My first press trip – coming up this week

Disclosure: Rust-Oleum will be paying to fly and host me on a trip to New Orleans to test one of their new products. This story is about this first such invitation. 

My “real career” is in corporate communications, where I got my start in 1984 working for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. I worked at Ford for 17 years, and for the first 10, I was pretty much focused on publicizing and launching new cars and trucks. As just a few examples: The original Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable… the original Explorer… the Aerostar… the ’94 Mustang… some Escorts in there… the Probe… the new Thunderbird… I’m sure I’m forgetting some biggies. Of course, a pivotal part of new-car and truck launches is: The press trip. You find a location, gather your vehicles and your company experts — and then bring in the journalists. I worked on a lot of these. So now, it amuses me to no end that I will be attending my first press trip, not as organizer/PR person — but as blogger/journalist. My host: Rustoleum.

On Tuesday, I will be heading down to New Orleans, where on Wednesday, Rustoleum will be showcasing their new “Cabinet Transformations” — a DIY kitchen cabinet repainting system — to about 10 design and renovation bloggers. Before I accepted the expense-paid trip, I checked out the product’s website — it is already for sale — to ensure that it would be relevant to Retro Renovation readers. It looks like it is… traditional methods of repainting cabinets, including sanding and priming,  can be a real hassle. And even then, chipping is a real problem. So I am very curious to see what they have come up with. Although, assuming the finish provided by the product is a good one, I already can see I would be asking them for a wider selection of retro colors. We also will be looking at  Rustoleum’s “Countertop Transformations.” I am less optimistic about this one. It’s a  paint system that makes your old countertops look like stone or granite. I don’t think we are their target market for this one. But, I will try and withhold judgment until I see it in the flesh.

Update: See my coverage of Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations in my follow up story here.

In any case… I think that it will be fascinating to experience a press trip “from the other side”. I’m told that the daylong experience will include hands-on work — we will be painting cabinets. For sure, I will like this part the best. Although, I have to admit, I am also looking forward to the launch dinner in New Orleans – there ain’t no better cookin’. Even so, I’m not sure how often I would do these kinds of trips, because they take a lot of time out and airline travel is pretty bitterly exhausting these days… But, I am excited to go this first time, at least.

A few more notes, as I log the novelty of this latest development in my blogging journey: This hasn’t been an issue so far, but I disclose anything free any company gives me. I also disclose affiliate relationships (ebay and Amazon), and I mention when someone’s an advertiser, too. This level of disclosure is an FTC requirement — but even more importantly, it is the right thing to do. I really believe that blogging has the opportunity to beat out all corporatized media forms — because bloggers’ strengths are in the “trust and authenticity” they create. These are things that consumers / readers want more than ever.  As a result, I feel very passionate about maintaining trust by always disclosing… and about maintaining my “authentic voice” by working hard not to be swayed by the quest for the almighty dollar.

Finally, I have asked Rustoleum whether the Cabinet Transformations product could be used effectively on vintage steel kitchen cabinets. Their chemists are looking into that one for us. They already have explained the product has a satin, rather than glossy, finish — so some steel cabinet owners may reject it for that reason. But if adhesion proves out, it could be a good option for DIY metal-cabinet owners who don’t want to go to the fuss and expense of auto-body type processes.

Report to come.


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  1. MIfroggies says

    Half my cabinets are painted with Rust-oleum so I am interested to see what they have to say. The other half are Sherwin Williams all surface paint so I am running my own little test of durability. Have fun, Pam!

  2. Amy Hill says

    I love New Orleans! Have some shrimp etouffe and dirty rice and some gumbo! I would go just for the food…and the antique stores and the architecture. Heck, that’s the only reason I would go. I forgot the jazz, how could I forget the jazz? Take your husband and have a nice Valentines Day down there!
    I use Rustoleum all the time for various projects. It’s a quality paint for the do-it-your-selfer. It’s nicer to have the money to pay professionals, but not always in the budget. My aluminum-meant -to look-like-cast-iron garden furniture needs a coat of rustoleum, maybe I’ll get that done this year.
    About the honesty thing…It has always been a fact that your reputation is everything! The shortcuts are tempting but cost you so much more than being honest ever would! Yay You!

  3. says

    Though I didn’t know there was an FTC requirement that you disclose on the blog any relationship or free product you receive, I have always appreciated your transparency in describing the connection. You’re right: folks will trust a blog recommendation first, so that relationship with your readers is sacred.

    Have a great time in New Orleans. After their trials of past years, it’s always good to hear about things being held there. It will be fun for you to see the biz from the other side…and the food will be worth the trip!

    • pam kueber says

      Thanks, Jane. To be clear, the FTC does not require that I mention my advertisers if I blog about their product or recommend them… but, I do that anyway. The new (2009) FTC guidelines cover free product, “sponsored” posts, and paid endorsements. Here is a helpful link for those who are interested: . Interestingly, the guidelines do not apply to newspapers or magazines. This angers some bloggers. But I say: Use it as an advantage: Show readers they can Trust us the most, because we aim to provide maximum transparency!

