Makeover of a vintage, hospital green kitchen that was completely transformed into a sunshine filled, happy, cooking area. Spicy Yellow kitchen – part two! Transforming a room only with color. (You can read the challenges, why we did not gut everything in the first place (plus many more details & photos of the makeover), in Part 1 of the spicy yellow kitchen.)
After the owner of this kitchen (hi mom!) agreed reluctantly (very reluctantly) on the most minimal change (paint), the old green kitchen was about to be get a new life.
With a lot of elbow grease (and decluttering), the tired vintage kitchen,
looked happier and much younger.
Besides prepping all areas with primer, two different tones of yellow were used – both in high gloss for easy washing – the stronger/darker went on the cabinet doors and we used a softer shade for the walls. The cabinet boxes, faces and the doors, were painted an old time classic white gloss.
Finally, the gypsum trims and the upper part of the walls, received two fresh coats of flat white.
If you find the yellow walls overwhelming, keep in mind these are really tall walls, at 12-14 ft! The yellow is painted u to half the walls, where the first crown molding is (the room is tall and has two crown moldings!)
Waist up, the top part and the ceiling are crisp white, so it balances out and doesn’t look like a banana nightmare.
Process in pictures:
Even after I had painted the yellow parts on the walls, mom came in and said “all this white is blinding me!” Which tells a lot about how dark the kitchen felt before and how bright it had become with just a bit of paint.
Truth be told, yellow seems to intensify the contrast and makes everything white stand out more. In this room, that has a small, corner window, any extra light is much welcome.
Door hinges: Swollen from the years, some cabinet doors refused to come apart from the cabinets for me to paint them.
The hinges were an old – and obsolete – style, that actually goes inside the wood like flat dowels (a part in the frame, the other part in the door), then they are screwed/nailed in place and painted. It was impossible to remove them without braking the doors or the cabinet faces.
Orange pulls: Most of the pulls did the same thing and refused to co-operate. Being double pin ones, I couldn’t just twist them around to enlarge the holes and get them out. In addition, they could not be re-adjusted to be straight (exactly because they had 2 screw pins).
They were super easy to clean though. Some warm water and scraping off the paint was piece of cake:
How many of you noticed how lopsided some pulls are? Raise hands. Sadly I couldn’t fix that but it also isn’t the end of the world.
On the plus side, any paint that fell on them was a breeze to clean and I have to admit they do add a happy punch of color.
Brushes: And so, I had to paint around all the obstacles. Without a roller (because even the smallest roller couldn’t fit under the pulls). Also, without my trusty crafts brush that created this smooth finish. I didn’t have a paint sprayer. The end result, with the pretty pitiful brushes I bought, was all streaks.
My manual – I had no power sanders there – sanding didn’t work. Perhaps I didn’t sand viciously enough. (Naturally, after I had given up, and after I had painter 356 coats on the doors, I found not one but three friends that had sanders to loan me. Figures.)
As for my trusty primer that had worked so magnificently on 3 different surfaces? It did not manage to hide the old green paint. And neither did another primer I used, or the white pre-coat, or the 5 coats of the yellow paint that followed (creating more paint brush streaks as I went).
I figured this one out: The cabinet doors were painted with oil based paint, in a strong (non white or pale neutral color). Now a days most people use water based paints that simply can’t do the job of oil paint. Smells less toxic, works well over whites but if you want to paint over old colorful oil paint, I think the best solution is to paint it the same color or strip the old paint off.
If you go really near the cabinet doors, you can still see a small transparency (hiding the ghost of the old green behind it). I didn’t get the fully saturated, professional yellow I wanted. Looks perfect in photos, I had to raise the contrast sky high to show you guys the problem.
The walls though, turned out magnificent (and so did the cart):
Super pinnable image (complete with painter’s tape):
Next time I travel over, I will buy oil based paint, will grab a mechanical sander from a friend and will try again.
Just for the heck of it!
But all whining aside, the result is truly a transformation and I think you can see that even with my pocket camera photos!
From dated and dingy to happy, light and absolutely uncommon:
For now, mom seems really satisfied with her sunshine filled kitchen and she says it makes her smile.
And that “it’s too bright”. She says she hadn’t realized just how much the light was dimmed down by the faded paint.
As for me, knowing the old kitchen, the white cabinet faces that had turned bone color from age (you can see that in the comparison photos – looks like dirt but it’s not), I smile every time I see this well lit and vibrant “new” kitchen.
It now is a happy place that actually makes one want to cook in there. Even me (and it’s no secret I’m not fond of cooking). After the kitchen was done, mom and me spent many days sipping our coffee there – a room that we previously just entered to get water or cook and run out of it.
All is good. 🙂