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

 

 

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

winter blues

I’ve got the winter blues, my friends.  Not so much in spirit.  I’m actually really enjoying this stretch of dark, dreary winter this year surprising even myself.  In year’s past, I would typically be very disappointed when it came time to put away the Christmas decorations and accept the stillness of January.  This year is different though.  I’ve found solitude knowing this period is brief which has led to productivity and organization on the project front.  You’re in for a real treat around here as I share all of the details of each project as they unfold!

french enamel table-5551

As for the blues, that’s all in the paint colors I’ve been gravitating toward.  I’m in the midst of completing a large cedar closet in moody artissimo – a deep midnight blue. Today though, I’m sharing a French enamel end table – more of a cheerful beachy blue.

french enamel table-5559

This table is solid oak and isn’t too old.  It feels very 90’s which reminds me that the 1990’s can technically be classified as vintage already!  Shocking to think that my high school era is basically vintage.  As if!

90s end table before

The decidedly 90’s table has great lines, subtle curves and an inlaid oak grain on the top.

french enamel table-5565

I painted the 1st coat with lucketts green with bonding agent because the table was very shiny to start.  The 2nd coat was painted French enamel without bonding agent.

french enamel table-5568

I often get asked whether you need to use bonding agent in both coats or not.  Here is the correct answer:  For best adhesion, it is recommended that you use bonding agent in all coats.  With that said, I like to walk on the wild side and experiment a bit therefore chose not to use bonding agent in the 2nd coat.  Also, I’m not a perfectionist.  The 2nd coat lifted the paint in some areas creating a distressed, chipping look.

french enamel table-5556

I decided to accent the chipping grain by using white wax liberally.  First I sanded it smooth using a fine grit sandpaper. I blended the white wax with furniture wax and buffed.

french enamel table-5561

This table is the perfect addition for someone’s beach cottage!  Now available at The West End Garage.

french enamel table-5552

shuffling furniture

The first furniture makeover of the year is here!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel toned wingback

I love how this little vignette came together.  Alone the gray chest of drawers is neutral.  It is painted with 2 coats of MMSMP trophy with bonding agent.  It is a warm gray lightened and sealed with white wax.  It is also a little lighter because the base of this chest was ivory when it started.

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet lamp

This is a newer chest of drawers that was sporting a factory finish.  It wasn’t bad, just uninspiring and of course I wanted to add milk paint.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

I lightly distressed the edges of the drawers to reveal the ivory underneath.

trophy mmsmp chest

It is just so fun with the addition of the garnet chair, lamp and other jewel tones proving the gray really is the go-to neutral right now.

trophy mmsmp chest + marsala wingback chair

Funny story about that wingback chair…we have an ongoing joke in my family about the furniture shuffle that occurs.  We actually have dubbed it the Marston Shuffle.  It’s not quite a hand-me-down or even a prized family heirloom but more of a shuffle of furniture from home to home.  This chair has been shuffled 3 or 4 times now.

We started noticing this trend when we were buying our first and second homes respectively.  One family would be moving or upgrading furniture and no longer need a chair/table/dresser, etc. while another was trying to outfit a particular space where chair/table/dresser, etc. would work.  And the Marston Shuffle was born!

A piece can come back to the original owner if need-be, although I am pretty sure that hasn’t ever occurred.  Not yet anyway.  Bottom line, if it is sturdy and well-made, then there’s always someone there to scoop up a cast-off piece of furniture when one sibling is no longer interested.  I suppose that is actually the definition of a hand-me-down though, isn’t it?  Well, we prefer to shuffle furniture.

We all have some hoarding tendencies around here I guess.  That lamp by the way was originally mine.  Now it’s my mom’s.  Exhibit B.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

As for the fete of the chair, it is likely to end up with a light slip cover and maybe even some painted legs but I do love how the vintage, velvet garnet photographed here.

Do I dare say that it is close to Marsala, the color of the year?

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet wingback

At any rate, the trophy chest of drawers is now for sale at The West End Garage which is open Friday-Sunday in January.  The chair though, that will never leave the shuffle!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones-5580

Do you shuffle furniture around your family?