Kitchen Renovation “One Room Challenge” (Week 3) Painting Island Cabinets & Steam Cleaning Natural Stone

Welcome to week 3 of our kitchen renovation, and what a busy week it has been. My husband and I have been busy tackling several projects relating to the reno, and so far we are on schedule. For those of you joining for the first time, you can catch up on our progress for the “One Room Challenge”  by clicking on the links.

Week 1/ Week 2/

When we left last week, I was struggling with paint colors for the large island. Having decided that blue wasn’t going to work, I decided on a dark gray. This is the island before painting.

IMG_9022Ugly, don’t you think? It appears that the cabinets were previously painted, and for some reason the corbels were left in their natural state.

I started by lightly sanding the corbels with fine grit sandpaper. I did not sand the cabinets, instead I used a really good primer.

IMG_9046 I didn’t worry about getting into all the nooks and crannies, sanding too hard could damage the intricate details on the wood.

IMG_9048To remove the dust left behind from sanding, I used a blowdryer and a dry rag.

In selecting paint to use for this project, without hesitation, we used Benjamin Moore Advance primer HERE and paint HERE in a satin finish. We used Benjamin Moore Advance on another cabinet project with great results, so we really trust the product.

I started with 1 coat of primer, using a brush.

IMG_9050It definitely has that first coat look to it.

IMG_9051But the corbels are already looking better. Using an alkyd paint means longer drying times, typically overnight.

I applied 2 coats of paint and got these results.

IMG_9097IMG_9099Not bad…right?! The corbels took a long time to paint due to all the detail of the wood but well worth the effort. They turned out better than anticipated, I was worried about paint clumping, but it wasn’t a problem. This island took me 10 hours to paint 2 coats with a primer. The paint is very expensive, but worth it. In my opinion Benjamin Moore Advance is the best option for painting cabinets, giving a professional and factory appearance.

Another piece of the reno we took on this past week was steam cleaning the kitchen floor. We have travertine tile, a natural stone. While the stone is beautiful, it comes with problems. Since the stone is a natural material, it has veins and divots on the surface, allowing dirt to get trapped and not easily removable. Another issue that comes with natural stone is sealing, you can read about a sealing mistake I had with another travertine project HERE.

A few months back, I contacted Stanley Steamers to come out and steam clean our tile flooring. I was so happy at the prospect of removing all that nasty grime from the veins and crannies in the stone ONLY to have my hopes shattered when they came to my home and refused to do the job! Are you fucking kidding me?

Guy: “I’m sorry Ma’am, we didn’t realize you have travertine floors”.

Me: Yea..ok so what.

Guy: “We don’t work on travertine floors, our solution could ruin the finish on your stone”.

Me: Ok then clean the floors without the solution, using only water.

Guy: I’m sorry we can’t, the solution is already mixed in with the water.

Me: I don’t care about the finish on my tile…please just clean my floors (in desperation)!

Guy: I’m sorry we can’t.

Feeling hopeless, I sadly watched them drive away. I assume they ruined someones flooring and paid through the nose to replace it…why else would they turn down my job?

Plan B…do it myself. I researched where I could rent a heavy duty steamer to clean my floors. Home Depot to the rescue! The only Home Depot in the entire DC area that has the piece of equipment I needed is located 45 minutes away in Frederick, Maryland. So be it! I don’t care….if it will clean my floors, I’ll drive hours to get it. Pack the kids in the car, road tripping to Frederick on Saturday morning.

Four hours later, we arrive back home…with hours of work ahead of us.

fullsizeoutput_74c2The machine wasn’t looking as heavy duty as I expected, I was getting worried it wouldn’t clean the way I anticipated, let’s give it a shot.

