Sunday, March 15, 2009

girlwithaspirin's Kitchen

DIY Painted Bittersweet Chocolate Kitchen

Posted by girlwithaspirin on October 6, 2008
Link to girlwithaspirin's Gardenweb post with details of cabinet painting
Link to girlwithaspirin's kitchen photos: (no longer available)

Link to girlwithaspirin's Before&After Photo  


  • Cabinets: original oak cabinets, painted in BM Bittersweet Chocolate
    (see below for instructions)
  • Countertop: Silestone Capri Limestone counters
  • Sink: D-bowl stainless sink from eBay
  • Faucet: Price Pfister Parisa pullout
  • Wall paint: Benjamin Moore Iced Marble, a really soft (but not sweet) blue-gray not unlike Silver Sage.
Painting Supplies:

  • Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Alkyd (oil-based) in Bittersweet Chocolate
  • Purdy angled brushes
  • Thick plastic dropcloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Mineral spirits and rags for clean-up as you go
Painting Instructions:

  • Remove doors.
  • Clean with soap and water.
  • Lightly sand, only where needed.
  • Remove dust with a tack cloth.
  • Rest each door on its bottom edge. Do not paint that edge -- you'll do it once the doors are re-hung.
  • Paint the backs first with a thin coat of Satin Impervo. Thin coats give more of a handrubbed look and also avoid drips. If you do see some drips, try to catch them early -- once the paint starts to dry, you'll make a mess trying to smooth them out. Let dry at least overnight, preferably a few nights to avoid smudges when you flip the doors around.
  • Paint the fronts in the same way.
  • Let cure for as long as you can stand it. A week would be ideal.
  • In the meantime, paint the cabinet boxes. I didn't paint the insides, and I've never regretted it.
  • After a weeks gone by, re-hang the doors. Paint the bottom edge of each. Do any touch-up.
  • Depending on your wood, the paint may keep absorbing in certain places. I kept the paint can in my kitchen for a month, doing quick touch-ups wherever necessary.
I didn't do two full coats of paint like many people suggested. For one, the Satin Impervo covers amazingly. The dark color helped -- I imagine a light color would require more coats. But also, the thinner the paint, the more it looks like stain. If you glop it on, which I accidentally did in some places, it doesn't look as much like a pro job.
If you have oak, keep in mind, you will see grain through the paint. If you'd rather not, you'll have to use some kind of putty to fill the grain, then prime, then paint. I just didn't have the energy for it, and it turns out, I love the look -- people mistake it for a handrubbed stain all the time.

You can see faint brushstrokes, which I love. The Benjamin Moore Satin Alkyd is incredibly forgiving paint, and I believe it would've self-leveled more if I laid the doors flat while painting and drying. I didn't want to encourage that, so I left them standing up.

For "cutting in",
I never use tape. But I live and die by angled Purdy brushes and a steady hand. I press and ease the tips of the bristles up to the edge, then pull slowly. Another hint: Don't hold the brush way down on the end of the handle, where it looks like you're supposed to hold it. You'll have less control, and your wrist will fatigue much more quickly that way. Hold it up higher, closer to the bristles.
I'm so happy with how the cabinets have stood up over time. Not a single chip or scratch! To be honest, I cut so many corners in the prep (by choosing not to prime), I thought for sure I'd be dealing with the aftermath now. I credit the paint and patience for 100% of the success. Seriously, this paint is the real deal.

Painted original oak cabinets

Before photos:


0s0-Pa said...

I love the color chosen for the kitchen; not many are painted black. I cant wait to remodel mine!
-Mariah @ Blanco Sinks

Meg said...

Hi :-) I was just wondering what colors your kitchen cabinets were originally (what stain)? Because I painted mine the same colour and it doesn't look nearly as dark? looks more mild chocolate? THANKS!!! I hate the color on mine, so thought that you could help...maybe was your paint originally tinted?

Tiffany said...

Can you tell us what you did with the glass-front cabinet doors? Did you paint the interior?