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say hello to “Linen”


It’s time to introduce another one of my Milk Paint colors.  Whew!  Painting twelve dressers in all twelve of my colors has taken longer than I thought it would.  I want all of my pieces to be special, but especially these pieces that will act as the “online swatch” for each color.  After this piece, I only have one more left to do – “Boxwood.”  So, without further delay, here’s “Linen”…


Linen is a beautiful cream that’s not too yellow, but not bright white.

My husband found this piece at a yard sale and bought it for me.  Awww….I know.  I picked a good guy.  The hardware was ill-fitting and all wrong for this piece.  I disliked the flimsy metal covers for the keyholes as well, so I plucked those off.  Other than the cosmetic issues, this piece was in nice condition.



The insides of the drawers were filthy, so I cleaned then out as I usually do, but I went a step further this time…


…and painted the insides of the drawers in Lucketts Green.  I sealed the drawer interiors with Hemp Oil to seal the paint.  Since the insides were raw wood, there won’t be any chipping and it will hold up for many years.


Now, this dresser is a great example of the unpredictability of Milk Paint.  I thought that the paint would adhere very well to this finish, so I didn’t add the bonding agent.  I painted the dresser first with a coat of Shutter Gray.  I then did some resist techniques and used a bit of Crackle Medium in strategic places.  The Shutter Gray seemed to be adhering well except in a couple of places.  Perfect!  I then painted on two coats of Linen, hoping it would chip away and crackle to reveal the Shutter Gray and some of the wood.  Well, you can tell from the dresser that things didn’t go according to plan!



I walked away to eat some lunch and when I came back, most of the paint was barely hanging on.  Well, that’s Milk Paint!  I started scraping and sanding the paint away.  So much of it came off that none of my resist techniques or the crackle effect showed up.  Oh well.  Next time.  You can see a little bit of the Shutter Gray peeking out around the keyholes, but that’s about it.


Almost all of the paint came off the right side.  I have no idea why and it’s certainly not how I would’ve planned it out, but I really love the way this piece naturally evolved.  That is my favorite thing about letting the Milk Paint just do its thing.  The piece ends up looking natural and authentic.  Not contrived the way pieces can look when they are distressed by hand.  I like the haphazard nature of it and had to remind myself of that when it seemed like more paint was going to be on the floor than the furniture.




I made another unexpected choice with this piece.  The hardware.  I’ve been anti-brass for a long time, but I’ve started to warm up to it over the past couple of years.  I think brass got a bad reputation when it was imitated and overused for cheap builder grade fixtures in the 80’s and 90’s.  Decorators, designers and home-a-holics said, “Enough!”  And we all took down our brass fixtures and replaced them with nickle and oil rubbed bronze, forgetting that there is quality brass in the world that shouldn’t be neglected.  I saw these bin cup pulls at Home Depot and thought they would be lovely for a piece.  I didn’t plan to use them on this piece, but these were the only ones that fit the holes and I really didn’t want to shop for new ones.  I put them on and fought the urge to remove them immediately.  Initially, I thought they looked terrible, like they didn’t belong…


Then I brought the piece up for the photo shoot.  I started adding brass accessories to tie in with the hardware…and I totally changed my mind.  I think they’re not an obvious choice for this piece, but I sort of like that.  I think they make this piece special and the sophisticated, structured shape and shiny finish play nicely off the random chipping and warm wood.




So, this piece didn’t turn out the way I thought it would at all, but I think it was all for the best in the end.  Sometimes creating means letting go and seeing what happens.


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  1. Love it, from the chalk paint ‘linen’ to the brass fixtures! I’ll have to get my hands on some of your paint via mailorder(?) cuz I’m in Michigan!! I have an antique oak dresser I’d like to give a little personality.

  2. Danielle says:

    Hi..Ive been researching this milk paint for about a week now..i have been here admiring your very unique artistry. I have to say I’am very impressed with this beautiful work you do. Iam going to venture into milk painting and see how it goes..Iam just beginning so I will be back on your site many times to come I’m sure..beautiful work…:)

  3. Hannah says:

    I was wondering if i can paint milk paint over something that was painted with latex paint?

  4. Gail Tyler says:

    Did you use dark wax at all? I am doing a piece in Linen and the wood was very dark and it looks like I might need a third coat. Do you think my paint is too thin? I am wondering if clear wax would do the trick alone. Thanks, Gail

  5. Hi there , are you selling these items on your blog? If yes, what is the contact address or # ?


  6. Marian….It is absolutely lovely!
    You are such a great vignette designer. :)

  7. Ohhh wow, what an absolutely perfect white! White baffles me, there are so many shades, but this one is ‘just right’. I really love the way you let this piece evolve, and didn’t try to hold on to the way you originally thought it would turn out. Made it all the better. And, i can’t believe how i like the brass pulls… it’s funny, i didn’t even notice them until you pointed them out, i was too busy admiring the shade of white and all the interesting things going on with the dresser.
    I also want you to know how much i appreciate how you feature “Eulalie” in alot of your photos. You make her look so good, and it really just tickles me to death…


  8. Dianne says:

    I love how the chest of drawers turned out. It is an experiment each time I think, but it is fun to see how it will work out. I have been adding dark wax to several painted pieces and I’m loving the result.

  9. Heather says:

    Hi Marian,

    I was just wondering, where did you get the beautiful cow painting in the photo? It is stunning.


    PS Love your blog. Great job :)

  10. Kristine says:

    This is my favourite so far. Love your styling too.

  11. My gosh I love this!!! Great post and what beautiful hardware!!!

    xoxo, Ashley

  12. Ambierre says:

    Your cow has won my heart!!!! I’m assuming she’s a one of a kind find but if not please let me know. I just adore her! Everything looks very pretty, great work as always!

  13. Cathy says:

    I think this piece is more than charming, and your accident was a very happy one. I am wondering though if the piece had previously been beeswaxed and that’s why the paint didn’t adhere. I have often achieved a similar look as this using a heat gun to strip much of the paint away, and also by suing the citrus based strippers. I think it is very lovely and looks all the more rustic.

  14. Where can I find the cow painting?

  15. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is t

  16. Paula Willbanks says:

    I have to say that I’m loving the Linen! :) Beautiful color.


  1. […] So, what is Hemp Oil?  It’s an all natural oil that contains no VOCs and no petrochemicals.  It can be used on raw wood to seal and protect it, on old wood to revive it or on porous painted surfaces as a topcoat.  I used it on the interiors of the drawers on my Linen dresser… […]

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