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I Transformed My Kitchen for $375

As an editor and writer, I spend a lot of time looking at words, clarifying words, adding words, subtracting words and sometimes even making up words. At the end of the day, I like to go home and look at sugar and butter at room temperature. Add it, stir it, eat it. Baking is how I zone out — mixing dry ingredients into an egg mix or stirring chocolate chips into batter. I always Instagram my creations afterward. My motto is: You make it, you get to Instagram it. Don’t be shy about it.

Closely cropped, overhead shots are helpful in hiding a not-so-cute kitchen. Devin TombAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below

But up until recently, I had a dirty secret: My kitchen sucked. The counter space was great, but to look at it was to stare at a brown blob. To touch its cabinets, without hardware, was to grasp onto years of built-up grease and God knows what.

My kitchen before the refresh. Devin Tomb Most Popular

So before the weather turned too sticky and humid in New York to paint, I painted. I had to get permission from my landlord, which I finally received at 2:15 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. By 3 p.m., I was at the paint store like a sugar-riddled kid at Toys ‘R’ Us. My boyfriend joked, “I hate when you get like this,” and had to keep telling me to calm down.

You wanna see the final result?

My kitchen after the refresh. Devin Tomb

I’ll spare you the gory details (just imagine a short brunette with a full body paint tattoo), but here’s what I bought:

  • 1 gallon of Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint Primer
  • 1 gallon of Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint in Satin “White” (the Alkyd finish on both of these is good for kitchens because it helps repel water and grease for easier clean-up)
  • 2 gallons of Benjamin Moore “Linen White” for the walls (I painted my living room and entryway too)
  • 2 drop cloths
  • 1 paint tray
  • 2 rollers
  • 2 paint brushes

TOTAL= $182.17 at my local hardware store

  • Door knobs
  • Drawer pulls
  • Brown spray paint (to make the drawer pulls match the knobs)

TOTAL= $92.46 at Lowe’s

  • A bamboo dish drying rack
  • A white jar for spoons and whisks
  • Other random “essentials”

TOTAL= $51.13 at Bed, Bath & Beyond

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GRAND TOTAL: $375.76

I bought the herbs and planter base shortly before I decided to makeover the space, but I purchased those (which included basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint) at a local nursery in Katonah, New York, for about $40.

And here are a few tricks I learned along the way:

1. Number cabinet doors as you unhinge.

As my boyfriend and I removed each cabinet door, we assigned a number to the back with a black Sharpie and put its hardware in a plastic bag with the same number. This made it so much easier when we re-assembled, tired and anxious to finish!

2. Tape!

I don’t even want to include this as a tip because I still think it’s slightly unnecessary, but my boyfriend kept reminding me to put down the brush and line the walls with painter’s tape so we’d get clean lines. I guess it worked out well.

3. Put a trash bag around the paint dish.

And pour the paint in that. Keep the roller in there overnight so it stays wet, and when you’re done, the cleanup is super easy. Just throw the paint bag in the trash like a used coffee filter!

4. Finish with a roller, not a brush.

Ben also taught me to use a brush for the corners, but to fill in the rest with a sponge roller, that way the surface doesn’t end up with brush lines.

5. Try the thumb nail trick to see if your doors are ready for a new coat.

Giving each coat of paint ample time to dry was difficult for me, because as you know by now, I’m hyper and like to get things done quickly. I let each coat of paint dry overnight — one layer of primer, and two coats of white paint — and it was worth it for the final result. But if you’re on a tight timeline, a trick I learned at the hardware store is to take your thumb nail and run it hard against the side of a cabinet door. If it makes a mark, there’s still wet paint underneath the surface, even if that’s dry to the touch. Keep waiting until you press hard with that thumbnail and still can’t make a mark.

6. Use a DIY template instead of measuring for each door knob.

I used this tutorial and she was right — you can totally do it in your PJs!

7. Instagram it afterward.

You worked hard.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to bake/cook/blackout making food, but I’ve always been a little embarrassed about my kitchen. The cabinets were a sun-scorched wood and it never quite felt clean. Last weekend, @benlens and I took some paint to it and here is the end result! This is literally about $300 in materials. And special thanks to the @goodhousekeeping institute for letting me borrow a power drill!

A post shared by Devin Tomb (@devin_tomb) on May 26, 2017 at 4:18am PDT

Next, I’m going to stalk my co-worker Lauren’s kitchen for her organizing tips.

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