Monday, April 9, 2012

May All Your Kitchen Dreams Come True

My husband and I decided, after nine years of looking at the laminate nastiness that was our outdated 1970s kitchen, to splurge for our anniversary and renovate.
The beginning of the project
Armed with a budget of $2,000, we headed off to the big box store to see if we could replace our cabinets, countertop and backsplash with this budget.  Long story short, we couldn’t; not by a long shot. Our cheap cabinets may have been cheap, but the size was custom, and a replacement would have to be custom made to the tune of $1,500 higher than our entire budget, and this was only the base model.  

As my visions of a lighter, airier kitchen were quickly disappearing before my eyes, the gentleman in the paint section of Home Depot asked if we’d taken a look at the new product from Rustoleum: Cabinet Transformations. Well, no, we hadn’t; as a matter of fact, we’d never heard of it. He said that for about $150, we could transform our dark, cheap laminate cabinets into light, custom treated cabinets.  And I, being the eternal optimist, said something like “bullcrap”. Or something similar.

That was before we took a look at the product, before I read any reviews, and before we caved and tried it. Believe me when I tell you, the result was nothing less than amazing. Granted, if I had a nicer house with a bigger kitchen (and a bigger budget), I’d kill for some great, actual wood cabinets, but for a house that was never meant to be our dream home, this is a great fix.

What exactly is Cabinet Transformations®? Quite simply, it’s an innovative coating system that completely changes the look of old, worn cabinets into the look of beautiful hand-crafted cabinetry, at a fraction of the cost of installing new – without the downtime or mess associated with cabinet replacement or refacing. Say goodbye to the thought of a messy demolition, over-budget contractors and weeks of disarray in your home. Plus, there’s no stripping, no sanding and no priming required, so it’s super easy to do!”  This quote is from the Rustoleum website, and if it sounds kind of cheesy and too good to be true, well, parts of it are.  I wouldn’t say you can change laminate cabinets into the “look of beautiful hand-crafted cabinetry”, but you can come darn close.  You will NOT say good bye to messy demolition, at least, not if you’re doing other projects as well, such as countertop or backsplash. And if you have a busy household such as mine, you’ll still endure weeks of disarray.  But it is in fact true that there is no stripping, sanding or priming, and to me, this is completely amazing. 

The product comes packaged in a box with everything you’ll need, except brushes. Depending on the size of your kitchen, kits come in small ($79) or large ($158), and in light shades or darker tones. Kits include the following products: de-glosser, which removes any protective finish or dirt that your cabinets may have; a base coat which is tinted in the store to the color of your choice (choices are shown on the side of the box for your convenience); decorative glaze, which is an optional step but can really give your cabinets a customized look; top protective coat to seal your cabinets and finish so you can clean them; cleaning pads and cheesecloth for the glaze. A step-by-step instructional video was also included.

The greatest pro of this product, for us, was that it allowed us to completely transform our kitchen and afford the other components of backsplash and countertop. Beyond that, it looks great! I truly didn’t think we could accomplish something like this on our own, but we did! The steps were easy to follow, and the results were nothing less than amazing.

As for cons, this is a time intensive project. Each step requires dry time after, so it wasn’t finished overnight. The de-glossing step requires one hour of dry time before proceeding, two or three hours between base coats (our cabinets required three coats, since we went from dark to light), eight hours before applying the top coat, which needed to dry 24 hours before reinstalling the doors on the cabinets.  In addition, the cabinets should really be cleaned with an industrial strength cleaner prior to de-glossing, a tip we are very grateful to the Home Depot man for sharing with us. Otherwise, the grease and dirt adhere to the glaze, and give a dark, dirty look. 

But for anyone with a tight budget and a dream, this could very well be the answer to your prayers.  Rustoleum also makes Countertop Transformations, which can be applied directly to laminate countertop to give the look of granite. We didn’t use this product, but the reviews are even better for it than for the Cabinet Transformation. 

I give this product an 8.5 out of 10!


  1. Cool color choices. If I may say as an architecture student, I'm impressed with the Countertop Transformations. I've never heard of it before, but it does the job.

  2. This sounds like a nice product. I wish I could redo my cabnets, they are also pretty 70-rific. Your new cabinets look really nice, and I usually like darker stains for wood.

  3. Awesome! Glad you were able to get the remodel done with such a clever product. :D