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Gel Stain Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

nmikolichNovember 11, 2012
Instead of buying all new cabinets in our new home.. we opted to try gel staining first - and I love the results! Now all we need to add is some brushed nickel hardware and finish painting the trim white and we're golden, for now!
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patriciarhall
good job!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:21AM
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armarcounselling
What a difference. It's amazing how the darker tones of the cupboards change the look of the floor. Nice job.
10 Likes    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Margaret Phillips
Well done !
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:27PM
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mmilos
Looks good! I would stain the toe boards under your cabinets the same dark color as your cabinets.
9 Likes    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:42PM
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olldcan
Well that made a huge difference, nice work!!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:30PM
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nmikolich
thanks @mmilos - we are planning on trying to paint or stain those, we just haven't figured out which method will work best (we also plan on changing to wood floor, so we aren't sure how much work we want to put in that if it's just going to get un-done!)

thanks everyone for your comments! i really appreciate them!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:15AM
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Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
This stain project has reaped some tremendous results! It looks fantastic!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Susan Jablon Mosaics
Hey there nmikolich, your remodel looks fantastic, I love the dark cabinets with the baby blue walls. Have you thought about adding a backsplash? It would really bring all your hard work together and give the kitchen a more complete look. We can help you create a custom backsplash, or you can use our tile designer and make your own unique design. Just visit our website for more information: http://www.susanjablon.com/designer/mosaic-designer.html
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Christopher James Interiors
Looks great! Such a good idea for homes with that 80's oak.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:45PM
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cree124
Beautiful!!!! I love the color!
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Stoneshop
It looks wonderful! Completely updated & modernized the space, for sure. Excellent work!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Florkowskys Woodworking & Cabinets LTD
You probably could fit an island in the middle with the amount of room you have.
3 Likes    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:19PM
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ziggy_138
This looks amazing. What gel stain did you use and in what colour? Was it easy to do?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 6:42PM
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ecdesignstudio
Looks amazing! Good job
1 Like    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:52PM
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7768
Looks wonderful. The floor looks good now. I would also stain the windows trim to match the cabinets for a custom look.
4 Likes    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Melanie Hon
What's the process for doing this? I'd love to get this result with my oak bedroom furniture.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:38PM
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leilakgabo
Wow thts a nice transformation. Can i do that on the doors?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 12:25AM
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nmikolich
hey @ziggy_138 i used general finishes java gel stain (and general finishes satin top coat) it was easy to do however it was pretty tedious because it takes 3 coats of stain and 2 coats of the top coat. the most difficult part was finding a way to stain and let them dry without being touched! (if it helps to give you an idea you can see the DIY in the links I posted below)

@7768 I actually painted the window trim white like the rest of the house (that you can't see). It looks WAY better!

@Melanie I actually detailed the process on the blog my husband and I are using to keep an account of everything we've done to update our house (since it's our first home we thought it would be cool!) so if it helps I detailed how to do this in a couple posts

http://www.fromrentingtoremodeling.com/2012/10/labor-of-love.html
http://www.fromrentingtoremodeling.com/2012/08/gel-stain-diy.html

@leilakgabo you could totally do this on doors! our cabinets are all wood and it took the stain super well, however if you have doors that are a composite or are a laminate sheet of "wood" it works as well! the side panels to our cabinets were the false laminate sheet and it took the stain just as well!

we are adding hardware to the doors / drawers and we've already painted the trim white so once i have time to take an updated photo i'll add it on here! thanks so much for the love everyone!
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 5:32AM
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Sue Ann Stevens
Beautiful job! The color turned out amazing. It looks new.
I like the suggestion of a backsplash. You can take off the back 4 inches of counter and run it from cabinet to countertop and it would look amazing. An island would be a great addition also at some point. For a contemporary look an IKEA stainless steel freestanding would be nice or a furniture grade piece for a traditional look.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 11:58AM
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ryancl
Awesome job! I was wondering though, did you opt for a lesser gloss finish for the black cabinets? Maybe I can't tell or if it's the lighting, but it seems almost like a semi gloss and wanted to know what type of finish you used.
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 1:36PM
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nmikolich
@hmschoolmom you are basically typing out my to-do list! we are in the process of looking into new countertops to totally redo them (and we won't have the 4 inch backsplash thing) and then add a more modern backsplash (i already have a few picked out!). we are ikea junkies and we actually looked at a few islands there and decided we're going to build one to match the cabinets and then i'll stain that as well. we just can't get started on the island yet until we know what the countertops are going to be! thanks so much for your suggestions!

