Step by Step Kitchen Cabinet Painting With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


One of the questions I get asked the most is regarding how I painted our kitchen cabinets and what do I think of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

I have waited until now to share my opinion because I thought we needed to really live with the cabinets to see how they wore with daily use and to give me time to give an honest opinion.

Before we start let me be honest that if I had contacted many people to come and give us quotes to paint the cabinets. I have the worst track record of getting contractors to either show up or get back to me with quotes. I did NOT want to do this job. Not even kidding.  I really tried to find someone else but I didn’t have any luck and that is when I decided that the only way I could do this was by using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP).

The reason I had the guts to undertake such a huge project was because with ASCP I wouldn’t have to sand all of the cabinets.  Maybe a silly reason but it was the one thing that really helped me to feel like I could do this.

I am a hugely externally motivated person and the main reason I had the motivation to FINALLY get this project started was because Fifi O’Neill and her crew were coming to photograph our home for different magazine.  They were arriving just days before I was leaving last summer to teach in Italy and I had some huge time constraints to get this job done.

Before we started the project we first met up with the owners of Shades of Amber and they gave us private lessons to put both Kelly and I at ease.  They gave us such confidence and shared exactly what we needed to start. I am so grateful for their kindness and patience with us!

So, first I will share all of the step by step instructions and then at the end give you my honest opinion about our cabinets and if I would do it again.

Trying to figure out what colors to go with.

(Sorry for the dark photos but most photos were just on my phone. Without these I wouldn’t have taken many progress photos.)

Step One:

Wipe down all of the cabinets using Krud Kutter. This is to make sure you don’t have grease and oils on the cabinets before you paint. Don’t skip this step. I did this while they were still on the hinges and hanging to make it easier.

Step Two:

Take all of the doors and hardware off the cabinets.  Make sure you are careful in how you organize and save the hardware to make it easier when it is time to put it all back together.

Step Three:

I bought the two sizes of ASCP paint brushes and I am glad I did. I ended up mostly using the smaller one though.  Before you start I would recommend flipping through the brush a few times to get rid of loose bristles.  Make sure you shake the can well (in our case we mixed one part Old White with one part Pure White).  You may not believe me until you do this but the best thing to do at this point is to just dive in.  The paint is forgiving and even thought the first coat may have you freaking out…the second coat will make you start seeing where this project is going.  We started with the cabinets (Who am I kidding? I started with the cabinets) and did the doors last.

I waited until each coat was dry before I added another coat.  I ended up doing three coats to everything and I think I should have done four.  Without our deadline I know I would have done that. I was so sick and tired of painting and I just wanted it to be done. Don’t do this. Don’t skimp during the process because you will regret it later.

Step Four:

Once your surface is painted you can choose to age the wood a bit with 120 grit sandpaper. I wasn’t sure if I would do this or not but because of the shape of our cabinets it actually looked good.  Keep in mind that we have three kids and they were going to do it anyways with daily use and it makes the new marks just look like part of the charm.

I used the 120 grit sandpaper on the edges only and never on a flat surface.

Step Five:

At this point we put the whole kitchen back together before I waxed all of the cabinets and doors.  I think it made the process easier but that is a personal preference.  We used the ASCP clear wax and I LOVED it!  I have used it on so many other things since (including my art).  To apply the wax I recommend working in small sections (2 ft x 2 ft sections). I also recommend purchasing the wax brush because it is just soooo nice and makes the process easier.  You dip the tip of the brush into the clear wax (dark wax too if that is your thing) and in circular motions you get into all of the nooks and crannies of your piece.  You then take rymplecloth (cheesecloth) and wipe the excess wax off.  Your cabinets and doors should not be gooped with wax. This is a sealer and you want to treat it as such.  Using the wax is gorgeous!  It not only seals your cabinets but also gives is an awesome matte appearance.  After 24 hours you can add a second coat.  I have to be honest that we still have to add our second coat (more about that later).

Step Six:

Buff the wax if you want a sheen.

Those are the nuts and bolts and now to the raw truth about the whole process, what we think as a family and would I do it again.

