Mini Kitchen Makeover

By Kate Riley July 7, 2011

So we took a little vacation last week up and down the California coast and we were gone for six days.  Apparently, the moment we locked the front door our refrigerator decided to turn itself into an oven, both the refrigerator and freezer I might add.  We came home to a dripping, gooey, moldy, horrible, like something out of a Halloween movie mess, with a super fun odor to go with it! 

Thankfully, the refrigerator was finally repaired yesterday, it needed a fancy shmancy part, but I lived without it for a week.  Why do I tell you this exciting story?  Because of this minor inconvenience I was forced to use the kitchen in our guest studio.  Yes, we have a little guest studio above our garage with a small but full kitchen.  We’ve had tenants over the years, but right now the studio is used for storage and is available for out of town family and guests. 

Anyway, prepping and cooking in this kitchen made me realize I was not in love with the color of the cabinetry, so I decided while I was up there, I might as well just refinish them.  I also swapped out the light fixture and added a much needed window shade. 


kitchen before


kates kitchen makeover after


I swear, it feels twice as big inside with the white cabinets!

The cabinetry you see is actually the same cabinetry that used to be in our kitchen  years ago.  When we added the studio and new kitchen five years ago, we reused the old kitchen cabinets up here which saved us a lot of dough.   We even reused the same sink, faucet, and refrigerator that were still in excellent shape from when the house was first built twelve years ago.  Funny, this refrigerator has never given me trouble, but the fancy shmancy one in my kitchen?  It has needed to be repaired twice now, grrr.

I decided to use the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations Kit that I had a chance to sample last year to see how it would perform on my own cabinets.  This 8’ x 9’ kitchen was the perfect candidate for a quick fix weekend makeover.  I chose the color ‘Linen’.

rustoleum kit

I also did something unconventional that I’ve never done before, I painted the doors and drawer fronts in place!  I didn’t bother to remove them like I always have in the past.  I just didn’t feel like carrying them up and down to my garage in the July heat!

refinished in place

I only got away with it because of the nifty hinges inside the cabinet, I just painted around them with a smaller brush. 

smaler brush

After the deglossing step, I applied the first layer of the bond coat thin enough that I wasn’t worried about drips, but thick enough to give good coverage, I was really pleased with it. 

The bond coat has the fluidity of paint, but the texture of primer once applied.  It does dry quickly like a primer, but I did not experience the same amount of drag or brush strokes that I have with latex paints (to which I typically add a conditioner like Floetrol to minimize the drag and brush strokes).  

one and two coats

I did notice after two coats there were small brush strokes on the surface, but if you’re careful in your application and use a good angled brush (I like the Purdy brand) brush strokes are minimized, and only noticeable when you get up extremely close to the cabinets.  I also noticed in some areas, I needed to go back over the cabinets or drawer fronts with a third touch up coat in spots. 

The kit also comes with a dark decorative glaze which is optional, but I prefer the clean look without the glaze, so I skipped it.  The bond coat dries very flat, which is why you’ll need to add the UV protective coat at the end for a subtle sheen and to seal the bond coat.  I have two entire quarts of this protective coat left, which I know I’ll use again and again in the future.

protective coat

The product is low odor, water based, with very easy to follow instructions.  It retails for $79 for the small kit and $149 for the large.  Refinishing cabinets the traditional way, I’d typically purchase a gallon of primer ($25) a gallon of paint ($30), a paint conditioner ($8), brush and sanding wedge ($20) and a quart of protectant ($12) for a total of $95, so I see this kit (if buying the large) as a small splurge for a kitchen project, however the ease of use, easy cleanup, and time savings makes up for the cost difference since there’s no stripping, sanding or priming required.  The kits often go on sale at OSH, Home Depot and Lowes. 

I still stand by my original review of the kit, and I will use this again.  I have 2/3 of a gallon of the bond coat left, enough to redo my hall bathroom and perhaps a piece of furniture or two.  I do recommend the kit as a great solution for a quick fix or weekend makeover. 

I replaced the light fixture and added a new shade as well.  The industrial style fixture was a find from my local ReStore, I picked it up for $12 and gave it a coat of spray paint on top. 

brass pendant


I love the contrast between the matte nickel top and shiny white underside, it’s perfect!

new light fixture

The woven shade is Levolor, cut as an outside mount to a few inches beyond the window.  You can find them at Lowes in five different colors, they cut them for you in the store, so easy!

Here’s a couple more ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots:

kitchen before left

kate mini kitchen makeover left side

Rug by Dash & Albert.

before right

kates mini kitchen makeover right side

A fantastic result in one weekend! 

This post is not sponsored or paid for by Rust-Oleum.  It is my honest opinion and evaluation of their Cabinet Transformations Kit based on my personal experience.




