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Updated: May 21, 2020

We moved into our new-old home in Strathmore just over 2 years ago now and have been painting, replacing light fixtures, building new fences and, when that lotto cheque arrives in the mail, putting in beautiful plank wood flooring. The biggest reno you will ever do is “The Kitchen.” Every time I walk into my kitchen, I am reminded of how I will be spending a good part of my winter. Yup, the oak cabinets really, really need to be redone. I don’t have a huge budget and we are kind of do-it-yourselfers, so I have been surfing the net looking for inspiration. WELL, I’m telling you there are a lot of really great ideas for easy low budget do-it-yourselfers to beautify your home, making it comfy and cozy.

Personally, I like the old country look with darker colours and lots of wood. I came across the idea of using wood for a backsplash in the kitchen instead of tile. My husband looked at me sideways when I mentioned the idea but after I showed him the pictures, he warmed up to the idea. Talk about adding some character to your kitchen! And there are so many different choices. You can run it vertical or horizontal and finish it off with a good varnish or sealer. For your countertops, why not try stone effects? You can replace your kitchen countertops to get an attractive result that has the beauty and elegance of genuine granite and it can be used on a variety of countertop surfaces – including laminated plastic, stone, concrete, tile or wood. The result is an inexpensive alternative to countertop replacement with a finish that is both durable and beautiful.

Now the cabinets… I most certainly do not have the budget to replace them; they are the natural oak colour which is ok, but I have always preferred the rich dark oak colours. Unfortunately, the important factor involved with a stained and sealed cabinet surface is that it is stained and sealed. There are very few options when attempting to change the appearance of the wood from a light to a dark stained look. You will either have to strip off the finish down to the raw wood or give the impression of that process by way of certain techniques. This is what I learned:

Strip off the present finish. This involves using a paint-stripping compound to aid in breaking down the top clear coat. The secret is to let the product do its work (follow the instructions). Next, you will sand off the layer of wood that is stained, exposing the new wood below. Now simply stain and apply two coats of polyurethane over the new raw wood.

Cabinet Transformations. Rust-Oleum has an awesome product that will completely change the appearance of your cabinets. I find that this product works best over oak. The glaze coat becomes captured inside the wood grain and gives the appearance of a stained surface. There are lots of colour options available.

Glaze coat. Professionals usually do this because it can be a little tricky. After preparing the surface (cleaning and de-glossing), a solvent-based glaze coat is applied over the surface of the wood. The glaze coat varies with each professional. Some will use a coloured poly/stain mixture found at a flooring supply provider. This technique is usually applied with a super fine spray tip and with several thin coats until the desired effect is reached. After it has had time to dry, you then apply a coat of polyurethane over the top.

Hope this helps!


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The Homeowner’s Yearly Checklist

January - Holiday Decorations: organize, pack and put away - Kitchen Cabinets: clean and polish - Fridge: Vacuum behind, clean coils - Stove and Oven: clean - Electric: Clean circuit breaker - Fire Ex


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