Before and After: La Craie Gray and White French Painted Cabinet Makeover

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By now you probably know that I LOVE painted furniture...especially when it's French!  I also love a good before and after so I'm especially glad that you stopped by today because I'd love to tell you all about my very first experience with La Craie paint and to introduce you to my latest "junk to jewel" painted French furniture Linnea.

(Yep, I name my furniture...I sometimes also talk to it!)

Linnea and I met years ago at the closing of local boutique. The owner sold her to me for $20.  She's got a Formica top on her base and a sprayed on finish that's medium yellow with gold highlights.  She's got peeling paint, a few nicks and scratches but she's structurally sound and the perfect size for a smaller bathroom. Behind the doors at the bottom there's a pull out drawer and a shelf.

She lived in the guest room for awhile and then, when we moved ten years ago, the moving men put her in the basement and she never made her way out...until two weeks ago when we decided that we were going to put our home on the market.

When we began to clear excess furniture from our home and to decide whether to sell it or put it into storage, Linnea's name came up.  I decided that she'd make a fun linen closet in our next home but that first, she'd need a coat of paint.

One afternoon, on my Facebook Fan Page, I asked for input as to what color she should be painted. Shannon from Fox Hollow Cottage suggested Magnolia and Confederate Gray with just a little silver.  It sounded beautiful and I was certainly interested. because I'd never worked with La Craie.  I had wanted to try it for some time but had promised myself that I wouldn't purchase more paint until I finished what I had.  Luckily for me, I'd just used up the last of my stash!  Shannon helped me to figure out how much I needed and I ordered it that afternoon. Just two days later, the paint arrived and I was ready to go!

The only prep work that I did on this piece was to scrape off the blobs of model cement that somehow got on the top of the base (oh, don't worry, I know how they got there...I left this piece in the room where my sons built models for two years...enough said!) and to wash off the dust that had accumulated from years of being in the basement.

That's it! No sanding. No priming...not even on the Formica!

Let me begin by telling you that this paint goes on like silk. 

I've been transforming cast off furniture for years and I've used several different types of paint, including mixing my own (using Latex Paint and Plaster of Paris) and using other brands.


La Craie doesn't go on thick and dry like some chalk paints that I've used. It's smooth to apply, easy to brush, dries quickly, and sands beautifully.  It also covers in two coats....that became important since I changed my mind on the detail after I had already painted parts of the cabinet Confederate Gray and decided to switch them to Magnolia with some gray brushed on top and wiped off.

I use several different techniques when I paint furniture but I usually allow the design of the piece, the environment in which it will be used, and it's purpose, help me to decide how to finish it.

This piece has simple lines, and it will be used for linen storage in a guest bathroom. I wanted it to have some French detail but not be too "girly" so I kept the process (and the colors), simple.

The body of the piece was painted in two coats of Magnolia, the back wall, shelves, and top were painted in two coats of Confederate Gray and the details were painted in gray which was wiped away with a damp cloth while it was still wet.

I added one of my favorite French symbols to the door fronts: laurel wreaths that I found at The Graphics Fairy! I applied them using a transfer method that I'll be talking about on my blog next week. Stop by if you'd like to learn how I did it!

I didn't end up using the silver on this piece because I love the way it looks with its original hardware and just a couple of coats of clear wax.

I envision her in a bathroom, holding stacks of fluffy white towels, some of my favorite french soaps and other goodies to make my guests feel welcome (instead of pretending that she's there when she's actually in my living room), but that's not happening for a little while.

For now, she's off to storage but don't worry...we'll see her again!  I hope that you liked Linnea's cabinet makeover. I love the La Craie chalk paint that I used on her transformation I have enough left over for to paint a couple of cute French bedside tables that I found in the trash...stay tuned!



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