My Kitchen Magician

The kitchen continues.  The trim is painted.  The cabinets are primed.  And now it comes time to paint.

We have found that our numero uno tip for painting any type of furniture and getting that factory type finish is to sand.  It’s tedious and tiresome and a turd (had to come up with a third t-word) of a job…but believe me, it helps. 

We use a sanding block – usually a super high grit count…I prefer 320 but 220 would work too if you don’t rub the edges too much.  If you rub the edges you’ll get that distressed look…so if shabby chic ain’t your particular flavor of jellybean, well, don’t rub the edges. 

For the cabinets, I decided to go with Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint.  Now here me as I step on my soapbox.  This may have been a mistake…we will not know till the cabinets are fully cured and we lived with them for a bit.  But applying the paint with a sprayer?  Not good.  First let’s talk about why we picked that paint….

  • heard it has amazing leveling ability…the open time is longer – so it helps eliminate any brush marks or that ‘painted-at-home’ look.
  • easy clean up
  • it’s an alkyd meaning it has the hardening ability of an oil based paint but it is waterborne

Now for the cons…

  • open time is longer – so if you are spraying it on a vertical surface, it will drip and sag
  • you have to apply it in RIDICULOUSLY thin coats….which is pretty hard to do with a sprayer
  • thin coats = more coats = more money because a sprayer wastes a lot of paint
  • it’s expensive per gallon (we got it on sale for $56 a gallon…and ended up getting THREE gallons.  ay carumba.)
  • so far, no dice on the hardening ability.  With all the troubles we had with application, we held on to the fact that it would be better in the end because it would be hard as nails…so far, we have not seen it.  The truth is yet to behold. 

As far as color, I chose Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.  I LOVE it.  It is slightly warmer/richer feeling than the trim (which is just the bright white base in Lowe’s Semi Gloss paint) but doesn’t clash.  It just looks good.  I chose it after googling the tar outta the different whites and felt like I would need something that looks bright white but would be slightly better at hiding toddler fingerprints. 

Once we had our paint, we prepped the room for spraying and my magician of a boyfriend went to work.

I only got a couple shots of him in action because I had to go outside onto the deck, hold my breath, put on a mask, open the door, run in with my camera, shoot him, and then run back out to breathe.  The mist is intense with a sprayer.

When he first started spraying the paint, he treated it like he did the semi-gloss trim paint with nice even coats.  But reminder: it’s thinner than that with a longer open time.  So I heard the sprayer crank on, a few moments of spraying, and then Jer yelling…


Apparently I had failed to fully describe the type of paint we were working with.  It’s thin.  And the sprayer doesn’t do thin real well.  So the first two cabinets near the dishwasher were dripping immediately.  I ran to get my spare foam brushes as Jeremy sat with his head in his hands.  He kept beating himself up thinking it was his fault.  We both tackled the drips and sags and too-thick spray and decided in the end that this just meant he would have to do super fast super thin sprays.  He modified his method and within ten minutes the first coat was on and he was done. 

Then he laid out all the doors and did those too.  They are propped up by scrap 2×4 pieces underneath. 

Three coats later….


 Then came time for the edges.  Since Jer had to spray fast, that meant that lots and lots of edges need to be touched up.  Basically, we had to use a mini roller and a foam brush to do everything that didn’t get a nice layer already.  Jer helped me do it while Will watched Barney.  God bless that purple dinosaur. 

Some folks were asking about putting up plastic as barriers and if Will wanted to run through them.  Yes. and No.  He called them doors.  And liked looking through :)  But in general, once we figured out a good taping method, we just told him that he couldn’t touch them and he could only look.  That seemed to work with him. 

Our method for taping up the plastic doors was pretty simple.  We use Frog Tape because it is like the Chuck Norris of tapes….you just can’t beat it.  Just tape a strip around the opening where you want the actual seam to be for the paint.  Then cut your paper for the floor to extend past the doorway for any potential overspray, drips or footprints and tape that down too.  Cut your plastic to be two inches wider than your doorway (one inch extra for each side) and it can be seven inches longer for the height (one inch on top and six on bottom).  Hang your plastic starting at the top using the Frog Tape (we used the 1.5 inch tape so it gives plenty of stick on both sides) and then pull taunt to the bottom and tape the bottom.  Then do the sides. 

When you have to use the room, peel back from the top by grabbing the tape (not the plastic or it could rip).  Our tape restuck and held true through over a dozen of opening and closings. 

