…picking paint sucks

Picking white paint sucks even more.

Do you know how many shades of white are out there? Like a ba-zillion. I have lived with a bedroom that was a Ben Moore color – Barely Beige. I picked out the color. I matched the color to the hallways and closets. It was meant to be subtle. However, my master bedroom gets so much wonderful, natural light that the Barely Beige read SUPER, ANNOYING, BIG TIME Beige. I hated it.

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I really wanted something softer and lighter. I wanted something more white. So, I returned to my beloved Color Wheel paint shop to find some more tile samples. Turns out they don’t sell those any longer, so I poured over the little, itty-bitty samples.

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I narrowed my choice down to about four when one of the owners (3rd generation!) came to rescue me. She knew her whites. Thanks, Renatta!

I brought home three samples to try in my room – White Dove, Marscapone and China Grey. I bought the pints, one of these sample boards and a little roller. Having a large board helps tremendously! Yes, a bit of hassle, but better to get the right color and view it on a large scale than to start your project and hate the color…again.

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Here is the sample board that I did of my three colors. I use the word color loosely!

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Painting walls require tape for most of us. Some people can paint a straight line, but if you can’t or are not sure if you can, then tape your trim. DH happens to be very good at this. He’s actually very good at painting walls too so I took the kids to church and he got down to business. He taped, then moved everything from the walls…

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I ended up choosing WHITE DOVE and I am so pleased. It is a great white color with just a hint of….aged white. It is slightly warm, but without color to distract me. I will be posting images once, well, we are done with the room.

What started all this paint talk was because we are putting wood flooring in our master. After 6 years of kids and pets it was dingy and well, I can’t stand those buckles. Yes, we could have gotten those straightened out, but I have my heart set on wood. Here are the terrible buckles…

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Of course, I then decided I needed a new chandelier, area rug and to paint a few things like my pedestal table, but I think I better post this now before moving onto more projects. The lesson today is that WHITE DOVE is a perfect white if you are on the hunt for one.

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…DIY love.

There is one thing that you cannot say about DH and I and that is that we are lazy. We pour sweat out on the weekends working on projects. We’ve always been a bit crazy like this.

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We purchased our first home when we were newly married and spent every weekend renovating our house. We spent more time at Home Depot then anywhere else in those days. We tiled, painted, framed a basement, sanded floors, landscaped, built a deck, a shed, installed doors and windows, installed countertops, knocked down walls and built furniture.

This was our first home. We were 25 years old. DH convinced me to move into a fixer-upper with the hope that we would eventually tear it down and build. That would come after many, many of our own projects.

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When we were not at the hardware store we were working or watching DIY shows. We lived it. This is one of my favorite pictures and favorite projects. Tearing out all the mint green & black tile from our first bathroom. And we were LUCKY to have the green and not the pink like other homes in our neighborhood!

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Even my first birthday present as a married woman was a pedastal sink! (Yes, I still give DH grief about that one!)

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We are still living the DIY lifestyle and teaching our kids that it is worth the time, effort and money to put into the space that you LIVE in. Home is everything.

All that to say that this is the summer of updating here in the Bensten house. We decided to replace all our carpeting, which led to refinishing our wood flooring, adding wood flooring to the master bedroom, red carpet to our new movie room, a backyard fence, patio and landscaping. I then moved onto the details, like a change of paint for the master, an area rug, and new chandelier. This then inspired me to repaint some of the pieces on our mail level. Needless to say we have not stopped.

Here a look at the chaos.

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I will be posting on paint colors, rug colors/brands and the projects we have going on this week. It’s what I’m living and breathing at the moment. But don’t worry about us, we are used to breathing in a bit of dust from our projects & lifestyle so it all feels normal.

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…blue egg Q&A’s

Here are your Q&A’s! Some of these are from June so I appreciate your patience, Dear Friends. Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

I’m having a hard time finding lye soap to clean my wax brush. Is there something else I could use?

You can find lye soap at your local hardware store. Ask if you are having trouble finding it. I also soak my brushes overnight and then use Dawn or dish washing soap most of the time!

Me and my big mouth… Old and not in great shape kitchen cabinets in a rental property need painting. First pass three years ago was just done in black latex over the existing original… which may have been wood stained… or white painted… not sure. I piped up and said that I thought ASCP in graphite with distressing would look better and be easier than repainting with latex. Am I crazy? This is not an upscale property… but of course we want it to look passable. Thoughts?? Advice?? 

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Well, is cost a factor? ASCP is about $39 a can. I do not know your budget, but this is a factor. Secondly, Graphite is not a true black. Is looks like graphite found in a pencil so it definitely has some gray undertones. It is also difficult to make this color look “clean”. It is a good paint color if you are looking for something aged. If this is a property that you are renting and if it were me, I would do latex to save on cost and effort to be honest.

