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Hint: Use the slider above to compare before & after!
Sometimes, things you'd given up on just need a fresh start.
I inherited this cabinet from my Nana about a year ago. Don't panic, she's still alive and kicking ass today. She just downsized her home and gave me this old cabinet as part of her purge. It lived in a spare bedroom and, for reasons known and understood only by those raised in the Depression Era – it was chock full of candles. I declined to take those, but reluctantly brought this … beauty(?) home. It sat in my entryway for about a year, full of various craft supplies (duh). I kept wanting to do “something” with it, but inspiration just never struck, and I'd recently accepted that I was likely going to toss a photo on my local yard sale site and let it go. Then I joined the Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest for January, sponsored by General Finishes Paint (if you're a blogger who'd like to join the challenges, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org). They've just put out a new line of chalk paint, and it is beautiful.
If you're unaware, “sponsored” in this context simply means I got to take a look at General Finishes Chalk Style paint colors (and WOW do they have some gorgeous colors!) and choose my favorite, which they sent me free of charge in order to do this project. When I saw the deep, rich Midnight Blue – I knew I had my inspiration! January's theme is A Fresh Start. If any piece of furniture in my home was crying out for a new lease on life, it was THIS one!
Here's the inside – two simple shelves.
Getting Started With General Finishes Chalky Style Paint
I will admit that, despite the enormous popularity of the brand amongst us furniture painting weirdos – I had never used General Finishes products prior to this challenge. I usually make my own chalk paint – because it's so easy – however I frequently have issues with it seizing up and being gritty. Serves the purpose, saves a few pennies, and I thought I was good. Um. I was super wrong. I'm also super getting ahead of myself.
I started with a quick coat of my favorite tougher-than-my-last-attempt-at-beef-jerky primer. One of the great things about most chalk paints is that you don't have to do much, if any, prep work. Because this particular piece was so old, and had been filled with waxy candles and goodness knows what, I opted for better safe than sorry. The last thing I wanted was to have the performance of my chalk paint affected by the condition of the surface, you know? Priming gave the paint a fair chance to really shine.
This part was not the most fun thing I'd ever done, however I've been down this road before, so I was mentally prepared.
The devil is in the details.
After I primed, I realized I hadn't pulled all the hardware off of the cabinets. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw these handles float by in your feed. Of course they had to be gold – did you see that deep rich blue paint? Gold is the only acceptable answer! I used gilding on these, however you could achieve this effect with General Finishes Pearl Effects as well. I used the gilding simply because I already had it on hand. I painted the screw heads and hinges, too. I KNOW. I'm hardcore.
I really do love detail painting. Well, it's more of a love/hate. This was the scene for two solid days at my house: blue paint liberally spotted with white. Go in with blue to tidy up, splash blue paint all over the white. There's surely an easier way to do this – or maybe not – either way, I get a lot of satisfaction from doing this close work with little teeny brushes.
There's this cool scallop-esque detail along the top, and I didn't want to ignore it – however I had no idea what to do! I quick-tested out these variations, but none seemed quite right.
It can often take a village, even when you're all grown up.
I sent the above photo to a friend, and she introduced me to the concept of rubbing paint along 3-d areas to highlight them. WHAT. WHAT.
YEAH. I didn't know this was a thing, EITHER. Something happened to me, I lost my marbles. I went on a rampage. I fell into a fugue state, blacked out, and when I came to my hands were covered in gold paint.
Along with everything else.
On the right: beautiful, gorgeous, deep, lovely Midnight Blue … on the left: DEPTH. CHARACTER. The addition of the gold, for me, really brought out an extra richness to the blue and really made the details shine. Giant thanks goes to my friend Albion Gould, who gave me the little extra suggestion I needed to really bring my General Finishes paint to life. I'm considering painting my whole house this color blue. Not really. I'm exaggerating for effect – you get the picture.
Would it be weird if I bathed in the paint? Don't you judge me.
I had to sneak this one in there. I like surprises inside of furniture, this one came in the form of a few sheets of hot pink glitter scrapbook paper. I just double-stick taped it to the back wall. So you're all oh, what a pretty cabinet, gee, you're so talented, and funny, and HUMBLE. Then you open the door and POW BAM BOOM HOT PINK WALL, Y'ALL!
My village also helped me decide what sorts of things to put on top here, for my final photos. I included this shot because I need you to take note of my faux wall. YES. FAUX WALL! (I feel like I should tell you that the hallway this cabinet actually lives in has NO good lighting whatsoever – so while this IS my cabinet, and IS in use in my home … well, let's just say you wouldn't have found it all that appealing had I photographed it where it lives.) While I was setting up test shots, a closer member of my village, in the form of my 9 year old daughter, kept peeking her head around the right hand side of my faux wall. My unsecured, leaning up against a column, super heavy, eight foot tall … wall. I have a fathead dog who sees my camera and has an immediate need to be in between it and my subject.
Here he is, trying to look innocent. My daughter was fussing at him, trying to get him out of my way. At the exact moment I hit the shutter for the first shot with a completely different set of props … she leaned in too close around that corner and bonked the fake wall with her very real shoulder.
I caught it just before it landed on my head. In the very bottom left corner, you can just see the edge of my cabinet. The wall pushed it forward, knocking it down on its face, breaking all my props into smithereens. No one was hurt, HALLELUJAH! She didn't even realize she did it, so I didn't tell her. She would have felt awful and there's no reason for that. The funny part for me was that I thought the wall had started racing for my skull at breakneck speeds BEFORE I took a photo – so when I loaded them and saw this one, I wanted to share it, too. Disasters happen. Maybe more at my house than at other people's … but it's always an adventure here!
Fresh starts indeed.
Here's my final. I LOVE this cabinet now, and am so glad I didn't banish it to the yard sale realm. If I had, I wouldn't have had the chance to try out General Finishes Chalky Style paint – which, in case you're wondering, goes on like butter. It isn't gritty. It isn't clumpy or weird. It's really, really good. It took me two coats on the bulk of the cabinet to get perfect coverage over white primer. I used more on the door, but honestly that's because of my own sloppiness. Even with all that, I have just over half a quart left – so it goes really far, too. I'm thoroughly impressed and now understand why so many are fans of this brand. If you haven't tried chalk paint before – GO FOR IT! It's just paint! And as you can see, paint can totally change the personality of a piece of furniture.
Isn't the Fab Furniture Flippin Contest EXCITING? It's the most fun I've had in ages, doing something that I'm no expert at, but sure do love to do – renovate furniture! This is my second challenge. I entered in November, and while I didn't win, I did get an entry into the grand finale December face-off between a TON of talented Flippers … AND I TOTALLY WON!
Make sure you check out this month's featured hosts and their jaw dropping creations. Stacy at Anastasia Vintage made over a nightstand using Empire Grey, and Evey at Evey's Creations featured Moroccan Yellow on a cool wooden trunk renovation! You can also scroll to the bottom of either of those posts to see all the other entries – there are some gorgeous makeovers this month that you won't want to miss.
Thanks for hanging out with me today!