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Kitchen week 19
This cabinet used to be so gross that I wouldn't even store trash bags in it. My husband scraped off the contact paper, then I cleaned it and painted it white.

One of the first posts I wrote when I started the Home Rookies blog was titled, "Contact paper from hell."

It detailed how one of the first projects we tackled was removing five different layers of contact paper from the inside of the kitchen cabinets and giving the inside a crisp, clean look with white paint.

Well, the cabinet under the sink was so disgustingly awful that we didn't even attempt to clean it up. We just shut the doors and didn't use it, not even to hold cleaning products or trash bags. Yes, it was that nasty.

I'm a bad blogger and forgot to take "before" photos to prove just how bad the interior of the cabinet was, but it was covered in a red and white checked contact paper that was so old it had become one with the board it was adhered to. In addition, a leaky pipe created several areas of black mold, and the dingy yellow paint covering the sides and back of the cabinet didn't do much to help its aesthetic appeal.

But since the entire kitchen is getting a makeover and we lost one cabinet in order to install a dishwasher, it was time to tackle the under-the-sink cabinet.

We've learned a few things about removing contact paper since we first attempted it last year. The best method we've found is to use a wallpaper scoring tool to cut tiny holes in the paper. Then spray it with De-Solv-It, available locally. It's made with natural ingredients and is very effective for loosening the adhesive in the contact paper. Let the De-Solv-It soak in for about 15 minutes and then use a very sharp wallpaper scraper to get the contact paper off, a regular putty knife won't cut it.

Some of the contact paper in our cabinet was stuck so securely to the cabinet that part of the wood came up with the paper. We filled those parts with wood putty, sanded it smooth, washed everything down and then began painting.

I used one coat of primer (any variety will do) and two coats of CabinetCoat White Trim and Cabinet Enamel. The Cabinet Enamel dries with a very hard finish that doesn't show brush strokes and hasn't scuffed or scrapped at all in the year we've had it on the rest of the cabinets. We have found, though, that it will stick to the rims of glasses if they're a little damp when they're put away.

The result is stunning. Yes I purposefully used the word "stunning" to describe the interior of a cabinet. The paint covered all the previously imperfections, water stains and nastiness. Plus the shiny white appearance evokes the illusion that it's almost sterile down there. It's definitely worthy of housing cleaning products, trash bags, dish soap and maybe even a rack to hang dish towels on.

A word of warning though to anyone attempting this project: Painting the inside of cabinets requires you to stick your head inside of the cabinet in order to reach the back corners. It is best to wear a shower cap while performing this action, otherwise you may end up scheduling a shampoo at your salon in order to get all the paint out of your hair. This may, or may not, have happened to me the first time I attempted this project.

Stephanie De Pasquale blogs at qctimes.com/homerookies. Follow her at facebook.com/stephanie.depasquale and twitter.com/S_DePasquale.

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