DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refresh- ECOS Paints

ECOS Paints generously provided the paint as well as consult for the type of paint to use for this project. All opinions are our own.

Since we moved into our coastal bungalow, we’ve been eyeing our kitchen cabinets, yearning to make them match the rest of our home, with a coastal feel. Our small abode by the sea has lots of light, giving it a warm, serene feel, but our kitchen cabinets… no so much. They sort of called out for help each time we walked into the room, desiring some extra loving. We’ve had the project penciled into the calendar, wanting to find the right product that aligned with our aesthetic ideals, and our eco-friendly values. 

We chose Gallery White 1502 from the ECOS Lisa Tharp Colors Collection

While researching various paint lines, we found that The Good Trade recommended ECOS Paints as one of the best eco-friendly paints for a non-toxic home. Not only that, but it also stated that ECOS Paints is used by the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, and the Getty Museum, due to its mix quality and environmental-consciousness. How about those references?! We didn’t need much else to convince us that ECOS was the brand for us, but to add synergy between us, we found that ECOS Paints is free of harsh chemicals, has no odor (can’t wait to get into that in just a bit), and is obviously non-toxic, so we didn’t have to worry about the fact that Betty White was walking around the house as we were painting, nor worrying about what we were breathing in while we were actually doing the painting. 

Fortunately, our kitchen is small, so the project wasn’t going to take too long, a weekend at the most. We’ve discussed how we use Surf Shack: Laid Back Living by the Water by Nina Freudenberger as inspo for our home decor, while implementing our own minimalist style, and we wanted that same feel in our kitchen. Prior to this project, our kitchen cabinets were a boring tan color. When the morning sunlight came in, they tried to shine, but poor things, they just couldn’t rise to the occasion with the rest of our home. That coastal feel just didn’t resonate in the kitchen area. We knew we wanted a white, crisp feel on the cabinets, and couldn’t wait to give the cabinets the opportunity to meet their potential. We just knew they had it in them! 

The before photos show how the drab the cabinets were, and in much need of a refresh.

For this project, we decided to go with the semi-gloss GALLERY WHITE 1502 from the new ECOS Paints Lisa Tharp Colors Collection. This white is described by ECOS as being a:     

“Minimalist white of art galleries. A crisp, ethereal backdrop for other colors and furnishings, and a luminous reflector of natural light. A touch of chalky tone keeps this cool white from feeling cold.”

We felt this shade of white would be absolutely ideal for capturing the various ways the light comes into the kitchen window throughout the day, and we’re pleased to say, we made the right choice. 

The Project

Prep-Work

Friday night, Gerry removed all of the cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware, while I (Shannon) taped around the cabinets to prepare the trim areas for painting. We emptied the cabinets and cleaned inside and out, and the doors. You’ll find a lot of information online about how to clean cabinets with a ton of chemicals, but we used a bucket of hot water, castile soap, and a cloth. We did a couple of rounds to make sure we cleaned them well and removed any residue so that when we began painting, there was a clean surface to work with.  

The Work Began

Saturday morning, I began painting the trim work while Gerry set-up the cabinet doors outside on the porch and began painting. Thankfully, we had a gorgeous weekend, so weather wasn’t an issue. Lucky us! 

Once I finished the trim work, I moved to the larger surface areas. We had a small roller for cabinets, but we found that brushes worked better. Gerry used a 3 inch brush for the doors, but I mainly used a 2 inch brush for the entire project. I did switch out brushes once, just to freshen things up a bit. We also find painting therapeutic and almost meditative, so if you are more of a “get it done” person, you may find the paint rollers more effective. 

The painting was really easy, because the paint coverage was amazing! We found that the first coat covered more than we thought, especially for white paint. Everyone keeps asking about sanding. Apparently the type of cabinets we have, you do not need to sand prior to painting. Again, lucky us! 

After the first coat, we gave it time to dry, while we moved to polishing the hardware. The hardware are gold brass knobs. These aren’t usually my favorite accent pieces in the kitchen, but for some reason, in this coastal theme, it works, and works really well, so we stayed with it. Ger had some metal wax so it helped to fill in some of the knicks and scratches and made them look like new again. 

On to the second coat. Once Ger finished his cabinet door second coat, he helped with the cabinets, and we finished by evening. We let the second coat dry overnight. 

Home Stretch 

Sunday, Gerry painted the backs of the cabinet doors, and I removed the trimming tape, and went back over the ends of the cabinet bases with a third coat. For some reason, those areas just seemed to have a few areas that needed it, once the morning light shined in. 

Gerry was able to get the final coat on the doors, and by that evening, he had the doors back on the cabinets but we waited to install the knobs for another day, just to be safe.

Final Wrap-Up 

Monday evening, after work, we put everything back into the cabinets, and Gerry put the knobs back onto the doors. Voila! Done! 

Our kitchen looks like an entirely different kitchen. No matter the time of day, it greets us as if it has been given new life. Our kitchen cabinets are beaming, and we can feel them radiating with joy! It is hands down the best thing we’ve done since moving into our little bungalow. 

The after photos show how our kitchen smiles with glee!

The Takeaways

We want to make sure we mention a few takeaways we had about making the decision to go with ECOS Paint for this project – 

  • The feeling of ease using a product that is non-toxic and safe, especially inside your home, while working on a DIY project is difficult to describe. We want to let you know, yes you, the person reading this, that you have an option when it comes to choosing paint that is safe for you to use. ECOS Paints is a wonderful alternative, and one that we are thankful to have found, and will be using from here on out. 
  • This was a complete surprise, even though we read there wouldn’t be a smell, but seriously, THERE WAS NO SMELL! We cannot believe, as consumers, how we just think that breathing in chemicals is just “the norm” when painting, cleaning, or doing anything else. We brought it up to each other, several times, while we were working on this project, that we could not believe that we were not smelling anything. 
  • We made messes, it is going to happen no matter how careful you are. We got paint on our hands, arms, and the floor. First, the paint came off of our hands/arms easily. We’ve painted before, and with other paints where we’ve had paint on our hands/skin for days, almost a week, where soap, water, and scrubbing didn’t take it off. With ECOS, it was no problem to remove. Also, on this project, when we had droplets on the floor, we of course got it up as quickly as possible, but it still came up very easily. 

With all of the things in the environment that are out of our control, it is so nice to know that more things are within our control when it comes to what we allow into our bodies, and into our homes. When it comes to DIY projects for our home, we need to put forth just as much effort making those decisions as we do for our skin and body. The products we bring into our home to improve our sanctuary, stay within that space, so they should be safe. We are thankful to ECOS Paints to be a partner for not only making our kitchen cabinet refresh project a success, but a safe one as well. 

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