Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chalk Paint and Gel Stain - Updating Kitchen Cabinets

I've been working hard this summer and have spent almost no time on my blog.  A couple months ago, I walked into my kitchen and the cabinets on one side looked like this....

And the other side looked like this
 (apologies for the picture quality, the sun was shining in the window)

The post from earlier this year when we started this project is posted here.

But back to July.  I had gotten a snazzy manicure with a July 4th theme and it looked like this

A few weeks later my kitchen looked like this

And my nails looked like this

Yes, I was a little rougher on my fingernails during July than in a normal month.

We started the kitchen cabinet project a few  several months ago starting with the upper cabinet on one side that only had two doors.  

I figured depending on how it went we could stop with glass only in those two doors and paint the others leaving the solid panel.  But the first two turned out so well we were determined to convert the six doors on the other side to glass also.  The glass I chose is called Everglades and it is beautiful!

I would love to tell you how to cut the center panels out but I did not get involved in that process.  I will tell you that it took me a few years to get SuperDave on board with this project because he was hesitant to start sawing off pieces of our kitchen cabinets.  But after watching some online videos and doing some research he decided to go for it and this project turned out great!

Here's the bar area, it was the biggest flat area so I thought it would be easy since it had no doors.  Not necessarily.  The big opened spaces had to be worked quickly so it all flowed together, it took me quite a while.

We replaced the small quarter-round trim at the floor with the same wider trim we used on the island when I painted it black.  You can see that project here.

First step for the upper cabinets was removing the doors....

and numbering them so we could put them back in the same spot.  This just makes life easier.  I cleaned the cabinets and doors with a deglosser to be sure the paint would adhere well.  We also sanded them lightly just to knock off the shine.

Then I spent a very hot Sunday afternoon and evening in the garage painting doors and chilling in the pool between coats of paint.  We usually don't do projects in the summer months!

The products I used were from Lowe's, and a local shop that sells Maison Blanche products.  There was also a pile of old socks from SuperDave's sock drawer.

We brought the doors inside for a day before waxing them with clear and dark waxes.  Then I dropped them off at a glass shop and got to work on the base cabinets.  It took 3 or 4 coats of paint plus the waxes.  It's not hard work, but it takes some time. (tip: wipe that dark wax off immediately!)

I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Java on the lower cabinets.  I have gotten my method tweaked a little and this side turned out even better than the other side. They look a little different, but I notice it the most.

In an effort to be speedy I left dishes in the cabinet.  This was not a problem on the top with the white paint, but getting little spots of splattered stain off glass proved to be very difficult and I would not do this again! I could have easily covered everything with old towels and still left the stuff in the cabinets.

Live and learn.....

The upper cabinet boxes got the same cleaning, paint and wax treatment as the doors so when when the glass was installed SuperDave put them back on for me. We're a good team!  The change is drastic, but honestly I've pictured them like this in my mind for years, so it doesn't even surprise me when I walk into the kitchen. 

I think the glass doors dramatically improve and update the kitchen. The only major cost was the glass, we paid about $50 per door to buy the glass and have it installed.  I probably spent $150 or so on all the other materials.

I'm loving this warm rich brown instead of the golden oak that had discolored with age.

The outside looked so pretty that I had to line the shelves and back of the cabinets with a decorative paper to make them look pretty too.  It not only looks amazing but it's easy to clean!

My dishes are mostly white with a bit of color here and there.

And my nails looked fine after another trip to the salon, it was overdue anyway.

Now all I have left to refinish in the kitchen/breakfast area is a built in china cabinet. It's pretty big and I haven't decided which color I want to paint it, but I'm leaning toward painting it black.  Overall the black paint was the easiest to apply.  I felt like painting all the cabinets black would have made the room too dark since the granite counters are black plus I love natural wood grain, so that's why I went with the white/stained combo.

I also have the laundry room cabinets to refinish, but I don't even want to think about doing that this year!

Much love and laughter,


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Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Nights

Summer is in full swing in north Texas with all its highs and lows.  And those highs are over 100 with heat indexes of 108 or more.  We’re in a HEAT ADVISORY down here in the south people!  When August rolls around there are only two places to be, 

#1 Inside an air conditioned building OR

#2 In the pool and we are doing plenty of both.

I do love summer.  I love the days and nights floating in the pool sipping on a cold drink listening to summer tunes.  I love relaxing with a book in the shade on the patio. And I love the beach theme I use to decorate the house through our longest season - it's called Hot and Steamy.  Fortunately, my beach themed décor is my favorite so I don't mind leaving it out from May to October.

When I first started decorating throughout the house for each season, I discovered I already owned a lot of beach/summer items to use for decorating. But I will confess, I’ve picked up a few extra things the last couple of years.  This year I had some time to kill before an appointment and fortunately, or unfortunately, the store next door was Pier 1.  So I went inside, out of the heat, and as usual found many beautiful summer items.  I gave in to temptation and purchased some salad plates that reminded me of the beach. 

One set with Sandpipers

And one set with Parrots

I set my tables in the NOT formal dining room

And the breakfast room 

with summer place settings, seashells and starfish. 

They have stayed that way for the past few months unless we needed the tables to sit down with guests. With just the two of us in our empty nest, we normally don’t sit at a table to eat. We like to sit back and relax after work (and on weekends) with our feet up. So in the winter we eat by the fire and in the summer we eat a lot of meals on our patio…in the shade…with a couple of fans. When we don't feel like braving the heat we may eat sitting in the love seat recliner with a movie on the big screen.

When we are outside and it’s really hot (June to September) we take a dip in the pool frequently.  Nothing keeps you cool outside in August better than wearing a wet swimsuit and sitting in front of a fan.  When we dry out and warm up, we just get back in the water for a while.

But when we are can't stand the heat we head inside and relax under the air conditioning and dream of the beach until the summer ends.

Keep Calm and Stay Cool,


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