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.

  1. 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!


  2. Rachel 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. 😉

    1. 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.

      1. Rachel 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.

  3. Rachel 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

      1. 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!!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

  7. 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!

    1. Tracie says:

      Heidi, the Home Depot on Cobb Parkway in Acworth has it already. I’m not sure if this helps you or not…

      1. Heidi says:

        thank you! I will check there. From everything I have seen and read about this product, it is worth the drive!

  8. 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 🙂

    1. 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!

      1. 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..

  9. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

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