Bippity Boppity Boo! How a Little Pixy Dust and Imagination Made This KITCHEN STATEMENT WALL Spectacular Long After The Stroke Of Midnight!

This was one of the most exciting makeover projects I've gotten to help with in a long time. My friend Tara just became a realtor in Orlando wth Millenium Realty Group Inc. in Avalon Park and was excited to sell her first home.  The home had been a rental owned by a friend of hers for many years and was in need of lots of TLC! She was given a small budget and had to maximize the design choices to make the home look it's best so It would sell for top dollar!  The top priorities were paint, flooring, and to somehow, make the kitchen a show stopper!

KITCHEN ISSUES NEEDED FIXING:  Cabinets, Flooring, Appliances, Lighting. 

If you've read anything I have posted before, I am an avid believer that you don't have to spend a fortune to make something look like a million bucks.  It's all about the right choice of materials and colors. Oh.... and this remodel had do be finished in about 2 weeks so the house was ready for the market so smart decisions had to be made quickly. 

The first issue with the kitchen was the low cabinets. This home has super high ceilings and the cabinets were dwarfed in size. The second issue was the cabinets were oak and out dated. We all know that this style is out and something just had to be done about it. With $0 for 42 inch upper cabinets some innovating thinking had to occur. 

The first decision to be made was.... 

Choice A- paint the cabinets antique white like everyone loves. Big problem. Time was not on our side.  We had a vacation coming up and Tara needed to get this house listed pronto!!! Painting light cabinets requires sanding 
de-glossing, priming, painting and sealing. Zero time for that. Also... since these cabinets are oak, no amount  of filler, primer or paint is going to make that oak grain disappear!

Choice B- Stain the cabinets which takes less than half the time for the regular DIY folks. Well, winner winner chicken dinner!!!! 

Another issue was the counter tops. They were white laminate with zero chance of replacing them with a new material so we had to make them work as they were. Not only work, but look fabulous! When your budget is $0 for new cabinets and counters, you have to make the white laminate blend with what you decide to do. Here is how this kitchen transformation began! 


First, draw a sketch of the cabinet and doors. Next, remove the cabinet doors and number them on the door and the sketch.  I like use a sharpie and write the number on the back of the door in the round indention where the hardware attaches to the cabinet. Next on the list was a mini lesson on painting cabinet doors. I showed Tara and Cookie the type of stain and color to purchase. Let me say that this stain hands down is like the fairy godmother because it transforms wood and furniture into the most beautiful princess of the ball! I first learned about General Finishes Gel Stain from by bestie Christy. She redid her bathroom cabinets and they looked amazing!! The most popular finish right now is Java which is a rich dark brown one step down from their Espresso finish. All of the products pictured here can be purchased through my advertising partner, Amazon, just click on each photo. 

I went over to the house one evening and they had all the cabinet doors laid out in the loft ready to get the royal treatment. Now, a little history with my apprentice Cookie. She was my right hand gal 3 years ago when I refinished Tara's baby girls furniture. We had about an hour lesson on what tools to use and buy, and the steps to take to get the doors stained right.  Prep is key to creating a long lasting product. The same materials I use for every furniture project are the following: 

      1. Mineral Spirits
2. Sander / De-glosser
3. Small 2 inch foam cabinet and door roller
      4. Foam brushes 
      5. Three pack of brushes available at Publix 
      6. Ice cube trays to sit the cabinet doors on while working  

There are articles that say you have to lightly sand and there are articles that say you don't have to sand. Well, this girl doesn't have time or energy to sand cabinet doors so the front and backs just got a good wiping on and off with the sander/de-glosser. Just like Mr. Mayagi tells Daniel Son, "Wipe on, Wipe off".  This takes off the grease and grime from the cabinet doors so you will notice it feels dry and no longer smooth to the touch. 

Once that's complete and dry, take a little Mineral Spirits and repeat the process. I like adding this step to prepare the wood for the stain. 

You are now ready to apply the stain to the cabinet doors. This step is where the magic happens and you have that "Holy Moly" moment when you know these cabinet doors are gonna look like a million bucks when finished. Make sure you read the directions on the can. We live in Florida where it's hot every single day with a high percentage of humidity. We had to keep the a/c on 70 and the fan circulating to get them dry because remember, Tara needs to get this house on the market in less than 2 weeks. If the first layer doesn't dry properly you can't add a second layer because the cabinet doors with never ever dry. The goal was to complete one layer a day.  We had our lesson, laughed, and then my job was done for the evening. 

