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"A Paint Love Affair" transformation series....the before & after of the Cadberry Desk

A Paint Love Affair

Maison Designs

Bonjour Mes Amis! I am thrilled to have you join me today for a transformation series called A Paint Love Affair! My first experience with paint was many years ago. I had a piece of furniture that just needed to match my home decor and so I painted it black; way before black was popular with furniture, of course! I loved it and still love it as it is currently in my dining room.

Recently, in the last few years, I have discovered chalk paint! I make my own chalk paint using Sherman Williams paint samples. I will gladly share that recipe with you so that you can create your own masterpieces. Click here for my Chalk Paint Recipe! For almost 3 years, I have sold the pieces that I paint. I find so much enjoyment from finding a piece and re-painting it to become something else. I am constantly amazed at the transformation that happens to a piece of furniture that has been painted.

Usually when I see a piece of furniture that I like, I always check the price first. LOL! Now that I have been doing this a while, I can tell whether my time to re-do the piece and the initial cost will be profitable. Normally, I like a piece to be in fairly good condition and I really prefer the piece to be real wood. This isn't always the case though. My daughter talked me into a piece that was primarily fake wood. I don't even know what it was, (maybe pressed wood with that formica (plastic) layer on top), but it was french provencial and had the most beautiful carvings and lines. Seriously, I didn't even know how well the paint would do on the surface, although most chalk paints can be used on plastic, metal, wood, fabric, etc. Even though I knew this was true, I was still unconvinced until I did it. The best part was that it went from a pretty cheap looking desk to a beautiful collector's piece. I will show you more of that one in the series. But for now, my first transformation piece is this Ethan Allen writing desk.

Here is the before picture in the classic but ugly blonde stain treatment! (sorry, Ethan Allen) It was seriously outdated and the surface of the desk was scratched (mildly) with finger nail polish and residual marker. Some little girl (or teen) had a good time with this desk. It was well loved!


I really liked the lines of the desk. It was also a solid wood piece with minimal repair needed. I started sanding with a 150 grit sand paper to the top. I used a hand sander to help get rid of the surface scratches. My life is complete with this tool! I then used a 220 fine grit paper to get a smooth finish. After sanding the top, which took about 15-20 minutes, I wiped it clean with a cheese cloth. You can buy cheese cloth at your local hardware store. The cheese cloth is not absolutely necessary as you can also use a clean soft cloth, but I find the cheese cloth is faster. Sanding took out the light scratches and stains from the surface.

I wasn't sure what color I was going to use and because this was not a custom order it was up to me! :)

I had been seeing a lot of multi-color pieces and decided to go with a white and light blue for the body with a dark stained top. I painted the white for the base and then blue on the drawers. I decided half way through the project that instead of stain, I would use a chocolate brown chalk paint for the top.

After I finished painting three coats for each color, I lightly distressed the edges with a 220 grit sand paper. Remember that this little piece was a blond wood? Ewww.......(said in my best Jimmy Fallon~I mean Sara voice)!

Before I started painting I knew that I wanted a light distressing (which is where you rub off the paint around the edges to expose the wood underneath).

Unfortunately, blond wood doesn't show up well unless you are painting a really dark color or black. Before I started painting, I spray painted with my favorite Rustoleum Dark Walnut (Satin) from Home Depot. I covered the areas I knew I would distress. This is a beautiful treatment with the dark coming through the light colors.

Maison Designs

After I finished painting and distressing, I sealed the piece with Annie Sloan's Clear Wax. If you haven't used this wax, it is worth the price. It last's a long time and gives a great satin shine and protection to your piece of furniture. Here is the piece in it's finished state of affairs!

Maison Designs

I decided to call it the Cadberry Desk. It was Spring when I painted this and it reminded me of chocolate, which in turn reminded me of Cadbury chocolate eggs for some reason. Pretty comical huh? Well, I try!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and Paint transformation! Remember... "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to paint whatever is near"!!!!! :)

Until next time.......go dream up something wonderful!



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