Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Cabinets were a Turkey!

I think the previous owner was trying to warn me about the cabinets!

Seriously there were lots of weapons drawn inside our drawers.  I hope the dog wasn't telling the kids to do it and thank goodness the family moved to Miami and not around the corner.  And what is with that "jelly" thing in the corner? I guess I can't complain that client cabinets are gross.

The day before Thanksgiving everything was going well with my project. All pieces had a nice even base stain.

Mistake One:  I thought I would apply a coat of Aquaguard Gloss to enhance the base layer and provide an isolation coat for my next stain.  There was a measuring cup of water by the spray booth. It looked "cloudy" but I was too lazy focused to walk to the sink and get fresh water.  I spray the doors. When I come back 1 hour later-the doors are crazed.  My cloudy water had a conversion varnish in it.  The Aquaguard dries much faster then the Varnish Plus hence the cracking.  The worse areas were in the insets of the raised panels. This is typically where problems occur because 1) it is difficult to sand these areas well and 2) material pools in the recesses.

Mistake Two:  I didn't really examine the cabinet frames well before selecting my finishes.  If I had, I would have noticed how uneven the original stain had worn and that my wood was bowed and cracked in places. Also, even with cleaning, a waxy residue was present in spots (our floor had the same thing). Maybe this is why her kids were so angry:
It's a hard knock life kiddies!

I decided to alter the finishes and do two separate but complimentary looks.  By putting a tinted Pullstone around the one cabinet set I could cover the crazing but still leave the stained look I liked.  The cabinets with the warping got a light texture and paint/glaze finish.

Finish One:  The Kona Coffee ReStain with the Villa Hays on the rails & stiles.

I did a light sand and applied a warm silver/grey Fauxstone Pulloff to the original Kona stained door.  Areas of the Fauxstone are removed with a paper towel to reveal some wood stain underneath.  The same treatment was used on the drawer fronts.

Since the adjoining frames were getting a painted finish, the frames for these pieces needed to stay stained and not textured with the Fauxstone Pulloff.  But the stain on the desk area was particularly uneven.  We have a great sanding sealer that I tinted to my base stain and applied over the surface 100%.

Half of the cabinets have the tinted Duraseal and the other half have a shellac-based primer.  The Duraseal gave me a smooth and durable base for over staining.  Here is the desk top with the sanding sealer over the original finish.

The Duraseal is cloudy so it will alter the color lighter. As an added bonus, it fills in some of the oak grain. Here is the area now with the same over-stain used on the doors and drawers:

The upper desk frames and lower cabinet frames are also finished in a similar fashion.

I applied my custom Espresso Stain over the custom Shaker Walnut (shown above). This rich stain is brushed and wiped back, letting more settle into the architecture.

The texture on the doors/drawers is stained with the same color I will use on the Pewter finish and then toned with the Espresso Stain used on the frames (shown above)-The stain is lighter on the Fauxstone and heavier on the center panels.

This is the finished desk and under cabinet areas:

I changed the hardware to a hammered iron handle and cup pulls for a rustic modern look.

Finish Two: Antique Pewter.

The other cabinets had warping issues and a few doors had split raised panels.  I thinned Sandstone 50% with water and brushed the plaster over the primed wood. Using a chip brush gave a light linen look.
Sandstone sands very well and the texture actually feels very soft and fine-not gritty. This is the Sandstone on a door.  I brushed the Sandstone following the natural grain.

I painted the texture with a custom metallic silver Setcoat made from left over Designer Metallic, Royal Taupe Setcoat, Neutral White Setcoat, and Metal Glow. 

No recipe and it didn't blow up. I did make enough to get the other half of the kitchen done.

This finish is over-glazed with the same Shaker Walnut custom stain and detailed with the same custom Espresso used on the Fauxstone cabinets.  This creates continuity between the two finishes.
Remember this is how the kitchen started. While I worked on the cabinets, I dumped all the junk we have collected for over 10 years.  All the insides, shelves, and drawers were painted dark brown or dark grey, sealed with a gloss, and covered in new rubber mats with drawer organizers.  I tried to throw away all cooking tools but Bruce said that was taking things a little too far.

Here is the after:
I am working on the wall finish and will feature it in my next post.  It was a lot of work but I am thrilled with the results and it gave me great ideas for finishing the rest of the main level.  Come see it in person at Faux Fest in February!


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