DIY cabinet remodel with Nuvo Paint

The topic of today is do it yourself (DIY) projects. During the whole process of our RV renovation I used other people’s blogs and internet sources for my inspiration and project research. I research the heck out of all my projects before I start most of the time, to avoid frustrating mistakes someone else has probably already learned from! So I was super excited to write my own DIY how-to’s and product reviews (I was in no way endorsed or compensated for my time or supplies and all opinions are my own)! For my first review I want to show everyone how we accomplished our biggest RV makeover, the cabinets.
For this projects I took to the internet to research cabinet painting. I came across many blogs and DIY projects of people who had already completed this monumental task. The pictures always looked amazing, and I was super excited to transform our RV! We choose white (coconut espresso to be exact) in an effort to open up the look of our small space.
After reading everything I could find on the internet I settled on a product called “Nuvo Cabinet Paint”. It promised to be an all-in-one kit that took most people 8 hours to finish, in fact they promise you can put your kitchen back together within 4 hours of painting. Well, either we have triple the amount of cabinets or we aren’t most people. This project took us almost 3 weeks!
The first thing I had to do was sand the cabinets. The kit provides you with a small piece of foam sandpaper. I used that (and about the rest of the sandpaper inventory stock at Lowe’s and Home depot!) The directions said to lightly sand, but I just had a feeling that the paint would not stick if I didn’t do my best to remove the clear varnish that was covering the cabinets. This obviously called for much more extensive sanding than the “lightly” recommendation. I was also facing the challenge of faux wood. Everything except for the actual drawers and cabinet doors had what appeared to be a faux laminate covering that I was going to need to paint. I ended up needing to rough up every surface I planned on painting. This took me about 3 days before I was ready to paint.
I choose the Nuvo brand based on reviews that said you didn’t need a paint primer, you only needed to “lightly sand” and the promises that the paint would wear well. I have to say, while my cabinets look great, the paint fell short on all my initial hopes.
If I had to do this project again I would without a doubt use a base of primer, for a couple of reasons:
                          1. As a first coat of paint – Since I was going from light wood to white I was essentially going from a dark color to a light color.
                          This took 3 coats of paint to cover completely. A primer would have prevented unnecessary coats of my pricey liquid gold
                          cabinet paint!
                          2. To reduce the amount of sanding- As I mentioned earlier, all of my cabinets are a faux laminate or had some type of glaze over
                          them.  I knew if I didn’t get it all off the paint would not stick to the cabinet. After learning the value of primer I believe that the
                          primer would have stuck to the cabinets and then the NUVO paint would have just adhered to the primer. I also think this
                          would have better protected my cabinets in the long run as some of them are starting to chip already from furniture
                          rubbing against them!
Ok, off my primer soap box for now! The next step was to clean the cabinets. I had to vacuum the dust and then wipe the cabinets that were full of leftover sanding particles. Then came the fun, the paint! I laid all the cabinets out on plastic in the garage before I started. This was mistake #2! After I painted the first couple doors I realized they were going to stick to the plastic when dried. So we put up some tables in the garage and placed the cabinets on wood chips that elevated them about an inch off the table so they wouldn’t stick. The tables made the painting 100 times easier!
DSCN0950 As a side note: NUVO recommends you paint while the doors are still attached to the cabinets but I didn’t want to worry about painting around the hardware. We removed the doors so we could make sure everything was painted perfectly!
I found it easiest to paint in the raised part of the doors with the roller first. Then the groves with the paintbrush and then touch up with the brush and roller. Watch for drips because they aren’t noticeable when painting but they are SO noticeable (and not fixable) when dried! I also always went with the direction of the grain of the wood.  Nuvo recommends a 2 hour dry time before applying the second coat. I used my 2 hours to start painting the cabinets in the RV. After I applied the second and {what I thought} was the final coat I needed to wait for them to dry before I flipped them. Since NUVO recommends you keep the doors attached while painting you don’t need to worry about dry time, and looking back, this wouldn’t have been a terrible idea. But because I wanted to be different, I had to wait for my cabinets to dry. Now, I live in Southern Louisiana and it was HOT and muggy. So this really threw a wrench in my plans to dry my cabinets. Luckily I had to work for a few days so the cabinets had some time to dry while I was busy.
Once dry, Jon reinstalled the hardware for me while I painted the outside and inside of the cabinets. I was really concerned about this part because this was the faux wood. And just as I suspected, it wouldn’t completely stick to the surface. Basically any corners or edges that weren’t sanded completely caused the paint to bubble and spread leaving unpainted portions of cabinet. I had to let it dry (or wipe it off) then re-sand and re-paint. As frustrating as it was, the finished product looks great!
So once everything was dry we re-installed the doors. That’s when we decided the cabinets needed another coat of paint. When we compared the cabinets to the doors, the doors looked kinda streaky and you could still see wood underneath. This would have been nice if we were going for a rustic look, but the cabinets themselves were totally white and didn’t match! So the third coat went on, and then the touch-ups went on (I swear I thought I’d never finish with those stinking cabinets!).
Ok, let me also mention that the small can you see in the first picture lasted me all of one coat of my cabinet doors. Granted, I have tons of cabinets in the RV but with NUVO’s prediction I thought I could make it go a little further. So on a frustrated whim I drove to Sherwin Williams and talked to the sales associate. She showed me their brand of cabinet paint and offered to paint match the sample of NUVO I had brought. I didn’t have the patience to wait for another can of NUVO in the mail so I bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams cabinet paint. This finished up the inside and outside of the first coat of the cabinets. So yes, I ended up buying another gallon. In total I used one quart of the NUVO paint provided in the kit and 2 gallons of Sherwin Williams paint (Should this be a review of Sherwin Williams cabinet paint?! whoops!) But let me mention, I also painted the trim in the RV and a door. If you are going to paint a regular kitchen you can probably get away with less paint than I used.
Now, let’s just summarize all this information I just threw at you!
  • Nuvo paint: Good kit, good instructions, but a little pricey ($69.95 for the kit). Overall, not really necessary once I ended up buying the Sherwin Williams paint.
  • Sanding: Sand it all! or use primer!
  • Paint coats: light coats, paint to your design preference. Be prepared to coat 3 times if you want full coverage.
  • Color: I used coconut espresso, which is an off white and looks great on my cabinets! I didn’t want stark white and this really softens the look of my kitchen/living room.

My opinion: This was a must-do project for me to change the look of our new home. So, it can be done, but it’s a TON of work! It doesn’t wear as well as I hoped. Now, you have to keep in mind that when we open and close our slides the furniture is constantly rubbing against each other. That being said, I have A LOT of nicks in my paint that will have to be touched up, eventually. But really, I love how our cabinets look and I would do it again if I had to (just don’t hand me a paintbrush any time soon please!) So, I’ll leave you with some pictures from our remodel!


DSCN0948 DSCN0952Refrigerator door being removed for painting! DSCN0955 Don’t mind my painting outfit, it was cold that day!

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Finished Product!

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That’s a wrap! Thanks for visiting!

Until next time!

-The Nomad’s!