Tips & Tricks for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Miss Mustard Seed proves that paint, patience and a little bit of elbow grease can transform a kitchen.

Miss Mustard Seed's Kitchen Eating Area
Rustic textures, white paint and antiques with plenty of patina combine for an airy farmhouse feel.

There are some rooms that need a total overhaul, because they are dated, damaged or downright ugly. There are other rooms that need a makeover simply because they don’t reflect the personality and style of the family dwelling there. Such was the case with this kitchen.

It had great bones, nice wood cabinets, upgraded counters and birch floors, but it needed an injection of charm and personality. And the most budget-friendly way to do that was paint.

The cabinets were primed and given a fresh coat of a custom-mixed white paint, which immediately freshened up the kitchen and gave it more of a cottage vibe. Swapping out the traditional-style nickel hardware with some reproduction glass pulls further customized the cabinets.

Miss Mustard Seed's Painted Kitchen Cabinets
Can’t find the perfect color from the fan deck of paint swatches? Miss Mustard Seed recommends mixing a custom color that suits your space and your taste.
Miss Mustard Seed's Painted Kitchen Cabinets
Several shades of white, such as the creamy hue on the walls and a crisp color on the cabinets and trim, give the kitchen dimension.

The entire look was finished off with antique accessories, like ironstone pitchers filled with wooden spoons, an old grocery scale and linen textiles. These were all relatively small changes that made a big difference in the overall look of this space.

Painting built-in cabinetry is one of the most economical ways to update your kitchen, but it can also be an intimidating step into do-it-yourself territory for a novice. Understandable, because it’s a big project that involves dismantling the busiest room in the house. There is plenty of photographic evidence, though, that proves painting cabinets is worth the time and the effort.

Miss Mustard Seed's Kitchen Island

Here are some tips to tackling the transformation:

  1. Those who are brand new to painting furniture and/or cabinetry should test the entire process from start to finish on one door. It’s a great exercise to learn what works and what doesn’t before diving into the entire project. This is also an important step when working with unfamiliar products.
  2. Paint the cabinets a section at a time. It’s easy to get carried away and remove all of those dated, builder-grade oak cabinet doors at one time, but having the entire kitchen ripped apart can add more pressure to the project. It can also cause an issue if space in the garage or work area is limited. You’d be amazed how much space cabinet doors can take up when they are laid out to dry! The project might take a little longer to complete, but there will be some semblance of order while the work is being carried out.
  3. Always take the time to properly prep and prime all surfaces. We want to get right to the fun stuff, right? Yes! But it’s not fun when the paint is bubbling up over greasy build-up or starts peeling just days after the cabinets are painted. Take the time to clean the cabinets with a grease cutting cleaner, sand them with 80-100 grit paper to rough up the surface, and prime them with a quality adhesion primer.
  4. Use quality paint and tools. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” definitely applies to paint! A quality paint will go on smoother, require fewer coats, will be more durable, and will level out to hide brush strokes and roller marks. It’s worth the splurge! While a paint sprayer isn’t a required tool, it makes the work go faster and the end result looks more professional. A project can be completed, though, with a well-made 2 ½” synthetic-bristled, angled sash brush and a small foam or microfiber roller made for painting trim.
  5. Give the cabinets time to cure properly before heavy use. It’s exciting to get those freshly-painted cabinet doors hung as soon as they are dry, and that can certainly be done, but be aware that almost all paints require 30 days to fully cure. During that time, the finish is more susceptible to gouges, scratches, and dings. Let your family know to treat the cabinets with care during that time or, if possible, just leave them to cure in an out-of-the-way place before putting them into daily use.

By putting some of these tips to use, your painted cabinets will look like they were done by a professional. Your wallet will definitely know the difference, though!

For more information on painting kitchen cabinets (and many other things), visit

A Matter of Taste: French Country Kitchen Antiques

Add French country flair to your home with these culinary collectibles.

Add French country flair to your kitchen with culinary antiques.

Most of us have warm memories of cooking and baking; the kitchen is often our very favorite room in the house. Because of renewed interest in cooking and entertaining at home, culinary antiques are becoming some of the most sought-after by collectors. French country culinary antiques appeal to younger collectors in particular, who love how 19th-century artifacts complement their farmhouse-style kitchens.

These simple country antiques connect us to a time when we all allowed for leisurely food preparation, and dining was an event. Many collectors fill their homes with French country kitchen antiques to remind them to sit and enjoy lovingly prepared meals with their family and friends, treasuring their company.

