Before getting its dramatic makeover, this kitchen was stuck in the '70s, complete with dark cabinets and linoleum floors. But with a few simple DIY projects, it became an updated and airy space.
Before the Makeover
Makeover Strategy: Update Surfaces to Brighten the Space
Step 1: Repair the Cabinets
Step 2: Prepare and Paint
Step 3: Lay the New Floor
Step 4: Secure the Underlay
Step 5: Put Down the Boards
The Grand Total
A kitchen makeover needn't require hordes of contractors traipsing through your home—unless, of course, you just enjoy dirt, debris, commotion, and making slightly scruffy new friends.
But if you already have enough good pals and disdain drywall dust, take a look at this renovated kitchen, formerly suffering from a 1970s-style hangover: dark-brown veneered cabinets, exposed brick and a once-groovy-but-now-dated linoleum floor.
Could we inject new life into this aging hipster with minimal muss and fuss—and on a $1,200 budget? You betcha. It helped that we had well-maintained tiles and grout to work with, decent cabinet hardware and a classic (and still functional) U-shaped layout that offered plenty of natural light above the sink and easy access to cabinets.
A small budget required us to come up with cost-effective solutions:
Repair damaged door and cabinet veneers and reuse existing hardware (a money saver).
Remove the small wood shelf.
Brighten up cabinets, doors, window frames, countertop edging and brick walls with a new coat of white paint.
Replace the original flooring with new vinyl plank floorboards.
Add a movable island for extra storage.
Before painting, the veneers needed some work. After removing all the hardware, we patched up damaged areas and sanded out imperfections on the doors and cabinet sides. Here's how it went down:
Proper prep work made painting easier. We washed surfaces with TSP substitute and let them dry before filling holes with wood filler and smoothing them with a foam sanding block. Wall dings and dents were fixed with patching compound, then primed with a coat of BIN stain-blocking primer, rolled on in crisscross strokes and finished with long vertical strokes.
BIN was also used to seal the porous unglazed brick. After it dried, we applied eggshell latex paint.
We also prepared the cabinets and doors with a coat of BIN stain-blocking primer, using a 2-in. brush for the large surfaces and a smaller angled brush for detailed areas. After that, we painted the edges of the cabinet doors, drawer surfaces and existing countertop edge with two coats of semigloss water-based enamel, lightly sanding between coats with 180-grit sandpaper.
Before we could start painting walls, cabinets, doors and window frames, we needed to think about steps to keep the tiles and windows clean. The floor was covered with a canvas drop cloth. Using an edger to paint around the window trim created a crisp line between existing and newly painted surfaces.
To cost-effectively spiff up the floor, we chose thin, flexible, vinyl plank flooring printed with a faux wood design.
Attached to a smooth, level subfloor, its slim profile raised the floor's height less than a floating floor would. That meant no worries about the new floor's effect on counter and sink height, or harsh transitions to adjacent flooring.
This easy-to-find flooring comes in a wide range of colors, patterns and sizes. Mannington, Armstrong and many other manufacturers offer products similar to the one we used. Prices range from $2 to $8 per square foot. When we calculated how much flooring we needed, we bumped up the amount by 10 percent to account for any waste. (This prevents headaches later—if you need more flooring, you avoid problems with inconsistencies between batches.)
Since the boards tend to expand or contract slightly with changes in humidity and temperature, we allowed them to acclimate to their new kitchen digs for 48 hours before installing.
The existing floor was rough and uneven, so we put down 4-ft. x 8-ft. sheets of 1/4-in. hardboard underlayment, secured with flooring adhesive and a pneumatic stapler, to create a smooth, flat surface.
Next, we snapped perpendicular chalklines on the floor and checked for square using the 3:4:5 method (see tip below).
We then made our measurements and arranged the layout to ensure no skinny or uneven strips of flooring would be noticeable where they butted up against cabinets and walls.
Some vinyl plank flooring, like ours, is designed to be glued down. Other versions have self-adhesive backing or overlapping "grip strips" that allow you to secure the edge of one plank to another.
Whichever style you use, use a linoleum roller to bond the strips to the floor or to one another immediately after installation. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how long you should stay off the floor before installing appliances or furniture.
Before permanently installing the strips, we checked and adjusted the layout to avoid narrow or short strips against walls and cabinets. Flooring strips were installed parallel to the sink cabinet and end seams staggered for a pleasing look.
Instead of paying big bucks for new cabinetry and appliances, we gave this kitchen a budget transformation with vinyl flooring and a few coats of brilliant white paint.
Primer and paint: $250
Hardboard underlay: $125
Flooring and adhesive: $750
Misc. materials: $75
© 2012 Reiman Media Group, LLC.