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In this installment of the Rental Rehab, I'll be covering painting the kitchen cabinets, and installing the shiplap. I'll be more detailed about the process of painting the kitchen cabinets then I will about installing the shiplap. As you can imagine, it's complicated to properly document the installation process while you're doing the work yourself. Maybe I need an intern?


These are the steps I followed to paint the cabinets. Additionally, I received a ton of questions on Instagram that I'll be answering along the way. Scroll to the bottom of this section for the complete supply list.

Step 1: DECIDE if your cabinets are right to paint. Our cabinets are solid maple. There is no grain, and the hand feel is very soft. In my opinion, they are the best type of cabinets to paint. Conversely, cabinets made of oak will have a significant grain that will show even when the cabinets are painted. It's not that you can't paint oak cabinets, you just need to understand that the grain will show unless you fill the grooves beforehand.

"Can you paint crappy plastic cabinets?" No. The paint will not adhere. You could try this though!

"How do you paint cheap contractor grade laminate cabinets?" I don't know. I think you'll run into an issue with adhesion; I wouldn't advise this. If the cabinets are wood veneer, with a composite inside, you should be able to paint them.

STEP 2: REMOVE the cabinets from the hinges. Make sure to label each cabinet. I marked the inside of each cabinet and the corresponding door so that putting them back up is a breeze. You must remove the cabinets because you will have to paint the cabinet stiles.

"Did you paint the inside of the cabinets?" No. We left them as is.

"Did you paint the inside of the doors?" No. If it were my home and not a rental, I would have painted the inside of the doors, but because of time constraints, we left them. If you do not plan to paint the inside of the cabinet doors, you should tape the inside perimeter of the doors so that the paint doesn't bleed from the outside edge of the cabinets onto the back of the doors.

STEP 3: LIGHTLY SAND the cabinets using fine grit sandpaper (180 to 220 grit). Be careful not to scratch the cabinets, as they will be apparent when the cabinets are painted. You must sand in one direction, sanding in different directions will be noticeable upon painting.

"What type of sandpaper did you use?" I used a sandpaper block that was 220 grit.

STEP 4: CLEAN the cabinets making sure they are free of dust, food, and goop. I used a 1:1 vinegar water solution. For anything super sticky, you can't go wrong with Goo Gone.

STEP 5: PRIME the cabinets. This step is critical and will help the paint adhere to the cabinets. I used this primer. It smells terrible, but it works the best!

"How did you apply the paint + primer?" Here's a very long answer! I used a combination of a small foam roller and an angled brush. For the cabinet stiles, we used a foam roller. For the faces, apply the paint to the flat sections of the cabinets with a foam roller and then cut in the corners with a brush.

As you need to paint the sides of the cabinets, we found the best way to do this was to place the cabinet face on a Lazy Susan, and rotate it as you paint. You cannot paint all of the edges at once. We painted three edges first, the sides and top edge. Once the cabinets were dry, we painted the bottom edge.

You will have to move the cabinet from the Lazy Susan to the drying area. You'll mess up your paint job, just touch it up when it's leaning on the wall with the foam roller.

Apply the primer very lightly and paint in one direction using long strokes. You do not want any drips! Regularly check the cabinets that are in the process of drying for drips. If you missed a drip, you can sand it off when the paint is dry.

"Does the roller leave nap marks?" We had no problem with nap marks because the rollers we used had no nap. I also credit this to the high quality, Farrow & Ball paint used.

"Did you use a sprayer?" No, just a roller and brush. You could use a sprayer; we didn't have one.

STEP 6: WAIT! let the cabinets dry at least 24-hours before applying the second coat of paint

STEP 7: LIGHTLY SAND, again. Use a fine grit sandpaper (180- 220) moving in one direction.

STEP 8: CLEAN the cabinets making sure they are free of dust for the first coat of paint.

STEP 9: PAINT the cabinets! In the same fashion that you primed the cabinets, paint them. Apply VERY light coats of paint.

