it wasn't easy convincing tim to move forward with this project. nevermind the fact it had been on my dream to-do list for years. i get where he was coming from, this was a brand new house and the cabinetry was premium, but i never loved the dark look, so i kept secretly pinning away two colored rustic kitchens. this isn't our forever house, heck it probably isn't even our seven year house, so i considered how it might narrow the market of people interested in buying it down the road but ultimately it came down to loving the space i was in, making it about our family, a happy place to gather in the right now.
so when the opportunity came up to work with annie sloan unfolded and their chalk paint® (NOT to be confused with "chalk board" paint), i got to work on tim, eventually convincing him with color swatches and example photos that this could be really amazing. i was never afraid of this project - when i mentioned my desire to paint the cabinets at all, i was met with a lot of advice to hire a professional. having used chalk paint® in the past i knew this was a totally attainable diy and couldn't wait to get started. we went back and forth on if we should do a red, emperor's silk, on bottom and this same off white on top, ultimately that was what we envisioned, but when we started holding similar colored things up to the surrounding wall paint and furniture and didn't like the contrast, we turned our focus to blues. in making our decision, it helped a lot of peruse the annie sloan unfolded website - with each swatch you can view a real project that has been done in that color to get an idea of the finished look. in the end we picked provence for the bottom, old white for along the top, and we would finish off with their clear soft wax.
the magical thing about chalk paint® is that there is little to no prep to get started - genius! especially since i was starting with a relatively new and smooth surface all i did to prepare was generously clean my entire project area with a degreasing dish soap and water, especially anywhere near the stove i went over twice. i removed all of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, making sure to label cupboards that might be more difficult to remember where they came from and stored all of my screws in one cup. next i taped taped and taped some more, praising the home builder gods that there were some nice gaps to slip tape in-between so i new there would be no unintentional paint mess left where there shouldn't be one.
i went back and forth on distressing the top cabinets, i even went to the internets for a vote but after "trying" it out on one cabinet front i was hooked! hey, i have four kids that are not nice to my things. my favorite perk of distressed furniture? it hides the wear and tear so well. distressing them was so easy and i had a great dark base to work with so the end result was a dream. i quickly brushed on two coats of old white, only pausing for a few minutes in between coats (it dries that fast!), not trying to be perfect by any means. when the last coat had gotten a good chance to set and dry i worked across the door with a fine sanding block, focussing on areas that didn't look great from how i had painted and making sure to throw in some of my favorite spots - the edges of the decorative inlay and corners. annie sloan suggests that you wax before you sand, but other then a terrible dusty mess, i was happy with the result of sanding first.
one might argue that chalk paint® is meant to be brushed on, but i did not have enough confidence that i would get my desired look at my skill level so i picked up a dense foam brush for the bottom. the coverage was not nearly as great as with a brush - i had to work a lot harder to achieve the right look, several coats later. so morale of the story is chalk paint® + a nice brush is a match made in heaven!
i was able to complete this project in two days, one for the top and one for the bottoms. it took me one full quart sized can in each color which is amazing if you ask me! we still plan on adding some fun hardware to the cabinets and drawers but in the meantime this entire make-over was worth only $100. and weeks later i still wander into the kitchen just to smile at my work or run my hands over the soft smooth finish, it is my happy place.
a good twenty-four hours later, tim went to work with the clear soft wax. this is stuff is amazing, it goes on so easy and leaves nice look and protective surface. in our case there wasn't even any change in the color once the wax dried. there are a couple of spots in need to go sand and re-appply a smoother coat but i am really happy with how well the paint is holding up thanks to the wax finish. we're still debating adding a clear lacquer finish over top the wax, after talking with a official stockist of chalk paint® we concluded that in a high use area like a kitchen it might give it a extra hard and protective finish.
i can't sing praise enough to chalk paint® decorative paint by annie sloan, the idea of no prep work alone has me signed up as a customer for life. the colors are so rich and vibrant and i love the finished texture of the chalk paint® and wax combined. this is definitely an example of a bigger project with chalk paint®, but don't be afraid to try it on most anything! i am already dreaming of working on a mid century hutch to match our work in progress farm table that has a chalk paint® base in aubusson blue. (hint: i was able to paint an entire small console table once with a 100ml sample pot.)
have i convinced you yet? before you get started, here are some super helpful links to help you navigate the annie sloan brand:
find a retailer or stockist
chalk paint® decorative paint by annie sloan
annie sloan soft wax, fabrics and books
annie sloan unfolded facebook fan page, twitter, pinterest and youtube
what do you think?