Refacing – The Amazing Wonder of Updating Cabinetry


By Sarah Eisenbeisz, marketing director for the Kitchen Tune-Up Franchise System

My husband and I recently wrapped up a bathroom remodel.  We purchased our 1960’s home in 2011 and have completed a lot of sweat equity projects over the last 6 years. The main floor bath was original to the house and in major need of an update.  I had HATED the golden oak vanity and oak spindles since the day we moved in!  I’m a fan of mid-century modern, but this space was super ugly and no amount of ideas from my HGTV addiction were going to make it prettier.  In addition to being old and ugly, the tiles around the tub were cracking and coming loose. It needed and update and we couldn’t put it off any longer. 

I’ve worked with Brad Fiechtner since he purchased Kitchen Tune-Up Aberdeen, SD in 2010.  I get to see his project photos each month and know he does awesome work, and I’ve recommended him to lots of people in Aberdeen over the years. I know his team does awesome work, and it was fun to tell him I was ready to hire him at my house.  When he asked me what was most important to us in our main bathroom, I prioritized by wanting shaker doors on the vanity, a new countertop, and a detachable shower head so I can spray off the kids, toys, and our dog when needed.  (Luckily all 3 are washable!)  Also, I really wanted all the fixtures to match!  We currently had a ceiling light with gold trim, a brushed nickel light fixture above the vanity from the 90’s, a chrome faucet and towel bars. . . yuck. 

Brad gave us some ideas, we put a deposit down and got it scheduled.  It was really fun to be a Kitchen Tune-Up customer!  Brad did a few change orders (okay several change orders) when I changed my mind on the lighting, and he added on a Tune-Up of the bathroom door and existing door trim.  I also asked nicely if they could squeeze in Tuning-Up our front exterior door, too.  (They were already going to be on the job site, and our home has a LOT of oak!)  I had a long wish list, but Brad and his team were super accommodating.

My first reaction when I saw the new bathroom was, “It’s SO pretty!”  I knew it would turn out great.  I was like a little kid bouncing up and down when I saw the refaced vanity, the oil-rubbed bronze hardware that matched the faucet that matched the shower head that matched the pendant lights!  It all MATCHES!

My friends and family were anxious to see it, and I was the most surprised by their reaction to the vanity.  I told everyone that in addition to a new tub surround, new countertops, new flooring, and more, we were keeping the vanity but having it REFACED.  Here’s a few examples of how the conversations went down while I showed off our new bathroom:

Friend 1 – “Wow – I love the new vanity.  Do you think Kitchen Tune-Up could paint mine like that?”
Me:  “It’s not painted . . . it’s the same vanity, but refaced with new doors & drawers.”
Friend 1 – Oh, wow! But you can’t even tell that the sides are painted.
Me:  (*Sighing* and starting a quick explanation of what refacing is.  Nothing was painted, people!)

Friend 2 – “It looks great!  So I’m curious how they skimmed the vanity to make it look new.”
Me: (Thinking to myself – skim?  It’s not 2% or skim milk -it’s refaced!)  Side note – refacing IS like a new “skin” on the outside.  A new veneer (or skin) is applied to match the new doors style & color you pick. (I picked durable RTF in a shaker style, antique white color.)  Also . . . I only know this because I work for a kitchen remodeling company!  Our team and our franchisees LOVE cabinets and especially seeing old cabinets refaced!)

Family Member 1 – “Wow, how did they put the new vanity around the laundry chute?  You got to keep the chute, right?”
Me: - “It’s the same vanity, it was refaced with new doors & drawers. Yes – we kept the chute.”
(Opening the cabinet to prove the laundry chute is still there.  Don’t you just LOVE laundry chutes?  Whoever invented them is super cool.) 

And so the conversations continued.  I get to market refacing every day, so it was really fun to see the amazement of my friends and family at Kitchen Tune-Up’s work.  They really are the same cabinets, just refaced!  Check out more before & after photos of my bathroom and the many other projects completed by Brad and his team on his website.

If you’re not familiar with refacing, it’s quick and more affordable than replacing in your cabinets.  Even our 1960’s cabinets were a great candidate!  If your cabinet boxes are in good shape, ask your local Kitchen Tune-Up franchise if they can be refaced.  You get to choose a new style, color, and finish for your cabinets and Kitchen Tune-Up has the biggest selection available anywhere. When refacing any area of your home,  you can add cabinets or modify some to accommodate a new layout – we call it Refacing Plus.  Our bathroom needed a complete overhaul so it took a few weeks as Brad coordinated new drywall, tape & texture, and more.  Most kitchen or bath vanity refacings can be completed in only a few days.  You can even keep your existing floors & countertops if you like them. 

When choosing new doors & drawer fronts for refacing, there are a lot of options.  We have a young family and kids can be tough on cabinetry.  We choose rigid thermofoil (RTF) instead of wood. This is the first RTF I’ve ever had, and I can’t WAIT to reface our kitchen in RTF as well.  It’s more durable then wood and doesn’t need maintenance.  I simply wipe it off with a damp cloth.  Even bright pink Dora the Explorer toothpaste and dripped mouthwash wipes off easilly, without worries about damaging the finish on the cabinets.  Read more about refacing here.  Refacing really is an awesome option when updating your home!

Refacing - RTF shaker, antique white

Refacing - RTF, Shaker, Antique White

Fiechtner Bath Remodel

Fiechtner Bath Remodel Aberdeen SD

Cabinet Refacing, Onyx Countertop, Flooring, Tub & Shower Surround, Complete Bathroom Remodel – Kitchen Tune-Up Aberdeen, SD

Clock – Lost and Found Occasionals

Pendant Lights – Wayfair.com