Kitchen budget revamp - almost complete! (jel stain!)

projectsneverendJune 3, 2008

We are probably going to sell our home in a few years, but there's a chance we'll stay, too. So our projects are tackled to try to please 'everyone' while on a budget.

This is what we started with...

Then I painted the 'brick' and changed out the hardware...

And changed out the lighting...

Then the counter tops, sink and faucet, microwave...

I had hoped that the new counters would make my thin, oak with veneer inlay cabinets look better. But all I saw was the competition from the cabinet grainy stripes to the granite and thought they took away from the granite. I dreaded painting, but figured that was the next step. Thanks to this WONDERFUL website, I looked into jel stain. They're not perfect, but they'll do...

It's hard to get a 'true' photo of the detail, but I didn't want the cabinets to look painted - I wanted to see the warmth of the original stain...

I never could have tacked this without this site so I wanted to post my before and afters to contribute. I'd still like to do some sort of trim on top of the cabs, but DH thinks they look fine so we'll see. We also need new flooring but are waiting until summer is over.

THANK YOU for the wonderful contributors to this awesome site. :)

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msrose

It looks great! What granite is that?

Laurie

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:04AM
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cooperbailey

Wow that gel stain really did the trick on the cabs! They look great! Is that giallo veneziano granite? It looks similar to mine! and I like the handles very much.
Did you keep the cutie?? LOL
great job! Sue

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:15AM
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jessie21

Wonderful job! I think it looks great...your cabs and granite look amazing together. Also love the cabinet artwork....now, THAT's a kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:15AM
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rmlanza

What a wonderful transformation! I love that you showed all the steps along the way. Beautiful job! And what a sweet little muffin muncher you've got there too!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:16AM
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writersblock

Wow, the gel stain really made the difference. It looks great and your little girl is adorable.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:18AM
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projectsneverend

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, we're keeping DD for now. :)

Not sure what our granite is technically called. We used a remnant from an installer and he called it 'desert sand' but I could never find it online.?

We are debating taking out a wall in our kitchen because we have so little room for our table. House is pretty small and it's the only eating area. Which is another reason for stalling on the floor till we figure it out. lol. It would mean lots of new flooring.
Here's the wall and the other side of our tiny kitchen...

please excuse the mess.

and the other side of the wall...

Hence my 'projectsneverend' name!! Sigh.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:40AM
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cheri127

I can't believe how great your cabinets look with the gel stain. What a difference! I love the old photo on the stove (who is it?) in the picture with your adorable girl. That's exactly how we used to reach the wall cupboards as kids (only we didn't use a stool; we opened the door to the base cabinet and stepped on the floor of it, hahaha).

One thought on opening the wall between the LR and kitchen. We have an open floor plan at the beach house, and while I love that everyone hangs out together, the constant drone of the TV and general shannigans of the kids starts to wear thin to me while cooking. It makes a great vacation atmosphere but I'm not sure I could deal with it all of time. It would look great though.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:32AM
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projectsneverend

I can't believe I misspelled gel stain. I looked at the cans enough to know better!
Is there any way I can fix that?

cheri127 - thanks for the input on the wall. I can definitely see that getting to me. It's a toss up, though. We're constantly banging into that wall with the chairs and there's no way to fit anything larger. When we have company, space is very limited.

The little girl pic was actually a greeting card I framed. It is cute and I need to find a new home for it now!

Another thought I've had is to build or buy a nook in order to use the space better, more seating and less movement of the chairs. DH, however, is not sold.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:58AM
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ci_lantro

Very Nice! Cool idea to remove the cabinet doors above the range & install the plate rack. The plates stay on the warm side of cool &, in my case where I often fill the dining plates from the stovetop, something like that would really handy.

Also, love the red wall...I adhere to the rule that every room should have some red in it!

Lastly, I love seeing re-dos that focus on using what you have, re-purposing, recyling... Too often, people tend to fall into the the 'I gotta' have mega$$$ to do ______.' It's refreshing & inspiring to see posts & projects like yours!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:07AM
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projectsneverend

Thank you ci lantro. It's a little intimidating posting here with so many overwhelming kitchens. The only way I would have gone with all new cabs is if I could have changed my layout. They were sturdy - just needed updating.

I came up with the plate rack because we moved the micro over the range to free counter space and the uppers had to change size to make room.

I agonized over what to do and where to start for a few years. Once I painted the 'brick', there was no turning back!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:22AM
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joanie_b

Ditto what Ci_lantro said.
We're using the existing cabinets in our remodel also.

