale so really $60ish) on a new can of paint nor did I want to take the time to paint these bases again. But… it’s paint. For $60 and an extra 3 or so total hours to repaint, it is exactly what I was hoping for instead of kinda what I was hoping for. Don’t be afraid to redo something if you aren’t in love with it. That is the magic of paint. It is relatively cheap and relatively easy to do.

Seeing cabinets go in and color put on them is making me so excited for this kitchen! I know it is hard to picture without the doors and without countertops, but, I am feeling really confident that it will be exactly what I’m hoping for! Week 3 was a good week - visible progress was made and even some unplanned progress on my basement happened! What do you think of the paint color? Let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for next week as I’m going to try my hand at spraying the cabinet doors - and I have no idea what I’m doing and no Dad to help me next week!

Happy designing + diy-ing,


Check out the last two weeks of this Fall One Room Challenge:

ORC | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design

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Oct 12, 2022

I always get nervous trying new things too! I'm glad to see the cabinets went in and are looking fabulous. :)

Nov 01, 2022
Replying to

This whole reno is full of trying new things… and it is terrifying! But… it’s the only way to learn it!! Thanks 😊

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