Mr. Sandman

We inherited a really great, super functional built-in desk in the basement. The space quickly became overflow for our way too small kitchen, and is currently home to all our big appliances like the crockpot. Kinda a pain to go down a flight of stairs to get your kitchen essentials, but it helps keep us in tip top shape 😉 We do have plans in the next year or so to do some major kitchen/dining room expansions – but we are still scrimping all our pennies for that one, so it’s not something that is going to happen in the immediate term.

Instead we are tackling projects like this one – the basement built-ins. Some of the best projects are the ones that only set you back a few greenbacks, but require a decent amount of elbow grease. Our plans for the unit are to slap some paint on it {Benjamin Moore, Simply White} and put some nice new hardware on it, referenced here.

The first step to getting these cabinets ready for their new coat of paint was to sand them down super well to ensure the next coat of paint would not have issues adhering. We had lofty goals of busting this beast out in a weekend. And yeah, that just didn’t happen. It was more like we got them sanded the first weekend. Sometimes, projects just don’t move as fast as ya want them to, that is fo shizzle.

So … common routine … schlepped them out to the garage to sand em’ down. And quite frankly, when it’s cold in Michigan – this is the worst part. Like whoa. Look how thrilled the hubby is about it. Couldn’t even muster a smile for the paparazzi.

Sanding cabinets step by step
Jay Sanding Cabinets

After sanding down all of the cabinet fronts, we decided that labeling the inside tab would be the easiest way to make sure we installed them in the right location after we had painted them. One of those moments where you thank past self for considering future self. Usually those moments are rare around here, so we like to give our selves a good old pat on the back when we remember. 🙂 You can see in the picture above where there is a small brown square, which is where we wrote the numbers down in sharpie. Check it out, below, that was Jay’s brain child. Good job, Jay.

Labeling Cabinets Before Painting
Labeling Cabinets Before Painting

After wiping each drawer and cabinet front down, we had to grab joint compound to fill all the holes splattered across these things. This – in my opinion – is one of the most important steps to make sure you do the job right. In our first house, we must have used the wrong type of compound or did not use enough to fill the holes cause you could still seem them. Rookie mistake. Looks bad, really bad. Over time, I’ve learned that having patience with these parts of your projects can help to make them really wham bam alacazam at the end. Otherwise, kind of a fizzle at the end, ya know?

Here are all the cabinets lined up {after being sanded} with the joint compound curing. We had to do two coats of the compound, and we let it sit a full night before applying the next coat, but if your schedule permits, you can do these in as little as 3-hour increments. We did ours toward the end of the evening, so we didn’t get to it again until the next evening.

Joint compound on drawers
Cabinets Lined Up

While all of the cabinets were curing, we moved over to the cabinet base, where we were able to work on sanding while we waited. Luckily, this part of the project moved along a little quicker. Like 10 minutes and DONE. Helped to balance out the days of agony waiting on the joint compound 😉

Sanded base cabinet
Sanded Base Cabinet

As far as sanding goes, my main take home messages for you are the following:

  1. Use an electric hand sander. I think you get much better results with the extra juice than you do if you are manually sanding them without the plug.
  2. Take the time to get all the sides of the cabinet fronts, it can be hard to get the edges, but it pays off to spend the extra time for better results.
  3. Be patient with your joint compound process! Make sure you put on enough coats to avoid being able to see any inconsistencies when you are done and they are painted. For reference, we needed two coats to get seamless results over here.
  4. After you apply your joint compound, lightly sand (with a hand sander this time, just a square of sand paper) over the surface.

And of course, for good measure, I had to include a picture of the manager, who oversaw the process to make sure we were not missing any spots. More on the painting process next week!

Orange kitty, helping out
The Manager

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