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.

Single dresser: Rustic, great physique. Looking for: Long term relationship

I finished my first piece of Spring, guys! Thank the Good Lord for some beautiful, hopeful days last week which helped pull me from my dark, winter despair. (Did anyone else just think of the Pit of Despair and that weird witch from the Princess Bride? I did. Must remember to watch that again soon). Anyways, it was awesome to work outside again. It's been too long.

And I wasn't the only one making use of our warm sunny days:

I mean, I'm a little bias, but this girl has stolen my heart.

Sharing work space with my 4 year old, (well, one of them).

Now to present our gorgeous new eligible dresser!

I'm gonna be honest with you guys. I definitely bought this dresser because of the hardware. 100%.

This is typically how I distress furniture pieces - follow the edges and corners with a medium grit sanding sponge and go back and forth until I like what I see. It looks naturally worn which adds warmth and charm.

47.5"L x 30"H x 17.75"D

This beauty is ready to find it's true love and a long term relationship. If you're smitten, (and able to pick-up in Northern Virginia), please email me at chelsea@stylemutthome.com.

Thanks for stopping by!


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

WHITEWASHED DRESSER with 'unfinished' top

Howdy! Despite working on several projects that I'm looking forward to giving as gifts this holiday season, the garage has been filling up quite a bit since the November sale! It's not unusual to get a flood of custom orders following a sale, but I've never done a sale so close to Christmas before. While many of the recently dropped off pieces will be waiting until after the holidays, (thanks to my dear clients who insist they are not in a hurry to have them back), I'd better start showing you some of the newly finished pieces before they come and go without a proper adieu!

I thought I would start with this prize for today. The special thing about this piece isn't so much that it's very unique looking, but it's the vision that its sweet owner had. I've never had a request for an unfinished top but it is something I have been dying to try for quite a while! The dresser has a matching mirror which she wanted to be painted to match the body of the piece. When discussing her ideas, the words 'whitewashed', 'distressed', and 'rustic' all came up. She wasn't exactly sure on the colors she wanted, but once I popped open a can of Annie Sloan's French Linen, she was sold. This warm, khaki gray is perfect for a weathered driftwood look. With the paint color settled, I got to work :)

1. The first step was sanding down the top surface of this piece to within an inch of it's life. It had some crazy deep scratches and divots all over the place which needed to be smoothed over. Once the sanding was done... 

2. I got to painting. I painted on a nice thick coat of a creamy white. Once that dried...

3. I dry brushed the second color. This is one of my most frequently used techniques for a worn, distressed look, especially when layering two colors. Dip your brush in just enough to get the tip of the bristles wet with paint:

Then brush it on in fast, short, even strokes so not to apply the paint too thick in one spot:

4. Then sand it down using medium and rough grit sanding sponges. I use the rougher sanding sponges for corners and edges to remove more paint where there would naturally be more wear and tear. The medium sanding sponges I use over every square inch. This doesn't remove enough paint to take you down to the wood, or even the base color, but rather smooths your brush strokes out for an even look.

5. Seal it up using a lightly dampened sponge and clear wax. This will give you a very thin layer and you can reapply as necessary. I have definitely learned it is much easier to reapply wax than it is to remove! Better to start with thin....

For an 'unfinished' surface:

First you need to make sure you have the proper wood stain. If you know what kind of wood you have, that is ideal, but if you don't you can take a drawer from your piece, (or something else portable), to a hardware store and ask an expert if they can match the stain. Once you have sanded down your surface, clean it well. 

At this point it is preferable to bring it inside so that it's room temperature. Apply the stain with a clean, quality paint brush, in long even strokes until the entire piece is covered. Follow the reapplication directions. Some instructions have you wait several hours between coats. I let the piece set for 24hrs before applying the protective sealer. I used a high gloss polyurethane sealer for this piece and used two coats. I think the glossy surface gives the entire piece a rich, vibrant appeal.

Questions or comments? Feel free to comment below or email me at chelseasgarage@gmail.com!

Thanks for reading!!


This post was originally featured on Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt!