Friday, February 28, 2014

In which I muse about neutrals, texture, and finally painting my own stuff

I traded this:

For this:

My husband thought I was crazy but I loved the lines of this old wardrobe. Even though it was kind of dark, and ugly. And, the people I traded with had turned it into a entertainment center and chopped a hole in the back. I've been using it as storage for my craft stuff for months and months.

I thought about doing a color on it, but decided to do something neutral with it instead; as my decorating tastes change pretty often. I didn't want to commit to a color and wind up changing my mind in six months and have to re paint it.

First, I painted it white, inside and out, with a diy chalk paint I mixed up. I took a page out of Annie Sloan's "book" and painted right over the hardware, since I was okay with the knobs for now.

It was nice, but kind of plain Jane. You know? Sorta... boring.

Then I tried a pale grey "wash" of 50/50 paint and water, and that didn't look good either. In fact, you cold hardly tell it had been "grey washed" at all.

So I got out my trusty antiquing glaze and went for that.

Yep, I make quite a mess when I'm working on a project. And in case you're wondering: I usually do not work on things in the house, but this room is one we're going to be sanding the floors in as soon as the weather gets warm enough for me to have doors and windows open, and dry enough for some of the furniture to live outside for a weekend while we do the floors. SO, I've been working in this room all winter, and despite my caution, I've splattered paint all over it. OH WELL. It's just nasty brown floor paint anyway. 

I used a small paint brush to put glaze into the lines on the front of the cabinet, giving it some definition. Then I used some 150 grit sandpaper to lightly distress it here and there.

(I numbered the drawers just to be cute.)

A lot of people I know think neutral = boring.

I disagree. This piece is neutral, but far from boring (I think). If you're going to do a lot of neutral, like I tend to do (ALL the walls in my house are painted the same cream color, ALL my floors are going to be the same stain... etc.), at least give your neutrals character.

I have seen some photos on Pinterest and in magazines of "shabby chic" or "cottage" interiors where ALL the furniture is painted white, or slipcovered in white, the walls and ceilings are white, it's just white, white, white everywhere. While it's not disgusting or anything, it's just bland.

So in my 1920s house, I have chosen a warm neutral palate for my permanent furnishings, and I accessorize with rugs, pillows, some curtains (I am a professed hater of window treatments of ANY KIND beyond your basic lace panel, maybe), painted accent pieces, and of course, my vintage goodies I always collect.

Not ALL my furniture is painted. I have one or two pieces per room that are painted. I do appreciate lovely antique wood, as well, and have several pieces that I won't ever paint.

But back to my "thing" with neutrals: neutral doesn't have to mean boring and plain. It's kind of hard to tell with this piece, but in addition to it's warmed up color (kind of like tea dyed lace), the glaze has given it texture. When I painted it with the chalk paint, I didn't sand it smooth as you usually do with the chalk paint. I left the brush strokes as they were. Then I added the glaze on top, and used a rag to work it into a "long strokes" finish as you can see (kind of).
So it has texture, and character. All the things good ol' age will give a piece. Except I hurried this one along.

Anyhoo... I am trying to get my things painted; this was one, and I have one more small hutch to do and then I think I am done with all my own things. For now. :)

I did a bookshelf I haven't shown here yet; I'll try to do that this next week.

Happy painting, y'all!

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