The Kitchen Project

Grandma Denny passed away in July. Before her death, around Mirah’s birthday in May she offered us and amazing family heirloom.
This is Mirah playing with the kitchen that Grandma Denny played with as a girl. The kitchen that my mom played with when she visited her grandma. The kitchen that I played with when I visited my grandma. Complete with kitchen toys: A plastic tea set, pots and pans, little plates and spoons and mixers. 
Uncle Dave brought it over to us a couple of weeks after Grandma passed away. 
Mirah played with it for HOURS the day we got it. And every day until we decided to clean the old girl up. You may notice that the paint and varnish are chipping, and it just seemed a little tired. 
Here she is when we pulled the drawers. 
We took off the knobs, then stripped the paint and re-stained the drawers. We felt like that wasn’t so bad. Karl and I spent a few hours on a Friday after Mirah went to bet doing this. 
Stripping the finish and the stain was quite the job. I watched a couple of Youtube videos before getting started. I HIGHLY recomend this. We were just planning on sanding it. I am glad that we stripped it first. It cut down on tons of time of sanding.

It did come with a price however: if you get it on you it burns skin your and leave marks. So we had a damp towel on hand at all times. The effect:

With a little effort the color and varnish just lift right off. 

To exhibit the color change:

We also did some touch up sanding after we stripped it. 
After stripping and sanding. 
Refinished. One coat. 

That evening we moved from the doors to the main body of the kitchen.
Here is Karl stripping the big piece and getting the contact paper off. 
Looking good!
The paint was seriously chipping under all of that contact paper. 

Labor Day
After grand adventures and a nap, we worked on sanding the main body of the kitchen. It took HOURS and many sheets of sand paper. 

Top sanded. 
Doors sanded. And Stained. One coat. 
The stain wasn’t taking on the corner of one of the doors, so I sanded a little more. The stain came right up. 

Mostly done. This is will just one coat. 
We just need to prime the inside, paint, then put then contact paper on. Then add the finish. THEN put all of the hardware back on.

Friday Sept 5th

So like any big project, I just have to be in the mood to pick it up. Mirah hasn’t slept well this week and so we have been running on fumes. Friday finally rolled around. For the first time in months I didn’t have any appointments, Mirah was in a good mood, and I had a full nights sleep. It was the perfect storm for my second to last push.

So I taped off the stained areas and used newspaper to protect the grass and main shelf.
Then I pained a coat of primer.
This took a surprisingly long time.

I had to prime the backs of all four doors as well.

I re-stained the front of the cabinet, again.

While waiting for the paint to dry, Mirah and I watched  Daniel Tiger and put new contact paper in the drawers.


Added another coat of stain.

Oh yeah, and painted the inside of the cabinet.

 It took two coats of paint.
We bought two of these sample containers of Valspar’s April Thicket.

Got the doors too.

Almost all done.

Added another layer of stain to the main shelf, sides, doors and drawer fronts.

I feel like depending of the light the color of the paint seems to change.
Here it looks rather sky blue.

Here baby blue.

The final stain is a chocolate brown. The color to me in person is more like a sea foam green. Knowing me, I wanted to get a turquoise/teal color. But we thought that a more subtle color would be more appropriate for this piece of furniture. A nice gender neutral color, that could go into any room in the house.

September 6th
So we spent much of this day waiting. That is the thing with staining and varnishing, most of that time is spent waiting. Waiting for things to set, soak, and dry.

Today we probably only spent about an hour and a half on ACTIVE work, the but 6-10 hours of waiting for the varnish to dry.

We had a baptism for one of the children in our primary this morning, so we were up and dressed in our sunday best bright and early. Before Karl got his tie on he put the first coat of varnish on.
This is the varnish we used. It had the consistency and color of Elmer’s Glue.

After the first coat:

 Karl’s major complaint at this point was that the piece and an uneven level of glossiness.

When we got home for the baptism an hour and a half later, it was nice and dry. So we changed and put on another coat.

We went out for another few hours, came home, put Mirah down for her nap and put the final coat on.

A couple of hours later, a sudden summer storm started blustering and it began to rain! 
We ran out side and quickly moved the kitchen into the car port. Worried I used a dry towel to wipe off the water. The were no water stains, the rain had beaded on top of the finish beautifully. It was totally dry. So we decided to bring it in and finish up what we had started. 

The finish really made the whole thing come together.

 I put all of the hardware in sandwich bags and had them ready to reinstall.

 Here is Karl putting the last door back on. We took time to really clean the glass. There was old paint and stain and varnsih from it’s last paint job who knows how long ago all over the glass. There was also a layer of see through contact paper on the back. We removed it for now, but may add it again later.

 There she is nestled back in her home.

So, for about $50, and in about 25 hours (of active work not counting waiting for things to soak, stain, or dry), over 3 weeks we were able to take this:

and turn it into this:

 We are very happy with it.
It made me think of my Grandma so much over the coarse of the project. Through every step I wondered what she would have said about our choices.

That night when Karl and I stayed up late and stripped the varnish off of the main body of the kitchen Karl turned to me and said, “Does it look any better, or did we just ruin it?”

I was worried. But I think in the end we just gave it a little face lift, and that it will be able to age well. This little beauty will probably out live me. 

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