"What type of finish did you use?" Estate Eggshell, by Farrow & Ball. It has a 20% sheen.

"Did you use Farrow & Ball paint, or did you color match?" I used the real deal. I did this because I wanted to be sure we used high-quality, durable paint. For the project, I used a half gallon of paint.

"What color did you use?" - Purbeck Stone by Farrow & Ball

"How do you achieve a professionally sprayed finish?" You don't and you will never if you paint your cabinets by hand. Even if using an at home sprayer, you will never get the factory sprayed look. Please be aware of this fact before you commit to painting!

STEP 10: WAIT! let the cabinets dry at least 24-hours before applying the second coat of paint

STEP 11: LIGHTLY SAND, again. Use a fine grit sandpaper 180- 220 moving in one direction.

STEP 12: CLEAN off the cabinets making sure they are free of dust for the next coat of paint.

STEP 13: PAINT, again. Following the same steps above. We only applied two coats of paint to our cabinets. Yours may require more. If you think you need a third coat of paint, repeat steps 10 - 13 again.

"How long did this take?" As we let the cabinets dry for 24-hours in between each coat of paint, this took three days.

"How many people helped you?" Three people were working on this project: my mom, aunt and myself.

"Did you put a coat of poly on top of the cabinets?" No. However, you can do this. My parents have painted cabinets and they applied a water-based poly in a satin finish. They painted their cabinets over 15 years ago and they are still holding up!

"What do you do if you don't have knobs on your cabinets and want to add them." Adding hardware to cabinets is relatively straightforward, but you need to be confident with a drill and your measuring skills! If you are not, hire a handyman/woman to do this.

To complete the cabinets. We changed out the hardware to these 1'' egg knobs in polished nickel, generously provided to us by Emtek.



I reached out to Metrie and they generously provided the shiplap for this project. As mentioned above, I won't go into too much detail about the installation process as it was near impossible to properly document and install at the same time. Luckily there is already a great video that is very easy to follow!

Surprisingly, I had never used shiplap in any project, and now I see how you can quickly become obsessed. The texture and pattern it adds to the walls makes a huge impact and instantly adds character to the room.

"What product did you use?" Metrie's 5.5" pre-painted shiplap.

As for the installation, I would rate this project at beginner to intermediate level. If you're installing shiplap on an accent wall, it is an easy DIY. The difficulty increases when you start turning corners, encountering windows, doorways, and electrical.

"Did you paint the shiplap?" Yes, but we did not intend to. It is a pre-painted product, and when installed it looks finished! Unfortunately, as we had some rainy, hot, and humid weather, some of the boards stuck together in shipping. When we pulled them apart, some the paint peeled off. We painted the shiplap Snowfall White by Benjamin Moore.

"I see you used shiplap as your backsplash. Do you have any heat or water concerns?" We didn't install the shiplap behind the stove or the sink. We used 4" x 4" square tiles for the sink and range backsplash.


"How do you finish corners and exposed edges?" I looked for pictures and wasn't able to find a ton of examples. For the exposed corner, we used a corner molding, for the edge, we left it and painted it white.




  • Metrie's 5.5" pre-painted shiplap

  • Pencils (lots of them because they always get lost)

  • Measuring tape

  • Level

  • Nail gun

  • Chop saw (for cutting shiplap to length)

  • Table saw (for ripping shiplap to width. We had to do this because as we got to the ceiling, the boards didn't fit perfectly on the wall)

  • Jigsaw (for cutting out notches to accommodate outlets, doors, windows, etc.)

  • Hammer + nail set, in case you make mistakes

  • Caulk (provided by Metrie)

  • Nail hole kit (supplied by Metrie)

Wow, lots of words! If you're still with me, thank you! In Part III of the Rental Rehab, I'll be sharing pictures of the apartment staged as well as the listing details! Yes, you can live here!

Big thank you to Metrie + Emtek for partnering with us on this project!

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