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    When we bought our house, our kitchen looked like this. Like every other kitchen built in the 90's, it had light oak cabinet doors, laminate counter tops, and the shallowest sink in the world. Fortunately, someone who owned the house before us had put in beautiful hardwood floors, but the rest of it was not working for me. 
    So, I called to get quotes to see how much my dream kitchen would cost me. White cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, recycled glass countertops, a tiled glass backsplash, and one of those enormous built-in refrigerators with a panel on the front that looks like the cabinets. Without batting an eye, the design consultant told me it would be $34,000. And that doesn't include the refrigerator. So, that was the end of my dream kitchen...
    No amount of creative coersion was going to convince my husband that I needed a $34,000 kitchen, and I knew full well that we couldn't afford it. Instead, I sat down and figured out what I could do to make this kitchen look more like my dream kitchen, without the dream budget.

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    First, I pulled off all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and labeled them so I would know where to put them back. I didn't bother to take all of the stuff out of the cabinets, because thinking ahead isn't really my style. Since I couldn't afford the cabinets that went all the way to the ceiling, I went down to Home Depot and chose a piece of moulding  for the top of the cabinets. With a few cleverly placed nails, that sucker was up, and the whole kitchen already felt nicer. Then I washed down and sanded the cabinets, wiped them with a tack cloth to get all the sawdust off, and primed them. After a couple of hours, I put on the first coat of white semi-gloss paint, and when that was dry, I did the second coat. This kitchen remodel was speeding along nicely!

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    After my wonderful husband spent hours sanding the finish off the cabinet doors, I was ready to paint! This Old House Magazine happened to have an article about painting cabinets that month, and it mentioned setting out two 2x4's to set them on while you're painting, to keep them from getting dirty on the ground. I definitely would not have thought of this. It was very helpful.  The article also said to put cup hooks on the top of the top doors, and on the bottom doors (where the holes won't be seen when you're done), so that you can hang them to dry while you're painting the next ones. This was also something I never would have thought of, and I would probably still be painting if I hadn't done it.

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    With the cabinet doors drying in what my kids called the "cabinet forest" in the garage, I set off to work on the countertops.

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    At the Phoenix Home and Garden Show, my husband Nick and I saw a counter top resurfacing system by easyDIYmakeovers.com. I was really excited about this, because I didn't want to throw the old ones in a landfill, but I couldn't stand to look at them. For $400, this kit had everything I would need to transform my existing laminate counter tops to concrete. I batted my eyelashes, promised that I wouldn't spend any more money at the Home and Garden Show, and my wonderful husband hauled the kit out to our van. 
    I covered my floors and freshly painted cabinets with brown paper and plastic, taped off the wall, and pulled out my existing sink. With Nick and the kids out of the house, it was really simple. First, I painted on the laminate sealant, then I mixed up and painted on the first coat of concrete. When that was dry, I painted on the next coat. After that, I mixed a thicker coat of concrete, and troweled it on. This was when I realized that I had never troweled before, and that I was not even a little bit good at it. The kit said that I didn't have to worry about making that coat even, and that was a good thing, because "even" was nowhere near what this was. The next coat went over it and beautifully filled in the gaping inconsistencies of the first coat. After it was completely dry, I sanded down the bumps and lumps, and I was ready to color my counter tops.

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    I mixed up the color I wanted, put it in a spray bottle, and colored the counter tops. The kit included every color you could imagine, but I wanted mine to look like concrete. After the color dried, I applied the sealant, and the counter tops were done!

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    Once the counter tops were done, I put the new sink in, and we started on the backsplash. We chose a small glass mosaic tile that came in sheets, and it was really easy to put up. Once the tile was up and the thin set had dried, we floated on the grout (non-sanded because we used glass tile), sealed it, and the backsplash was done. I drilled holes for the new cabinet door and drawer pulls we had picked out, and attached them, as well as the cabinet hinges. In my infinite wisdom, I had labeled the cabinet doors where the hinges attach, which worked out really well until I covered the labels with the hinges when I reattached them. So re-hanging the cabinet doors took a little longer than it needed to...

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    I slid the oven back into place and the remodel was done! It's not the kitchen of my dreams, but I worked hard, and I love the way it came out! After all was said and done, it cost about $1,000 to paint the cabinets and put on door pulls, resurface the counter tops, tile the backsplash, and put in the new sink. I still want the huge fridge someday, and I'll get there eventually, but at least I'll be waiting in this kitchen. 
 
    Nick was so proud of me, he found a way to get an article about it in the Arizona Republic. You can read it here: 

 http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/diy/articles/2012/09/14/20120914phoenix-diyer-remodels-kitchen-one-week-under-1000.html 

anton Summers
1/27/2013 13:48:14

Great job Cassie, I don't think anyone could have done a better job. Cant wait until the next project. Also will trying your recipes this week.

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1/28/2013 04:11:32

You go girl. Love it! And love that you saved yourself $34K and several weeks of contractors being in your house.

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Kellye
2/3/2013 16:23:20

What kind of paint did you use for the cabinets? Oil or water based? Thanks. :)

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Cassie
2/3/2013 16:42:50

Kellye, I used a semi-gloss latex paint. A friend of mine said she used something called "Diamond" paint that she got at Lowes, and her cabinets came out great, too. When I asked about it at Home Depot, the guy looked at me like I was crazy, and said they didn't carry it, so I just got regular semi-gloss paint. Just make sure you prime them first, and you can use whatever paint you like.

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