I really like how the vanity turned out on your July 20th blog.  You showed before and after views and I am wondering about the drawers.  Do you paint any of the inside of the drawers, ie the inside lip part and any of the edges inside or do you only paint the outside of the drawers?  I have seen it done both ways and have painted the inside of doors but it seems to be a lot of extra work.  I am going to begin a dresser and desk set and I am wondering if I should be painting any of the insides.  

I never paint the interior of drawers. It is not necessary and I like to see the older, original wood contrasting the paint.

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I was hoping to try the white wash technique on my kitchen cabinets. I have cleaned them really well but there is still a little bit of a sheen/clear coat on them. Do I have to sand it off or can I put the chalk paint right over the top?

I would really do a sample and see what it looks like. I am not sure that a watered down Chalk Paint will work too well on anything “shiny”. You will be able to tell pretty quickly if you like the look by doing a small test.

My second question is when you are buying pieces that you will resale, do you have a limit on what you spend on a piece? I know every piece if different, but an average. I have been looking at antique pieces and many are priced so very high they would not be worth purchasing and trying to resale.

I never spend more than $250 on a vintage piece if I am looking to resell it. I think it is hard to recoup the cost of pieces that are too expensive. However, if there is a piece I see that I want for myself and my home I will spend more. Possibly much more!

I watched one of your tutorials today where you were working on a round pedestal table.  I want to chalk paint an old round library table, however, it has been coated with polyurethane and probably has old wax buildup.  My question is, do I need to remove or treat the old surface before using chalk paint on it??

Is the piece oak or a textured wood? If so, you can go ahead and paint even with poly on it. If the piece is not texture, you cannot get this overall look. You could do a white-wash, but not this weathered look as it needs crevices to seep into.

Does your client sell these pieces or are they her own? I have been looking everywhere for a trunk like this one for my little one to put her toys in.

This particular client is a really good hunter of all things vintage. I would do a search on Etsy!

We just love your garage doors!  Can you let us know the manufacturer, style and stain color?  

I found these doors online and it turned out the my SIL also ordered from the same place. I do not know the name off hand, but I will look into it.

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I am new to gilding (sp?) chalk painted furniture. I want to know how to achieve  the distressed look with it. Do I chalk paint the piece first, apply the gold gilding before or after it’s waxed? When do I distress? I’m afraid I screwed up my antique liquor cabinet trying to do this technique. I chalk painted it first and then applied the gilding. No wax yet. Not sure what to do next. 

If you think you’ve messed up, go back and touch up those spots that you gilded. Should be no problem. Then you will want to clear wax and let that dry for at least a day. You will want to go over with edges sparingly with your gold gilding wax. You can use the tip of your finger or a Q-Tip. Here is a video tutorial that I did on the method.

I’m looking for burlap to cover 4 chairs that I have been working on: where can I go to buy burlap fabric?

I purchase all my burlap from Online Fabric Store.

Do I have to paint primer (B.I.N.) on the notts before painting so that they don’t shine through?

No.

I would like to paint a coffee table. The top I would love to have in a darker wood colour and the down part in old white. Problem with the top  – it’s an orange kind of pine with a vanish on top. How do I achieve a nice dark wooden colour which is also shabby chick?

You will need to strip, sand and stain in order to get this look of a darker wood. This is acheiveable, but will create a big mess and the fumes and dust are not good for you to breath in indoors so be sure to do the work outside. You can buy a stipping agent to loosen up the poly, then you will need to sand with an electric sander until you reach the natural wood. Select a stain from the hardware store and apply it in a straight manner with the grain of the wood with a soft rag. You can do this with some elbow greese and determination!

I went out and bought an oak dining table and a smaller oak table to do this whitewashed finish. Unfortunately, it will not work on “orangey” oak furniture. It just looked like an orange table with old white in the wood grain. I tried to leave it longer and if wiped down at all it was still orange. I ended up painting it French Linen and doing a white wash over it. It turned out lovely, but it cannot be done with the whitewash technique alone on old orange oak. The orange still shows and will not be a pretty grayish. I guess it takes a dark oak stain for this. I am trying to warn readers. I will continue to look for darker pieces to use your method. 

Hmmm. Interesting. I would keep working with it if it’s not too late. Maybe you could take a light sand paper and try to sand off some of that orange stain. Maybe you could put down a thing white wash before you try the weathered wood technique. Maybe strip the color off with a chemical. If you are up for it I would really experiment.

How to clean the furniture after I’ve refinished it and waxed it? The dressers are wood, but I don’t know if any cleaning products would be safe to use with the wax coat. 

Everyone says something different to this question. I guess the safest would be soap and warm water. I, however, live a different lifestyle with little kids and pets and have not time for special treatment. I use everything to clean my painted pieces. When painted pieces wear it enhances the shabby look that I love. You can tip toe around your pieces or you can live with them.

