Friday, October 10, 2008


I was recently looking for something in the kitchen and was having little to no luck in finding it. It was very perplexing as I knew that I had this item, but just couldn't locate it. Occasionally someone else will empty the dishwasher and they tend to put things wherever they'll fit rather than where they belong. It's frustrating to say the least, HOWEVER, it's very nice that they do take care of that chore.

While looking for this item (a 2 quart corning ware casserole), I thought back to a time many years ago when Ted and I decided to refinish the kitchen cabinets.

Of course we were living in our old house, and we didn't have children yet. One evening in June we were looking at the cabinets, talking about how they needed some work, as they looked rather tarnished.

We were young.

We were poor.

We decided to refinish them ourselves.

We went out and bought stain and varnish remover and a few tools. We took the cabinet doors off the cupboards, removed all the hardware, then took them outside. We laid them out on old newspapers, got comfortable and started stripping them.

Not only were we young and poor, but we were also naive.

"This wasn't going to take long" we thought. With eleven doors (not to mention 6 drawer fronts that couldn't be removed from the drawers) we decided that our kitchen would be back together in about 3 days, tops.


During the day Ted went to work and I continued to remove stain and varnish. It was time consuming and I'm not a patient person.

When they were bare and naked, we sanded them down, then just put on varnish. Our kitchen was on the north side of the house, so it didn't get much natural light. Therefore we wanted the cabinets to be a light color, and the wood was a perfect shade.

I remember using various grades of sandpaper in between coats of varnish. I remember going to a discount store to price new hardware, then coming home and scrubbing the old hardware until it shone.

Once the cabinet doors and drawers were finished, we had to do the rest of the surfaces in between the doors and around the drawers. Unfortunately those parts had to be done in the kitchen because they couldn't come off to be taken outside.

It took us almost two weeks to get the kitchen back together and everything looked so nice. We were so happy with the results and so proud of ourselves for completing this project all on our own.

Of course, we had a great motivator.

With all the doors off, it's like walking around your house NAKED. Anyone who walked into the kitchen could see inside all the cupboards, YUCK! Although that sure made it easy to find things, we were extremely uncomfortable with exposing ourselves that way!

We couldn't wait to get "clothes" back on our cupboards!


Jen said...

I don't think Matt and I have the patience to refinish cabinets. :)

edbteach said...

My mom loves to tell the story about redoing hardwood floors in her living room and dining room apartment by scraping them with a butter knife and then sanding them by hand. Being young and poor were her motives!

I lived in the same apartment complex when Jimmy and I first got married and we too redid the floors but we rented a sander!

The Arthur Clan said...

I actually think you completed your job quickly...that's a lot of work to get done in very little time! I'll bet you loved them when they were finished.

My hubby and I attempted a job like that early in our marriage (for the same reasons ~ young and poor.) We were painting the cabinets with oil-based paint and it took us well over a month to finish. That was a big job!

Angie in OH

PERBS said...

Ahhh memories! What no photos?