  4. Patty says

    Even if they don’t have all of the colors everyone wants, others may be happy with a facelift of any color that is easy to apply. The 70s cabinets were brownj anyway.

    And even if the finishes on a counter might not stand up to daily use, some of the older houses have counters in their finished basements or laudnry rooms that are structurally in good shape but need a face lift and this might be just the trick.

    I bet there are folks who read your blog for fun — and good information — even though their home is not retro in any way.

    I’m wondering if any of it works on tile. Some folks might want to spray a bathroom — again, a powder room where showers and daily use are not an issue.

    Glad they invited you….and now I know why yourblog is so awesome, you have such a great background in addition to your own natural talent.. And they know too just by reading it.

    Have a safe trip and we look forward to your reports.

  5. says

    Hi Pam
    very interested in seeing the results. Not only for cabinets but many times I’m looking for a good paint to restore and/or repurpose vintage items I sell.
    Have a wonderful trip!
    and thanks for all the info you share.

  6. Shelly says

    Pam, what a fun surprise (yet less so given your amazing way with the written word) to hear of your career in corporate communications…that’s exactly what I did, too, for about 15 years before pulling the ripcord and getting back to my real love, theatre & music (I teach those subjects now at a high school).

    Can’t say enough how much I adore your blog. Thanks for sharing your passion with us.

    Have a blast in N’Awlins, and be sure to enjoy a cafe au lait and some hot beignets at Cafe Du Monde! It’s a very cool place that you would love (for many reasons!).

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you, Shelly — although I just re-read the post and had to fix at least three typo’s. Sometimes I just go blind. I still do freelance corporate communications work — this is my main income stream, I am not there yet with the blog. And regarding our prior careers: You know, I feel like every darn thing I ever did is leading me to what I do today… It all just “adds up” as long as you are working hard! I am sure, for example, that you were able to bring that communications experience right into teaching, and your students are benefitting by it!

      And you bet: I can taste the beignets and au lait right now!

  7. Tracie says

    Oh, I’m super excited about this product. We were invited to test it out at HD later this month. Our cabinets are sixty years old and in great shape…other than the fact age has turned them orange. Not nice. I can’t wait to hear about your trip- and while NO is cooler, I’m sorry you won’t be in Atlanta.

  8. Jeanne says

    First off, woo hoo Dearborn! 😉 It’s a big city with small town flavor.

    Your post was so timely. I was JUST reading my favorite “handyman” writer Glenn Haege (in the Detroit Free Press) and he was discussing winter projects, with indoor painting projects being one of them. I just ripped out the article and circled one of his recommendations for painting cabinets (which I want to do in my bathroom). He mentioned Cabinet Coat paint from Insl-X. I’ll be interested to hear your report about the Rustoleum line! He also mentioned a granite paint for countertops, but I am NOT interested in doing that.

    Have fun in NO!

  9. says

    Have a fabulous time in New Orleans. I grew up in Louisiana in a small town and going to New Orleans (“the big city”) was always a treat.

    I’m curious what you find out…I just painted my masonite sliders on my cabinet…I paid to have enamel paint put into an aerosol can because I couldn’t get any good “retro” colors…and, it was pretty pricey after all was said and done. (Of course, still infinitely cheaper than what I would have paid someone else to do!)

  10. krystal says

    I saw this in Lowe’s or Home Depot last week and blogged about it. I’m going to try it in my kitchen in the spring!

  11. vintigchik says

    This is porbably the solution I will resort to for my kitchen. I’m excited to hear the verdict. Hey Pam, what do you say to a contest showcasing kitchens that have been ruined by people trying to “update” and it looks worse in the end? I wonder what the previous owners were thinking when they committed the crime against my kitchen. I think mine would win and prove that sometimes things are better left alone and tht the original retro design was better. Maybe Rustoleum or another company can give away free product to the winner to showcase the before and after. Sigh…just a thought 🙂

    • pam kueber says

      it’s an idea, vintigchik, but you know me, always concerned about “making people feel bad for their decisions.” I need to do a post laying this all out lucidly but: fundamentally, this blog is about “not feeling like you must follow today’s trends.” because today’s trends are tomorrow’s “dated”. when the “ugly” kitchens went in, the people thought they were “beautiful.” it just happens that design preferences change, so what’s “awesome” goes in, then out, then in again! I personally can find a rock in all this storm by: decorating/renovating according with an eye to the original design aesthetic of a home – especially when it comes to the expensive fixed items. that way, it feels holistic. to me, at least.

  12. adam says

    HI Pam
    Hope you have a great time here in New Orleans, I don’t know how much time you have down here and there is so much to see and do but if you wanna check out some mid mod yummyness the lakefront is a great area such as Lake Terrace, Lakewood south host some beauties also Park Island in Brancroft Park is delish if you would like a day true tour i can show you the most and best in less than a day just let me know 🙂

    • pam kueber says

      oh, thank you so much for the offer, adam. but, i am literally there tuesday night for dinner, then for the day, then back on a plane home. ick, my plane arrives home at 12:40 a.m., what what I thinking? have lots of “real work” going on, so needed to get home. next time!