 I know you used gray, but the darker highlights. Is that color or dark wax? 

The darker areas are me not painting the crevices and letting the wood show throw. I love this look too.

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I would love to know how you took out the “inlay” piece beside the glass, that is the thing that intimidates me…just don’t want to “mess it up”.

These delicate inlays will typically have tiny nails that hold them in place. The trick is to pull these out carefully without damaging the piece. In all honesty, DH did this work so let me go ask him and I’ll get back to you! Ha!

I have watched your videoblog online and have a Chalk Paint question I hope you can answer. I was looking to refinish my kitchen with white paint but the sales person at my local shop recommended the Old White. Now that it is on my kitchen cabinets it looks yellow – like butter yellow. Without removing all of the cabinets and starting all over, is there a way to lighten the color? Can I add the Pure White to some Clear Wax and use that to cover all of the surfaces then buff it off in the hopes that it lightens the yellow color? I don’t really need to do any distressing or anything, I just want the butter yellow to go away.

Yes, the Old White is like an aged white, which is lovely, but if you are not happy with it I’m sure very disappointing. You could try to do a white wash over it, but I’m afraid the original color will still come through. Color is color and there is no way to really change it without…changing it. Terribly sorry.

I am getting ready to finish a round oak table but I heard that if I seal it with AS clear wax it will show any scratches or water marks from normal use.  I hear that Polyvine wax finish is awesome.  Do you have any thoughts?

If you really want to seal your piece you can use a poly. I love the clear wax because it offers some protection without changing the look. I am not afraid of some wear. Furniture is not invincible!

Where do you buy your lovely applique moldings?  

Van Dyke’s sells some great appliques!

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I am getting ready to tackle a china cabinet very similar to the one shown on your page. Only the middle glass pane opens. I want to of course paint the inside and am wondering if you have any tips to do this? I am so nervous about being sure I get full coverage having to reach around inside to paint. Can you please give me any advise to make this task easier?

I will be posting on this very thing next week. Stay tuned.

I was curious what type of camera you used for your photos.

It is a Canon that is actually several years old.

When selling pieces, do you paint the inside/outside of the drawers and the inside panels of the furniture? With a Vintage piece, do you typically fix the drawers inside if it has a break or do you sell it as? 

No, I do not paint in the interior of drawers and I do not fix them. They are vintage and if a customer does not like that look then they may not want to buy vintage to be blunt.

Could you please tell me where you got those adorable stuffed animals on wooden platform with the wheels? I see you have a lion and a giraffe. 

Yes! I heart these too! Restoration Hardware Baby & Child.

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…building a creative business: etsy

Trying to sell off Etsy? Selling furniture, vintage stuff, handmade crafts, jewelry? It can be tricky. I love the platform for artists selling their wares and it’s a beautiful place to browse, but….

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As a furniture-seller I have run into issues when it comes to selling on Etsy. It is a platform for people to browse and want to buy furniture, but before that happens I need to find shipping. I say this in the description of my pieces, but customers do not always read this important clause and it becomes a sticky matter.

In the shipping field I typically type zero dollars. This is not because shipping is free, it is because I am not a company that ships furniture. I am a person with a small business and I use USHIP, which is a bid-driven shipment site. The way it works is that I list a shipment with delivery address, pick up, size of piece and schedule and shippers going that way can bid on the job. These “shippers” can be professionals or people with trucks looking to earn some money. There is a rating system, insurance options and you can track these drivers. It has actually worked really well for me for the past six years.

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(Yes, it is the same site used on the show Shipping Wars.)

What are the Etsy issues I run into?

1. Shipping from East Coast to West Coast is almost triple the cost of the piece. I’m talking minimum bids of $900!!!

2. Shipping bids can be too costly for customers. Some customers do not realize that shipping from an independant seller is not like shipping from Pottery Barn. It is costly. A good price going from state to state is minimum of $200ish. I get excited when I get a bid around this price because it is reasonable. However, there are times that I have to convince the buyer that this is the best we can get. Not fun.

2. Customers purchasing piece BEFORE we figure out shipping. I then have to convo them, let me them know that I can’t sell what I can’t get to them, issue a refund. Everyone is disappointed.

3. Customers sad & disappointed and rate my shop poorly due to shipping issues.

Because of all this, I list very little on Etsy. Don’t get me wrong, I have been very successful selling on Etsy, but it takes patience and work to maintain. I think what buyers and sellers need to remember is that it is not a perfect system. You are not all of a sudden working for Restoration Hardware and have their platform. It is still your small business trying to make a complete sale.

If you can put in the effort and don’t mind interacting with people that are not used to this system then it can be a great resource. Just make sure you are aware that it is not always smooth sailing.

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