Very inspiring and a wonderful job! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:23AM
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celticmoon

Bee-yoo-tiful!!!

SO happy to see another gel stain rescue. They came out just gorgeous. And the matte pewter tone hardware (completely different from my shiny pulls) looks great. Another win for the recycle/reuse/renew approach.

PS thank you to csquared for emailing me, as I completely missed this thread.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 1:47PM
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alex9179

WOW! The kitchen looks fantastic! I love it when you can make a HUGE difference and spend little money by comparison.
Thanks for posting your work!

What color gel-stain did you use? I have some bathroom cabinets I'd like to transform and the color you chose would be perfect.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 3:19PM
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igloochic

I just love what you're done here! It's gorgeous. You've done quite a few wonderful things...but I have to comment on that plate rack! How did you do that? It's really well done :)

I know you're waffling on the trim issue with DH so I just wanted to mention...a couple of people here have disquised soffits buy putting a thin piece of venear veneear veneer? (thin wood LOL) on the soffit, base and front and added trim to the ceiling and the bottom edge all done in the same color of the cabs and the transformation is absolutely amazing! You should look into the FKB (maybe someone remembers a name or two...they're amazing) Did I mention I think they're amazing LOL

And I'd kill that wall, and perhaps do a half wall to separate the spaces? maybe eat up a bit of that living area with a dining area defined by the half wall or even pillars (which helps on resale because you can call it a separate room even if they really aren't).

but if you do nothing else...you've already done a great job for your resale issue. and probably made yourself a much better functioning kitchen. i really do like it!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 4:02PM
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beachbum

What a great transformation! No one would know it was a "budget" reno unless you told them. It looks super!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 6:17PM
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mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

I LOVE it! What a great job you did! The gel stain makes all the difference in the world. Love the little cutie you have too! You are giving me inspiration to do my bathroom cabinets with the same stain. What color did you use?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 8:46PM
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huango

Fantastic! You did a wonderful job.
Thanks for all the pictures.

Yes, so many people have given me so much hope and wisdom that some day, I'll be brave enough to gel stain my cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 10:36PM
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huango

Since your cabinets have details (?bevel edges, etc?) which is different from celticmoon's frameless cabinets, can you please share your prepping/staining process for your cabinets?

My cabinets are similar to yours, and I'm not that sure about the process of sanding in the corners, etc.
Per celticmoon: "Sand LIGHTLY, just a scuffing really. Just enough to break the finish and give it some tooth, no more than a minute a door."

Thank you very much.
Amanda

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 11:19PM
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kitchenredo08

Wow - your kitchen looks fantastic - what a difference the gel stain made. I wish I'd had that opportunity. Unfortunately our kitchen was refaced with white melamine cabinets with a golden oak trim in the early 80s. Sure wish I had the original teak doors now.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:30AM
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kkupstate

I love the new look of the cabinets!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 10:09AM
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modernmissus

All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are an ispiration for me! I've been talking about and dreaming about doing our kitchen for months now and have been having issues convincing my husband, so in the mean time my parents decided they wanted to do the same so i've helped my dad paint his cabinets the bittersweet chocolate color. Its so great to see finished kitchens like yours, you truly did an AMAZING job! If you don't mind my asking how much did you pay for your granite? I'm toying with the idea of granite but was also thinking of just getting the laminate that looks like granite. I know it wont look as good though.
Great job painting the brick too! It looks like you have subway tiles now! Thanks so much for posting these pictures! Great job!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:48AM
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na_praha

Fantastic transformation! I love your plate rack - did you design it or was it a prefab product?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 2:56PM
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buckingham

Wow! Your cabinets look so wonderful. Tell us the process--did you have to sand the old finish on the oak cabinets? Did you do a light sanding or go down to the color of the wood? What color gel stain did you use? Did you have to wipe off a lot, do a few coats, top with something? Thanks, Lynn

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:38PM
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celticmoon

I just posted my step by step on a nearby thread. Projctsneverend reported that sealing with a clear coat BEFORE the color gel coats helped the color be even, She used General Finishes products also I think.

Any other tips, Projectsneverend??

Here is a link that might be useful: other gel stain thread with steps/info

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:18PM
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projectsneverend

I pretty much followed celticmoon's steps... (THANK YOU celticmoon!! :)

My process:
Remove doors. Remove hardware. We did leave hinges on and taped them off. (DH was afraid he'd never get them back on and didn't want to mess with getting new -- I picked my battles and went with it! ;)

I lightly sanded mostly using sanding sponges which allowed me to get into the cut-outs better. My doors were VERY shiny so I sanded enough to get the shine off. Then tack clothed them, then mineral spirits.

