…blue egg q&a’s

Hey Guys.

Here are this week’s Q&As. Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

My original plan was to paint the body graphite leaving the wood trim around the drawers and staining the top a dark walnut. This is not the first time that has happened to me, in fact the last couple of pieces I have done I have run into the same situation. When I started stripping the top I discovered that it was not real wood but seems to be some kind of composit material. There is a wood grain effect but it does not sand like wood and does not appear to take the stain either. I have ended up just painting the top which looks ok but it was not the look I was going for. Have you ever run into this?

Fake wood will never look like real wood even if you sand & stain it. If I were you and I was surprised to find that I did not have real wood and I was planning on just touching it up, then I would bag that idea and just paint the whole darn thing. You can get away with painting over fake wood with no one the wiser, but if you try to treat it as the real thing you will certainly notice.

I have two solid wood stained double front exterior doors on my house. There is very little over-hang to protect them from the elements–rain, hot Florida sun, etc…. I was thinking about painting them with ASCP (w/o waxing) but I am not sure if that would mean more maintenance. What do you think?

I will tell you what I’ve told others and that is that the exterior of Annie Sloan’s retail shop is painted in her Chalk Paint.


I bought a piece of furniture through CL. Got it home and realized it reeked of smoke. I have done everything I read online to get rid of it. Is there any way to get rid of it?

I did a post on smelly furniture. Do a search on my site for great tips from readers as to what to do.

Let’s say you have an ASCP, piece and the person loves the style of the furniture, but not the color. Would you change the color for them if they asked, and what would you charge to do so? I have a space at an antiques shop, and I have heard customers say they love certain pieces in the shop, buy said piece, and then say they are going to have said piece repainted. I’m curious, because if I’m ever asked to repaint one of my pieces I’d like to know what a fare  price is to charge to repaint the piece.

If a client wants a piece of my altered or repainted I charge my refinishing fee. It’s the same amount of work and the same amount of materials. If a piece does not sell I either wait it out (because eventually it will sell), lower the price or change the color. Refinishing it a new color is the last resort for me because once a piece is done and I feel good about it I don’t want to sacrifice that. Since you are in a shop, you don’t have the luxury of just waiting it out since you pay for space. I would set a time limit and if it doesn’t sell repaint to a color that may be more versatile.

Beautiful work on the armoire that was posted on your site and the Stylish Patina blog. In general. what is a reasonable price to pay for a more vintage armoire? I look at Craigslist A LOT but I can’t seem to judge a fair price. Would you be willing to give a range for a piece that you might buy and want to keep for yourself?

Well, the amoire was special. I was looking for a large one with great detail that would hold a flatscreen. These are VERY FEW and far between. I actually didn’t think I was going to be able to find a vintage one and thought I was going to have to find a new one to refinish. I felt lucky and pounced. I ended up paying $800. Yes, I know it’s a hefty sum, but it was perfect. That being said, typically when looking for vintage pieces to redo I try to keep it $200 and under. Otherwise you are not going to make a profit when it is ready to sell. Paint is expensive and your time has a price too. I may go over this if the piece is really great and I know I can get more once finished.

How does Ollie do that?

It is his talent, as Greta would say.


In doing the oak table with the weathered look, do you use one coat of clear wax?

Yes. Apply your clear wax in the same manner.

I hope you can help me with a question on painting. I am working on a headboard/footboard that I turned into a bench. The bed itself is a deep dark brown and of course the new wood we added to the bench is new light colored wood. When I paint and distress how can I get the same look out of both pieces of wood? Do I stain the new wood before I paint or do I go over the distressed marks somehow with a stain?

Yes, try to get the old wood and new wood to match before you paint so there is no difference between the two. You may see a slight color difference so try to compensate for this with your sanding and dark wax.