  1. You’re so funny!! “While I’m here using this kitchen, I might as well prime and paint 15 shelf doors AND 9 drawer fronts”. No better time like the present! It looks fantastic!!

  2. Sorry to hear about the fridge, what a smelly finish to your holiday.

    Your kitchen makeover is amazing – white makes such an upbeat change. Thanks for sharing the products you used. I’ve noted them in my ‘little book’ in case I repaint our cabinets – a very real possibility.

    – Joy

  3. Love the makeover! What is the wall color? Am having trouble finding the perfect light blue and that looks like a winner! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you SO much for sharing! The colors in our kitchen are really similar to your before and I’ve been dreaming of white cabinets to brighten everything up! I just pinned the crap out of this post. Hah.

  5. I LOVE this little kitchen! It’s bigger than our little apartment’s by about 6 cabinets and 5 feet of counter space. :)

    One question…how do you think the Rust-oleum Kit holds up compared to redoing cabinets the traditional way (sanding, priming, etc.)? The kitchen is where I spend the majority of my time at home…I need something very durable and high quality!

  6. Wow this is fabulous. I just saw this kit too yesterday at Lowes. Nice to know it works well. I just did a recent post about wanting to paint my cabinets but I am just too lazy right now. Maybe one day…Thanks for sharing!

  7. im so jealous! lol. i have a small kitchen, probably smaller- i want to paint it just like this- but the landlord said no. it looks great!

  8. I used the same product for our kitchen. We chose espresso. It really is a great product, and saves a Ton on time!

  9. Looks great! For a mini-makeover, that looks fantastic, so much brighter and cheerier. I’m in the process of redoing my kitchen and am installing white cabinets. I like your countertops, any chance you’d share the make/color with me? Thanks!

  10. Wow! I can’t help but wonder what is the difference between you – a person who takes a disaster as an opportunity to do something awesome! – and me – a person who would become overwhelmed to the point of paralysis! Whatever the difference, I would like to be more like you. :)

  11. It’s gorgeous! I really love the look of white cabinets. I have builder grade oak in my kitchen, and I am so ready to paint them white. I may investigate the Rustoleum cabinet kit – you make this look so easy! Beautiful job!!

  12. Oustanding. The before was okay but the after is up to date and modern. I really love the transformation and I am sure any tenants you have in the future will really appreciate the new kitchen. It’s amazing how small changes have such a huge impact.

  13. …..and now I want to paint my cabinets. Sheesh! Sorry about the smelly return home lady. Hope the vacay made up for the finish. This kitchen rocks now. My husband says “THANKS ALOT!”

  14. You make this look so easy! Please come to my house. THankyouverymuch.

    Sadly, I started my kitchen cabinets almost a year ago and they still need another coat of paint and hardware…

  15. @Commentor jackie above – the website has a testimonial from a customer who used this product with success on laminate :) maybe your dreams could come true :)

  16. Thinking about painting our kitchen cabinets too. Will definitely use this kit. Will you be posting about how you installed the hardware? It really makes the kitchen.
    Also there did you get them from?


  17. Looks great! so light and airy! i keep debating on whether or not i should paint our builder-grade, partially fake wood cabinets. they are the same color as yours were. you definitely have me leaning toward doing it. thanks!

  18. Oh, Kate, fantastic!!! I think it’s nicer than my REAL kitchen…if we had a guest kitchen, it would have to be out in the shed, and I don’t like to go in there because there may be wasps and also it is hot in there. I don’t like hot.

    We have a Levelor bamboo shade in the family room, and I really like it. You’re the second blog today I’ve seen using those in the kitchen…I’m thinking that’s the way I want to go once I get the kitchen painted. Love it with the white cabinets.

  19. Love it! Thanks so much for the post with all of the info… can’t wait to try on my kitchen cabinets!

  20. I’m not usually a fan of painting wood cabinets but that kitchen does look MUCH larger. I like it! Great work. :)

  21. Shut the front door. Kate, you are a rockstar! Are you serious with this “mini” makeover??? This is incredible!! Fabulous! Amazing! Ok I’ll stop with all of the adjectives, but you are seriously the bomb.

  22. I absolutely love it and can’t believe you did it on a whim…AND got the whole thing done over the weekend! Now I need to kick myself into gear and finish my painting projects that have been hanging over me for months!!

  23. WOW! I am in love with white kitchens right now, and this is beautiful! I have a quick question-I painted our old cabinets a couple of years ago,a nd I used black enamel. {Gasp…I know-what was I thinking?!?} Anyhow-I loved the black at first, but now I feel like it is so heavy and dark in contrast to the rest of our house. I have been wanting to redo it in white. Can I use a product like this since I used enamel last time?

  24. I don’t know how you do it! Painting cabinets at random while taking care of a mess in your main kitchen. Kudos to you! It looks fabulous!

