Q & A

I've been getting questions about how I refinished our kitchen cabinets and so today I'm answering some of those questions.

We have put new wood around our windows and the marks have come through. Will this stop it, if so where did you get it? We used primer but some brown marks still came through. Also you can see the lines in the wood.

Are you talking about the Zinsser Primer? It is great for stain blocking. You can get it at Home Depot. As for unwanted grain in wood, use Dynamic Dyna Patch. Most paint stores carry it - got mine at Sherwin Williams. A little goes a long way so just apply enough on a flexible putty knife to fill in the grooves and then remove excess before it dries. The goal is to have very little sanding to do when it's dry.

Would it not break away after awhile though or shrink causing the paint to crack? Have you got any pics of those white cupboards real close up?

No, this stuff is not like wood or drywall compound - it dries hard and does not shrink. Google this product to learn more about it.

Here is a close-up of the doors - they look like the paint was sprayed on! It's all in using a good primer, small 1/4" nap paint roller, and several coats of polyurethane. I do a light sand with a 250 grit sanding block after the primer dries to make sure the surface is nice and smooth before applying the first coat of paint. I repeat this step between all three coats of paint and between all four coats of polyurethane.

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Painting Tip To Avoid Clean-up

Are you like me and hate cleaning brushes between coats?

Put your brushes and rollers inside a plastic zip lock bag and seal. When working with multiple brushes, label the bags accordingly.

The bags can sit out for several hours but if you're not getting back to them within 24 hours, simply put the bags in the freezer. They don't take long to unthaw. I use this trick for stain too.

If you left your brushes out too long and they got all hard and crusty, soak the bristles in a container of  Laundry Fabric Softener overnight.  Rinse them with water and your brushes will be as good as new again!

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Kitchen Cabinet Transformation

This is a project I've been working on for months. Talk about slow, tedious, elbow grease personified! I think the results will be well worth my troubles. 13 more cabinet doors to go!

Well, as can often happen, mid way through I decided to change the plans! I had some concerns about staining the upper cabinets dark brown because I think they might recess our already small kitchen. I was inspired by a few kitchens featured in decorating magazines.
Yup, I've painted the upper cabinets white!  I  can hear the gasps from those who believe it's a sin to paint solid wood.  I felt the same way once upon a time but I've learned that sometimes good design calls for the forbidden paint can.
In order to give the bulkhead the appearance of drywall, we applied Dynamic Dyna Patch over the seams, corners, and the grain in the wood. This stuff dries hard, doesn't shrink, and with a light sanding will be as smooth as ice. The plan is to paint the bulkhead the same color as the walls and the crown white like the cabinets. Getting there, five more cabinet doors to go! I cannot say enough about Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer/Sealer. It seals the wood, blocks stains, and paint adheres to it like glue.
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Basement Laundry Room On A $500 Budget

Do you have one of those scary laundry rooms in the bowels of the basement? The dark dreary spot by the furnace designated for laundry with spider webs and creepy sounds? The place you run down to throw in a load and run back upstairs as quick as you can. 

Yeah, that was our laundry room for well over a decade until we finally built a basement laundry room on a $500 budget. It took the 20-year-old appliances to break down before we finally did something about it. 

Basement Laundry Room Makeover On A $500 Budget

Basement Laundry Room On A $500 Budget

$500 Basement Laundry Room Makeover

This is what the room looked like before...

Basement Laundry Before

Basement Laundry Area Before

Big difference, right? 

How sad that our brand spanking new front loading washer and dryer looked against the cold concrete walls and floor. Unfortunately, after paying for those shiny red appliances, there wasn't much room left in the budget for a room makeover.
Determination is my middle name and stubborn is my third, and so Mr. Frugalista and I put our heads together to come up with a way we could build a new laundry room on a very tight budget.
Here is a breakdown of how we saved hundreds of dollars by using discontinued, discounted, salvaged products along with a lot of elbow grease, to build our basement laundry room from top to bottom for $500.

Laundry Room Cabinets

The carcasses were built with offcut pieces of melamine purchased at Home Depot for under $20. The cabinet doors were purchased at Habitat ReStore for $5 each.

Laundry Room Sink 

The biggest splurge was the deep stainless steel IKEA sink at a cost of $70.00 but we saved on the taps by buying them at Habitat ReStore.

Laundry Room Backsplash

The 6" x 8" subway tiles are called Twill White Field from Home Depot and cost $1.50 each.

Laundry Room Counter

We built the counter ourselves with a sheet of plywood leftover from another project and a sheet of stock laminate from Home Depot. It cost us less than $50.00 to make.

Laundry Room Flooring

The 12" x 12" porcelain floor tiles were leftover from our back landing and I think we paid $2.00 per tile on sale.

Laundry Room Ceiling Tiles

The 2' x 4' suspended ceiling tiles were being discontinued and so we got them for a fraction of the original cost.

Laundry Room Light Fixture

The light fixture was a clearance item for under $30.00.

Laundry Room Costs

Cabinets: $18
Cabinet Doors: $15
Laundry Sink: $70
Taps: $25
Backsplash : $27
Counter: $45
Flooring: $160
Ceiling Tiles: $60
Light Fixture: $28
Miscellaneous: $50
Approximate Room Makeover Costs = $498

After the room was finished my daughter's cheer team had a fundraiser and so I bought this vinyl decal for the wall.

Somebody has to support Mama's Starbucks addiction!

Instead of dreading laundry day and making a mad dash upstairs after each load, now I want to bring a good book and hang out 😁

Update: While we loved this room and proud of ourselves for doing it on such a tight budget, our focus at the time was primarily on the budget and not the functionality of this room. We have since tweaked the room a bit and now it functions much better. You can see the changes here in my post Tweaking The Laundry Room - 4 Problems With The Original Design.

Basement Laundry Room On A $500 Budget

$500 Basement Laundry Room Makeover

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