@ryancl the cabinets are actually a super deep brown, i used general finishes 'java' gel stain (http://www.amazon.com/General-Finishes-GEL-JAVA-QT/dp/B001DSY50Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357738449&sr=8-1&keywords=general+finishes+java+gel+stain) and for the top coat i used general finishes gel topcoat in the 'satin' finish (http://www.amazon.com/GF-Gel-Topcoat-Satin-Quart/dp/B001F7N0JU/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1357738499&sr=1-1&keywords=general+finishes+gel+topcoat) which is slightly glossy, but not much. the lighting is definitely playing tricks. hope that helps!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:35AM
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hmf70
Dramatic and gorgeous.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:19PM
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onthefence
Absolutely gorgeous. Looks like a different kitchen.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Darzy
Huge,wonderful difference. Congratulations!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:28PM
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theresajdiy
I love the Generals finishes. I have used it to give my midcentury furniture legs a "new' look.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:55PM
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nmikolich
@theresajdiy I LOVE that you used it on the legs of the sofa / chair. That's such a good idea - I was thinking of using it on some wooden kitchen chairs we have that are already a dark espresso and need a little touch up, I think I'll try it now!
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:22AM
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starbella
Good job. I may need to do this instead of painting cabinets white!
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Rockin' Fine Finish
Ive used gel stains and they reccomend that you have to remove all the clear finish to achieve penetration. All stain product have to penetrate to achieve adhesion. And applying that many coats its liking painting them you lose alot of the grain and character.
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:59PM
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nmikolich
@Rockin' Fine Finish - you are absolutely right! we sanded down the original cabinets to get all of the clear finish off but we were sure to stop soon as to keep the grain of the wood!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:42AM
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damndrose
Lovely! An island would really bring it together
1 Like    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Veena Pv
wonderful transformation; you could try using the space too
    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:47AM
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SPACIALISTS
I love it!
    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:22AM
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nmikolich
@damndrose that's part of our plans! the overall gameplan is for new countertops, brushed nickel hardware (which we already have!), a matching island (post new countertops so it all matches), and a medium wood floor! we already painted the window trim white so it's already looking better than this photo!
    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:52AM
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tikigirlbilly
Great Job!
    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 3:30AM
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Tosha Costello
Omg I love it!! What a difference.
    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Interior Affairs -- Vickie Daeley
Such a difference!! Looks Great!
    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Michael Lee, Inc
very nice!
    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 5:50AM
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Diane
The blog link does not work. Looks awesome!
    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 9:20AM
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jennifermcarson
I am very interested in gel staining out 1980 Oak cabinets and because the floor is tile and counter/backsplash are both neutral, staining seems to be a good option for contrast. I tried your blog links above and they did not work. Do you have an updated link that we may use to read about your process? Thank you!
    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 1:43PM
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grobby
Looks great. I'm a fan of gel stain. It covers well and can be applied over another stain. Plus, not a drippy mess.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 1:49PM
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Susan Jablon Mosaics
No idea you could apply over another stain. that's exciting!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2015 at 7:25AM
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tqtqtbw

Rockin Fine - I see you are a specialist but the GF gel stain does not require a sanded finish like other brands. It went on like thin paint and dried beautifully, leaving the wood grain. It looks fantastic on the fake wood on the side of the cabinets. I'm doing it in my own kitchen right now. No sanding, cleaned with a little Dawn in warm water. I'm using a light touch with a quality paintbrush, two coats of the gel stain. Easy change for not much money.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 10:53AM
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Al Fortunato Furnituremaker

Your kitchen looks nice. But as Rockin said:

If you go over another finish (no matter what the propaganda says) you are not "staining" anything. If you need 2 or 3 coats to cover it you might as well have used paint that was thinned down, result will be the same.

Sorry, facts are facts. I don't have any skin in the game here because I don't refinish cabinets.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 11:17AM
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isamuel71
Wow love the transformation. Funny we went the same oak to dark color, however I redid mine.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 4:40PM
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