  25. Once again “Centsational!!!” The kitchen looks so much larger. I just walked through a small kitchen that had new oak cabinets that looked fine, but dated and it was brand new. Your transformation really brought things into this century. Well done Kate, you did it again!

  26. Looks amazing! What color is on the walls in there? I’m on the hunt for the perfect delicate blue-gray shade, and the color on your walls looks so nice :) Thanks!

  27. Oh Kate…you come through again! (Sorry about the fridge) BUT…this little kit is the PERFECT product for repainting my laundry room cabinets!!! Now I am inspired to get started! Just have to convince hubs to paint the ceiling and walls first! :) I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that! Thanks again for sharing!

  28. I’ve been wanting to redo our bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and I’ve been wondering if it would be better to use this Rustoleum kit or go ahead and buy everything. The kitchen would only need the Small kit anyways, so it seems like maybe it’s the way to go? I always love your makeovers.

  29. I am so wanting to do this to my kitchen! We have “oak” and hubs thinks painting over good :”oak” is a crime, but the white is so clean looking and makes the room seem so much bigger! I am so jealous, you did a fantastic job!

  30. It looks awesome. You just made up my mind for me. I am paining our cheap looking cabinets white. My husband has been begging me to do it since we moved in last year but I always said no.

    My mom bought a new fansy shmansy dishwasher less than six months ago and it is already not working. Her last dishwasher was a low end and lasted over ten years. Sometimes new doesn’t mean better but it doesn look good.

  31. I just did a similar project last week, except mine was at our shack in Canada, 13 hours from home. We were getting rid of the original rough lumber (ugh) walls and plywood ceiling, and replacing it all with bead board – painted for the walls, and varnished pine for the ceiling. We painted the cabinets using Behr Ultra (w/primer) and some Floetrol, and they came out surprisingly well for a quickie brush paint project. I recently purchased an HVLP sprayer for my compressor and had great luck with it on a desk project, so we took it with us to do the doors on the cabinets. Unfortunately, the gasket on the paint pot failed and the gun let me down, so we brush painted the doors too. I would have preferred the sprayed look, but we only had 5 days to get it all done from studs to completion.

    Did I mention we have to schlep everything to the cottage by boat? I need a vacation from my vacation!

  32. Love the light fixture, by the way. Never would have occurred to me to paint the whole thing the same color – looks fantastic!

  33. Your spare kitchen has twice the storage of my everyday kitchen! I love the white and woven shade you picked up. Great redo and I don’t think “mini” does it justice.

  34. I just HAVE to show this to my niece, who’s in the process of buying her 1st house. She has a HUGE kitchen with a bazillion cabinets that she’s not thrilled with. They’re solid oak and she wants white. I told her to paint them and she said “ewwww”. Young naive kid. :)

  35. I love this tiny kitchen!! I’ve always wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets, but I’m too scared. We only have nine but I’ve heard horror stories and I’m just too afraid of getting in over my head. You make it look so easy, I just might try it. I’ve been a follower for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I think your website is absolutely wonderful and very inspiring. Thanks for all the great step-by-step tutorials. Have a great day!!

  36. Sometimes when I am at a customer’s house doing some marble cleaning and or repair, I notice their kitchen cabinets and they look like they could use some help. I will tell them about this

  37. I am in love!!!! And you did this to your “spare” kitchen? What energy you must have. :) It looks just gorgeous!

  38. Ha Paula, send your niece over here!!

    Tracey, you DO need a vacation from your vacation!

  39. Hey Bethany, great question! I have no idea how it holds up, this is my first experience using it. I’ve used RustOleum products for years without problems, they really have cornered the market on specialty paints that prove durable, I am trusting the company’s reputation and my own personal experience with their other products in the past.

    If I experience any problems, I will surely update this post, but note the kitchen without a tenant does not receive daily wear and tear. My bathroom will though, so that may be a better source of a test of durability when I get around to refinishing those cabinets later this year.

    My island in my kitchen that I refinished with traditional methods has held up beautifully. I used Zinsser oil based primer (owned by RustOleum) and Ben Moore oil based semigloss paint. That was over a year ago, and it still looks flawless.


  40. I really thought you changed the wall color too, but it’s just the way the light reflects off the white cabinets. I like it a lot!

  41. Wow! You may have just pushed me past my fear of painting my kitchen cabinets! One question: Could you have used a trim roller on the doors or does it have to be brushed?

  42. Hey Erin, those are Wilsonart laminate countertops, and it’s been so long I don’t recall the particular pattern, it definitely has a lot of chocolate brown and some blue in it.

    Angela, I mixed that paint color myself, but I color matched it to these three close relatives: ‘Autumn Fog’ by Valspar; ‘Flint Smoke’ by Behr; and ‘Silver Gray’ by Benjamin Moore

  43. I can’t get over how much lighter the room looks with the white cabinets! Even your wall color looks lighter – wow! Gorgeous. When can I come stay with you?!

