Transform your kitchen with DIY painted cabinets

DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can feel intimidating, or even sacreligious, but I believe that it’s one of the easiest, most affordable ways to completely transform your kitchen. I lived in our kitchen for years wanting to paint the cabinets, but felt bad painting them because they looked relatively new and were perfectly fine. But here’s the thing, I LOVE our kitchen after painting the cabinets. It feels so much more “us,” it feels modernized, and custom (vs. basic builder grade).

I’ve painted cabinets in three different kitchens now and I love each transformation. In some, I’ve replaced the upper cabinets with new ones, to freshen up the look (like in the before/after below), or put in open shelving, and in others I’ve painted both the lower and upper cabinets.

DIY Painted kitchen cabinets after

01/ Remove doors and hardware

This one is kind of optional. Removing drawer pulls and knobs is not: you’re definitely gonna want to remove those, it only takes a couple minutes and a screwdriver. But removing doors is up to you. It’s definitely easier to prep and paint them separately, but I have painted cabinets with the doors on and it works too! If you don’t have a garage or somewhere that you can set up a painting area, leaving the doors on is workable!

02/ Clean + degrease your cabinets

You’ll want to make sure you have a clean surface to paint, free from kitchen gunk and grease. Lower cabinets that aren’t near the oven don’t tend to have as much grease, but cabinets over the stove can have grease build-up that will definitely need to be removed in order for the paint to stick well. Use TSP or a similar cleaner to clean your cabinets first. Do all the surfaces you plan on painting. I have never painted the interior of cabinets, mostly because it seems like a pain and I don’t mind the insides having the original wood, but you’d follow the same steps laid out here.

03/ Sand and/or degloss your cabinets

Next, you’ll want to remove some of the glossiness on the cabinets so the paint will stick well. I use Liquid Sandpaper first, and then if I feel like I still need to rough up the surface a bit more, I’ll hit it with a fine grit sandpaper like 220 grit.

04/ Prime!

There are tons of primers out there, some specially designed for furniture and some that say they’ll stick to basically anything. I use Kilz for basically everything, so that’s what I’ve used on all my cabinet painting jobs, as well as to paint metal file cabinets and it seems to work really well.

With primer and paint, you have a couple options. I’d say the best option for a smooth surface is using a paint sprayer. We have a pretty heavy duty sprayer because we bought it to do the exterior of our house, but there are smaller, more affordable ones available that would work for painting cabinets. For spraying, I would recommend just doing the doors and setting up a spray booth in a garage or other workspace with plastic sheeting and drop cloth, unless you feel like masking off your entire kitchen and spraying the whole cabinet. We sprayed the doors, then used brushes and 4-in smooth rollers for the cabinets themselves. One coat of primer should do the trick.

kitchen before.jpg
DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets tutorial

05/ Paint!

Now the fun part! You’re gonna want to get a nice paint. I’ve used Behr Marquee for all my cabinets because it does a nice job of self leveling and the coverage is amazing. Behr also makes an Alkyd paint that is designed for cabinetry and was recommended, however they have limited paint colors available for that paint and I’m too picky with my colors. I’ve never had a problem with using the Marquee.

When it comes to picking a sheen, I’ve discovered that I prefer eggshell. I’ve used semi-gloss in the past thinking that the glossiness would be easier to wipe down, but I’ve found that semi-gloss and gloss paints tend to, like, not stick as well? I don’t know, they seem like they can be scratched easier, and for cabinets when there are fingernails scratching when you grab for drawer pulls, I’ve had the semi-gloss paint scratch off, but the eggshell doesn’t.

I’d recommend at least two coats, possibly three, depending on how it looks after two. Again, if you’re spraying, spray the doors and then roll + brush the cabinets. Allow the right dry time between coats based on what your paint recommends.

Also, I should note that I have not used a sealer or top coat on my painted cabinets yet, but with my most recent cabinet painting project I’m thinking of finding one so I can see if it’s something I recommend. For some reason I just never thought to put a top coat on, so I’m going to do some research and testing to see if there’s something I like and I’ll update this accordingly!

