DIY – paint it white

Since this last week has been flat out work-wise and I don’t have anything new to share, I thought I’d share my kitchen make-over in my house in Fentonbury.

It wasn’t the first house I rennovated, that prize goes to my house in Melbourne. But unless I can find the photos for that rennovation it will forever remain a mystery.

The house in Fentonbury however, was recent enough that I have all the photos on cd so I get to bore you with how I managed to take my kitchen from this

to this

When I bought the house I fell in love with it despite the fact that I hate pine. I loved the space of the kitchen. And I loved the white old country style sink.

Ok… so it didn’t have a drainboard, and, when you don’t have a dishwasher, you kinda need a drainboard. But I solved that problem by buying a plastic drainboard from Howard Storage World. Problem solved.

To be honest, I’d much rather have that sink here, now, instead of the single tub double drainboard sink we have in our current kitchen. I hate that.

Anyway, first thing I did when I moved into Fentonbury was to change the tap in the kitchen. I hate those low taps which you can’t get the kettle or a big pot under unless the sink is empty (who’s sink is always empty? Not mine…)

I put in a nice, high gooseneck tap. I have no memory of how I actually did it so I can do it again here, but I did do it myself.

So… here are some photos of what it looked like when I first moved in. Full of packing boxes to start with…

Then tidier, but oh so dark with all the pine…. From the living room, which was all white back then, the kitchen looked like a gloomy cave even though it had a skylight.

The breakfast bar was really wierd. It was low so that you had to use normal chairs to sit at it, not stools… which meant you were really low compared to the bench.

(The ‘rail’ to the right of the photo isn’t built-in… it was my cot side solution to keeping dogs out of the living room at the time.)

Among other things, there were 3 cupboards that didn’t have doors. On the plus side, my microwave fit perfectly into one of them!

Luckily, the floor was perfect.Polished tassie oak floorboards. I didn’t need to do anything to that.

Another plus – the bench top was gorgeous. Also tassie oak. Beautiful.

I did a few little things to make the room look better till I got the courage to take the plunge and really change things. I removed the little shelves from one side of the sink and moved them to the large blank wall on the breakfast bar side. I added a few more shelves to display my collectables and to hold the coffee and sugar.

I put an Ikea bathroom/towel metal shelf above the corner near the stove to hang pots from. And I put an old bathroom cabinet I’d re-done and repurposed on the wall to hold spices.

The cabinet is solid tassie oak with a king billy pine door that I found at a tip shop for about $5. That’s before they started charging like bulls. I removed the old mirror from the door, sanded back all the old paint to expose the timber. I put a solid tongue and groove back onto it. Added clear glass to the front door and a hand made handle, and voila! Gorgeous spice cabinet!

I’ve always loved the look of painted timber on walls. The only thing which was holding me back from painting the kitchen walls and cabinets was the thought of all that sanding!

Then I thought about ESP (I had used this stuff in Melbourne to paint an old laminated kitchen dresser and I loved the finished product).

So, instead of sanding, I simply wiped on and wiped off the ESP, then painted.

I used Antique White USA for both walls and cabinets. I changed the ugly plastic white handles with some simple black knobs cause they were cheap enough and weren’t brass. I don’t like brass.

I removed the small shelves (relocated them, a couple of them went next to the pantry to hold cook books) and added one large shelf to hold display items. I put another of my bathroom cabinet makeovers (this one with a bird wire door and a metal back) on the large blank wall to hold coffee, tea, sugar etc.

I also raised the breakfast bar. Since the bench overhung on both sides, I couldn’t put the breakfast bar at the same level as the benchtop. I considered leaving it off completely, but then had second thoughts. I just moved up the brackets holding it in place and so there was a small step down to it. I never got around to getting proper matching stools for there…

I made a large frame from old dado rail to hold an old poster I’d bought off ebay many years ago. Below I was testing out how it would look by putting it on a box on the breakfast bar… Very technical.

I added some tin signs over the stove (no rangehood, so many old Australian houses don’t have rangehoods).

Still no doors on those cabinets. The problem was working out how to make doors cause of the position of these cabinets… considering I was making them without professional help. I just didn’t think I could make doors to match the existing ones. No wonder the previous owners had left those cupboards door-less.

I tried curtains but I hated them. Yuck. I lived without doors for a long time till I found the solution.

What I did was make a simple flat door for the microwave cupboard and swing it so it opened toward the oven. I decided flat doors would work fine, flat doors being way better than no doors, right?

I then made sliding doors for the corner cupboard under the stove and the cupboard on the other corner where position made it impossible to hang outwards opening doors. I bought some MDF, cut it to size, got some metal ‘tracks’ and made myself some sliding doors.

Ok… I know I’m not exactly making sense here, but one day while browsing in a hardware store (I do that a lot) I saw these square U shaped metal things. They came in long lengths and looked just the right size to hold a 6mm MDF sheet. I tested them and sure enough, they did. I have no idea what they’re meant for, but I bought a few pieces of the metal, cut them and glued them onto the shelves inside the cupboard.

On the corner cupboard above, where the doors could slide back into the corner I only needed one track top and bottom for each door. On the other side, where the doors had to overlap so you could only open one side at a time, I had to make the tracks double, one for each door so they could slide past eachother.

I painted the new doors the same colour, added the same knob to the flat door but I used sash window openers to the sliding doors.


I considered using the fabric I bought on Paros while over there on holiday a couple of years ago to make curtains for the kitchen. But I realised this fabric would be too thick for the amount of light coming in through that window. I’m glad I didn’t use them there now as I have put them in the bedroom here and they’are perfect for there! They add a touch of Greek island to our room and make me smile.

I needed something thinner. A friend gave me some old tab topped organza curtains which I cut and hemmed and they worked perfectly. They let in all the light and blurred the view just enough.

I can’t give you an idea of cost for the kitchen update but it was cheap. I didn’t need to replace appliances or move anything. I just gave it a facelift the only way I could – with paint and imagination.

Lots of fresh white paint, some new doors, new knobs, a new tap, some personal touches and I had a kitchen I loved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.