  44. Thanks so much for the review and the pictures. We’ve already purchased the Transformations kit and we’re getting ready to start the project this weekend. We’ve been looking at using the Linen color, but were concerned that it was too creamy after looking at the samples on the box. After seeing your pictures, it seems that’s the exact color we’re looking for – not bright white, but not off-white either. Your cabinets and countertops are almost the exact same colors as our current ones, so your project just gave us a great idea of what ours will look like. Hopefully ours will turn out as well as yours did!

  45. You have me intrigued about this cabinet refinishing… We have the same color cabinets in our kitchen and have been waffling back and forth about leaving them as they are or painting them white. We don’t want to “mess them up” and we’re worried about how the white cabinets would look with black appliances, but we can’t get behind painting them black because that would be too dark. Thanks for the review. I might check it out!

  46. That looks so nice! I wish that was my everyday kitchen! We will eventually be repainting our kitchen cabinets and we have been eyeing this product…if it is easier than just painting maybe we will check it out! Thanks!!

  47. You did that in a weekend?? I’ve been working on my kitchen cabinets since October.
    It looks amazing!!
    I think this is the inspiration I needed to pick up my paint brush and finish up my cabinets!!

  48. Looks so great! I am obsessed with a white kitchen right now. Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

  49. Kate, that is one fantastic mini makeover! It looked great before but now it’s a very peaceful, light, bright and airy spot. Painting the cabinets white really made your countertops pop and your wall color is beautiful with the white cabinets. Wonderful job!

  50. Wow…it does look larger!. You didn’t mention about adding cabinet hardware but I noticed it and must say “thank you”. I do NOT for the life of me understand builders that put in cabinets without hardware. It always looks cheap and unfinished. Great job!

  51. Kate, it looks FANTASTIC! What a lovely job. It is so good to see how the kit looks in real life too, and it looks great!! I love what you did with the light fixture too, and the shade is just perfect. You did a fabulous job.

  52. Oh my gosh! You say, “I painted my kitchen cabinets!” like most of us would say, “I just ran to the store!” I can’t believe how quickly you did that ENORMOUS job! I follow Miss Mustard Seed’s blog – don’t know if you do or not – but she worked on her kitchen cabinets for what seemed like a long time AND it was a HUGE task. You make it look as easy as making a pot of coffee. Amazing! AMAZING!

  53. Very nice! May we see the rest of the guest studio? I think it would be a whole lot of fun to have one of those!

  54. Looks amazing as always! I’m so glad the cabinet transformations turned out nicely. I’ve been wanting to try it on mine!

  55. WOW! I’ve wondered how wellmthose kits work. My husband builds homes for a living and deals with lots of cabinetry and has made the comment that “so many people are going to ruin their cabinets with that stuff!”. But I’m so excited to see how easy it was! and the result is AMAZING! Love it!

  56. I have seen the samples at the store and they all appear to be somewhat translucent. Does it appear to you opaque or translucent? Do you think this product would work over painted cabinets as well. Painting my cabinets has been on my “to do” list for over a year but have put off in fear of such a large project as everything seem to take me so much longer than it should. Great job ..looks amazing.

  57. That looks great. I am looking to paint my kitchen cabinets white. It makes me want to use this product. But have you ever heard anything about milk paint? I had a friend who had her cabinets redone and they where painted with milk paint. You could not see brush strokes at all. I guess that’s why they call it “milk” paint. I was just wondering if you have had any experience with it and which method you would prefer. I just don’t want to see brush strokes in my work.

  58. Wow, that looks incredible! And there’s nothing “mini” about this transformation. Not only does it look a million times better, but I know it was a ton of work (I repainted my kitchen cabinets, too). Great job!

  59. You are so awesome!!! What a beautiful and classic transformation. You are my favorite daily read, and if I ever get up the nerve to take on my own horrid oak cabinets, I’ll send you before and afters!

  60. Lovely! Would you recommend it for my kitchen cabinets? You can see them here:

    I’ve painted oodles of furniture and just about everything EXCEPT kitchen cabinets. I’m a nervous wreck I’ll ruin these and keep dragging my feet, but want to get it done this summer. I’m wanting to go white like you did here with no glaze and need to be able to do it fairly quick, as I have to use that kitchen three times a day:) Any suggestions?

  61. That is a beautiful transformation! Wish I could talk my d-i-l into painting her cabinets! Maybe if I show her your pics she’ll change her mind.

  62. Painting cabinets can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and patience they can come out looking fabulous the way this guest studio. I painted my kitchen cabinets last year (same oak type), but I wasn’t aware of this Rustoleum kit. I’m about to do my master bath, will have to take a look at this. Have you every used “Cabinet Coat” or the Ace Hardware version of the same? Just wondering how they might compare.

