Design Dilemma: Help for Cabinets You Hate


What do design writers talk about at a cocktail party? Multimillion-dollar projects we’ve published? Glitzy showrooms? Flashy products? Not so much. Last week CasaSugar editor Julia Walsh told me about a paint that promises to rehab the ugliest of cabinets quickly and (as importantly) easily. With drink in hand, I was hanging on her every word.

Walsh was talking about the new Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Do-It-Yourself Refinishing System, and the clunkiest part about the product may be its name. It promises to let you paint cabinets (or tired furniture, for that matter) without delving into the dreaded s’s: sanding and stripping. The photo Walsh took of the sample boards show the palette (70 colors in all):

Walsh recently traveled to New Orleans where company pros taught her how to use the product, and she wrote about the experience for CasaSugar. According to her, and Rust-Oleum spokespeople, it’s this easy: clean and degloss (a quick coat of liquid and light scrub), apply bond coat, apply top coat. Presto, new cabinets! (Decorative glaze is optional.)

As a sometimes DIY person, I took the agnostic’s view: skeptical, but secretly hopeful it might be true. The press photo shows cabinets that have been redone using Cabinet Transformations, and they appear to have a factory-finish look (although not the colors I’d choose).

I decided to go Meet-the-Press and ask Walsh about it directly.

Is it REALLY as easy as it sounds?

JW: I’m pretty lazy when it comes to projects like this, and I always look for a work-around. This can be done by anyone who knows how to use a paint brush. The hard part about this project is having the patience to refinish all of your kitchen cabinets (I only tested it on one cabinet).

Would you use it in your home?

JW: I would definitely do this project in my home, especially knowing the base coat can be tinted to my color of choice. But I live in a rental, so I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon. I would certainly use it again to refinish a piece of furniture. (Note: If we were on MTP, I’d politely interject and say that this would be the perfect solution to less-than-attractive rental cabinets if the landlord would agree.)

Does it stink?

JW: There’s a very subtle smell before it dries, but it’s not nearly as strong as paint, varnish or harsh cleaning supplies. I found that somewhat disappointing, because I’m one of those unhealthy people who loves the smell of paint.

Walsh’s words have this home project agnostic saying: “My God, I think it’s true!” I’m going to try it out myself, and I’ll let you know. The kits cost $80 (small) and $150 (large).







More news: