When I moved into my house, my cabinets were really a ugly dark brown from the 70s, covered in grease, and the handles had turned black.Though it was a lot of work, I took down each door, all the hardware, and then sanded them down by hand. I put a base coat on them, followed by 3 coats of high gloss in a light off-white (called buttermilk by Benjamin Moore). I sanded lightly after each coat of paint. I also cleaned the hardware and discovered that the black handles were really brass. It was a ton of work but my cabinets look fabulous now and only cost me less than $20 and a lot of elbow grease. They aren't as beautiful as new cabinets, but everyone is stunned when they see the transformation. Good luck with your project.