Painting Kitchen Cabinets: One Room Challenge – Kitchen | Week 2

Our first project for the One Room Challenge was painting kitchen cabinets. It took 3 coats of paint on our knotty pine cabinets.

We have survived the first week of the One Room Challenge and painting kitchen cabinets! (If you’re unfamiliar with the One Room Challenge, it’s a biannual design challenge where 20 designers (and even more guests like me) tackle a room makeover in 6 weeks.) For the ORC we are updating our kitchen, which is definitely a daunting task. We are hoping the tight deadline keeps us motivated so we can get our work done and enjoy our refreshed kitchen! 

ORC Guest

So, here’s the plan for our One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover:

  • Painting kitchen cabinets  *mostly done*
  • Replace the outdated hardware
  • Replace the current back splash
  • Take out a few cabinets
  • Add floating shelves
  • Repair and repaint ceiling
  • Paint walls

Last week Jesse spent 4 days painting our old knotty pine cabinets. It took 3 coats of paint, but they look AMAZING! The cabinet bases are completely done, but the doors still need their last coat. The doors are in the garage, so we can paint those whenever. We will probably finish them this weekend, after the rain and humidity from the hurricane have moved past Virginia. Jesse did an fabulous job! The kitchen looks so much brighter already! 

Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Painting Kitchen Cabinets

This kitchen update has one majorly tricky component, the fact that we have a 2.5 year old and a 4 month old baby. I took the kiddos to my mother-in-law’s house while Jesse painted. We didn’t want them inside breathing dust and paint fumes. Things were finally safe for me to bring them home on Wednesday. I spent yesterday evening wiping down all of the kitchen and mopping up the floors so that the house is liveable again. With little ones it’s important that we still be able to cook meals and have a functioning home. I love that we haven’t been living on takeout and amidst chaos, thanks to the generosity of my mother-in-law. 

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

This weekend our to-do list is a little less hands on… maybe. We need help taking out the cabinets and need to have an electrician take a look at the current vent hood. We will need to replace our current hood with an island hood, so hopefully it’s not too tricky (or expensive). Once the cabinets are out and the hood replaced, we will need to repair the ceiling and repaint it. This means sanding and lots of dust, so we want to wait to make sure the cabinets are cured enough. We would hate for them to pick up the dust and turn to velvet. So in the meantime, we need to pick the tile for the new back splash, decide on cabinet hardware, and decide on the style of open shelving. 

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Hopefully, next week’s update will include me sharing all of our final decisions for tile, hardware and shelving. And some photos of the cabinets with the doors back on!

You can see all the before pictures of the kitchen here.


  1. It’s looking so good!!! I can’t wait to see the finished product. You’re getting so close!

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