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a poor paint job

I used to shudder at pieces of furniture that were poorly painted.  Drips, major brush marks, streaks and chips.  I felt like my paint job would only be as good as the previous paint job and I needed to sand it baby bottom smooth to make it right.  Well, I have had a change of heart.  I no longer see problems in poor paint jobs.  I see texture.  Amazing texture just waiting to be highlighted and put on display. 

For example…this piece was poorly painted. It was streaky, drippy, chippy and not in a good way. The drawers worked perfectly, though, it’s solid wood, has the original hardware and a great shape. 
Instead of stripping or sanding it, I just painted straight over it with a mixture of paint (I’ll get into that in a minute.) Once the paint was dry, I sanded it heavily to bring out all of that imperfectly glorious texture.  Now the streaks and drips look dramatic and even intentional. 
As a little bonus, this wonderful spring green color came through under the gray and white layers of paint. 

The paint I used WAS going to be a mixture of ASCP Louis Blue, Paris Gray and Graphite, but I ran out of Graphite.  Hm.  What can I do to darken this color?  Well, I have some black chalk board paint.  What the heck, let’s give it a go and see what happens.  Guess what?  It worked brilliantly.  I mixed in some of the black chalk board paint and it still had great adhesion and distressed well.  Who knew? 

I was so thrilled that the original glass knobs were a complete set and in great condition, so I just put them back on after I waxed and buffed the piece.  Oh, I also tried a new brand of wax…Mylands.  It is very, very stinky.  Like, stunk-up-my-entire-basement and I-had-to-open-the-doors-in-my-house-to-get-a-cross-breeze stinky.  Aside from that, I really like it.  It buffed up to a super smooth finish with a wonderful shine, so it’s just another option for waxes out there. 

I brought this dresser to Lucketts on Thursday, so we’ll see if someone else loves the textured look as much as I do. 
On a personal note, I am thoroughly enjoying the beginning of fall and the cool weather.  I love hoodies and jeans and football and soup and snuggling under blankets and the anticipation of the holiday season, so this is definitely my time of year.  We decided to go out and enjoy it today, so we hit some of the highlights of the Gettysburg battlefield. 

I’ll share some more tomorrow.  I really do live in a beautiful corner of the world. 

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  1. I love the drip texture…the color turned out wonderfully. :)

  2. It really end up a great piece. Adore the texture.

  3. Now it has soul…great job!

  4. I love how this turned out! Now I won't be afraid to try a peice that has drips etc. Thanks!

  5. Love it. It looks great!

  6. Lovely dresser- it turned out great!

    I did not realize that you lived in PA! (newer to your blog and all). I was born and raised in Bradford CO, PA…close to the NY state line. We could see seven counties from our farm house.

    I have been to Gettysburg many times but haven't been in a LONG time-too long!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

  7. Love that dresser and the colour is perfect!
    Love the glass door knobs too..and thanks for the tip!

    Deborah xo

  8. I think it looks cool! You gave it the appearance of a timeworn history that it probably never really had. YOU ARE SO LUCKY! One day I will make it to Gettysburg…and ponder the fact that all my ancestors were fighting each other! ;}

    m ^..^

  9. I can't find any details on line about buffing after waxing my ASCP. Am I the only one who doesn't know what she's doing when it comes to buffing? Do you use a special cloth or will any old rag do? I tried buffing the armoire that I just waxed and it didn't seem to do anything so I didn't feel like I was doing it right.
    Help! 😉

  10. Yes you do! I love it up there. I can't wait to come back! It is so full of rich history, beautiful farms, gorgeous vineyards and I could go on and on and on….. The dresser is fabulous as always.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I couldn't agree more! I purposefully try to imitate an imperfect finish…make the piece more "fun"! Jean

    P.S. Could someone tell me why I can never sign in under my google account? It always says I don't have access…to my own email addy!!! I don't get it! ejabrams @

  12. Really like the shape and the distressed treatment on that one!.. such a sense on history! Someone will adore it in their home!