So that’s our paint-the-cabinets-and-tape-off-doors-and-don’t-kill-each-other-while-we-try-to-finish-process.  We do still have a tiny bit of touch up to do on the edges of the doors (we decided to go ahead and hang them up so that we could put up some dishes that were growing spiderwebs in the foyer).  Next up – CEILING!  Did you notice the ceiling in some of the later cabinet painting pics?  It happened in the middle of the cabinet painting process :)

 This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.



  1. says

    Hey Katie, sorry to hear you had a bad experience with Advance in the sprayer :( I did mine by hand (almost killed me) with Advance last year, and it has held up great! It does have a long cure time, so don’t lose hope! I always recommend it to people for cabinets because it really takes care of brush marks :) In any case, it’s looking great in there, and I can’t wait to see the reveal!

  2. says

    After the long hours living without a kitchen, removing, sanding, priming and painting late into the evening while pregnant, if you had to do it over, would you hire someone? Not sure the cost, but maybe in your reveal post you could share some thoughts. When is DIY just honestly too much hassle even though it’s doable!

    • says

      I have a post planned for surviving a kitchen makeover…and to be perfectly honest…no. I would still do it ourselves. I am so cheap that if someone else did it, I would be a perfectly good pain in the rear end for them. Nothing would be good enough for my dollar. Plus, I am so proud of us. That’s pretty priceless :)
      xo – kb

  3. says

    I’ve used BM Simply White on all the trim and woodwork that we’ve painted “white” in our house. I love, love, love the creaminess of the white–so I keep using it. But I have to say that it is a very thin white and it seems to take a lot of extra coats to cover fully until you actually reach an even and correct “color.” (Our kitchen cabinets took 5 coats. Yes FIVE! And those were even with oil-based Regal.) But honestly, it’s my favorite white, so I will continue to use it over and over and over again.

    A thing about waterborne paints is that they will take 3o days to fully cure and reach that rock hard finish. Which is their MAJOR downfall. So don’t worry, it WILL get there! I just painted all of my little man’s trim with the Regal waterborne enamel paint, and it is holding up well to his 2-year-old antics despite being nowhere close to the 30 day mark yet!

    Can’t wait to see the final results.

  4. says

    Oh wow….this is a big project but its going to look amazing! Looking forward to seeing the final product :) Please keep us updated with more progress! Excited to see more :)

  5. Jessie says

    Can you please share the name/model of your spray gun?

    Did Jer have any complaints using it (other than what you mentioned in this post).

    • says

      He does like it for the quick clean up and the easy use. Also he likes that you don’t need a giant compressor to use it. There is definitely a learning curve and it definitely helps for painting large pieces of furniture quick…but you do lose a lot of paint in the process and you have to be uber careful about drips.
      Here is the post that shows it in the original box…sadly that’s all we have.
      xo – kb

  6. Corrie says

    Hey Katie! We are finishing our basement and I am thinking about picking up a paint sprayer for all of our trim & doors that we’re going to have to paint — as well as all the primer we’ll have to put on our new drywall. Would you recommend your sprayer for that?

    If I recall, you guys did use it for all of the trim work (on walls & ceiling) in your office — did you have similar dripping issues when you did that room?

    I’m just really wondering if it would be worth it to spray all of the drywall with primer as it sounds like such a time saver, but dripping issues (especially when drying to paint the ceiling) could really negate the time saving aspect of spraying versus rolling….

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Definitely. I would say that as long as you don’t have only a few rooms to do at a time (the engine is only built to handle an hour or two at a time of spraying) then go for it. And make sure you practice since your speed of spraying and your distance and technique makes a difference.
      xo – kb

  7. says

    What kind of sprayer did you use? I used the Advance paint when I sprayed my kitchen cabinets, and had no issues like you describe. I used an HVLP sprayer, and it was a dream to use for this project! I’m thinking maybe the sprayer is the culprint vs. the paint? I do heart the Advance paint though – it does take some time to fully cure, but the end result is so AMAZING!!

    • says

      It’s a Graco TrueCoat Plus. I definitely think it was part of the problem…but also the reason it looked so good because our other option was a brush and roller.
      I think I am just so used to waiting one day for a coat of paint to dry…so waiting almost two months was horrible.
      xo – kb

    • joni says

      I used Advance paint with the Wagner Conversion sprayer. I am having a horrible time getting a nice finish. I’m very frustrated! I’m thinking about changing paint or paint sprayer.

