While we were in Greece, I repainted my mom’s kitchen in what we now call a “spicy yellow kitchen”. It completely renewed the space and it filled it with light. It is a much happier space now and it no longer looks dark and faded.
The kitchen itself, a 50+ years old vintage compilation of wooden cabinets, mosaic floor, marble sink, countertops and backsplash and…orange, double-pin, pulls. Big chunky, square, vintage orange pulls that mom insisted we keep. She is all about vintage that girl. She also hates throwing away stuff, which made the kitchen look like this (warning: shockingly ugly picture):
Persuading my mom was not easy:
Me: mom, you know, we can totally re-design this kitchen.
Me: but mom, the kitchen looks so tired and it would look so cool if we changed the layout.
Mom. I said no.
Me: but we can put all new cabinets and move them across and make this space rock!
Mom: It works just fine for me.
(That’s the same mom who sent me the money for our kitchen renovation)
I didn’t give up.
Me: mom, you have a beautiful farmhouse marble sink and backsplash and countertops. This kitchen could look stunning with white cabinets! Or a black and white scheme. Or intense grey cabinets?
Mom: I’d rather die and the answer is no.
I gave her some incentive by taking this neglected (and cluttered) little helper:
and after some TLC (read about how the ugly duckling turned into a swan, here),
it turned into this:
Let me digress a bit with some crucial information. I love minimal contemporary and usually stick with neutrals. My mom is the exact opposite; she loves – and owns several – antiques and she is a person that thrives with vivid colors. My bedroom is beige and hers is purple. To her a modern white kitchen is something really boring; she needs color. Eye popping color. (Oh, and she doesn’t throw away anything!)
So, I changed my approach and said:
Me: YELLOW! We will paint a strong, powerful, warm yellow, which will go modernly great with the white and black of the marble surrounds and be relevant to the earth toned floor. Win!
Mom: …Depends on the yellow…
Me: Really, really bright and strong and intense.
Ha! I had her right there!
I had played my cards right when I suggested a color I generally avoid (like banana yellow) and emphasized the intensity her new kitchen color would have. She reluctantly agreed. Orange would have worked too to persuade her but, I refused point blank to paint anything orange. I was imagining of still pulling a modern scheme of yellow, white and black but mom rejected the idea of anything modern.
I surveyed the kitchen. The – very – old paint was a – muted from age – neutral green (one may call it hospital green), There was chipping and streaks on the cabinet doors and faces (caused from the chlorine we use with abundance to clean the kitchen). There were both water based and oil based paints used. A couple chips , some very old water staining on a wall from a broken pipe (or was it a water heater? That accident happened a long time ago).
I could do this, I thought. Some serious sanding, spackling, correct priming and paint.
How hard can that be?
Well…The walls were ridiculously easy. They don’t buckle and they take putty real well. They were already super smooth (super-super smooth), all I had to fix was a small chipped spot at the door casing. (I couldn’t find a photo after I painted the wall yellow but you can see it’s fixed in the “after” with just primer).
Looky at my smooth, smooth patch. Invisible!
I also found an amazing primer with crazy coverage (and practically no odor). I worked in a medium size room and I actually put my nose in the primer bucket to check if there is any smell. There was. But, I actually had to go that close to find out. Seriously awesome primer.
Look at THIS:
Let me elaborate on what we see. I did not over-expose the photo (in fact I had to add shadows in picmonkey because it was so white it was hard to tell). Guyyyyysss, that was ONE coat of the super primer.
It worked over flat wall, high gloss oil-based paint on walls, high gloss oil based paint on wood (the doors) and even on the gypsum trim (both of them – this is an approx 12-14 feet tall room and the fridge is 6.6 ft).
The cabinet doors however, proved to be a different story. All I can say about painting them is that,
I failed dismally.
And even my super primer didn’t work on them!
I have all sorts of excuses to share concerning repainting half a century old kitchen cabinets from oily green to sunshine yellow. I’ll tell you all about them in part 2 because part 1 is getting too long and I am sure you have work to do (or a party to attend).