Collecting kitchen antiques is based partly on knowledge, but mostly on love.

What to Buy

There are French country culinary antiques available for both the casual collector and the serious connoisseur. Whether they come from the “below stairs” kitchen of an elegant chateau or a quaint country village bistro, culinary antiques are the perfect complement to your grand pursuits

Discover your Passion

There are many different types of French country kitchen antiques, and collectors generally fall into three groups. Some collect only one thing, striving to find better or rarer pieces. Others collect a category of objects, such as everything made of copper. Yet other collectors look for a little bit of everything, either to recreate a country kitchen from the late 1800s or early 1900s, or to decorate their home with pottery, enamelware and other kitchen items from France.

Basically, what you collect will depend on what you can’t resist! There is a wide range of French country antiques: enamelware, pottery, dishes, baskets, copper pans and pots, to name just a few.

This vintage ceramic strainer not only has an attractive handmade appeal, but it is also a practical piece to use.

Be Forgiving

Country culinary antiques were useful objects and are often collected for sentimental or decorative reasons, so they don’t have to be pristine. Nothing evokes the Provençal countryside more than things that have lost some of their paint and polish. A little chip here and there, a crack; these features show that country kitchen antiques have been used. Many collectors actually prefer pieces with well-worn patina and visible wear.

How to Display Kitchen Antiques

Using French country antiques in your home and kitchen creates a link to a culture and time when every was created with care, by artisans who cared about each detail. Eye-catching, culinary antiques connect the dots of that past to the present.

French pottery from the Provence and Alsace regions makes every kitchen speak French. You can use these old treasures to brighten up your kitchen, but they look just as stunning displayed as a piece of art amid a collection of antique books (cooking or not) or as a centerpiece holding a handful of flowers or herbs from your garden.

Antique kitchen or tableware is meant to be enjoyed, used and shared. These pieces are precious but were made to be hardworking and sturdy. They are not just relics of the past, so please don’t be afraid to use them!

Collecting kitchen antiques is based partly on knowledge, but mostly on love. These antiques represent a lifestyle in the past that we long for, one that embraces time spent in warm kitchens creating special foods to feed those we love and taking the time to enjoy meals with treasured family and friends.

For more on Lidy Baars and French country collectibles, visit French Garden House Antiques.

The Ultimate French Country Kitchen

Provincial inspiration all the way from the south of France.

Several windows placed high in the walls allow sunlight to fill the space. A Dutch door and ceiling beams contribute to the centuries-old ambiance.
Several windows placed high in the walls allow sunlight to fill the space. A Dutch door and ceiling beams contribute to the centuries-old ambiance.

If you assumed this kitchen belonged in an 18th-century chateau in the south of France you’d be mistaken but understandably so. You might be surprised to learn that the kitchen is attached to an estate built in the 21st century that is perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The room’s remarkable resemblance to an authentic Provencal kitchen from another era was achieved through close collaboration between the designer and homeowners. Kitchen designer Bruce Colucci of Le Gourmet Kitchen, Orange, California, was hired by the homeowner not only for his design experience, but also his passion for cooking—a passion the homeowner shares as well. “Cooking is a form of meditation for me, especially if it’s in a beautiful, well-designed, well-equipped kitchen,” the homeowner says.

Red and white linen towels are reminiscent of old-fashioned grain sacks, a common staple in the country kitchens of long ago.
Red and white linen towels are reminiscent of old-fashioned grain sacks, a common staple in the country kitchens of long ago.

Bruce developed a close relationship with the clients during the project and considers it among his favorites of his 35-year career. Many times a casual conversation would lead to a collaborative effort on a design element. “Understanding how a client cooks and lives in their space determines the direction of the design. The kitchen has to reflect the lifestyle of the client,” he says. “My vision was to make it functional regardless of whether the homeowner was cooking for the family or a large gathering. It is designed to accommodate both. It can expand or contract based on the need,” he says. “A residential kitchen is very much like a restaurant and has to function in the same way.”

The homeowners spend much of their time in the south of France, so they wanted their California kitchen to be an accurate reflection of French Provencal design. “The goal of the project was to recreate the authenticity of the kitchen design found in the south of France through the architecture and furnishings,” Bruce says. “There’s an art to creating a design that looks authentic rather than contrived.”