Jameson Caskmates hop field adventure

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A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Jameson to see if I’d be interested in going on a little adventure out to Yakima for the launch of their newest Caskmates series collaboration with Bale Breaker Brewery, and I was 100% down. We left Seattle on a bus yesterday afternoon, and a couple hours later we arrived at the Bale Breaker Brewery nestled in the middle of acres and acres of hop fields. The lovely founders of Bale Breaker, Kevin and Meghann Quinn, and Kevin Smilth, gave us an amazing tour of the brewery (accompanied with a taster of their Topcutter IPA), and then we hopped on the bus for a quick trip a few minutes away to check out the hop fields where they grow all the hops for their beer, and the original building where they started the brewery (though you might say it was more of a shed-sized “building,” haha. It’s always incredible to see where people’s visions began and the humble start to what would become an incredible, successful, growing business).

We did a little tour of the hop fields, were served delicious Jameson Whiskey cocktails, and had some mindblowingly delicious appetizers, and were treated to watching Ger Buckley, a 5th generation cooper, demonstrate how a barrel is made, which was super interesting and surprisingly entertaining! And then… the real magic began…

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We were treated to an incredible meal out in the hop fields, tucked between towers of hop vines, beneath zig-zagging cafe lights. Tasters of the Caskmates whiskey, plus the Topcutter IPA (which is the beer that was first aged in the Jameson barrels, then those barrels were sent back to Jameson for them to age the Whiskey in to create the Topcutter IPA Caskmates Whiskey. Such a cool collaboration!), and then some mouthwatering dishes crafted by local chef Matt Lewis which were truly unbelievably delicious.

The whole evening felt incredibly special and it was so much fun to take part and experience it all. I was able to bring my husband Dan with me, which was exciting, as he’s a big whiskey and beer fan, so I loved that he also got to be a part of the experience. As someone who loves putting together beautiful events and photographing beautiful events, it was a really fun and inspiring evening. Trying to convince Dan we need to plant some hops at our new house so I can have my own hop field dinner in our backyard, haha.

I mean, come on, how magical is that?! Huge thanks to Jameson for the invite and to Bale Breaker for the hospitality (and to Dan for coming with me, even though he had to wake up at 5:30 the next morning to go to work!).

Simple ways to elevate your home for guests

Thank you Angel Soft® for sponsoring this post. Ditch the spray and switch to Angel Soft® with Fresh Lavender-Scented Tube.

Simple ways to elevate your Airbnb

In the past five years or so, I’ve realized that one of my favorite things is putting together events and/or creating beautiful experiences for people. A lot of times, this manifests in me putting on parties that are, like, a liiiittle bit extra, but since becoming an Airbnb host, it’s been something that I’ve been trying to put into how I set up my home for my guests. I like to have fresh flowers in the house for every guest, I like to have little snacks and quick and easy breakfast items available, and I spritz some fresh essential oil in each room before the new guest arrives. Having little things around that make a guest feel special or comfortable is something that I love, and if it’s easy and quick to do, even better.

When I learned about Angel Soft® with Fresh Lavender-Scented Tube toilet paper I knew that’d be a super easy way to elevate my guest’s experience with something simple and everyday. Plus, I don’t have to do any extra work since I have to have toilet paper anyway! There’s lavender scent right in the tube, so every time a guest uses it, they’ll get a nice subtle lavender scent. I happened to already have some lavender hand soap in the bathroom, and I have some dried lavender hanging in my kitchen from last year’s lavender harvest in my garden, so it kind of matches a little lavender theme I have already going on!

My mom is a great host, and while throwing parties stresses her out (whereas I revel in throwing parties), she too enjoys creating a lovely space for guests to stay, so I definitely learned from her! Her and my dad have a couple vacation rentals, so seeing how they set up those spaces for guests helped me consider extra little touches I might not have thought of. My mom always has extra little travel lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, and tissue for people to grab in case they need it, so I included some of those little things for guests. As my friend was helping me clean the Airbnb one day, I saw her put the little triangle on the toilet paper and I was like ah! of course, that’s such an easy little thing to do, but it makes the bathroom feel like it’s been cleaned and prepared for every new guest, and it’s a very hotel-y touch.