      • adam says

        awww what a drag your gonna be tired..:( Just hope your dinner is good. LOL It was so warm sunday, now its cold and grey I hope the sun comes out shineing bright for you though on Tues. 🙂 The weather here is crazy..

  13. Heidi says

    I have been trying to track down this product! Both HD and Lowes’ websites say that it isn’t sold in my part of GA. Do you know anything about if it is being sold in all states yet, or when it will be? My kitchen is begging for this product!

    Enjoy your trip and eat lots of good food!

  14. Barbara H. says

    Hi Pam,

    I discovered your blog a short time ago and have been enjoying it. I’ve been in my 1955 owner built (that’s both good and bad) house a little over 3 years. There’s a lovely vintage Gerber gray/blue sink in the shed set on to a very ugly small vanity, along with the matching toilet. The tub is still in place in the house. I think the sink must be a wall hung sink that was converted. I’m mulling over what to do about them.

    Anyway, to get back on track I’m really excited about your trip and anxious to read your assessment of these products after your visit. Have a good time and eat well.

    • pam kueber says

      Welcome, Barbara, I’m so happy you’re joining in as a commenter. Send me pics of your bathroom if you like, at retrorenovation [at] gmail [dot] com. Sounds like your bathroom is in line for a Retro Renovation!

  15. Paul says

    Well, Pam, I have always enjoyed your blog and appreciate the honesty policy on products. I’m also the happy owner of a 2003 Thunderbird, so I have yet another reason to follow your blog. Have a great time in NOLA. I’m a Tulane alum and think there are few finer places you can visit.

  16. lori says

    I am a paint department manager for a Lowe’s store in Kansas. I carry both of these products. I was very excited when the cabinet product was introduced. It will make life easier for the DIY homeowner.

      • lori says

        Yes I am!!! I read your blog first thing when I get home from work.
        I found your blog when I was trying to come up with a wall color in my new kitchen with my 50’s aqua accersories. I went wild and painted it with Valspar’s Signature paint “Grandma’s Cherry Pie.”
        My husband Aaron and I own a 50’s ranch 2 bedroom home but it never had a pink bathroom:( We do see many yellow, pink and aqua bathrooms when we are on our weekly estate sale trips and are always envious. I just keep telling myself one of these days…..
        I need to bring my camera and start posting them to your blog. You and your readers would love them!!!

  17. says

    Very excited to hear about this product, as we are just about to tackle painting the cabinets in our “new” old house. We are doing a lot to the house, and are using contractors for the big stuff, but the painting of the kitchen and pantry cabinets was going to run us close to $3,000. YIKES. With everything else we are doing, we just couldn’t justify spending that much on something we could do ourselves. (plumbing and construction? Leave that to the pros. Painting? I should be able to handle it.) I was starting to get scared of the process, but this just might make it doable. I’m really interested to hear what you think.

    Also – as I browsed their web site, I saw one guy who did the frame around his fireplace. Made me think there might be a lot of other applications for this product. I’m curious to hear what they say to that!

    And agreed -thank you so much for the transparency and great reporting. It makes this web site a truly wonderful and highly useful resource!

    Have a safe and fun trip!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, the Rustoleum website says it can be used on other wood applications — like old furniture. I’ll ask about fireplaces, especially considering the adjacency to heat.

  18. says

    I just thought of one more question for them: What about cabinet *interiors*? Our cabinets are in solid, but “soiled” condition inside them. (some contact paper, etc) I’m hoping to scrape off the contact paper and clean up and repaint the inside of the cabinets, too, just to get them really fresh and clean feeling before we move in. Am I wasting my time, though? If not, is there any recommendation on what to use on the inside of the cabinets? We’re saving money by not replacing all the cabinetry, but I wouldn’t mind them at least *feeling* as new as they possibly can. 😉

    • pam kueber says

      Rachel, this kind of DIY is beyond the scope of my blog. I’d recommend you talk to an experienced local hardware store about what to use to get the contact paper off. Also, please be aware: Any vintage/old paint can have lead in it — please consult with a professional to know what you are working with and to advise on the proper safety and environmental precautions.

      • says

        Absolutely understand. Fortunately, in the one place where there is contact paper, it’s already kind of peeling up, so it’s not too bad. The lead paint issue is a good one to remember – I’ll be curious if they address that in the demonstration. The kitchen in our house was redone in 1988, so I’m thinking we’ll be in the clear for that, but it can’t hurt to check.

        I did get to go by Home Depot today (had to price out some other stuff, so I ran by the paint dept. to see if they had the Rustoleum kits in stock). They did have the kits, and the woman said they’ve been very popular – selling out at least twice and with no one bringing them back. A couple of things she mentioned that I wondered about was that the whole process can take a week or more to complete, with drying times, etc. And she mentioned fumes. I’m so curious to see what you think! Thanks for taking the trip and reporting back. It really helps to have a reliable source who can get some hands-on experience with a product.

  19. Jim says


    I knew there was a reason I like you so much…you’ve got at least a little “Michigander” in you. I grew up outside of Detroit (Oakland County) and even though I’m now a Southern Californian I miss thunderstorms and truly green vegetation! But you can’t beat the weather in San Diego!


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