Bruce conducted extensive research on homes in the south of France to determine the essential design elements. “The woodwork needs to be distressed using a slightly chipped paint finish to look like it’s been around for a long time,” he says. “Blending vibrant and subtle hues is important. Mixing patterns is important as well for a casual, effortless look. The use of pleated fabrics to hide storage and keep dust off the dishes is a classic element of French country style.”

 Timelessly elegant, glass cabinet doors are the perfect compromise between open-shelving that shows off your beautiful collection of kitchenware and dust-free dishes.
Timelessly elegant, glass cabinet doors are the perfect compromise between open-shelving that shows off your beautiful collection of kitchenware and dust-free dishes.

The ceiling heights and architectural design of the 400-square-foot kitchen lent themselves to open shelves rather than high cabinets for a casual, comfortable ambience. The homeowner displays his culinary accessories, clay pots and canisters on the shelves. Among the homeowners’ favorite aspects of the kitchen are the upper windows for natural light, marble backsplash design, glass cabinets, open shelving and the range hood Bruce designed. “The hood looks like a fireplace hearth,” the homeowner says. Bruce’s favorite kitchen elements include the cooking ensemble, the range hood and the open shelves above the cooktop. “Although this kitchen is 16 years old, it still looks beautiful and new,” he says. “Good design is timeless. It’s comfortable, and you can look around and reminisce about travels. It’s so much more than a kitchen.”

Low-sheen finishes enhance the rustic look.

Best Budget Ideas for a French Country Transformation

If your wallet won’t allow a complete French country kitchen makeover, here are a few ways you can add French flair to your kitchen without spending a fortune:

1. Swap glossy, contemporary faucets and hardware for options in an iron finish or those with an antique patina.

2. Open upper shelving to reveal your kitchen collectibles and use counter skirts or aprons down below to hide storage.

3. Display linen towels and tea cloths for a look that is rustic, luxe and practical.



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7 Tips for Organizing Vintage Kitchen Collectibles

Tips for turning potential kitchen clutter into a pretty and practical collection.

When glass panes break, chicken wire is a vintage farmhouse-inspired alternative. It’s inexpensive, provides an interesting visual texture and allows clear views to the collections within.


If you wander flea markets and antique shops often, you’re probably aware that the there are a wide variety of vintage kitchen collectibles available for purchase. No matter what time period or decorative style you’re interested in or the particular items of that catch your fancy (french enamelware, silver servingware or teacups), these everyday, functional items are easy to find and impossible to resist. In fact, the abundance of vintage kitchenware can create a problem of its own – clutter!

Don’t let your collection get the best of you! Here are our favorite tips for organizing your vintage kitchen collectibles, and keeping them on display for everyone to enjoy.

vintage stove displayed with kitchen collectibles

Use the Walls to Hang and Display Collections

Larger items like colanders, pots and pans are awkward to display on shelves, so put hooks on the wall to create an instant work of vintage art in your kitchen. Use Command Hooks, if you’re worried about putting holes in the wall, or look for vintage wall hooks for a little extra style.

Display Collectibles on Open Shelving

The appeal of vintage kitchenware is largely visual, so don’t hide away your treasures behind closed cupboard doors. Remove cupboard doors and show off your collectibles in style, and make your vintage items easy to access. Or opt for glass-front cabinets for a showcase effect.


Make Your Kitchen Decor Functional

Just because something is old doesn’t mean it is useless. Go ahead and store bulk dry goods in your vintage canisters and jars. Larger containers can be used for storing dishtowels and napkins. Keep vintage utensils corralled on the counter top in a large mason jar or other coordinating container. This way, you can banish more contemporary storage in your kitchen make room for vintage!

Install Extra Shelving for Display and Storage

If your collection is large, you might need to find a way to add additional display/storage space in your kitchen. This might mean hanging shelves on a wall or bringing in a free-standing cupboard or cabinet. For smaller items, get the maximum use of the space available by using risers and inserts on existing shelves.


vintage kitchen with colorful tins on shelves

Think Up for Additional Storage and Display Ideas

If you’re still looking for extra display room, then look up. The space above cupboards is often overlooked but it’s a great place for storing items you don’t need to access often. Even the ceiling can provide a little extra storage space, with a pot rock or hanging scale suspended from above.

