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Living Room Paint Techniques

I received a ton of e-mails, comments, requests and pleas for a tutorial on how I achieved the paint treatment used on my trumeau mirror and reupholstered French chairs.  Well, I aim to please, so here it is!
For the chairs, I started off with a thin coat of Light French Grey by Behr.  For the mirror, I started off with a base of Georgian Revival Blue by Sherwin Williams.  It’s OK if there are some brush strokes or places where the wood shows through.  Just watch for drips and keep this coat light and thin.  Allow it to dry. 
For the second coat, I used a “dry brush” (meaning it doesn’t have a lot of paint on it) and lightly brushed on French Grey Blue by Deco Art.  (This is an acrylic paint that can be purchased at a craft store.)  Work the paint with the grain of the wood. 

While the paint is still “workable”, drag your brush in a cross-hatch pattern to soften the second coat. 

Allow this second coat to dry. 
Sand the piece, revealing the first coat of paint and raw wood.  Wipe the dust off with a cloth and then apply an antique glaze.  I like a very dark brown glaze (most come out too orange for my taste), so I had some custom mixed.  I’m a little crunched for time today…it’s my son’s birthday, my husband is sick, I had to work on an HGTV project and I have youth group tonight…so, I’ll share the custom mix with you another day. 
The key with applying a glaze is to get it into the nooks and crannies and wipe off the excess with a damp paper towel.  This will give the piece an aged look without it looking like you just finished your first faux finishing workshop.  (I’m going to cover some paint techniques through video tutorials in the future, so hang in there.)
The result in this picture looks a little more streaked than it does in person.  It’s really very soft.   

Now, I must give you a warning before you go try this on your own.  There is a point in every single antiquing work I’ve done where I think it looks like crap and I’m going to quit and just paint it white.  Every single one.  For some reason, finishes like this are like organizing a room – it looks terrible before it looks better.  Just stick with it and keep working your paint.  Play with it until it looks right to your eye. 
I’m off to play with my big boy four-year-old son and some of his new toys. 
Miss Mustard Seed

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  1. The mirror and chair are beautiful. I know what you mean by whats in your minds eye is not how it comes out so you think you have screwed it up. I love how these came out, very very nice! blessings, Marla

  2. i absolutely love your home and your painting techniques…and really appreciate your willingness to share them. :)

  3. Ok I have to ask this, I'm sure others have asked before, but… how will you keep the upholstery looking nice with little kids around?
    I am cool with slipcovers because they can be washed…and I love these chairs but…the thought of my 3 kids getting anywhere near something white that I can't wash makes me sick!
    Do you have some cleaning secrets??

  4. Ok Marian, I see all these lovely projects you have done, and the mirror was my favorite. I have never glazed anything, because of your warning. I have started to glaze things, and then you are right~it looked soooo bad. I bought a brown glaze and thought, oh I guess I bought the wrong glaze. I shoulda bought a grey glaze…but I guess I just quit too early thinking it was not working. so THANKS for the warning Marian, it may be the best advice I have had in a long time!

  5. Wonderful jobs, and I do look forward to the video tutorials! Hope the hubs gets to feeling better and happy b-day to your little man:)

  6. Gotta love Behr's light french gray! 😉
    Both projects turned out beautifully!

  7. YEP! I call it the "ugly stage" and every one of my projects seems to have one too! I have some unfinished projects in the garage still in their "ugly phase" waiting for the perfect last coat or tweak!

  8. ….and when things don't come chippy and old …. we make them look chippy and old!

    love … adore … the look! you are amazing!

  9. Just lovely! Your tips are right on and we all cannot wait to hear about your custom glaze!

  10. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see the rest of the tutorials so that we all can have such lovely pieces too.

  11. absolutely gorgeous….thanks for sharing!! -shaunna :)

  12. Happy Birthday to your son, congratulations to you for being his mother (a Dutch thing) I hope your husband is feeling better. A special
    thanks for sharing you painting tips
    your projects are always gorgeous. God Bless you and your family. sandi

  13. Perfect timing on this post! I finally found some fabric to redo an arm chair that is the one left standing after a puppy attack on a pair, that clearly needs more than just a little stain touch-up… big run-on sentence… but since I'll need to sand out the nibbled bits I thought an antiqued paint job would be the perfect way to cover its imperfections And here you come, teaching me how to do just that! Thanks for taking the time out of such a busy day!
    : ) Meg

  14. I just wanted to say I so agree that it does look worse before it looks better. I also use a cheep clean brush to move the glaze around where there are carvings. It can get goopy in there too much sometimes. And you can always top it off with more of the base coat!

    I just love that mirror and the colors you used. The chair is wonderful too. I have two that need to get worked on. Want to swing by?

  15. Thanks so much for sharing the paint technique with us!I once asked an ebay seller how she achieved the same look and she wasnt willing to tell. I LOVE your mirror and chairs!;) Hugs,Rachel

    French Farmhouse 425

  16. i learned that lesson about sticking with it in a recent project. it looked terrible to me so i walked away..when i returned it wasn't so bad. sometimes stopping and regrouping helps…and then sometimes starting over works. been there too.
    thanks for the tute!

  17. Love the mirror and the chair! Thanks for sharing your "mixtures" of process!!

  18. Just wanted to thank you so very much for your previous post with camera tips – you have opened up a whole new world for me. I have a great camera but always took terrible photos and now I know why. Thank you, thank you & thank you!!!

  19. Thanks for this!
    I can so relate to the 'this is turning out awful' stage of a project. My experience is that I don't only think that half way through painting jobs but with almost any project. And most of them turn out ok as long as I keep playing with them.
    Oh and congratulations with your big boy's birthday. Hope you guys are having fun!

  20. Thanks for posting the paint colors. I can't wait to try them out. I have just the chair in mind. Thanks!!!

  21. Awesome thank you for sharing

  22. Good to know that it isn't just me who finds each piece to look cruddy before it's finished. Thank you for that! I'll keep that in mind as I continue working on my furniture painting skills.

  23. Your mirror inspired me to finish one I had started last year! I was going to paint it all white – then saw what you did and it turned out great! Thanks Thanks Thanks! ~Marcy

  24. Hi Marian, Did you use BOTH light French gray and French gray blue on your chair? Thanks!

  25. Do you think I could do this to my bathroom cabinets?? Also what PLEASE give your custom glaze recipe….

  26. Anonymous says:

    Your chairs are sooo beyond crazy cuute!! I feel soo silly asking..but is the paint you are using flat, eggshell, satin?? Thank you soo much for sharing your talents with all of us :}

  27. Caren says:

    I was so relieved to know that other people have the same process for doing furniture…the ugly phase. Unfortunately this seems too common for me, the learning curve is big, and I can’t seem to find a finished look I,like. I have in my mind what I want, but don’t know how to get there!
    Question, I am going to refinish some dining chairs I bought, once I paint and glaze them how do I finish them? Wax, poly?
    Thanks! I need help!

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