  8. lindsey says

    I am looking into purchasing a sprayer and am torn between one with a preset spray setting and another that is adjustable. My gut is telling me to get the adjustable but its $60 more. Just wondering which one you went with and if you have any regrets?

  9. Tiffany says

    I am curious how your paint is holding up on your cabinets. I love your kitchen and am in the process of my kitchen renovation and would love your feedback!

  10. Angelica says

    Great makeover. I am currently trying to decide between BM white dove or simply white for my kitchen. I was curious what finish did you use on your kitchen cabinets satin or semigloss? How is it holding up with kids? Thanks

    • says

      Satin (mostly because there was no other choice…the BM Advance only comes in Gloss or Satin.)
      And it is holding up great so far…of course, it is still relatively new so ask me again in three years :)
      xo – kb

  11. Stephanie says

    OMG, I’m so nervous now. I’m starting on my cabinets this Monday. I have the Advance paint in Snowfall White, I will be painting brand new wood cabinets in my parents garage. I have a sprayer ready and back up brushes too. Can you tell a difference where you sprayed and where you had to brush/roll???? I brushed my new interior raised panel doors 2 years ago, only 7 of them so I do Not want to brush/roll if possible. Thanks :)

    • says

      The difference between the foam roller and the spray is slight. Anytime you use the brush it is a little more than slight. So that is what I would recommend…stick to the foam roller and the sprayer as much as possible…or brush first and then use the roller/sprayer after :)
      xo – kb

  12. Angelica says

    Great kitchen makeover. Just curious what primer did you use on the cabinets? I know young house love recommends Zinsser Smart Prime but I am having a hard time locating it at a local retailer and want to avoid ordering a primer online. Which primer did you use? IK am getting ready to paint my kitchen cabunets in Simply White after testing several whites. I am sanding right now. Lots of work. But after seeing your kitchen, I’m motivated to get it done right.

    Thanks, Angelica

  13. Megan says

    Hi Katie! Totally late to the game, but we are about to paint our cabinets, did you use an oil base paint? I’ve heard this was the best way to go, I just wanted to get your opinion. Thanks so much!! PS- i’m a boy mom too.. ( 4 and 1)..and just love reading about your boys!

  14. Jeff says

    Hi Katie,

    I love your blog. So informative! I’m getting ready to paint my kitchen and trying to decide between Advance and BM Impervo waterbourne. I am going to use a brush and roller on the boxes and spray the drawer fronts and doors. Have you noticed any yellowing in your cabinets? I know Advance isn’t a traditional oil paint, but have heard it can yellow some.


    • says

      No…mine hasn’t yet but it still has been quite new. I don’t know if they would yellow over time…perhaps you could ask Sherry at Young House Love because her cabinets have Advance and have been exposed for about a year longer than ours.
      xo – kb

  15. Jeffrey Huggins says

    First of all, most enamels are thin but dry extremely had. It looks like too many doors and areas painted in one room, in summary poor painting technique.

  16. Lazarus says

    Yep. Wrong kind of sprayer. That sprayer might be OK for latex but you would have had much more control, far less wasted paint and less overspray with an HVLP sprayer. If you were willing to work a bit slower, an LVLP sprayer would have allowed for even less wasted paint and overspray.

  17. says

    My husband and I are gearing up for a kitchen revamp…..did I read correctly, you would go with the Advanced paint BUT use a brush and roller if you were to do it again? Just want to clarify before my husband drops some cash on a paint sprayer…..

    • says

      For cabinetry, yes, I would do the doors and frames with a sprayer and Advance paint…but do SUPER fast and light coats.
      xo – kb

  18. Emily says

    Hi Katie,

    I’m about to start painting my kitchen cabs. Thanks for all the great tips. Did you spray the cabinets down on the floor as pictured or does the sprayer lose it’s prime when pointed towards the floor?

    Thank you!


    • says

      It doesn’t spray quite as evenly when you point it down or up…it works best when held parallel to the floor…so we did need to angle it a bit but thankfully it worked out.
      xo – kb

  19. Teri says

    Hi Katie,
    Cruising your blog since you’ve had many “discussions” about your sprayer. Here’s our issue and not sure if you or a reader can chime in. Husband is using our HVLP to spray latex satin paint (just from Lowes basic white since it’s trim type project…slide in liquor cabinet, hard to explain…anyhow…) and the first coat feel gritty. Rub your hand on the raw wood smooth sanded silk, on the spray side grit! Any experience with this??? Scouring the internet but so far no dice.