The process is a biggest pain in the butt! Serious! So much work and it is easy to start to rush things because you just WANT TO BE DONE. I have heard people say that just broke it down over months to make it not as bad. No way!  I wanted this done and I wanted my kitchen back together. That is so not my style. That being said…I should have done that forth coat. Dang it!  It is not something that anyone else has commented on and my husband doesn’t know what I am talking about but I see it.  After 10 months I have to tell you that except for the cabinets where the garbage and recycle cans are…they have held up AWESOME.  I have some touching up to do on a few cabinets but not anything that will take me too long.  To do a touch up after you waxed just use the ASCP mineral spirits to take up the wax, touch up, let dry, re-wax.  Not too tough.  I am planning on doing the touch up within the next few months and also finally get that second coat of wax on whole thing;-).

Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  It transformed our kitchen!  Our home is so much brighter and now our whole house flows better.  It was hard to convince my husband to paint over our expensive cherry. Keep in mind that we built this home and we both still remember how much of an upgrade the cherry cabinets were.  If we ever get sick of the paint then you can strip them and do something different. It is just paint. Serious. Live a little!

I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

If you are interested in more posts about our kitchen remodel (and we still aren’t finished)…

Ikea Hack: How We Built our Kitchen Island

Kitchen Remodel Before and After

My Thoughts on Our Marble Counter Tops

Adding Open Shelving

Ripping out the built in desk

Living Room Makeover

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IKEA Hack {how we built our kitchen island}


When we made the decision to rip out our existing island we had planned on paying a contractor to do the work.

What did we know and how could we take on a project this big?

We knew we didn’t want what we had but where would we even begin to pick out the insides of the cabinets and basic design?

As we were walking through IKEA one night we both stopped in our tracks and were really looking at some of their island designs.

We didn’t want what IKEA was selling for our island but it allowed us to think outside the box and to realize we could piece together the cabinets that would make our ideal island.

With a little puzzle work, a brother that did electrical and plumping, a husband that dabbles in woodworking and a wife that would do the painting…we were on our way.

All resources are listed at the end.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section.

{I don’t think of documenting projects until the last minute so forgive the photo quality}




We purchased different size cabinets that would allow us to have two large cabinets on one side, cabinets under the sink, sink mount (we bought our sink also at IKEA) and a smaller drawer and cabinet to the right of the sink.

We knew we wanted to have the freedom to paint the cabinets over and over if needed so we chose the white unfinished wood cabinets.

As you can see we have gaps around the cabinets because we needed to space them out to create the island size we really desired.

We did the best we could to take advantage of the spaces between the cabinets and to make sure we had charging stations and all the outlets we could need.

On each side of the cabinets we attached 3/4″ MDF to build our custom wainscoting and pull the cabinet space together.

This was very important to me to include the custom woodwork and create an island that looked more like a furniture piece and to also incorporate the design elements that are throughout the house.

Anywhere we had gaps between the cabinet we included MDF to close the space.

Kelly was able to use the larger gap between the two larger cabinets to hide our Wi-Fi access point.  The wood panel is removable using speaker grill fastners.  Pretty clever!

These cabinets also were wired for our charging station, printer and microwave.

From this angle you can see all the spacing that is still visible from the top but all along the sides it had now been closed in.

Kelly and my brother were able to do all of the electrical and plumbing which saved us on money and time because we were often working on the island late at night.

We installed the garbage disposal switch under the sink because we didn’t want to have a hole cut in the marble counter top.  I am still not sure I like it there but I can’t say I would love it on the counter either.

I almost never paint anything without trying out the samples in the space and really living with the choices for a few days.

I think one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when choosing paint is to not sample them first.   It is worth the time and small amount of money to see what the samples will look like in your space with your lighting.

Don’t ever rely on the paint swatches for a realistic paint color.

We sampled three colors for the island and we ended up choosing Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore in eggshell.

I am still so happy with our choice and the paint has held up beautifully in the space.

We primed and lightly sanded the cabinets before we painted and we even used paint with primer for a better coverage (Aura by Benjamin Moore).

We also primed all of the MDF before we painted.

Before our Carrara marble could be installed we needed to have the island completely built and ready to paint.

At this point in the renovation we had been without water in our kitchen for a full month.

We were really excited to get the counter and sink installed and to get the water back on.

(I will have a whole other post on my thoughts on the marble and why we chose marble for the island)

Our marble was dropped and chipped the first time they came but here they are bringing in our counter a few days later and it was the beginning of a six month customer service nightmare that has not ended.

I don’t want to make this post about that experience but I do want to make sure my local friends and readers know not to use Stone City to fabricate any of your projects.