  63. Beautiful! You are such a mini dynamo Kate! Plus, you are one of the few bloggers who knows that “anyways” is not a word. I’ll keep reading just on that point alone.

  64. Did you remove the knobs prior to taking those before shots or did you have no knobs before?

    we updated the handles on our kitchen and I was amazed at the difference – you work fast!

  66. Hey CG- I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of this product, do you know if it is available in Canada? I really would like to try it out on my cabinets but I can’t seem to find it any where, and I have been looking since your first post!

  67. Thanks – the cabs look great and I truly appreciate your disclaimer that you are reporting your honest opinion – it means a lot today!!

  68. Kate you amaze me. Just a “quick fix” eh? It would take me so long to do I get tired just thinking about it. Looks so nice and fresh!

  69. I love the way it turned out! Gorgeous! I featured this post on my blog this week, stop by & grab a featured button if you’d like!

  70. Wow!! Such a fast transformation beautifully done! What a charming place for your guests.

  71. Looks BEAUTIFUL! What color do you have on the walls? It would work perfectly in my bedroom.

  72. I have a question regarding the finished product minus the glaze. I’d really like my maple cabinets (same color as your’s) to be white. When I saw this product in the store, the kit had pictures of it with the glaze only and, just going by the pictures on the box, it seemed as if this might be necessary because the coverage was not full. Is this the case or did the paint alone provide full coverage over the color. I want them to be white, not white washed, and so I’m really looking for it to cover completely. Thanks in advance!


  73. Thanks for posting this. I love the simple, cost-effective transformation of this kitchen! But even more, I LOVE seeing Before & After shots that actually show the same angles of the space!! It’s honest and helpful and doesn’t distort the story.


  74. Hey Roxanne, great question, the glaze is completely optional for those who like that look of a different color in the ridges. I prefer the smooth even color of the paint/bond coat itself. Yes, I did get full coverage with just the bond coat, it took two coats, and even a bit of touch up in several spots after that, but it will fully cover the cabinets.


  75. Love this! How amazing that you now have 2 very stylish kitchens! If my husband and I ever make it out to California….I’d love to book a few nights in your above the garage “hotel” the way you have described the area it seems that there would be tons to do! Do you have a vacation rental company that books guests for your garage hotel? I really love the paint, new shade, and of course the new lighting! Can’t believe you got the lighting for that cheap! Love it all!

    ~ Ali

  76. Oh, I’m so sorry about the gooey mess! I bet it took hours to clean up! Such a bummer to come home from a vacation and find your house smelly and gross! I remember when I was in high school my parents and sister’s and I came home from a family vacation to the same thing….our deep freezer in the garage stopped working and it smelled like death! We cleaned and cleaned for hours trying not to gag. I didn’t enjoy turkey for several years after that due to that nasty frozen turkey goop all over our hot garage! The stink was horrible! Glad you had a back up kitchen till the new parts could be ordered!

    ~ Ali

  77. Looks awesome Kate! I love the white. I know that took a lot of work! I’m still enjoying my bathroom Rust-Oleum Transformation but have not gotten the nerve (or the time) to do it again in my kitchen!

  78. LOVE it! Seems like a much better process than primer & melamine. Next cabinet “re-do” for a client, I’ll recommend this!

  79. If you were going to be painting the cabinets in your main kitchen, would you use the Rust-Oleum kit or would you do it the traditional way (primer, conditioner, paint, etc.?). I am going to be tackling that project soon and would like your opinion. I cannot decide which is the better way to go, cost aside. Also, LOVE that light fixture!

  80. I’d love to transform my kitchen. It looks like the Rust-Oleum Transformation is just what the doctor ordered!

  81. I have been dieing to paint my cabinets white. I too have the honey builder grade cabinets. I read on another blog who used the same kit that the protective coat is thin. You didn’t feel as if you needed to remove the doors? Did you end up with dripping? Also what colors are the walls and what color did you end up using for the kit.

    Love the transformation by the way!

  82. How do you find the painted wood holds up over time (in terms of scratching, chipping, etc.)?

  83. Hey Ali, the thought often crossees our mind of using it as a vacation rental, but then I think about the cleaning and booking it, and I just throw up my hands wondering if I have time to manage it successfully! It also has a slightly awkward entrance, you have to go past the garbage cans (thrilling) and wind your way through our back yard’s not too pretty spots. Maybe someday! It works out much better to have a full time tenant like we have in the past, we’ll probably rent it out again soon!

  84. Hey Abi, I mentioned that issue with Roxanne, time will tell how it holds up, so far so good, it doesn’t scratch off.