When painting a door with an inlay I like to paint the inside first. This way I can make sure there are no puddles of stain in the corners and it's all smoothed out. Then I go to the outer frame and the sides. This may seem fast but first you stain the back with two layers and then you stain the front with two layers so that's 4 days total. Don't forget an additional 4 days. That's two days for the two coats of poly on the back and two days for the two coats of poly on the front. It's pretty quick to complete each coat, it's just the 24 hours per coat to let it dry. 8 days total for drying.  

It was up to my apprentice to use her notes, and video to make it all happen. The doors needed two coats to achieve the look we wanted. The key is thin coats. If the coats are thick, they will not dry. The next night I get the below photo. Tara and Cookie worked hard to get both coats on all the cabinet doors and a coat on the base cabinets as well. We're working smarter here, not harder. (A saying we learned from our Captain). Remember the color of the oak cabinets above, this stain is just beautiful and creates a rich look without brush strokes.


Myself and a few more friends came over every couple of nights to help get the cabinet stain finished. It wasn't just the kitchen cabinets we were doing it was also the 3 bathroom cabinets as well. 

In the above photo you can see the new wood look tile flooring was installed.  It is a little lighter than the cabinets and was a great choice to update the entire home. I'll talk more about the flooring in the next article where the focus will be on the main cabinet wall transformation. 

People love to live in homes that have a wow factor that they enjoy on a daily basis and can be proud of. The statement wall in the kitchen was not my idea, it was inspired from searching Pinterest by Cookie.  Once she shared the idea with me I was like, "Boom", your a genius and this wall is going to look gorgeous just like Cinderella did after the "Bippity Boppity Boo" by her Fairy Godmother! 

After two coats of stain were added to the base of the cabinets, we could start the statement wall. The first thing we had to do was raise the cabinets to the top of the wall so they touch the ceiling. This is when you pull out the Rolodex and start asking your friends for help and hope you find the ones who will be happy to help and charge $0 An hour to do it. Tara and Cookie called our friend Cory to assist. With some pixie dust, new screws and a tall friend with a power drill, it was done. 

Once the subway tile was installed by the amazing tile guys, the holes were drilled for the wooden pipe shelving. All materials are available at your local hardware store for the pipe shelving and in this case, everything was bought at Lowes. Tara and Cookie are now greeted by the employees at Lowes like Woody greeted all his regulars at Cheers. Ya know the show, where everybody knows your name...  I'll give you a few minutes to sing that one in your head before moving on... I'm making these pictures REALLY big so you can see how the accent wall turns out.  

Now to the hardware. The "in style" hardware these days are bin pulls, bars, and knobs. I knew for this kitchen we needed bar pulls and knobs. The bar pulls really would make this a new and contemporary kitchen. Amazon Prime was the way to go on these, The standard size for bars on a door or drawer are usually 3 inches. Well, three inches was a no go, especially for the statement wall so we decided to purchase 5 inches. Just like a shiny chrome exhaust stands out on a 69 Camaro these 5 inch chrome bars were the jewelry on the cabinet doors ready for the red carpet and all the paparazzi. I don't want to show the completed wall just yet so I blocked it out.  You can see once the doors were put on how great these cabinet pulls looked!  

The pulls can be found on Amazon by clicking on the photo.  When these pulls were ordered, I didn't expect much for the price.  When they arrived and I held them in my hand, I was honestly mazed by how heavy they were and the great quality.  The also look spectacular! These easily would be around $4 at your local hardware store. 
It was my job to stain the wood with the same General Finishes Java Gel Stain. The wood was just a large piece of pine cut to size at Lowes. This time I applied and wiped off with a cloth and sanded with a 120 grit sanding block until I was satisfied with the look. The next day.. one coat of poly on each side and these babies were ready to be showcased on the wall. 

So here it is, the one and only mega spectacular showcase wall in the kitchen that made a transformation in to the million dollar club... With a little bit of staging from yours truly this wall is ready to be shown to potential home buyers! And there you have it, like turning a pumpkin into a stagecoach this statement wall will live happily ever after with the new homeowner! 

UP NEXT: the other side of the kitchen which is a double wow... Like WOW CHICKA WOW WOW!  We'll talk more about the cabinets, cabinet trim and flooring and appliances. I'll write about another surprise in the kitchen and give the total cost of the kitchen makeover and break it down. 

If you live in Orlando and are interested in buying or selling, give Tara a call! HERE IS A LINK TO HER FACEBOOK PAGE. 

Start Small- Great Design Takes Time- Enjoy


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