I put on a thick layer of General Finishes Gel Stain - JAVA. This stuff is so awesome. Then I wiped off. I left it on pretty thick... too thick. If I was to do it over I would definitely wipe off more because it took a loooong time to dry. I was trying to skip steps but I think 2 or 3 thin coats would have been better. It was a rainy weekend, too, so drying was tough in the first place.

DH had rigged up a way for me to hang the doors by the hinges so I hung them to dry which enabled me to do fronts and backs. When they were finally dry I did a thin layer of General Finishes Gel Clear Coat. I spread it on until it all looked wet but wiped away any drips. Once dry I very lightly sanded, then tack clothed, then we put the doors back on. I did another clear coat with the doors up and left the doors open to dry.
I've done a few touch ups here and there with a stain and a clear coat.

I would highly recommend general finishes gel stain! I babied the cabs for a few days but my 3 and 5 year old kiddos have not and the color seems to be holding up perfectly.

The plate rack - we needed to do something with the space above the micro since the doors would not fit back on. I measured it and ordered cheap plate racks from Target to fit across the space. I stained them to match and DH screwed them in. It was really too simple.

Our granite was about $2300. We used a granite slab from an installer's shop which saved us about $500, supposedly. I LOVE my granite.

Thanks for the brick compliments, also. I painted that quite a long time ago and have debated ever since about ripping it out and putting in a real backsplash. But I do like the simplicity of it and it all seems to tie together now.

Igloochic - I'm not sure what you mean with the trim... I've seen it where they put wood fronts on the soffits to make them look like cabs but I'm not clear here. Do you mean there would be a trim piece on top of the cab, then painted soffit, then another trim piece?

I think the wall is going to come out end of summer. Yikes. Another project in the making. Then we'll have to figure out new flooring.

By the time we're done with this house - I'm not going to want to leave! :)

Thanks again for all of the nice compliments. It's really hard for me to get good pics of the cabs and everyone that has seen them irl says my pics don't do justice!

I love this site!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 8:17AM
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catkin

Very cool!
Would the gel stain and clear coat work on a kitchen table top? The wood is blonde and has some wear here and there and I would like to make it darker--but not espresso dark, just a medium, rich fruit wood brown. Looking for a tough soap and water clean up surface.

Any suggestions? Stripping would be a night mare because it has a pop-up leaf that is in 2 pieces...

Thanks and congrats!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:05PM
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catkin

Very cool!
Would the gel stain and clear coat work on a kitchen table top? The wood is blonde and has some wear here and there and I would like to make it darker--but not espresso dark, just a medium, rich fruit wood brown.

Any suggestions? Stripping would be a night mare because it has a pop-up leaf that is in 2 pieces...

Thanks and congrats!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 11:48PM
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catkin

Dang the double post!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 11:49PM
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marti8a

Very nice! I know exactly what you mean about the grain of the oak competing with the movement of the granite, and the darker gel color you chose is perfect with your granite. I really like the plate rack you added above the microwave. That adds a lot to the room.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 12:08AM
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catkin

And yes, I realize this is an old thread but am hoping that those that have used GF can answer my questions, thanks!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 1:35AM
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Lake_Girl

Wow!! Impressive job!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:32AM
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beekeeperswife

catkin, you can gel stain ANYTHING! I did my bedroom dresser that I bought new knowing I hated the current finish. Who in their right mind would by a Drexel Heritage 12 drawer dresser, with an ugly finish and copper hardware? Me. I gelstained it and sprayed the hardware. Bought it at Home Goods, on clearance (because nobody could see past the color) for about $200. Not bad, since it was originally $2000. I also did all the vanities in the lat house. And come to think of it, I have a pedestal table with a glass top in my dining room, I did that while we were in temporary housing waiting to get in. All turned out great.

I cannot see a reason why you shouldn't do your table. I would just make sure to use several coats of the top coat at the end. And make sure not to rush the drying process. Patience is key.

General Finishes is great, and so is Old Masters. Whatever you do, do NOT use the Minwax brand. It just doesn't work the same.

Good luck.

And of course, even though this is an old thread....that kitchen looks great!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:47AM
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catkin

Thanks, BKW!

Since it gets lots of washing with soap and water, would you rec the GF top coat or can I use Aqua Zar on the GF gel stain?

I need tough! LOL

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:42PM
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