Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation (Kitchen)


My kitchen when I first moved in back in 2005: download (1)

I added a wallpaper backsplash that year…I had NO budget for improvements (yet).


My lovely junk collector island that we later leveled and added IKEA butcher block.

20121119-231220.jpg Our “first” after picture below…this is after investing only $1600…(we are now continuing our upgrades…see Kitchen Project Phase II to see what we are adding on). My $1600 kitchen remodel!!!

Below, just the white cabinets and no backsplash yet…(you can read more about the backsplash here)

20130428-174143.jpg 20120919-200306.jpg The lowest cost – highest impact remodel was my Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation in my kitchen, costing me $149 for the paint kit + painting supplies. I am was pleased with the results…at one time. The kitchen, by far, was the one area that I regretted choosing oak cabinetry when I built the house, but seven eight years ago, oak was desirable! Oh, how styles have changed in a short span of time, even distressed finishes weren’t that popular back then.

Another view: Up close of the cabinets, (but now we trimmed the cabinets at the top and bottom in our Phase II upgrades).

Aside from the nice big gap at the ceiling, do you see anything else wrong w/ the cabinets? 20130731-113548.jpgAs I painted cabinets a year ago, I stopped this project several times because I had so many projects going at once. I started in August of 2011, it took forever…a single Mom project…kids in the house and all. Plus, you need to PRACTICE the process of antiquing with Rustoleum, it isn’t the simplest. Would I do it again? Absolutely. It is one of the projects I am most proud of. No…a year later the Rustoleum paint is chipping. I’m now onto Phase II of my kitchen remodel, and I now plan to use chalk paint to cover up the Rustoleum issues. Had I known there was an easier way to antique furniture, I would have done this first. Lesson learned. 20130731-113002.jpgAdditional lessons learned?

Don’t use Rustoleum for this project. I was initially very proud of the results, but as I said, a year later the paint isn’t holding. I actually prepped the doors quite a bit with their deglosser and even sanded lightly on the doors to ensure this paint would adhere, but it is not a bonding paint, so the results are…well, as you see above.

If you do paint cabinets, find someone to own part of the process. For instance, ONE person can paint the front and back cabinets white. But I would recommend ONE person take on the antiquing (so all of your cabinets achieve the same finish results).

Now…a year later, we are onto Phase II of our kitchen upgrades. I’m a tad burned out, honestly. But with the added trim, the molding…and we even removed cabinet doors and replaced them with glass, and later we will be adding faux leaded glass. I’m pretty pumped about the END of Phase II.


Back to painting. I wonder if this will also take me a year of weekends to complete? I sure hope not! (ugh!) Thanks for joining me on this journey…and I hope my post helped you make good, solid decisions about your own kitchen remodel.

DIY: Phase II Kitchen Remodel
DIY: Phase II Kitchen Remodel

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  1. Hi Jeanette — I just saw your comment over on my blog. I actually HAVE finished painting, I’m just not good at connecting related posts on my blog! (Still such a learner!) So you can see the before-after cabinets here: I loved The Rustoleum kit too. I did plain white with no finish on mine, but did learn (before I started) that I needed to prime the oak cabinets so the tannins wouldn’t leak through and spoil the white. Once the busy-ness of spring and summer is past, I will do backsplash, flooring, and probably a better finish on the countertops. But it is all plain FUN. I love your do-it-yourself spirit :)

  2. Oh sorry, I am in the same boat and just NOW saw this reply. I am new to blogging and have learned that I probably should have set up my categories a tad differently for the sake of easier navigation. IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL. Great job, and we have a few things in common on the DIY front for sure. Stay in touch!

  3. Wow, what a difference!

    1. Christine says:

      I live in the same Esquire as you. I love your ideas and I’m probably going to steal millions of them. I don’t have the morning room off of the kitchen so I’m wondering if you didn’t have that would you have ran your flooring a different way? the hardwood going horizontal instead of vertical? Can I get you to possibly post a few more pictures of your Island and kitchen area how you have it now even particularly the seating area. Thank you so much you are such an inspiration

      1. Jeanette, DIY Blog says:

        Hi Christine, I remember speaking with you! There are several posts on the blog about the island, I hope they help! We loved our repurposed island once it was completed. The 2 tier never worked for us.