our catherine always has her discerning eye peeled for a find, and she scored huge when she spotted a bedroom suite with beautiful lines (but with a terrible paint/glaze job, and lots of damage) at a local junque dealer. cash in hand, she bought all four pieces for a song. this will give you an idea of the sort of unfortunately heavy-handed finish that had been put on the whole set:
for this linen-press-style piece (the cabinet doors reveal two deep drawers inside) my studio squad teamed up to create a fabulous finish. first, after a thorough cleaning, margaret and catherine applied two coats of chalk paint® in paris grey.
renee, our unofficial vp of sparkle-and-glamor, took up a tiny brush and put gilding size on all of the details and trim, gently applying the gold leaf when the size was properly tacky.
to accomplish another favorite annie sloan method of ours, ‘rococo gilding’, renee brushed clear shellac over the gilded areas, and then covered the whole piece with a wash of paris grey lightened with old white, using a technique that annie calls ‘frottage‘. (both rococo gilding and frottage are described in detail in her book, color recipes for furniture, and taught at our chalk paint® 202 workshop, by the way.) instead of using crumpled paper, though, renee patted the wash with a soft cloth, blending it further with a barely-damp brush. over the details with gold leaf, we used a damp cloth to ease back the wash, revealing the softened gilding, for this beautiful ‘knocked-back’ effect.
on this piece, the frottage’d wash also softens the large flat planes, and helps camouflage some of the repairs that were made. i love the way it makes the gold leaf look as if it were lost, and then found again.
finally, we sealed the piece with annie sloan’s clear soft wax, our favorite way to protect chalk paint® and bring it to life. allowing the wax to dry overnight makes it easy to buff to this gorgeous sheen:
to keep the focus on the pretty details, we painted over the inexpensive hardware, and treated it to the same wash and wax, letting it fade away. as much as we adore this press, it is available for sale at our midtown memphis studio.