Hand painted kitchen cabinets in Woodthorpe, Nottingham

Here’s a hand painted kitchen refurb job I recently carried out in Woodthorpe, Nottingham. The kitchen & cabinets had been originally spray painted by the manufacturer some 15 years ago and although the overall condition of the kitchen was pretty much sound, it was ready for a facelift! The clients were both retired professionals enjoying their free time and really didn’t want the aggravation of having the kitchen ripped out, not to mention the cost for a replacement one. They were still happy with the overall layout and apart from the odd hinge that needed replacing and the doors re-adjusting, all that was required was my usual good clean down and degrease, thorough prep and a tweak here and there! Then with a freshen up paint job using my specialist furniture paint, all for around 10% of the cost of having a new kitchen installed. That’s definitely a cost effective solution!

Besides hand painting the kitchen cabinets the client had asked me asked if it was possible to have the oak wooden worktops sanded back and re-oiled at the same time, the area around the taps and sink were particularly in need of attention and quite badly water stained. All this is possible and in a days work or so for me, providing I know what I’m up against beforehand so I can bring the correct sanding equipment.

Woodthorpe kitchen before refurb

Sanding and Prep:

Now I don’t carry as much machinery as a kitchen fitter would but I do have a small armoury of sanding equipment and power tools to tackle the many different scenarios I come across; my main choice of weapon for the oak worktop sanding is the Flex Supraflex, this dust free sanding machine when fitted with the correct abrasives will cut through wooden worktops with ease. I have to say, its not really a DIY piece of kit but if your a pro finisher or serious DIYer then its a piece of kit well worth the investment with multiple uses. With a quick change of abrasive, the Supraflex will remove scratches from granite flooring, it will also prepare and grind concrete using a special diamond tipped cutter and prepare various other surfaces.

Flex SupraflexThis machine is quite a big piece of kit compared to say the Mirka Deros, but there is very little pressure required, you almost let it do the work for you! (More about Flex tools here). Before I can get to work with the Flex Supraflex, I need to carry out a good old clean and degrease to the oak worktops, not only do they have several layers of oil on there is residue from the daily food prep and cooking that’s built up over time and although they look clean, its there and if you don’t degrease prior to sanding then the abrasives will soon get clogged up and loose their performance almost immediately. For degreasing I use Methylated spirit with a green scouring pad, I don’t want to use the citrus based Krud Kutter degreaser on this occasion as it will mean washing down after with clean water, resulting in saturation of the worktops and potentially cause swelling (raising the grain) in the wood and possibly water marks. Therefore, the meths will evaporate and dry quickly and the scouring pad will get in to the tight grain of the oak and remove the residue. Its best not to use wire wool for this as tiny fragments of wire can get snagged in the grain, eventually this will rust (especially with water based products) and cause rust spots to appear. A final wipe over with a tack cloth will remove any fine particles left on the surface, I tend to use Axus Pro Finish ones available from online store Mypaintbrush.

Flex Palm Sander resizedThe other machine I use on worktops is the Flex palm sander; this handy sander will stand its own against all the big branded machines and is great for getting into tight corners. Its orbiting action when in use also helps remove any scratches made by the rotary action of the Supralex. The palmer sander comes with its own dust bag and an attachment to hook it up to the extraction unit or hoover. I’ve seen these machines priced at less than £30.00 which is an absolute bargin!

Danish Oil resizedI begin sanding with an 80grit abrasive disc. (I know, I can hear you all saying OMG! It will look like Torvill & Dean have been doing the old Bolero on those worktops), however this isn’t the case and I will tell you why; as I then follow up with 120grit – 240g and finish with 320g and providing enough time has been spent on each grade of abrasive and each process is done thoroughly, any scratches from the courser abrasives will be removed. I finish the prep with a final going over with my meths and green pan scourer, working with the grain it will open up the tight grain of the oak very slightly and allow the Danish oil to soak in thoroughly, it also removes any contamination that may be left on the surface. In between coats I will give a light sand with 320g, hoover off and tack rag off.

Danish oil application resizedI have various choices for finishing oak, my favourite being the Osmo Polyx Oil. However, the client had requested Danish oil, so that’s what I went with. Danish oil absorbs into the substrate and dries quite quickly, therefore I apply the product methodically with a soft bristled brush, leave to stand for a few minutes, then wipe of any excess with a clean lint free cloth. I apply 3 coats in total and recommend the client applies a maintenance coat at least 3 times a year.

Little tweaks and touches:

Woodthope stand alone dresser resized

Worktops finished, doors and draws removed, numbered up, degreased and prepped; I began to work on the carcasses, end panels and cornices etc… my usual prep for this is same as the doors and drawers. However, with the carcasses being constructed of laminate/conti board, some of the edging strip to the front leading edge was peeling, I removed this where applicable and ironed on some new (B&Q or Wickes sell it in rolls for a couple of quid, I buy in white as its cheaper and its being painted anyway). One of the kick boards needed replacing which was soon sorted and a few of the hinges needed replacing, I go around all the others hinges when I re hang the doors and check everyone is aligned.
I also removed the glass from the doors on the stand alone dresser, as they were fixed with silicone sealant it was quicker for me to remove the glass than paint the glazing bars. It also made for a much neater job for painting inside the doors, the glass was cleand and refitted once all the painting was finished and new silicone applied.


This happens a lot with many of my clients. the original idea of having their kitchen hand painted comes from an image they have seen in a magazine or brochure somewhere, this was also the case with the clients on this job. They had several brochures from kitchen companies and were looking at new kitchens that were hand painted, a sudden light bulb moment got them thinking “why replace, its not in bad condition”? That’s when I got the phone call.

Woodthorpe kitchen 1resized

Although they had an idea of colours they wasn’t completely sure and also if it was possible for the doors and cabinets to be painted and in-situ, so they asked my advice. Their biscuit tin became the starting point for a colour reference and after 2 or 3 match pots and brush out samples, the colour choice was made. The base units were to be painted in a sage green colour, whilst the wall units were in an off white/cream; I suggested that the stand alone dresser should be painted in one colour throughout as a feature with the wall it stood against painted in the same colour as the base units (the clients painted the wall themselves)  but bring in the colour of the base units up and around the oven surround/over mantle, this balanced the colour throughout.

Woodthorpe resized

The paint system used on this project was the Otex high adhesion primer followed by 2 top coats of Empire eggshell, this is a very durable and hard wearing paint system that will last for many years to come. I use a variety of quality brushes with this system, the Adorn Profine brushes were used to apply the Otex high adhesion primer, these brushes have quite a stiff action but boast a finely tipped bristle which I find ideal for applying this solvent based product that can become quite heavy during use. The empire eggshell was applied using a new synthetic brush called ‘The Fox’ this brush is becoming a firm favourite with my Traditional Painter colleagues and myself, its certainly a brush worth investing in for fine finishing paint work. I purchase all my brushes and sundries from online store Mypaintbrush, all sanding equipment is supplied by Flex Power Tools from various nationwide outlets.

Well that’s this kitchen sorted and the neighbour over the road has been having a look and would like a price on theirs. I’ll pop over and do that then I’m off to my next one.

If you own an existing wooden kitchen and would like to discuss the options available to you for refurbishing, please do not hesitate to Contact Me for a open, no obligation discussion to your requirements. If you wish to leave any comments about this post, please feel free to do so.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply