I am here to finally answer that question and I sincerely hope you sweet peeps check back to get your answer. But first a reminder of the before:
and the after:
I'll be perfectly honest...I started out sanding down the cabinets before I primed them, but I stopped halfway through and just primed them without sanding.
I will say, that if the cabinets you are thinking about painting still have a heavy topcoat I would most definatly sand them a bit so your primer sticks. My philosophy is, if you are going to put the work into painting them, wouldn't you like to make sure you prep everything properly so it will last?
Now, I know I didn't follow my own advice, at least not for the last half of my cabinets, but in my defense I had just given birth to my fifth baby and I was running on fumes. If I could do it again, I would most definately sand before priming...even just a little sanding to roughen up the wood a bit. I don't think a super, heavy duty, sanding is necessary...just enought to give the primer something to cling to.
I hope that helps...oh, and if you care to know, I used a medium grit sanding block to do the trick. If you have a little mouse sander I would recommend that. It would cut your sanding time down immensely. I just recently purchased one for around $40. It might be a worthy investment as you'll save yourself money in the long run by not acquiring a sever case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Oh, and I opted for rolling the paint on as opposed to brushing. I feel it's a little quicker and if you invest in rollers made especially for doors and trim you will get a nice, even coverage. I know I mentioned it in my initial post, but I'll say it again. Use.good.paint. I love the paint from Sherwin Williams. It's expensive...$50 a gallon, but I finished my whole kitchen with just one gallon. I would also recommend Sherwin Williams brand Adhesion Primer too. That stuff is amazing.
The second question/comment was regarding the backsplash.
The hubby and I duked it out for a long time before we finally settled on something. The hubs tends to be a little more comtemporary and modern as far as design goes. I, however, am more traditional.
How did we come to an agreement, you may be asking? Well, we ended up using traditional materials...in this case travertine, but with a modern styling...subway tiles for under the cabinets and mosaic tiles (travertine and glass) for behind the cooktop and hood. It was a happy compromise and we are both very pleased with the result. I think we ended up spending around $500 total for the entire backsplash. Not too shabby.
I hope these pointers help...I can't wait to hear how it goes. I'd love to see your before and after pics.