prepping cabinets for milk paint

It’s happening.  We’re milk painting builder grade oak kitchen cabinets, my friends.  It was only a matter of time! Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working with over at the cottage.  Don’t worry, that ancient stove is long gone.  In fact, the cabinet to the left is gone too as we made way for a dishwasher. kitchen cabinets before We removed the cabinet fronts and got to work prepping them for milk paint.  The doors have a beautiful, simple shape that will benefit immensely with a good cleaning, new paint and hardware. IMG_5799 Cooking grease, grime and residue all needed to be thoroughly removed.  I prefer to do this with a natural cleanser as to not introduce any harsh chemicals to the surface of the wood which milk paint may resist. I used a scouring pad to lift any grime while also lightly roughing up the current finish.  Then sprayed and wiped the surfaces.prepping cabinets for milk paint .. Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleanser.  But who can stand the smell of vinegar for very long?  Long enough to scrub 14 cabinets, 3 drawers and a lazy susan anyway.  There is a very easy fix for that…oranges! citrus cleanser-5807 About a year ago my friends introduced me to the simple concept of making citrus vinegar cleanser and I’ve never looked back.  I use it all over the house.  The oils in citrus peels also have natural cleaning abilities. DIY Citrus Cleanser Simply fill a glass jar with your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and cover completely with white vinegar.  Seal the jar and allow the peels to soak for a minimum of a month.  You can shake it up from time to time.  The longer the peels soak, the stronger the citrus scent will be.  Figure out the ratio that you like best.  I let this most recent batch soak for about 3 months and it smells heavenly however the yield in cleaning solution was lower as the peels really soaked up the vinegar. citrus cleanser-5790 When you’re ready, simply funnel or strain the cleanser into a spray bottle and start cleaning.  The remaining vinegar soaked peels can be composted.  Smile because you just saved a ton of money! citrus cleanser-5794 Here’s a sneak peek of where the cabinet fronts are with one coat of MMSMP Mora and bonding agent…  To be continued. citrus cleanser-5801

from snow to sun

Ryan and I recently went away to beautiful Vermont.  I really, really love New England and our increasing trips north.  That part of the country boasts so many beautiful old homes brimming with character and antiques.  No wonder I feel right at home there.

Vermont snow

We stayed in a circa 1900 home that encompassed the style of the region so well.  It was at the end of a snow-covered mountain road within walking distance to town.  Every detail was perfect from the stacks of old books to the antique church pew and area rug.  I had serious rug envy!  I’m also coveting French doors.Vermont cottage

While Ryan skied in the below freezing temperatures, I explored back roads, dug through little shops and read. I had very limited access to the online world.  Sorry friends but it was great to disconnect for this vacation.

However, it is always nice to get back home to our own routine.  So long for now, Vermont!

Let’s talk New Jersey for a minute.  Cape May specifically.  A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was milk painting a cedar closet a rich navy – Artissimo.  Well, here it is!

Artissimo closet-5764

This started off as a generic old thrift store cedar closet.  They’re a dime a dozen.  I particularly liked the size of this one as I had a space for it in the cottage we’re working on.

closet before

The closet required very little prep work as the wood was mostly raw.  I used two coats of Artissimo without bonding agent.  I love the richness and depth in this color.  I probably could have gotten away with just one coat since this wood soaked up the paint so nicely.  I anticipated some chipping milk paint where there was a bit of varnish left but only one area across the front chipped.  I couldn’t have planned the placement better myself. The entire piece was finished with furniture wax.

Artissimo closet-5768

I took this opportunity to hand paint the “on the way to Cape May” lyrics across the flat closet front which is always a hit in these parts.  We finished off the front with a new glass knob.

Artissimo closet-5774

I left the inside unpainted and I swear it is not that orange in real life!  We get beautiful natural light in this room which is mostly a blessing but in this case, a curse.  This closet will function perfectly for guests to use.  I can’t wait to pull the rest of the room together.  The room will have a bit of a mid-century vibe.  You’ll die when I post pictures of the beautiful vintage dresser…

Artissimo closet-5772

 

 

new inventory

As much as we’re loving winter and the quiet simplicity that it brings, we’re already considering spring and perhaps a flock of chickens too.  Paper mache or the real thing. We’re undecided.  What do you think?  The paper versions are pretty darn adorable and require very little work.

paper chicken

We’re obviously about 2+ months away from digging in the garden soil but it’s not too soon to start preparing,right?  How handsome are these forged iron tools?

forged iron tools

If we can’t have garden flowers, we might as well have galvanized flowers!  galvanized flowers

There are galvanized roses for your sweetheart too.  Valentine’s Day is just about 2 weeks away.  Check out these pretty vintage-style cards…

valentine's day cards

We’ve put together a new window display featuring an antique oak bed, vintage chenille popcorn blanket, garden chandelier…  valentine's day window

and a hand painted B&B sign.

valentine's day window

Valentine’s Day falls over a long weekend this year.  Come visit us in Cape May!  Everything pictured in this post (and more!) is being added to our inventory at The West End Garage.valentine's day window

an empire table

We had a great group turnout for the milk paint demonstration on Sunday. They left me inspired and ready to tackle some of my own projects!  As a result, I painted the day away yesterday using the new European colors.  Everything is “in progress” so today I’m sharing a December project that I’ve yet to post.

