a pretty washstand

Today I have a pretty little washstand to share…

dried lavender washstand #mmsmp-6990

Here’s how it look when we started.

wash stand before

I really love the way this one turned out, flaws and all.  It is so understated.  I used 2 coats of Dried Lavender without bonding agent.  Yes, this is dried lavender believe it or not.  It looks darker than usual most likely because the previous finish was so dark.  I wasn’t sure how the paint would react because of the obviously shiny finish that I was painting over.  The effect was surprising and delightful!  Check out that crackle…

dried lavender washstand #mmsmp-7002

I finished it with furniture wax and a hint of white wax.  The washstand and the ironstone basin & pitcher will be available for sale this weekend at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown. The lemon cypress topiaries are heading to West End Garage.

dried lavender washstand #mmsmp-6991

 

 

how to: milk paint oak cabinets

The cabinets at the cottage are finished! Admittedly the milk paint portion of the project wrapped up a month ago however we haven’t been able to find the right hardware to work with the routed edges of the oak cabinets.  I got tired of waiting for the ‘glamour shot’ and figured it was time to share the ‘in process’ shot.  There are other updates that the room is waiting for such as a new faucet, range hood, etc, etc.  Let’s focus on the paint finish today and how we got here…

Mora kitchen cabinets #mmsmp-6830

from here (photo from real estate listing)…

kitchen before

We’ve taken a step in the right direction as far as lightning up this old cottage kitchen and making it feel a bit more beachy.  The oak cabinets were not original to the house.  My guess is that there were old metal ones in here at one point.  But the oak ones were in decent shape and worthy of an update.

You may recall my post about prepping the cabinets for milk paint.  We thoroughly cleaned the cabinets with a citrus vinegar solution that you can make yourself.  The key is to not use an oily or intense chemical cleanser that the milk paint will resist.

citrus cleanser-5796

The cabinets were primed with Tough Coat, a MMSMP product.  It is a non-yellowing tough coat that provides extra durability against general wear and tear, water damage and food stains as a top coat.  It also works really, really well as a base coat or primer because milk paint adheres to it.  In this case, tough coat also blocked the oak tannins to prevent bleed through.  It has many benefits.

tough coat

After that I mixed Mora with bonding agent for best adhesion.  I decided to apply 3 coats on the thinner side (instead of 2 thick coats) as I did not want to get any crackling or chipping texture on the cabinets.  Thicker milk paint application tends to lend to the chipping aesthetic that we all love.

how to milk paint oak cabinets-5804

Mora is such a pretty color.  Here it looks gray.  In certain lighting it takes on a blue hue and sometimes even a hint of green.  It is perfect for a space like this with a lot of light that changes throughout the day.  We finished the cabinets by applying furniture wax with a mix of white wax in some areas.  We’re considering going over it with tough coat for a more durable finish but it seems the wax is holding up just fine.  I wiped a splatter of sauce off of the surface the other day and it left no marks on the wax finish.  No issue.

Mora kitchen cabinets #mmsmp-6833

Here’s what I learned throughout this process.  As I mentioned, I thoroughly cleaned the cabinet doors and primed them with tough coat prior to applying paint.  Tough coat was the best choice for a “primer” because it aided in blocking the oak tannins from bleeding through.  This is something to be concerned with when painting over oak.  However, tough coat is clear and the orange oak did take 3 coats of milk paint to completely cover.

Mora kitchen cabinets #mmsmp-6832

After working on the cabinet doors from start to finish, I stepped back to reconsider my options for the cabinet bases.  Could I eliminate a step?  When it came to the cabinet bases, I thought I had a better idea so I initially skipped the tough coat primer and used a flat white chalk-based paint as a primer instead.  My theory was that the chalky “primer” would eliminate the need for 3 coats of milk paint since I was priming with white.  I thought it would serve as a base coat primer AND block the orange bleed through in one step.  I was completely wrong.  The orange bled through the flat finish immediately and I had to go over it all with tough coat anyway to lock in the tannins.  It was experimental for sure and created an extra step for me after all!

In summary, here are the steps to follow for milk painting previously finished oak cabinets…

How to Milk Paint Oak Cabinets #mmsmp

To complete this project which consisted of 14 cabinets/drawers, I used less than 2 quarts of milk paint + bonding agent, wax and tough coat.  The product went far.  Essentially we gave these cabinets an entirely new look for under $100.  You can’t beat that!

Mora kitchen cabinets #mmsmp-6830

secretaries day

Aside from being Earth Week, turns out it is Administrative Professionals Week a.k.a. Secretaries Day.  Calling a person your secretary is so passe but you can still refer to your furniture as your secretary without any raised eyebrows.  This, my friends, is a secretary desk.  A beautiful serpentine one at that.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6429

It was a hand-me-down from family friends.  I was so sad that it didn’t fit my own secretary nook where we have a more petite version.  The ample storage and curvy base are something to be envious of regardless of the missing support.  Low and behold it fits perfectly in the entry of my parent’s cottage.  Yes, the cottage.  Remember that fixer upper we’ve been working on?

When you enter the house, you walk directly into a room larger than a foyer but smaller than a living room.  It is actually a porch that was converted into a room.  We’re calling it the parlor as it opens up to a larger family room.  It is the perfect space to store beach towels, kick off your flip-flops, drop your keys and pen a postcard.  All of which can be done with the help of the secretary.  Who says you don’t need a secretary at the beach?

