Monday, January 21, 2013

Milk paint part deux/Meet Chester

In my last post I said I had another project lined up and ready for round 2 of MMS milk paint. 
Meet Chester....
Found him on Craig's list of course, and I couldn't walk away.  Such an awesome piece with great curves.  The guy I bought him from said his parents bought it used in the 50s....I couldn't find a maker's mark or any other info, but I did search some google images and figured he was probably a 1940s Duncan Phyfe-esque reproduction.  Regardless, he is ALL wood, super massive, and VERY sturdy. 
And the 2 small drawers are even lined with purple felt, how cool is that?
I was pretty sure I wanted to paint him up in the linen color milk paint I already had on hand.  But as you can see from the picture, his top needed some help.  So I busted out the new palm sander I got for Christmas and went to work!
Got that guy all the way down to the raw wood.  Initially I thought that it was covered in veneer, but I was wrong.  Just LOTS, and LOTS of really old stain.  Once I got the sanding out of the way I mixed up my milk paint and away I went.  Well....more milk paint lessons learned on this guy.  The raw wood just LOVED to soak up the paint.  After 3 coats it still looked like primer and once again I was bugging out!!
I didn't sand the parts that had detail, and I knew I wanted the wood to show through somewhat.  But I wasn't loving how it was going.  I didn't snap any other pictures along the way because I just kept adding coats until I thought it looked right.  Honestly I lost count after 4 coats, I think I ended up doing 5 or 6 on the top.  Then came another moment of panic.  I chose the linen paint because I wanted this piece to be neutral.  But with all white paint it looked too washed out to me, and totally not my style.  So I decided to paint the 2 center drawers in my "custom color" grey chalk paint that I always have on hand. 
Once again the milk paint did it's unpredictable thing where it chipped and cracked where it wanted, but it was perfect on this project.  I only wanted a little bit of distressing.  I didn't want to distress so much that it detracted from the shape and details of the piece itself.  When I was done I decided to use dark wax anywhere there was detailing, and clear wax on all the smooth surfaces.  I did 2 coats of wax total and gave it a good buffing.  Luckily it came with really great vintage hardware that had the perfect amount of patina, so I left those alone and just put em back on when all was said and done.  Ready to see how he turned out??
Adding the grey to the center gave him just a little contrast, but still neutral enough that he wants to live in any room in your house :)
All dressed up and down at Persnickety's now, go check him out!!
Hoping to have more projects in the works very soon, stay tuned to see what I come up with!!


  1. You did such a great job! It looks really pretty.

    1. thank you so much!! it was a fun project to work on!!

  2. What a great piece. Looks amazing, you call it a e, looks likevavshe, the whole post I kept thinking - no wrong sex. Love it

    1. in retrospect I think you're right, the curvy lines are definitely girly :)

  3. GORGEOUS transformation, how I love the shape of this piece!!
    great great job!

    1. thanks so much!! this one was hard to let go for sure :)