July 16, 2014

French Linen/Paris Grey Washed Antique Armoire

After I painted most of the furniture that I own, I began to hunt for new projects.  I had a successful dresser flip and since then, I've been perusing Craigslist daily.  I still can't believe some of the items that are listed for free!

Last week, I saw a listing for this antique armoire.  Without thinking, I immediately emailed the owner and told her I could come pick it up from her that evening.  Then I began to have second thoughts.  It's too big, one of the doors is off, what if it's not a good quality.  Before I had too long to change my mind, the owner called me to confirm pick up and told me that it was a real antique and that she had both doors, but had simply removed one to move it.

I took a deep breath and confirmed that I would pick it up.  About an hour before our agreed upon time, it began pouring rain.  Kern insisted that we could still retrieve it using a tarp he had.  We waited until a break in the storm, drove to her apartment and loaded it up.

As we were leaving, the owner smiled and handed me a small key.  The doors still locked!

We removed the second door, the shelves and all of the hardware.  I sat with it a few days and mulled over the color and finish I wanted to use.

Part of this "trash to treasure" adventure is meant to pull me out of my comfort zone with painting and encourage me to try new techniques that I would be hesitant to attempt on a piece that had special meaning.  Of course, I have to balance this desire with the fact that I want the piece to sell!

After spending some time in one of Annie Sloan's books, I had a vision in my mind and a new technique I was prepared to try.

The night before I was going to start painting, I was legitimately nervous.  I kept imagining it all going wrong and the armoire looking terrible.

The new technique that I used is called a "Wash." I will outline the steps for you below in photos and I have a video tutorial that I plan on posting soon that will contain the details of how to achieve this look.

The first step was to paint the interior Louie Blue.  The original inside was a dingy white and it showed years of wear.

I painted the outside with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen.  A little bit of the wood is still peeking through, which is perfect for the wash technique!

I mixed 2 parts Paris Grey with 1 part Old White and added water until the paint became translucent.  My "translucency" test was to stick a plastic fork in it and when the paint ran off the ends, I knew it was the right consistency.  Remember, this is an art, so there is no "exact" formula.  Any paint combination would work, as long as it's watered down.

Working in a small area, brush on Annie Sloan's clear wax and then apply the wash mixture with a one-inch paint brush and immediately wipe it off with a lint-free cloth. The area on the right is where I have applied the "wash" and the area on the left has been wiped with a cloth.

The wax acts as a resist and allows the wash mixture to "sit on top" of the base layer paint and not completely absorb into it.

The effect is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind finish that gives the piece a soft overall look.  On this armoire, the wash allows the old wood's natural patina to show through and gives it a textured look.

I was pleased with the outcome.  I like how this armoire has a little "extra" look to it--instead of just a flat color.

The key is still my favorite feature.  I tied of piece of burgundy silk ribbon through it.

The inside has plenty of space for television set or space to hang a clothing rod.

Kern did all the installation work.

The blue interior refreshed the entire look.

If you are interested in learning more about the wash technique, check back soon for a detailed video tutorial where I will walk you through each step.  It was much more fun (and quicker) than I expected.

I'm already on the hunt for my next piece!


  1. Emily,

    What a great job on the wash finish. Love it! So glad you didn't back out of picking up the piece.


  2. Em you are such a PRO at this! I love that you went on a little adventure with this piece - it turned out so beautiful. Keep the flips coming! XO


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