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6444

This little gem was one of the first pieces of furniture we moved in months ago.  It needed to be lightened up for this cottage space.  Pink seemed like a fun and unexpected choice yet MMSMP Arabesque is not overly feminine.  It received 2 coats of Arabesque with bonding agent added. I played around with the waxes and worked in both white and antiquing wax for some depth while also lightly distressed.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6437

The drawers were painted separately from the body and you may notice that they have a slightly peach hue to them.  This is the fun that milk paint can offer.  Slight variation like this is what I love about it.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6434

As for the rest of the cottage, it is slowly but surely coming together with the addition of another bathroom being the major project which is subsequently holding up some of the others.  Not to mention this has been a part-time project for all of us.  However, we finished painting the oak kitchen cabinets but have yet to choose hardware or make a few other updates in the kitchen.  I’ll snap some pictures soon so I can share details about the process of milk painting cabinets.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6442

Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ll be in Doylestown on Sunday demonstrating milk paint to those who are interested!  Join us…

mmsmp april

 

 

 

 

Cape May magazine

The spring edition of Cape May magazine is now available.  Aside from featuring everything we love about this town, the regional magazine also offers a regular decorating column called Interior Motives.  Earlier this season, I was asked to contribute to the current column’s theme of refreshing the bathroom.

Bathrooms?  I can talk bathrooms!

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6339

I met with the editor and we discussed redecorating the bathroom for the upcoming season using new paint, fixtures and accessories.  Naturally I didn’t stray far from the themes of repurposing and styling with vintage.  The cottage bathroom that we completed last year in our home was mentioned in the article (as well as one we’re currently working on using that pretty brass fixture).

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6344

Here’s how that cottage bathroom looks today with the addition of sconce lighting that we recently added over the sink.  For months I was on the hunt for just the right vanity light fixture.  Then, at the flea market, I came across a pair of gooseneck, task lamps.  Thinking outside of the box, it was clear to me that these lights could be the finishing touch that we needed in this bathroom.  Insert light bulb pun here.

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6328

Ryan worked his magic dismantling and reconfiguring these task lights into sconces.  He took off the switches and exterior cord and hardwired them to work on the light switch.  We also sprayed them glossy heat-resistant white.

And voila, a custom vanity light for our bathroom.  I like how the lights have a gallery vibe to them as if they’re illuminating the heirloom mirror like a piece of fine art.  If you’re curious, you can see how we constructed the vanity out of a dresser here.

Bathroom task lights turned sconces-6332

The magazine article also references ways to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in the bathroom. We talked about using tough coat as a protective top coat to preserve wood surfaces around water and humidity such as the mirror.

Check out the magazine next time you’re in Cape May.  You can always purchase online too.

watercolor easter eggs

watercolor Easter eggs with milk paint-6306

Where are all of my milk painters?  I’ve got a simple project to share with you today just in time for Easter.

I started by hard boiling eggs and letting them cool overnight…

watercolor Easter eggs with milk paint-6275

When I’m working on a milk paint project, I almost always use a glass jar with a lid to mix the paint in.  This allows me to store any excess paint for a future project.  I had several jars with just a tiny bit of paint left so I added some water and mixed up the pigment which resulted in a watercolor paint consistency.

Next, I carefully slid the egg into the jar allowing it to soak in the paint mixture for a few minutes.  I splattered paint on some of the eggs with a brush.  Using a plastic spoon, I slid each egg out of the jar and set it to dry thoroughly.

watercolor Easter eggs with milk paint-6280

Prior to painting, I taped off a few of the eggs with floral tape which proved to be too heavy-duty for the delicate shell in some cases.  I like the look of the watercolor eggs without tape best anyway.  The dyed eggs have a very simple, organic look to them using this watercolor method.  Multiple colors could easily layered on each egg if you’re looking for more pizazz in your Easter basket.

Happy Easter!

watercolor Easter eggs with milk paint-6306

the game changer

Vintage fiends like myself always have a list of must-find items tucked away in the back of one’s mind.  Perhaps it is an industrial antique scale, a factory cart coffee table, a 1940’s 2-tier plant stand (not to be specific or anything).

For me, as of late, it was a brass bed.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

Not a cheap, shiny 1980’s brass bed but a high quality solid brass with a warm patina.  A queen size brass bed with serious antique style which would make it vintage, of course, because queen size beds weren’t available until the 1950’s or so.  And the price had to be right.  After only a few months searching, the perfect piece popped up on Craigslist.  The only problem was that it was over 2 hours away.  This was a great deal even factoring in gas and tolls.  Ryan made the trip picking up the head board, foot board and frame for my birthday.  Lucky girl.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

This bed was a game changer for sure.  It works very well with our existing French provincial family heirloom furniture.  That’s not going anywhere.  However, I decided to part with the coastal salvage vibe that we had going on previously.

I found a fantastic brass hued mirror that coordinated very well with the furniture and lamps.  I brought in Mildred, the necklace-wearing-bust, and other vintage jewelry vessels that I’ve collected.  The window seat got outfitted with more pillows because there are never enough.  And we finally did something with one of our wedding pictures turning it into a canvas for above the bed.  The shell lamps stayed as did the duvet with the addition of new ticking shams.

The biggest change of all is the flooring.  Previously this room was outfitted with pink carpet.  This winter our home has received many upgrades including new flooring throughout thanks to my patient husband who has redone almost every square foot.  I floated a flat weave, natural chevron rug over the weathered-look wood floor.

This bedroom now has a sophisticated yet collected vibe featuring vintage finds and family heirlooms.  Each one tells a story.  Of course, it is always entertaining to look at the progress of a space.  The ‘before’ picture is exactly how this room looked when we first saw the house.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.  The next one shows how it was last styled with a coastal salvage spin.  And of course the present look.  You can see that the symmetry remains the same.

What is on your must-find list?