    Yes, Jennifurla, good point, you have to be careful and use a good brush, and even follow up a few minutes later just to make sure you avoid as many drips as possible!

  85. Roxanne K, great question!!! I used the traditional method in my kitchen which I know for a fact is a no fail. Using an oil based bonding primer (Zinsser) plus two coats of oil based semigloss mixed with conditioning Penetrol made for the smoothest finish I’ve ever achieved with a roller and brush. Also, there have been absolutely no problems to date, no scratching, no peeling, no chipping, and the island gets daily wear and tear. However, working with oil based products is stinky and the clean up requires mineral spirits or paint thinner. Note, if I was repainting kitchen cabinets white in the traditional method, I would use the same Zinsser oil based primer but would choose latex paint, not oil, since white oil based paints will amber or yellow over time, but white latex paints will not.

    I like the CT kit for the ease of use and low odor, and the fact it’s water based which makes life a whole lot easier when you’re redoing an entire kitchen. It does have that advantage. I did not get an absolutely 100% smooth finish (which I mentioned) like I did on my kitchen island by using the traditional method. Up close, you can see thin brush strokes on the studio kitchen cabinetry.

    The big question, what would I do in the future? It just depends. For speed and ease of use, I’d choose the CT kit, for a close to flawless finish, I’d choose the traditional method. Both are perfectly acceptable ways for a DIY refinishing job on cabinetry.

  86. I read this post this morning, and had to stop back again tonight to say that I can’t stop thinking about that light fixture! I too, love the contrast of matte and glossy, and at 12 bucks!?! Wow. I’m on the hunt to do something similar this weekend now! Thanks for the inspiration.

    One question though – do you have to prime the glass/metal/chain before spraying it silver? I never knew you could paint glass!?

  87. Thanks Nikole, no primer on the metal, and surprise surprise, the spray paint I used was Rust-Oleum ‘Metallic Matte Nickel’ :)

  88. Wow… they look awesome! I’m so glad I just stumbled across your blog. I’m getting ready to paint some cabinets and this kit looks like just what I need.

  89. Kate–I’ve been wanting to try this. Your review has given me the courage to try it–I may even paint my cabinets in place.

  90. Love it! I want to paint my bathroom builder grade cabinets. They’re such a bore.

  91. it looks great! I love cream cabinets, it brightens the kitchen up so much. I am going to redo our cabinets with the rustoleum kit one of these days when I have the time

  92. I actually just purchased this kit today, with hopes of tackling my kitchen while two of the kids are at daycamp next week. In the FAQ’s on the rustoleum website, they say you can use a roller to achieve the smooth finish if you are not using the glaze. They encourage a brush if you are going to use the glaze so the glaze will remain in the stroke marks left from the Bond Coat. Also, on the FAQ’s they tell you how to spray the product on as well, but only if you do not want to use the Glaze. I am hoping to glaze mine after reading the results from someone else! I LOVE the finished product in this kitchen!

  93. Kate, it turned out amazing! Love the new light fixture, too! I feel your pain about the refrigerator. When I bought a new one, it had a problem with the icemaker within just a few months. They just seem to make things cheaper now, instead of better. Discouraging. But your guest kitchen turned out beautifully! Bright and cheerful…love the transformation!

  94. WOW!! Thanks for sharing. I’m headed to Lowes now – can’t wait to get started! :-)

  95. While I like style of my kitchen cabinets, I’ve always hated the color. So, I’d use this product on my kitchen cabinets…probably a warm white.

  96. Fabulous! Our kitchen is fine, but for years I’ve been wanting to refinish the cabinet on my husbands 80 gallon aquarium which is beautiful with the exception of the circa 74 cabinet. This might just do the trick. Thanks!

  97. Beautiful! I’m dying to do my kitchen cabinets! this product seems to make it a lot easier!

  98. Wow Kate, Home from vacation and right back to it! Beautiful result. So fresh and inviting now. I am planning on repainting my kitchen and laundry room cabinets. I want to do the lower cabinets in the kitchen a blue. I will have to look at the Rustoleum color selection. Thanks for inspiring us!

  99. Great post! I wish we owned our home so we could do things like this! I really love the transformation that you went through and the white cabinets look great! It looks really upscale and very nice! Great job. love the site! You’re on my reader now!

  100. Great redo! I’m looking at this exact product right now for my aqua kitchen. I have a question for you. How would you classify the Linen color? I’ve been looking at the pure white and the linen and can’t decide between the two. My trim is plain white, but I was thinking of a little softer white for the cabinets without being too ivory. I really wish rustoleum had chips for their colors.

