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Master Bathroom Cabinets: A Saga

March 19, 2014 - Author: Amy - 24 Comments

We bought a house with honey oak woodwork.  It is not very beautiful.  We’ve spent many a conversation discussing the honeyness of our oak.

“Do we just replace them?”

“Nah, that’s expensive.”

“Ugh, but sanding is so awful.”

“Maybe a new paint color and some pulls would camouflage them?”

Then, we found this.


And at roughly $75, we decided it was worth a shot.

We picked this color.


Then we sent Junior off to my parents house so I could start on the cabinets and D could spray paint all over our top floor.  More on that another day, because this is where the saga begins.

I started this process over the holidays.  No friends, not the green holiday we just had… the big holidays… three months ago!

The sales associate at Home Depot warned me this would be labor intensive – not difficult – just time consuming, but that the final results would be worth it.

She was right, for the most part.




photo 2

Raise your hand if you noticed how I artfully took the shot without showing all our crap on the countertops.

The verdict:  Meh.

Maybe a Meh + because anything is better than the honey oak that was in there…

I took pictures of the entire process, but decided not to post all of them because nobody needs to see that many pictures of that many layers of things going on cabinets.  No, the process was not difficult, but it involves four different substances, each of which have to be put on one side at a time, then allowed to dry for several hours before flipping and repeating the process.  And the third step, the glaze, I did twice because we weren’t loving the color.  It was much more reddish/orange than anticipated.


And the finished product actually turned out a lot more red than we’d anticipated or that the box had led us to believe.

Oh, hey buddy!


Nice oak cabinets you got back there…

Sooo the moral of this story is, if you’re willing to spend a LOT of hours in your basement coating your cabinets in layers of things with pretty good results for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets, do what we did!

If you’re impatient and prone to walk away before making 100% sure you didn’t leave any drips anywhere (points to self), and you have a certain, specific color you’re after, this may not be the answer for you.

Too bad I’m cheap and have a ton of this stuff leftover and a couple more bathrooms to worry about… The saga continues!

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Categories: DIY, Home - Tag: ,

Discussion (24 Comments)

  1. i always wondered about that stuff if it REALLLY worked. But patience…is not one of my thangs so i’d probably screw it all up. However, it DOES make a big difference. That honey oak…it just has to go.

    • by Amy

      It’s definitely better than the honey…. just not exactly what I was going for. ;)

  2. I’ve been wondering about that stuff too! Thanks for the honest opinion and super cute picture of Junior. ;) Oh and since I bet you are dying to know….I totally agree with you about honey oak! It’s not my cup of tea whatsoeverrrrrrrr. And major thumbs down for the color being more red than you thought it would be. I’d hate to put all that work in and not be happy with the result! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • by Amy

      A little annoying, but still better than what we had, and lots cheaper!!

  3. It could be the angle of the after photo but I actually like the color! It looks more espresso to me (I may be color blind…) and it reminds me of the cabinets we have in our house. Sucks that it took so long to receive just ok results though but hey, you saved boat loads of money!

  4. by Dad

    Ummm, we have honey oak…….

  5. by Glenda Martinez

    We too have an abundance of honey oak that I detest but the thought of changing it overwhelms me. I keep telling myself to take it one step at a time…..because it is everywhere. I really like how yours turned out but I’m not loving the “labor intensive” part of it.

    That brings me to my question. Have you heard of gel stain? I’ve seen several people have success with it (on Pinterest so I’m sure it’s factual). You can see one example here:

    Any chance the honey oak will come back “in” if I wait long enough?? Lol! By the way, our master bath is the exact some tub/sink layout.

  6. by Brittaney Allen

    I love dark wood so much. I think it looks so good Amy! I had no idea such a product even existed. Good to know!

  7. well they do look a lot better!!! you are so patient! i have none, so maybe that’s why i paint all my cabinets.

  8. We debated doing this in our old house… I am not a patient person so it did not happen. But your end results look awesome. Sorry it was so labor intensive, but most good things are, right??

    • by Amy

      That’s right… and it is an improvement!

  9. by Anne

    I used some minwax gel stain stuff a few months ago (it promised about the same thing) and it turned out WAYYY redder than we’d anticipated (and it had advertised) so we ended up doing a BAJILLION COATS and still weren’t totally satisfied. Which was disappointing. But your bathroom looks tons better than the honey oak look!

    • by Amy

      Stinks! Maybe I’ll just go black or something next time….

  10. by Andi

    Honey oak is a victimless crime said no one ever. Had we stayed in our old house, I would have tried this product. (We didn’t have honey oak cabinets, but they needed updating just the same.) Now it’s someone else’s problem. hehehe…

    They definitely look better, so I say it was worth your time and effort. Of course, it’s very easy for me to spend other people’s time (and money). Let me know if you need some help. ;)


    • by Amy

      Obviously I need some help. Get over here!

  11. It always looked like a lot of work when I read the instructions otherwise I might have tried it. It looks a lot better than the honey oak and I know that once you’re done with the bathroom, it will be awesome. :-)

  12. Even though they are just meh for you, it’s definitely an improvement; and I think they look great! And that son of yours is a cutie patootie!

    • by Amy

      Thanks Kelly… I think so too. :)

  13. I have zero patience…I just paint mine. I think they look better, and can’t see as much red in them as you say.

  14. *Raises hand regarding artful crap-croppery* ;)

    I think they look tons better. But I know how you feel about spending tons of time on something and then just feeling meh about it. Boo.

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