    • says

      With all paint, you will definitely have some grit…whether you apply it with a paint brush or a sprayer. I recommend that you use a between coat sandpaper between coats for a super smooth finish. Also, all paint is not created equal. If you are looking to refinish wood with paint, some paint has a longer ‘open time’ that allows it smooth better.
      Hope this helps!
      xo – kb

  20. Ed says

    we just used the ADVANCE on our cabs 10 days ago, boy are they still soft.
    How longuntil yours dried completely, and is it as good as they say
    once full cured thanks

    • says

      I will tell ya…it took a solid six weeks for it to fully cure. I am really hard on cabinets and need something hard as nails…and I can honestly tell you that it will cure and when it finally does, it is worth it. I get food all over our cabinets and can pick off the dried bits with my actual nails without messing up the finish. Most times I use a paper towel and spray but if something rubs it hard on the white, I sometimes use a Magic Eraser. Hope this helps!
      xo – kb

      • Ed says

        I hope so, It feels really soft now 2 weeks later
        Is that how yours were? I tested a spot and could peel
        it off with my nail if i scraped it. Not sure i would use
        advance again with kids, im sure theyre gonna damage them somewhere

        • says

          Oh yes. It was soft for a really long time for me too. I don’t know if I have a humid house or what but it felt like A REALLY long time.
          xo – kb

  21. kristin says

    We are about to start our cabinets very soon (my husband has started building side panels and thicker molding…and a slot for fridge) I enjoyed your blog and am ab to purchase a paint gun. What would you suggest? Also going to look at the BM advance like you used, but what primer do you suggest? Also, how are your cabinets holding up? And one more question. our trim and shutters are painted a contractor white (i think sherwin williams simply white) I want antique white or creamy white cabinets…but do you think that will clash too much? Some considerations were BM dove white or simply white…also like linen and want to do a glaze in the creases. what do you think? thank you!

  22. Donna says

    Wanted to make a quick remark about using Advance BM paint. I just started my kitchen cabinets and island in July. Taking my time and multiple coats with sanding in between. Had little confidence at the outset as I have never taken on a project so big. I am almost finished with only ten doors to go (lots of doors/drawers and the island sooooo much labor). But I have to agree with impatience with the curing process. I am losing confidence that it will be “hard as nails finish”. Trying to be patient but not my strongest trait. Have had some incidents of peeling very easily with my nail. Will keep hoping for good outcome.

    • says

      How long has it been? July you were finished? Because I will attest mine took well over six weeks…closer to two months to cure and now it really is hard. Hope that is the case for you too!
      xo – kb

  23. Monty says

    Hey Katie,
    I too am using the advance paint and was just curious if you used a sealer afterwards or dI’d you find that over time it hardened enough not to use one?


    • says

      It hardened up but took forever! It was well over the 6 week rumor to cure. I think mine took close to 2 months and then FINALLY it was hard as a rock.
      xo – kb

  24. Meredith says

    How long did you wait before spray coats? Can says 16 hours to re coat? Did you wait that long? (Also it comes in semi gloss now. ) I have a graco true coat and hate it. It wastes so much and found it so so hard to clean. :-( I also have a little critter sprayer and am considering that.

    I started painting my newly Installed dining room paneling and built in s with roller and brush and am hating it so I’m Sanding a ton and wanting to spray.

  25. Caron says

    I’m in the middle of painting my cabinets white with the Benjamin Moore Advance. This post has been so helpful! I have sanded, primed and put the first paint coat on but it’s feeling a little rough to the touch (using a roller). Would you recommend sanding again at this point to get a smoother finish or will the second paint coat be smoother? Did you sand in between primer and paint? Thanks so much!!

    • says

      I would sand after the first coat. The primer is supposed to allow the paint to adhere…so you don’t want to mess that adhesion up!
      xo – kb

  26. Hilirie says

    Thank you so much for posting about this. We will be starting our cabinets soon. Did you cabinets have wood grain and did that show a lot after painting? Also how is the Benjamin Moore paint holding up?

    • says

      The paint is holding up fairly well…there are only two spots were the paint is showing any wear…the trash can drawer (probably because I have to scrub it every day!) and the end panel of the cabinets where the trash can is (probably because we didn’t sand it well enough for proper adhesion) but overall…it’s exactly what we wanted. And our cabinets did not have the texture of wood grain but it did LOOK like grain but that doesn’t show through the paint.
      xo – kb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *