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DIY painter uses new Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations on 2 bathrooms & kitchen — $240 for kits instead of $20,000 for new

connie in her kitchen painted with rustoleum cabinet transformationsI recently wrote about my first press trip – to see and test-drive Rustoleum’s new “Cabinet Transformations” kitchen repainting kit. I was impressed with my experience – but there is nothing like a real-life testimonial from someone who has used the product on an entire kitchen. Did skeptical Connie like it? Yes. The minute she finished her first bathroom, she ran out for another kit to paint the second bathroom, then for more to repaint the kitchen.  Here’s a snippet of her enthusiastic story:

What a great, great product.  Tell Rustoleum they’re welcome to come over and shoot a commercial here if they want to.  I wouldn’t want to be in it – I’m 59 years old and well past my expiration date.  That’s what actressess and spokesmodels are for!  I love the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations – I swear I’m about ready to buy stock in the company. 

connies bathroom vanity before painting with rustoleum cabinet transformations
connie’s bathroom “before”

Actually, Connie first contacted me because there was a small problem. She wrote:

I started out my Cabinet Transformations project in our master bathroom, just in case it didn’t look as good as the pictures on the packaging, because nobody really sees it besides the two of us!

All of our cabinets were spray-painted with thick white latex before we bought the house.  Naturally the guy sprayed right over the hinges and not only were they peeling, but so were the joints on the cabinets.  Actually these cabinets were just about a deal-breaker for me, but I finally thought I’d just live with them for awhile and then have them ripped out and replaced.  (For $30,000 or so!)

connies master bathroom vanity painted with rustoleum cabinet transformations
the same bathroom “after”

Anyway, the bathroom turned out fantastic.  So then I did the guest bath, and finally the kitchen.  My one and only complaint is that Rustoleum doesn’t provide NEARLY enough glaze. They’ve gotta be kidding with that teeny little can – no WAY would it cover 100 feet.  I called their Customer …  She directed me to just go buy another whole kit, and said Rustoleum would reimburse me.  I’m on my last section of kitchen cabinets now and it’s clear that I’m going to run out of even THAT glaze before I get done.  Does anybody know where to get that type of glaze?…This kit is the world’s greatest idea, but it is just proportioned SO WRONG!!!  Can anybody help?  Thanks!

By now I know all these people at Rustoleum. I emailed them, and they jumped right on it. Not only did they help Connie out with more glaze, at no additional cost. Cathy, a leading member of the Rustoleum brand team, responded quickly:

Connie – I am so sorry that you ran out! As with any new product there is always room for improvement and comments like yours help us deliver better products in the end. With that being said, at this time there is not and option to purchase the glaze on its own at a retailer, and we do not recommend any other product as a substitute. As a result to consumer demand we will be adding an additional 1/2 pint of glaze to our small Cabinet Transformations kit going forward. Rust-Oleum will also be offering additional glaze, in the near future, if someone happens to run out of the product. (Cathy then gave Connie some options to get more glaze.) We do apologize that you ran out of the product, and really appreciate the feedback. Thank you – Rust-Oleum Cathy

Isn’t that great customer service? Good on you, Rustoleum! Back to Connie… here’s her DIY painting story:

The cabinets in here were solid wood and well worth saving – none of those cheap crappy veneers that you usually see these days.  I just didn’t think they were “salvageable”.  Thus my willingness to spend $30,000 to rip them out and get new ones.

connies kitchen before repainting with rustoleum transformations
connie’s kitchen “before”

This is a “before” picture of the kitchen, but I didn’t specifically take it because I was going to re-do the cabinets.  I just took those to send to some of my out-of-town buddies once we bought this house.  Too bad I didn’t get close-ups of the awful peeling white paint on the hinges and joints!

connies white kitchen before repainting with rustoleum cabinet transformationsUgly white sprayed on paint, chipping and slopped over the hinges.

connies kitchen in the process of repainting with rustoleum cabinet transformations

I deliberately took photos of the nice new finished cabinets (left side of pictures) while the awful chipped white cabinet doors were still in place on my last section of kitchen (right side of pictures).

connies bathroom vanity after repainting with rustoleum cabinet transformationsAs you can see, I went with the darker kit in my kitchen, due to the terra cotta colored floor tile.

bathroom vanity updated using rust oleum cabinet transformations painting kit

In the bathrooms, my tile and grout is quite light. I used one “lighter” Cabinet Transformations kit, and that was enough for both bathrooms.

kitchen cabinets updated using rustoleum cabinet transformations kit process

So I see all these kitchen and bathroom photos, and they don’t look particularly “retro” to me, so I ask Connie how she happened upon this blog. She answers — and we also get this funny back story about her Dear Husband (DH):

I think I got there because I was trying to find out how I could get more glaze, and you had just participated as one of ten designers who went to RustOleum to test the Cabinet Transformations product.   Your blog just happened to be about Cabinet Transformations that week.  It was definitely a roundabout approach!  Our condo is about thirty years old, so not really retro.  We have cathedral ceilings which we call “retro” because all the newer houses have 10-foot ceilings and crown molding!

kitchen pantry cabinets repainted using rustoleum cabinet transformations kit

Here’s a funny story:  I was one of the first people in the Palm Springs area to buy a Cabinet Transformations kit.  Lowe’s had just put their first 8 boxes on display that day.  So when I brought it home and showed my husband, he kinda rolled his eyes and said:  “What did you waste money on THAT for?”  I told him that if the thing works like I THINK it’s gonna work, it’ll save him thousands and thousands of dollars.

He was pretty skeptical, though.  I couldn’t even get him to make me some drying racks, so the master bath seemed to take forever, because I had to wait for each coat to dry before I could flip the doors over and do the other sides.

doors off connies kitchen cabinets in the process of repainting using rustoleum cabinet transformations

Anyway, by the time I put the glaze coat on, his eyes were about popping out of his head.  He immediately made some drying racks for me and he had the doors off the guest bath cabinets even as we were waiting for the top coat to fully dry before re-hanging the doors in the master bath!  So as soon as I got done with the guest bath, I bought two more kits, this time in the darker shades.  I’m pretty sure he had the kitchen cabinet doors off by the time I got home.

I can’t see how anybody could NOT love this product.  In my case, replacing the existing cabinets with ones of the same quality would probably have cost at least $20,000 because they’re solid wood – not those cheap veneers you so often see.  Instead I bought a total of four Cabinet Transformations kits and was refunded for the fourth one because I only bought that one to get more glaze.  So, about $240 total.

I thought you’d get a kick out of my husband’s initial skepticism followed by his Attitude Transformation!  If I’m Cabinet Transformation’s biggest fan, I’d have to say he’s now Number Two.

Thanks for your interest…this has been fun… Later, Connie

Thank you, Connie — yes, this has been fun! Please do keep in touch — I especially want to hear how the new paint wears! And if I ever make it to Palm Springs, you and I will have to go thrifting. We’ll get you some great bit 1960s lamps for your Palm Springs groove pad!

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  1. Nancy says:

    I don’t know if you will be pleased with the results if you want it to look like the 1950s blonde. Especially if you use the glaze over the paint, the results are more of an antiqued look. For blonde wood, I would strip off the old finish and sand lightly. I would stain with a “pickled oak” stain, which is white, to highlight the woodgrain, typically oak. Then I would top that with a clear coat of poly, like water-based by Varathane. Watco Danish Oil also had a pickled oak oil stain, but not sure if they are still making it. I found a gel based one in my unpainted furniture store that wiped on nicely.

  2. Nancy says:

    The glaze definitely gives an antique look by highlighting the wood grain or the brush strokes of paint, or the details of cabinets and drawers. The glaze is OPTIONAL, so one can skip it and just use paint and top coat for a more “flat” look. The paint is a high quality that goes on very smoothly and covers well with two coats.

  3. Shirley says:

    Beautiful cabinets! I have read every word of blog and comments but don’t see the color choice of kitchen or bathroom. Can you provide this? Getting a kit and love the colors.
    Thanks!

  4. Eunice says:

    Did the white paint have to be stripped first? I too have two bathroom vanities that are painted white and I would like them in their natural wood color instead.

  5. Diana says:

    I wish on all of these before and after pictures, the color used would be noted. It has been extremely hard to determine what color I need to match what I’m looking for. I have already tinted two quarts in one kit and don’t like either color.

  6. Jessica says:

    I am completely new and probably should take a “painting your cabinets 101” class 🙂
    I purchased the dark tint kit, however I did not have them do anything with the bond coat. Do I need to take the kit back in and select the coat I would like or will it already just give me a dark tint similar to the one on the box.
    Sorry, I am terrible at these things but I want to learn.
    I appreciate your time!

  7. Ed says:

    [Unsolicited critique deleted – Pam]

    How much did the company provide you of this product? Did they compensate you in anyway way to write this?

  8. pam kueber says:

    No one paid the submitter, or gave her free product, to give this story to me as far as I know. I personally attended the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations event and also used it on a vanity — in both instances I disclosed the relationship, which is my policy.

    See my Disclosures – How I Make Money page here — https://retrorenovation.com/disclosures/

  9. Gerry says:

    I found an article on Apartment Therapy posted in Novemebr 2016 about a kitchen redo with Cabinet Transformations (winter gray no glaze) and the Countertop Transformations (sparkly white). Here is the link to the article and on the last page is another link to more detailed information. The kitchen redo looks great and I liked the comment about the countertop sparkling in the sun..not quite the glitter laminate many readers miss but looks like an interesting effect. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/before-and-after-a-smart-small-budget-kitchen-upgrade-238754

  10. pam kueber says:

    Hmmm, looks like this varation of Cabinet Transformations might only be available in Canada. I will reach out to Rust-Oleum to see what they can tell me.

  11. Connie says:

    I’m in the same position as Connie where the previous owners did a poor job at painting the cabinets. I’m thinking about repainting the cabinets with this rustoleum cabinet transformation kit but am wondering if I’ll need to sand/ strip the paint on the cabinet for the rustoleum kit to work. I’ve been searching high and low for an answer so any help is appreciated!

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