I just painted a nightstand and headboard in the pure white because the bedroom walls are Restoration Hardware Silver Sage and the pure white looks clean and crisp compared to the old white, which was too yellow.  I’m still not getting the look I am after because the furniture has no character in the pure white–just too stark (even after waxing in clear and then trying a tad of dark wax which made it look dirty)  Any suggestions???

Yes, I know. Pure White is next to a white that you will find retail. It is a color that does not offer much of a unique look. I never use Pure White unless a client asks for it. If I am painting a piece I want it to look aged and have some character. If you are looking for a white with personality use Old White.

If a piece doesn’t sell within a certain time frame what do you do to/with the piece? Repaint it, distress it a little more, lower the price….???

See above.

Even when I paint a small piece my wrist and hand start to get sore. Is there a certain technique to holding a paint brush to keep this from happening?

How long are you painting for? You should not be feeling sore. Are you on a computer all day? Do you have carpal tunnel? I would suggest to rest whenever you feel any strain.

What are your top 5 (or so) ASCP colors? When you go to stock up on your paint, what are your go to colors?

Paris Grey, French Linen, Country Grey, Old White, Duck Egg Blue.


I have a question about the round oak table that you distressed. Do you have to seal it to make it durable for everyday use, or is it even possible to put that much wear and tear on a piece without destroying it?

Clear wax this type of piece like any other. This will probably wear better because the color is not consistent. Like I always say, it is a painted piece and will not survive without a bit of wear. The use will contribute to the shabby look or if you use it hard in a many, many years you can refresh it.

I have painted a mirror with AS Paris Grey, I then waxed with the clear wax and then dark wax, I REALLY like the way it looks with the dark wax over the entire surface,  not just in the crevasses how can I keep that look? I waited 24 hours hoping that the dark wax would “dry” and then I could put another coat of clear on top of that BUT, it keeps taking off the dark wax. Is what I am trying to do even possible ? It’s in a masterbath, so thought it would need an extra layer of protection.

Yes, it is possible. You want to go over the dark wax with your fine steel wool. This will smooth out the dark wax and also take off the excess. Run your finger over it and make sure it’s smooth afterwards. If you want more dark wax then repeat process.


I was wondering how you incorporate some of the other Annie Slone more bolder colors in to your pieces.  Such as English yellow, florence, and arles.  It looks like your coffee table you just finished may have an under coat of Emperor’s silk but only a very little show through.

I don’t. There are colors that I gravitate towards because they are more my aesthetic. I like the look of some of these bolder colors in magazines, but I know real life and chances are they will not fit in an everyday room. Just my opinion. The coffee table was showing just the wood color beneath.

I have the Annie Sloan book that shows how to mix colors, BTW if some of you nesters do not have it I would recommend it, and you have to use some of the less used colors to get the final color your looking for.  I would just like to see some bolder colors being used and how you Wonderful blue egg brown nest would use them.

I never say never, but unless a client asks for a bright color I probably will not be using one for my own home. There are colors that I am just not drawn to because they are not my look. Color is your taste and although experimentation can be fun I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. I also don’t do custom colors for clients due to my work load. To sort out a custom color would take a back and forth and my time does not allow for that.


  1. Thank you! Great info , as always. I love Ollie!!


  2. Use kilz odor killing primer to get rid of odors. its a heavy thick paint and can be tinted and works 100% in killing smells. i had a horribly awful smelling trunk that you could smell from the curb and its perfect now.

  3. Karen Thomas says:

    Hi Christen,
    I thought I recalled a post of yours on one of your shopping trips and you shared where you went. My husband And I are going to be taking a long weekend off and thought doing to some of these places would be fun. If I recall correctly, the places mentioned were not far from us. I hope it was your blog I read this on. I only follow a few.
    Thank you,

  4. Love, love your work! Especially your dining room with the clock. I’ve searched and searched, but cannot find the color for the walls in that room. I believe you said you were going to post it, but I cannot find it Would you mind sharing your paint color? And your source for the dining table/chairs? Thanks so much for all your ideas and creativity that you so freely share with everyone!

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