  13. Love the green peeking out there… and the Gettysburg pic too! :-)

  14. The way you explained it made me look at the detail and appreciative the paint-job even more. Good work!

  15. you're my kinda' woman … if it ain't broke don't fix it

    would love for you to see the feature I just posted 'bout Y.O.U.

  16. Love all that chippy goodness & its a great color. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I used the chalkboard paint in a chair I did of my Grandfather's. I painted his name with the chalkboard paint and used the bright blue over it. It all sanded down to look like his name had been weathered for years. It looked great. (I used the dark wax to dull the bright blue). How fun to expirement! Lori L

  18. Loving your piece on "drippy chippy paint." I also agree that you live in a wonderful part of the world. After following you for some time I recently realized (during the flooding) you're in Gettysburg. I grew up in Chambersburg and visit the area each summer for about 3 weeks (in July/August). I still miss the crisp fall weather and the apple festivals in Adams County. Blessings!!

  19. Love that spring green that poked its head up ;-). Was thinking about you today as I walked through a antique shop that refinishes their own furniture. I was NOT impressed with the paint job. Dining table top was very rough and bumpy paint. I don't think that is an acceptable paint job on a table top. ;-(


  20. I really really like how your dresser came out. I love the ASCP in Paris Gray over white. Can I ask where you got the Mylands wax, and does it cost less than the ASCP wax.

    Love Gettysburg, we go as offeten as we can, I'm just about 45 to 50 min south from Gettysburg.

    Thanks for sharing, I always look forward to your new blog post.


  21. I just did the same thing on a few dressers and I felt a little funny about it. BUT, now that I know MM does it, too, well, it's ok! :) I love the color you ended up with, too!

  22. So THAT'S what I can do with my bedroom dresser!! Maybe even tomorrow. Thanks for saying poor paint jobs add texture…I have been afraid to embrace it & have been making life so much harder than necessary!!

  23. You, my dear, are like a paint scientist!!!

  24. Yup…..I'm gradually learning that usually – less is more! The less work I do on a piece, the more distressing….the more I love it! :) Lovely job, Marian! May I ask what you use to clean the wax off your brushes? Mine are so gunky and I don't know what to use.

    xoxo laurie

  25. I have used regular chalk paint and it works well on furniture. Home depot sells a few colors and their is lots of recipes out there for it!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    The dresser looks great! I sometimes make my own chalkboard paint so
    I can get a specific color. I was painting a chair one day and decided to add some of unsanded tile grout I use in the mix to the paint. It really adhered to the chair and I love the finish. I now add it alot to different things I am painting. I need to come to Lucketts Just scared I would by everything I seen!
    Pam, [email protected]

  27. the dresser is gorgeous!!!!

    Its definitely getting closer to fall here- cooler in the evenings and mornings, but its not REALLY fall yet… we are still wearing shorts during the day :)

  28. I love experimenting with the chalk paint, too, especially when it works well. I've found I can use it as a base-coat, and then apply any flat paint on top (I found semi-gloss and satin tend to peel off like plastic). Saves $ and don't have to prep the piece with sanding.

  29. Oh I love the texture! And I am with you – I am soooo excited about the cooler weather and just LOVE fall! About to send you an e-mail…

  30. Haha! I saw your title, and being so new thought, "Oh no…she's going to talk about something I do and say it's bad!" Silly me. :-) Sometimes I find the hardest part about refinishing a piece of furniture is deciding the look you want. This looks GREAT! Love how the color turned out.

  31. Love it, and I think you just made up a new color! At least you are sticking with the chalk theme. And it worked beautifully! Side note, my favorite restaurant is in philly called buddakan. So yum! The edemame raviolis are mouth watering. Please go for me as you are way closer than me! Arizona, might be too far. Great now I am hungry. Better go eat. :)

  32. Marian great job, the dresser really looks amazing!!

    Autumn, ah, my favorite time of year!