Repurpose and Reuse Your Collections

Finding new ways to use vintage kitchen items is a great way to incorporate their decorative value in your home without losing functional space. Antique tea tins, for example, become charming little herb pots for your windowsill. Try transforming that Pyrex mixing bowl into a pendant lamp over the kitchen island. Convert an old cookie sheet into a trendy magnetic note board. And let’s not forget the hundreds of ways people have transformed simple mason jars!

Size Down and Keep Only What You Display

When push comes to shove, and your overcrowded vintage kitchen collectibles start pushing and shoving each other off the shelves, it might be time to think about cutting back on your collection. Sometimes less equals more – more space to appreciate what you can see and use, at least! Thin out what’s on display to those items you just can’t live without. If you can’t bear to part with them, then split up your collection, store part of it and rotate items by season, so that you can fully enjoy everything you own at least part of the year.










Seven Valentine Treats for a Sweet Holiday

Make something beautiful and delicious for someone you love this year.

Valentine's Day lace cookies
Recipe and Photography by Ayda Algin

A candy box at the grocery store can borderline tacky. The love you have for your significant other is beautiful—so your Valentine’s Day treat to him or her should be too. But you don’t need to phone the local bakery for a flashy cake wrapped in layers of expensive fondant. We’ve compiled a list of recipes you can do yourself that will make any pastry chef’s head turn!

Lacy Valentine’s Day Cookies

Make sure your cookies taste as good as they look! This sugar cookie recipe serves as the perfect base to royal icing imprinted with lace.

Recipe here.

Pink champagne cake
Recipe and Photography courtesy of Olivia, Liv for Cake.

Pink Champagne Cake

Want to rekindle the spark in your relationship? This cake will do just that—and not just because it’s topped with lighted sparklers. With an exciting kick of champagne and the dreamy taste of vanilla buttercream, you’ll float higher to cloud nine with each bite.

Recipe here.


Pecan Linzer cookies
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

Love can sometimes drive you nutty—which is why these pecan-flavored cookies are appropriate for the occasion. But with an oh-so-sweet cherry filling, the soft touch of confectioner’s sugar and adorable heart cut-outs to top it all off, these charming cookies will only bring back sweet memories of love.

Recipe here.

rose petal chocolate bark
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Ella Leché, Pure Ella

Rose Petal Dark Chocolate Bar

This recipe combines the world’s most popular aphrodisiacs—chocolate and roses—for the ultimate Valentine’s Day delicacy. Not only does the ingredient list call for dark chocolate, but it asks to include a secret, adults-only flavor: raw maca powder. No store-bought box of chocolates can inspire the same romantic feelings this chocolate bar will bring.

Recipe here.

red velvet heart cupcakes
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Steph, Raspberri Cupcakes

Red Velvet Melting Moments

If you’re not fond of desserts heavy on the sweet side, these shortbread biscuits are your saviors from the usual Valentine’s Day cookies and chocolates. The biscuits’ red velvet flavoring and the cream cheese icing smushed between them will still give you a reasonable amount of sugary goodness.

Recipe here.

strawberry pops
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Sommer, A Spicy Perspective

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Pops

Chocolate-dipped strawberries are cliche. Reinvent these classic Valentine treats by turning them into strawberry pops! Add stripes of red, pink and white with melting candies, and adorn the cute pops with ribbons and sprinkles. These adorable pops are especially perfect to serve at parties.

Recipe here.

heart cake roll
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Tasbih, Cleobuttera

“Love is All Around” Cake Roll

Wow your significant other with a dessert that looks like it came straight out of Food Network. This patterned cake roll may look complex, but the recipe actually requires boxed cake mix. Not only is it the epitome of a Valentine treat with its sprawl of hearts and bright pink hue, but this cake roll is the perfect introduction to tackling the often daunting realm of patterned baked goods.

Recipe here.



Shabby Rustic Kitchen

Shabby rustic kitchen
Shabby rustic kitchen

With farmhouse and romantic touches, this shabby rustic kitchen is ripe with ideas for your own. Emulate the style with help from these items we’ve rounded up from around the web.

Use white and gray trellis wallpaper for a touch of elegance.

Dress up your table with a large lace doily either in place of or atop a tablecloth.

Use a vintage porcelain creamer as a bud vase.

Vintage storage solutions also make for beautiful displays. Try using a wire basket on your countertop for extra dishtowels or for oven mitts and a metal caddy to corral spatulas and wooden spoons.

For artwork that’s both nature- and vintage-inspired, look to botanical prints like this one.