  101. Looks fantastic! I love those changes that really create a new space. Unfortunately I did not have the same luck with the Cabinet Transformations product. And I really wanted to love it (probably would have if we got the results you did)! We were getting really poor coverage and after four coats of the bond coat, our golden oak cabinets looked like they had two coats of primer on them. Sadly, we had to abort and convert to my old standby method with SW Pro Classic enamel. Now they’re looking beautiful… We just have to wait for them to cure. :)

  102. WOW!!! I’ve been waiting to revamp our builder grade kitchen cabinets for a while, and this is truly inspiration to just do it! I was shocked to see the before and then the after because the before is my kitchen – literally every surface (except I have tile looking linoleum flooring). What a GREAT facelift!

  103. This looks great! You have really made a transformation to this kitchen! I’m a little confused though – which kitchen is yours? You have another kitchen pictured in a different link that you refinished the cabinets to. The other kitchen pictured is in ‘Painting Wood’ under ‘Painting Kitchen Cabinets’ from March 2010.

  104. Do u have any tips for how to add the knobs so they are even and straight? I want to add them, but am scared I’ll use the drill and mess up. Thanks

  105. I’m definitely trying this in my bathrooms–no sanding or priming makes me a happy girl!! I just refinished our kitchen cabinets and man what a job! They look awesome but it was so much work!! Thanks for the review!

  106. Were these cabinets solid wood or did they have any laminate on them?

    • Hey Edith, the color on the walls was a custom blend I did, but the closest match is ‘Autumn Fog’ by Valspar; ‘Flint Smoke’ by Behr; and ‘Silver Gray’ by Benjamin Moore.

      Kate, the wood grain will be visible, so if you have oak, be prepared that the Kit won’t hide the wood grain, it will just change the color.

      Shayna, these are solid wood cabinets, alder wood to be exact!

      Juls, this kitchen belongs to our guest studio that we rent out sometimes, the other posts refer to the main kitchen in our house.


  107. I was at Home Depot tonight and saw this. I had decided to paint my cherry wood cabinets this summer and so I noticed the set-up when I walked by. I really had planned on painting them white. I am seeing mixed reviews all over when people didn’t use the glaze. What do you think made yours work where others didn’t? Did you use a roller?

    This is such a huge undertaking and I am nervous enough as it is doing it on my own. My husbands is extremely leery and trying to talk me out of it.

  108. My husband and I just finished our cabinets with this kit. It took us a week to finish, only because we did ours in the evenings. I have to say that the De-glosser is what makes this kit so fantastic and easy, it saved hours of sanding.

    We purchased the Purdey brush as suggested by you, and we used a sponge roller. We used the roller for the paint (along with the brush for tighter spots). But when it came to doing the last step, putting on the top coat, we used just the Purdey brush (you were so “spot on” with that brand of brush…excellent). I would suggest to others to go back and check the work you did once you’ve finished an area. Just when we thought we had it all smoothed out we would go back and find a place that had globbed up in spots…and believe me, you want it all smooth.

    We used the light kit on our oak cabinets. I chose the color Linen. I have to say that the color was a little disappointing, it just looks white, and I was looking for, well, a “linen” color without having to use the glaze (I didn’t want the wood grain on my cabinets to stand out). I read many, many reviews for this product and heard a few people say that the colors are true to what is on the box, but was not the case once on our cabinets.

    Overall, the cabinets turned out great and gave us a much needed make-over. We are now applying the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations as I type. We picked Onyx. It was very tough to those the countertop color. I wanted to find close up pictures of each of the colors, other than what was on the box…I didn’t have much luck. I’m hoping there is a little definition in what we picked, and it doesn’t look just black. Will have to let you all know.

    If you need a kitchen make-over and don’t have the budget for a brand new kitchen…this is the kit for you!

    p.s. goes much faster when working with another person.

  109. I was wondering what paint color you have on the walls in this guest studio kitchen. It looks like a gray, do you happen to know the color and brand?
    Thank you!

  110. Love the cabinets! Debating on how to do ours and wanted to know how visable the wood grain is with this product? I also want to if you have any sugestions on how to best paint base trim and doors. Thanks! Kate

  111. How in the heck did I miss this?!?!?! Painted the cabinets with the doors still on? Oh junk! Those are the same hinges I have on my doors! Ok, let me calm down…. I’m going to do that for my bottom cabinets! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now, let me find the post on your island:)

  112. LOVE it!!
    I am painting my kitchen cabinets too and I’ve never heard of this before! I will definitely try it. I have a question before: My cabinets are dark cherry color so do you think with two coats will be enough?will it work? I want to paint them white-off white.
    THANK YOU!!!!Ana

  113. Looks great! My husband and I will actually be painting our kitchen cabinets this weekend using this same kit. I had a question about the color: I noticed that you have a white stove and you chose the Linen color for the cabinets as opposed to the Pure White base. They look good in the picture, but how about real life? I’m still unsure as to whether to choose Linen or Pure White (both unglazed) to paint our kitchen. We still have a mix of stainless and white appliances, and our trim color is pure white. What would you suggest?