The tile and grout cleaner recommends using distilled water, I assume to eliminate calcium build up, fine no problem. After filling the tank with about a gallon of water, it takes a good 20 minutes to heat up before being ready to use.Before-3

Here are the results. Looks better for sure, I would guess it improved 50%. The steam cleaning was a very slow, and time consuming process, due to the nature of my cleaning.  I was trying to lift ground in dirt between crevices and veins out of the tile.  I spent 9 hours cleaning 1200 square feet, it also required a second person to mop up the water left behind by the machine. My husband was the lucky participant here.

For my particular project, the steam cleaner did a pretty good job, but I think it would do a great job on ceramic or porcelain tile. I would recommend renting this tile and grout cleaner from Home Depot.

My main focus was to clean the tile, I wasn’t concerned about cleaning the grout. In my next post, I will discuss grout cleaning and sealing.

In addition to the painting and steam cleaning, my husband started removing the textured glass panels from the cabinets.

IMG_9085We will be replacing them with clear glass, which I ordered today.

That’s it for this weeks progress, be sure to follow the blog to receive notifications of new posts through email, and follow along on Instagram HERE

See you next time!


29 thoughts on “Kitchen Renovation “One Room Challenge” (Week 3) Painting Island Cabinets & Steam Cleaning Natural Stone

  1. That is some, hard, difficult work you’re doing! Painting those corbels, for example. And, no, I’m not fucking kidding you! 😉

    1. I upgraded my plan, and several things have changed that I’m still getting used to, still trying to figure it all out.

    1. Thanks, I think so too! Definitely worth the effort. Cleaning those floors was very painful for sure..not something I would do again anytime soon! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow! you really did a lot this week 🙂 I think the island looks SO much better after being painted. And I love the color you chose. I am always amazed at the power of paint and a good scrub down 🙂 Good luck this week!

    1. Thanks Lisa! Using Benjamin Moore Advance paint worked really well for the cabinets..I’m really happy with the results.

  3. Wow! You are inspiring me! I love your island and the grey color. We just bought a new (older) home and are in the beginnings of the demo stage of the inside, starting with the kitchen; that is where we spend most of our time, in kitchen/family room. I love your kitchen island! you did an amazing job. You have saved some of the exact same kitchen pictures I have, for my newly soon-to-be renovated kitchen! I have some very old honey-oak double cathedral cabinet doors that I am trying to decide whether to just keep and paint or reface. You have inspired me to just keep them and paint them. No one wants to reface. They have all told me that it doesn’t cost that much more to just replace the whole cabinet. Well, it might not seem that much more to them, but it is a few thousand dollars more! Our cabinets were very well made by one of the best cabinet companies in our area and there is nothing wrong with them and I think I can tone down the busyness of the fronts with some more modern touches elsewhere. After watching you paint yours, I am thinking maybe I will just paint ours. It will save me a few thousand dollars. We are in the process of replacing the ghastly tiled counter top. I am having such a hard time finding something that I like.

    Tell me what your counter top is. It looks like marble, which I LOVE!!! But, I have heard so many bad things about marble that I have decided against it. I haven’t been able to find a good substitution for it though. I also, like you, want to put glass in some of my cabinet door fronts. Did you do those yourself also? Thank goodness I have a very handy husband, that is pretty sick of my “great ideas”, but is willing to do things for me. I think we could do that ourselves. Thank goodness for You-Tube! you can always find 50 or so people to show you how to do things yourself without it costing you a dime. My kind of bargain. Sorry for talking your ear off, but you are a kindred do-it-your-self-er like I am! I am excited to follow your progress and see what you do and hopefully get some good ideas or opinions from you!
    Good luck on your projects!


    1. Hi Deborah! Thank you for visiting and welcome! Painting our cabinets was a great decision and saved us a lot of money. The cabinets are in very good condition, like yours so I think you are making a wise choice to paint them. Yes my husband replaced the glass panes himself. He carefully cut out the old glass (which I later resold) and I ordered the sizes we needed from a local glass company by measuring the old glass and voila! Our counters are marble. I love marble and would choose it again. Quartz has beautiful choices as well with many color options and is super durable. Hopefully I answered your questions, feel free to reach out anytime.

Leave a Reply