From the minute we moved in, Megan and I knew that we wanted to make changes to the kitchen. The cabinets are standard builder’s grade cabinets you see in a lot of new construction. They weren’t our style at all. So, while we didn’t have the money to completely replace them, we could definitely afford to paint/stain them and remove a couple in favor or some open shelves. We believed this would bring depth and interest to the space and make it feel like a custom kitchen, rather than the same kitchen you’ll find in all the homes surrounding ours.

We decided to go with Rustoleum’s Kitchen Transformation kit because we’d heard good things about it from people we know as well as reviews on the internet. We went with Kona for the color in hopes of matching the dining room table, chairs, and server we bought when we moved in. It’s sort of a mostly-black-with-a-hint-of-brown color.┬áBefore we started, Megan removed all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, being sure to label them all along with their hardware so they would go back exactly where they came from. Some doors or drawers look identical, but you never really know if the holes were drilled exactly the same. Keeping track of where everything came from made sure we didn’t have to worry about something not fitting when we went back to install everything.

The kit worked out pretty well. It comes with a DVD showing videos of the instructions. Step one was using a deglazer to remove the coating and shininess of the existing cabinets and was by far the most manually intensive and exhausting step. We had to use a scouring pad and a good amount of force to strip the cabinets of its shine and make sure they were ready for the base coats.

Between the deglazer and the base coats, we drilled holes in all of the pieces for some hardware we’d picked up months ago from IKEA.

Two base coats come next and this is where the cabinets get their new color. It goes on a lot like paint. Simply brush it on and let it dry for a few hours. Rinse and repeat. Step two complete.

Step three is to use a glaze, which the kit suggested would give the cabinets more depth. It also looked like it would darken the color a fair amount. We were already happy with the color that was produced after the two base coats, so we skipped this step. Hey, even Rustoleum says it is optional. We had better things to do.

Step four is putting on a couple of finishing coats. The internet told us that the top coat that comes with the kit isn’t very good – it is hard to work with and can be very drippy and streaky. We opted to use a third party polyurethane for our top coat. Two coats of that and all the painting was done.

We removed two cabinets from the wall that we wanted to replace with open shelving and made a trip to IKEA to pick out the shelves and hardware. A quick coat of paint over the white “hole” and it looked as if the cabinets were never there in the first place.

Megan reattached all of the doors and drawer fronts and added the drawer pulls and door handles while I was at work. When I got home, I set about putting up the shelves and their supports. Two new outlets were installed: a black standard outlet and cover to replace the white set on the peninsula and an outlet with two USB ports over the counter for charging any number of things. Lastly, everything got put away and we were finished with our weekend project.

We are extremely happy with the results. The shelves open up the kitchen to the dining room more than one would think, and the deep, rich, chocolate color matches pretty well with our furniture. It brings a bit of bespoke-ness to the space. And while we only used two of the four steps of the kit, I think I’d recommend it to anyone looking to redo their kitchen. Total cost for everything was less than $300 and it took the two of us a full three day weekend to get it all accomplished. Not bad at all.

The end result