  114. You have inspired me! The cabints at our cottage are in desperate need of TLC! They are mahogany that has been oiled over the years. I refuse to spend $ on new cabinets, and having seen this post I now know what to do! I knew I wanted to paint them out, but was unsure of the process, not now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  115. You have no idea how excited I am about this! I have been wanting to paint our cabinets, but have been putting it off just thinking about the sanding process. I am going to the hardware store for this ASAP!! Any advice for painting the inside of the cabinets? I’m thinking that’s going to be a huge pain in the ass.

    • Hey Nikki, I don’t think it’s necessary to paint the inside itself, but whether you paint the inside of the doors is your call, I prefer them painted for a universal look but it will take more time!

  116. Any update on how the paint is holding up? I’m considering using this product in my bathrooms and kitchen but would like to know how it handles daily use over the long term.

  117. Hi Rachel, great question! It’s our guest house kitchen so it’s not used daily, only a few times a month, but so far so good. i think if you’re using it on a bathroom or kitchen I’d use two of the final protective coats, just for added durability.


  118. I am considering painting my grandmother’s piano with this product. I have 4 boys and they have not been kind to my treasure; scratches and name carving, etc. Do you think I should sand those out before starting?

    • Hey Jennifer, I’m suppose you could use the product for a wood piano, and yes, depending on where the scratches or carvings are located, I would sand them down or fill them with wood filler.

  119. What a lovely transformation! I have the same cabinet in my master bath and cannot decide between using the Rustoleom product and using chalk paint to do a makeover..which would you recommend?

  120. I’m looking into painting my oak cabinets. I know you love this product but I was wondering if you have ever used milk paint? And if so how they compare?? My friend did her cabinet with milk paint and there are no brush strokes.

  121. I have laminated cabinets. You know those yucky things from the 70’s. Do you think this product would work well on them? I’m desperate to find something to update my poor little kitchen without doing a complete uber expensive remodel.

    • Hi Ashley, the products states it works on laminates although I haven’t personally tried in on a laminate product yet.

  122. I have loved looking at all the amazing things you have transformed I have bookmarked a few posts to help me with repainting things in the studio thank you for sharing all of this

  123. I used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation kit in Linen about 6 months ago. I’m now noticing yellow streaks in my pretty white cabinets. I’m thinking it’s the protective top coat turning yellow with time. I am NOT HAPPY with this product anymore and will never use it again. I wish I would have just painted my cabinets the old fashion way. Lesson learned.

    • Thank you for sharing Dani, good for us all to know! I’m wondering if this is the case on the darker formulas? Our still look pretty white, but I so appreciate you sharing your experience.

  124. Might I ask what kind of spray paint you used, is it also Rustoleum? I know they make a satin finish spray paint and I am trying to find out if it would work to spray paint my old yucky brass doorknobs, hinges etc or if I ought to spend the cash for new pieces?

    • Yes Danielle, I do like RustOleum’s spray paint, it’s very durable!

  125. Hi Kate, is this a good product ove already painted cabinets? Or should i just use standard paint? I’m painting the walls camouflage. Is linen or white best. I was also thinking a soft darker shade of grey green might be nice. it’s a small kitchen.

  126. Do you think that Rustoleum Transformations will work for painting honey oak moulding and trim work white? I am sure it is a time consuming process, but I have relatively new trim and moulding in my new home, but I want it white.

    • Hi Beth, I’d recommend priming and painting trim the “old fashioned” way with a good adhesion primer than a coat or two of white enamel paint for durability – that’s what I would do.

  127. Does anyone know how to handle mistakes with this product? We had a disaster after glazing. Cabinets fell and got nicked. We tried to touch up with base coat over the damaged areas. I only did one coat of the base. When I tried to reglaze, the glaze didn’t take.

    Any suggestions? Do I need to start over with the damaged cabinet (degloss, base and then glaze again)? Will I be able to glaze over properly if I put another coat of base?


    • Hi Kay, so sorry you had that problem! I didnt’ use the glaze on my cabinets. I think if you lightly sand, give it another protective coat, then try to glaze again hopefully it will work!

  128. Wow You have inspired me! My kitchen is tiny! Its the same set up as your and I have been dreaming of painting my cabinets! Your kitchen is beautiful :)

  129. I am looking into using this product for painting my cabinets. I want to do white as well but I’m terrified of the protective coat making it yellow over time. Since it’s been a while had yours yellowed or stayed white??

    Also I’ve thought of doing milk paint instead (to avoid brush strokes). If I choose that route what protective coats do you recommend that won’t yellow??

  130. What a difference a little paint and a few accessory updates can do! Looks a lot bigger and spacious now. That’s also a really great kit, super easy and a lot less work!!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

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