When I travel, I almost always stay in vacation rentals instead of hotels, so I’ve experienced a lot of different ways people host. One of my favorites was the artist loft I stayed in when I was in Paris. The host left me a bottle of wine, cheese, and a baguette— very French and felt special!

I’m always on the lookout for new ways I can make my own guests feel special too, and while Angel Soft® with Fresh Lavender-Scented Tube probably won’t be the ultimate memory that stays with them, it will definitely contribute to the overall sense of care that I like to take with creating a space for them to stay!

Want to stay at The Brave House on your next trip to the Seattle area? We’d love to host you!

Easy ways to elevate your Airbnb
Easy ways to elevate your Airbnb
Easy Ways to Elevate your Airbnb

Thrifted Dresser Revival

Modern Dresser Revival

After we moved into the new house I was looking for a dresser for Dan because the closet space isn’t huge. I knew I wanted something kind of modern, kind of scandinavian, but also affordable. Buying anything new that fit those descriptions seemed nearly impossible. I could get the first two, but nothing that fit my (real low) budget. So I decided to hit the thrift stores and see what I could find. I ended up getting this old dresser for $25 and promptly started refinishing it!

In the Before image I’ve already removed the old hardware that was just plain and dated, and I’d removed some of the drawers to start sanding. The door’s hinges broke off when the gal was wheeling the cabinet out to my car and she hit a pot hole, so that’s why the door is sitting on the ground, but replacement hinges were easy enough to find at the hardware store!





I had some long legs from Pretty Pegs for a bench project that I never ended up doing, but I loved the idea of adding a bit of quirkiness to a dresser with the long legs. I used a skill saw to cut off the bottom on the two sides that served as the old legs in order to give it a straight bottom to attach the legs to, but other than that, the only power tool I really needed was a sander and a drill. And man did I do some sanding. So. Much. Sanding. I used a belt sander for most of it, then used an orbital sander for some parts, and had to do hand sanding in all the crevasses.

I decided to keep it unfinished because I liked the light, naked wood. I replaced the old dated drawer pulls with new ones, and then I added some shelves in the door space on the right because it previously held an odd slide-out hanging rod that didn’t seem practical for our purposes.

I picked up the drawer pulls from Home Depot and just made sure that they had the holes the same distance apart as the original ones so all I had to do was screw them right on, super easy update! And the Pretty Pegs legs came with brackets to attach the legs, so that was also a pretty easy update!

Since it’s relatively top heavy with the longer legs, I’m planning on attaching it to the wall with brackets, just so it doesn’t fall over with the drawers pulled out (or some crazy toddler decides it’s a good idea to climb up it).

Modern Dresser Revival

All in all, the project took 2, maybe 2.5 days from start to finish and here’s the breakdown on the cost:
Thrifted Dresser: $24.99
Drawer Pulls: $32.40
Hinges: $2.78
Legs: (c/o Pretty Pegs) $75

The Fourth


4th of July felt very uneasy to celebrate this year what with our border “situation” but we got to spend some low-key time with great friends watching the kids play, throwing pop its, and enjoying time together. It feels like such an immense privilege to be able to do all that. To have a cozy house to come home to, regardless of its unfinished state. To be able to move freely to visit friends. To get to tuck my son in at night and read him stories and sing him bedtime songs. I know so many mothers out there would give anything to have that. Instead of spending money on frivolous 4th of July stuff (okay, other than that $1 flag— Jack wouldn’t let me leave Target without it, haha), I ended up donating to TogetherRising to help stop the child detainment and separation at the border (though RAICES is also an amazing organization too, if you’re looking to donate!).

Since Dan had the day off work we did some tiling and we’re in the home stretch now (well, for the kitchen. we still will have to do the bathroom and the laundry closet). Everything now is just edge cuts so I’m back on duty as resident tile cutter. If you’ve never cut tile with a tile saw, let me tell you… it’s pretty fun. But maybe my idea of fun is a little different than yours, haha.