Monday, June 4

Switch Hitter

Oh yeah, that was a sports reference! Just making my husband proud. :) So what are we switching up around here? If you recall my recent yard sale post, we got a spiffy new fridge! Which Baby B has thoroughly tested, of course. There were two things weren't crazy about, though (but for a $200 fridge you deal with it or, in this case, modify it!). The first thing was that, like our old fridge, the door is hinged on the right side which means it opens towards the living room instead of toward the kitchen workspace. Not a huge deal, we lived with our other fridge like that for a year and a half now, but it would definitely be more convenient if it opened the other way!

The other thing that bothered us a little was the trim. All the trim was gray, which we didn't mind in general, but the rest of our appliances have black trim and since all these guys are pretty new and here for the long haul, we wanted them to be as matchy as possible.

So we got to work to see if we could  make this fridge our own! We started by removing the top hinge plate thingy (warning - none of these are technical terms. I'm just going to name them. Because I'm SO awesome at naming) which we will call Barbie. We just popped off the plastic cover and removed the screws holding the plate Barbie  in place.

 Then the freezer door slid up and off of the middle hinge plate. A.k.a. Ken. You can see below how Ken is attached to the fridge. In hind sight, your next step should probably be to go ahead and remove this bracket. We did things in a different order and then realized it would probably be easier this way. :)

 Next we removed the bottom hinge plate (a.k.a. Stacey). This is definitely a two person job. One to hold the door and one to remove the brackets. And, in our case, one to sit on the fridge shelf and watch.

Next was just a little work to prepare for the new placement of the doors. There were already holes (most of them had plugs) everywhere we would need them, so it was mostly a matter of moving the plugs.

The top plugs before we moved them to the right side:

 Plug in the fridge door. We switched it to the right side (I'm glad we did this before painting so we didn't have to worry about scuffing anything up later):

 These bolts were where the middle hinge plate goes, so we used them to fill those holes on the other side:

Then we installed the middle hinge Ken in his new home:

While the doors were off we decided to go ahead and haul them outside and get them painted. It was a much better choice than having to take them off again later or having to spray paint inside! I went to Menards to try to find the best paint for the job and... well... it was pretty obvious. Turns out they have spray paint specifically for painting appliances! (I asked the paint counter attendant to make sure this was a good choice even though our handles are plastic and he said yes) It actually recommends NOT using any kind of primer, so this $5 can is all I came home with!

Of course, we wanted to avoid getting any paint on that beautiful stainless steel, so we took some precautions. We started by using painters tape to precisely trim the edges of the handles. Let me tell you, this is the most important part! You have to be SUPER careful not to get the paint onto the handles at all. We had one side where our tape went onto the handle the teeniest bit and when we pulled it off it ripped some of the paint off and left a ragged edge. But more on that later. :)

 Then to protect the rest of the door we covered the entire thing with magazine pages. We taped between all the pages too because we didn't want ANY paint blowing between them. It took a while to get all those cracks taped. Too bad I didn't have bigger sheets of paper to use or something. Oh. Duh. I have tons of wrapping paper in the basement....

 .... So we used that to cover the back of the door and both sides of the freezer door. Much faster.

 Then we hauled them outside to paint! We used some scrap 2x4's under the middle of the door to keep it off the ground and used some cardboard to protect the grass. I would do a thin, even coat on the back side, flip it over and do the same on the front, then let it set a few minutes before we did it again. We ended up doing 3 coats and it turned out awesome! It may have been okay after two, but we wanted to be safe. (Note: wear shoes when you do this. This stuff is super sticky and will not wash off your feet for days, and yet will still manage to leave footprints. It's a mystery of science.) This picture was taken just before it started to rain. Our timing was not awesome.

After both doors were done, we let them set in the garage a full 24 hours. That gave them plenty of time to cure so they would be less likely to get any scuffs or scrapes when we installed them. This also meant Baby B had a full day to enjoy get stuck in a door-less fridge.

"Wait, I don't think I can get down from here!"

 "And I can't stand up!"

"Get me out of here!!!"
We repeated this several times throughout the day.

Once the paint cured we installed the doors by reattaching Barbie & Stacey on their new side. Just pay attention to how things come off, and put them on the same way! The doors work great on their new side, and it makes so much more sense for our kitchen layout! As for the paint, this is where we had trouble with the tape. Can you tell the top edge is all jagged?

Apart from the one hiccup, the rest of it turned out amazing! It seriously looks like a genuine appliance finish. It looks like it came this way!

But back to that jagged edge. When I bought the spray paint, I noticed they had small touch up kits of the same stuff!

I re-taped that edge and gave it a couple coats with the little brush. Good as new!

So far both changes have been great! And after a few weeks the paint on the handles is still pristine and we are very optimistic that it will last for a long time! 

I promise I will get you full pictures of the fridge in place, but at the moment our old fridge is still in the middle of the kitchen and I can't get a good picture. :) So instead I leave you these pictures of Baby B enjoying one of his favorite snacks - guacamole.

Is it crazy to paint appliances? What have you been working on in the kitchen?


  1. Thanks for this little article. I have been thinking of doing the same thing and had no clue how, just knew it could be done. Do you think it is possible for one person to do it? I have only me. Thanks.

    1. You probably could. Just make sure you start with the bottom hinge when you put the doors back on. Our biggest mistake was starting with the middle hinge so Husband had to hold the door up while I re-attached the bottom hinge. :)