    Art by Karena

  33. I just love this piece! Looks as though it could have been sitting in an airy farmhouse for a century or more!!

  34. I am so glad you posted about your mixture! I have been mixing ASCP with different paints since I first got it. I originally bought a pot of old white and one of antibes green. I then had a chest of drawers i wanted turquoise and a) didn't want to spend more money and b)the colour wasn't in the range. So i used some emulsion I had and it worked great. Colour I wanted and no sanding and priming as it kept the adhesion. I have also used 1829 chalky emulsion and dry artists pigments, although you need to mix these really well. Next on my list is artists acrylics, ill let you know how I get on!


  35. I am SO glad to hear you say that drips and streaks are (or can be) beautiful. You brightened my day! I just painted some chairs and left lots of drips…

  36. Erica says:

    I'm sorry, you lost me on this one. The surface is too contrived, and the subtlety in color with the glass knobs makes it totally uninteresting. Perhaps a darker shade of gray on the piece, leaving the drawers lighter, would allow the horizontal rails between the drawers create a pattern that would make the piece more interesting.

    You can't just slap paint on a piece, sand it all over and call it done. You're setting a bad example for people with questionable taste.

  37. Hi, I was feeling a little lazy this morning & just read your post on my reader….now I'm inspired to go paint something hanging around my house! I have no problem painting walls but when it comes to furniture, I get aLOT intimidated…I'm a fairly new blogger & have been scoping out yours & Shauna's (over at perfectly imperfect) posts now for about a month on how to paint furniture….maybe soon I'll give it a try! Thanks for sharing

  38. The dresser turned out gorgeous I love how the green is coming through.
    Yes you do live in a beautiful part of the country….great shot! Have a wonderful Sunday!

  39. You might just be my new favorite blog to "stalk", joking :) Love the dresser, I did a very similar thing to an old hutch of mine. Been looking for a genre of blogs to follow that share the same passion for old things as I do. :)

  40. A little plaster of paris mixed with latex paint will give you what you need should you run out again.
    I am awaiting the arrival of my AS Graphite…and waiting…

  41. Great find! I think your redo is fabulous ~

  42. Emma Kate says:

    Beautiful! What a shame some people are negative! Probably jealous…

  43. I am here too in Virginia visiting my Grandbabies, well watching them while Daughter and her Hubby are vacationing in Hawaii…the weather is nice, no rain, but cool. I am so hoping to get up to see you as I am from Washington State and don't get out here very often…but with 2 wee little ones, not sure I will be that venturesome…wish me luck! Are there any paticular days that you are at Lucketts or is it hit and miss?

  44. Hmm do you think this works on my own bad paint jobs too? I think it is a lovely dresser now and I love that you just added chalkboard paint to the mix. And what a luck to have that green peeping out underneath.

  45. love how this turned out!

  46. Looks so pretty! Love the character and keeping the old paint imperfections gives it a sense of history!

  47. It's dreamy :) I want it, but guess I'll have to find my own piece to work on. I've certainly been reading this blog long enough to know how. I love mixing paint colors, you never know what you will encounter on then end of that brush. I don't think I've ever said "oh yuck" but I have done a couple of "oh wows!" before. This dresser is definitely an Oh! Wow!…and the glass knobs just seal the deal.

  48. I love love that dresser, it's perfect. It would go perfectly in my bedroom – if we hadn't just bought new furniture. Can I ask what you sell a piece like this for?

    Bless, Lisa

  49. I saw this dresser today and LOVE it!!

  50. I cracked up when I saw this dresser! I have one EXACTLY like it (maybe 1 drawer shorter) in my garage in-process of a VERY similar makeover! Mine has all the original crystal knobs too and a hideous cream over spring green paint job as well. The dressers must have been horribly painted twins separated somewhere along the way! Hope mine turns out as well as yours! :-)

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