Distressed white cabinet, ready for the guest room

Happy Friday, one and all! It has been a wild week complete with paint rolling, brushing, spraying, staining and jig-sawing. I'm pumped to show you the fruit of all that labor, but first, here is the first piece ready for my parents' guest room makeover!

Cate and I had been on the look out for a slim piece, (under 18" deep), that had plenty of storage and simple, clean lines. I snapped a picture of this cabinet, (measuring only 16.25"D), last week at our local Goodwill, sent it to Cate, and bought it after getting her thumbs-up.

Sadly, one of the handles was broken, but I had exactly three of these cool rectangular pulls leftover from another piece, begging to be used. I love their slightly masculine contrast with the softness of this cabinet.

I used Pure White by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to refinish this beauty. I can't believe I've never used it before - I'm in love! I've used plenty of Old White, (a warmer, creamy white), but Pure White is really kind of dreamy; like a cloud or fresh fallen snow. 

One thing about painting over old, real wood pieces - be prepared for bleed through. What is bleed through? Bleed through is a when you get dark, discolored spots coming through your finish after painting. It's ugly, can be frightening, ("did I just ruin great-grandma Violet's beloved china cabinet??"), and can rear it's nasty self unexpectedly. This isn't the first time I've talked about bleed through before, but just to reiterate, it's annoying! But fear not. There is an answer, (well, there are probably several, but this is my go-to):

Please meet my handy pal, Zinsser Clear Shellac, (found at most hardware stores)

Fortunately, I anticipated this piece being a 'bloody mess', and gave it 2 coats of shellac before beginning to paint. I still had lots of bleed through! No problem. This stuff is clear and dries super fast, so I just sprayed spots as I saw them popping through, let it dry, and painted over.

Now, this Pure White piece is 'blood-free' and ready for the my parents' guest room!

As you can see from some of the up close shots, I distressed this piece gently, just following the edges and corners. Always start there if you plan to distress a piece! It's the most natural looking. Then, if you want to rough it up some more, you can move inward to some unexpected areas, like the top surface, or down the sides. Distressing is my favorite part of refinishing a piece - it brings out the beautiful lines and curves and gives even the plainest of pieces a bit of depth and character. And if you're refinishing a true antique, distressing is a lovely way to maintain the character and age of the piece.

Next week I'm excited to share the spontaneous room makeover that happened here at our house! In the mean time, have a great weekend!


This post was originally published by Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.