This table was nearly a goner.  The veneer on the base was chipped and needed some repair albeit not perfect.  We needed new molding around the column to secure it too.  It just needed TLC to inject some life into it again.

lucketts green empire table-5608

Empire style furniture dates back to the 1800’s.  Often pieces are identified by that round, circular-like foot.  I have seen dressers like this but this was the first table so I snatched it up.  Those curved feet were what attracted me to it in the first place.

lucketts green empire table-5612

The wood was very worn and raw – a perfect match for milk paint without any bonding agent.  I applied 2 coats of Lucketts Green followed by furniture wax with a little bit of antiquing wax to add depth to the color.  This table has so many possibilities for its next life.  A dining spot in a small kitchen.  An entry table in a large foyer.  You name it.  It is for sale at The West End Garage.

lucketts green empire table-5613

And these arrows.  I can’t get enough of them.  The colors are so bright and cheerful.  I’ll tell you, I become a real hoarder this time of year.  Constantly editing and re-editing vignettes at home.  It might be time to thin out this collection though.

lucketts green empire table-5616

european colors & a demo

They’re here!  The much-anticipated European colors will hit shelves this weekend at both shops, Serendipity & The West End Garage.  I can’t wait for you to get your hands on these beautiful colors.  I mixed up a few of them yesterday and couldn’t love them more.  Here’s some feedback thus far… arabesque-collage Arabesque is a soft, ballet pink.  I have a bulky beat up secretary desk that I “earmarked” for this color.  Yesterday I applied the first coat and can’t wait to work on this piece further.  I am convinced this color doesn’t have to be girly with the addition of some antiquing wax.  I’ll be sure to share the results here. Mora-Collage Mora is very possibly my new favorite!  The color is questionable.  Is it silver gray?  Is it blue green?  Even a neutral?  This one is a chameleon and changes with the light and surroundings.  I painted a sample to consider for kitchen cabinets that I’m getting ready to work on.  I think it leaves just the right pop without being in your face nor is it too quiet. marzipan-Collage I quickly mixed up Marzipan which true to its name is a creamy neutral.  For me, this goes in the Ironstone/Linen category.  Ironstone is by far our most popular seller but perhaps one can switch things up and try using Marzipan which is off white with a hint of yellow but not as yellow as Linen. I haven’t had a chance to experiment with the other 3 colors just yet but here they are, full of beautiful potential… bergere-collage layla's mint  Schloss-Collage Our next free milk paint demonstration is on Sunday at Serendipity in Doylestown at 1 pm.  Please join us, even if you’ve come to a demo before.  We’ll have the new European colors in stock and I’ll be mixing up samples for you to see! If you can’t make it on Sunday but would like to snag a new color, we are currently taking pre-sales online here. Jan demo

cottage chic

My parents recently bought a quaint cottage in our bay side neighborhood.  They’re thrilled to finally own a vacation home which has been their lifelong dream.  They plan to spend as much time here as possible and more than likely retire here one day.  Bonus, it’s just a few blocks away from us (and has a huge garage!).  Never did we imagine that we’d all end up as neighbors just blocks from the water.  Actually I guess we did imagine just that but never thought it would happen so soon!

vintage cottage treasures-5641

The three bedroom cottage needs some TLC to bring out its fullest potential. Right now it is basically just a blank canvas, inside and out.  Over the holiday break we made decorating plans for each room beginning with the living areas.  And of course, my mom and I cut to the fun stuff and bought a few accessories although we’re obviously nowhere near styling just yet.

vintage cottage treasures-5643

I’m very excited about the feature wall my dad and I are collaborating on in the family room.  This wall had a terrible texture and not in a faux finish way but more of a botched up drywall tape way.  There might even be some wallpaper under there too.  Who knows.  The home is 50-60 years old.

cottage plank wall before 5548

We decided to go cottage chic and create a horizontal plank wall using packaged white wood tongue & groove shiplap from Lowe’s.  After the wood was acclimated to the home’s environment, it was time for installation.  There is not a level surface in this vintage cottage so leveling the first panel was tough.

cottage plank wall-5549

Subsequently each board went on smoothly using liquid nails to attach it to the wall and brad nails to secure it.  Now that the entire wood wall is installed, it’s time for paint!

driftwood look milk paint wood plank wall during-5654

It is tempting to paint the plank wall bright white and call it a day but you probably guessed that I’d have another idea.  This is raw shiplap wood paneling.  Raw wood is the best kind of wood for milk paint.  It will absorb into the wood like a stain.  Currently we are experimenting with different finishes and techniques to create a look similar to driftwood. Here are a few of the samples.

driftwood look milk paint wood plank samples

I think I am leaning toward ‘linen over curio’.

linen over curio milk paint for a driftwood look

‘Linen over typewriter’ isn’t bad either but more gray than tan.

driftwood look milk paint linen over typewriter I’ll have to check in with my clients and see what they think.  Which is your favorite combination for a beachy, driftwood look without going too dark?