You can read my Yelp review HERE.


I still can’t believe that we really did this!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find the new island so beautiful and functional.

It was so much work and it was hard to not have our kitchen for a month but I would do it again in a second to have this result.


 2 Akurum 36″ base cabinets in birch

1  Akurum 15″ base cabinets with upper drawer in birch

1 Akurum 36″ base sink cabinet in birch

All of our doors and drawers are Ramsjo in primed wood (white) so they could be painted

Glass handles from Hobby Lobby

Fieldstone paint by Benjamin Moore

Faucet by Home Depot (we will be changing it out because it does not reach far enough)

Apron sink from IKEA

Vintage grain sack used for a curtain in place of doors from French Larkspur

Yellow metal stools from Target

You may enjoy these recent posts about our remodel:

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

*Kitchen Remodel {before and after}

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Kitchen Remodel {Before and After}


Of any project that we have ever done in our home this project made the biggest impact!

We built our home a little over 11 years ago so everything was still nice in our kitchen but my taste had changed.

It took me about four years to convince my husband to go along with painting the cabinets.

What really sold him on going for it was the awesome instruction we received from Amber and Brad at Shades of Amber.

They were amazing at giving us step by step instructions in how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (our step by step instructions will be coming next week).

Our island had always been an odd shape and not a great useable space.  Because the island had two levels of counters it actually made it hard to do almost anything.

Once we knew we were going to refinish our pre-existing cherry floors and add cherry floors throughout the living room and studio we knew we had to make a final decision about our island.

If we were going to change it…now was the time.

I really wanted a larger island that would allow for storage, homework, baking and just a nice place to gather round and talk.

We will be adding a new counter along the back of the kitchen and a back-splash this fall.

I hope you enjoy the changes we have made and maybe you will even talk your husband into painting those cabinets:-)

I hope you will join me next week as I show how we built our island and step by step instructions how we painted our cabinets.

Thanks for looking!




You may enjoy these recent posts about our remodel:

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

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Living Room {Before and After}


The next two weeks most of my posts will be about our recent remodel projects.

I love these kinds of posts and I hope you enjoy them too.

Today I wanted to share our living room before and after.

We extended our cherry floors from our kitchen into our living room and it made an amazing difference in the appearance of space and the ease of visual flow.

I love the color and minimal grain that you see in cherry floors but the softness of the wood is a huge drawback.

We already had cherry throughout the entry and large kitchen and it was cost prohibitive to start over with another wood.

Over time the cherry darkens and I believe gives the home a wonderful warmth.

We have a lot more dust bunnies and the kids don’t love all of the sweeping we now do (obviously they aren’t pros in the sweeping or we wouldn’t have the dust bunnies).

I am loving the updated space!




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Maddy’s Bedroom Redo {Linky Party Too}


A little over 8 years ago we moved into our brand new home.

I am an older house kind of girl so a new house means lots of work to bring even a touch of character.

We have spent years adding built in bookshelves, beadboard, wainscoting, crown molding etc.

We have changed out lots of lighting and have tried to create little nooks around this home of ours.

The first room we painted over 8 years ago was Madolyn’s nursery.

It really was such a pretty nursery.

We had custom sage toile roman shades and bedding made.

It was pink and sage and so sweet.

We also had big girl bedding made to help the room grow with her.

After 8 years we knew it was time for a change.

At first I was coming up with all these ideas for her room.

I was thinking blues, greys, creams and whites. I was thinking a crystal chandelier and linen bedding.

The thing is that Maddy was all for it and she does love blue….but….I knew that the room was for me not her.

I started to really think about her and her personality.

I decided to go a completely different direction and I scratched all my other ideas.

We started putting yellow paint samples on the wall.

Maddy and I spent a lot of time looking at vintage fabrics and pulling our fabrics together.

A few trips to The Barn followed.

Her very favorite color, turquoise, would be on display.

We had to recruit daddy to do some woodwork and then I followed up with many (many) coats of white paint.

The icing on the cake for Maddy was the lighting that she had picked out.

At night the shadow of flowers covers her walls and ceiling….and she couldn’t be happier.

We are all in love with her room and how it turned out.

It is completely her…just the way we wanted it!

I now have two jealous boys that are anxious to have their rooms redone:-)

I have linked up to my friend Jen’s linky party.

Check out the other rooms that have used molding to make huge transformations.

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