About Me

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Hi, I'm Suzanne and I'm a stay at home mother to three. I have started my own vintage furniture business and am writing this blog to document its journey from idea to reality. My favorite things include my Matthew, Ella and Sophie, my handsome husband and all things PAINT! Believe me, I am not an experienced business person but I do know how to sand, strip, paint and am a DIY queen, so please follow along as I navigate the ups and downs of The Painted Drawer. Please join in the fun and become a member or subscribe. Cheers!

The Painted Drawer on Etsy



I went to a party one evening about 13 years ago and was absolutely blown away by the woman's house. Her whole home was "shabby chic", which was new to me then. The next day I drove to Benjamin Moore and purchased a gallon of Linen White (that was the first of many gallons of Linen White). I decided not to be afraid and to paint everything. So, the walls, doors, stairs, banisters, basement, kid's furniture, my furniture, basically everything that I could paint, I did. It transformed our home and made it light and bright, young and fresh. I loved it and still do! This page is all about creating a home full of unique vintage finds that have been transformed for today's modern home. 

Maison Blanche Chalk Based Paint
The other day while at The Old Luckett's Store, I ran into two woman who were busy stocking the shelves with a new line of chalk based paint called - ooh, la la - Maison Blanche (may I add that it comes in a beautifully decorated tin).  It turns out they own a shop called The Spotted Leopard in Warrenton, VA and are resellers for Maison Blanche.  They now sell the paint at The Old Lucketts Store and I happened upon them as they were filling up their shelves (on an aside, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint is no longer being sold there.  I believe she is now selling online and through other vendors).

The colors of the Maison Blanche line are absolutely gorgeous.  They also sell a whole line of waxes and other neat products, such as an antiquing dust called Le Dirt!  I ended up purchasing one quart of paint in the color Sugar Cane, which is a very pale french grey, and the dark wax.  

I decided to test it out on a little table.

Here is the before...
and here it is after one coat...
After two coats, it still needed touching up in places.  I believe it's because the table was a dark wood and the color a very light color.  Here it is after the third coat and distressed with a 220 grit sandpaper.  Interesting fact is that it must be thicker than other chalk based paint I use because it needed more effort to sand back - the 600 grit wasn't doing it.

Now to the wax - I LOVE it.  What does appeal to me about the dark wax is that it goes directly onto your paint without having to put the clear wax on first.  It also does not give that "dirty" look (I guess I need to purchase Le Dirt for that!).  I believe the more you add, the "dirtier" you can get it.  I just wanted a slightly aged appearance and so only applied one coat.  It went on very smoothly and had no odor.  The wax gave the color a slightly deeper shade, which you can see in the difference between the picture above and below. 

I quickly added a bit of white to the drawer's details and here it is with the dark wax applied...

I am hoping to try another one of their colors soon.  Great to have another whole line to choose from!

Curvy Front Dresser with Mirror

This dresser will be forever in my memory as the piece that was SUCH a pain to sand!  Let me preface this by saying that I do own a circular sander but I really wanted to stain the top of this piece.  I was afraid that the circular sander would mark it up too badly for me to stain.

At one point, a really terrible shellac job had been applied to the top and it needed to be taken off.  It was uneven and had dried all goopy in places.  In order to stain or paint it, there was no getting around sanding it.

Out with the 80 grit paper and I went to town!  As I was sanding away, it looked as though there was a thin layer of nail polish that was adhered to parts of it.  No matter how hard I sanded, it was still there.  So, I kept sanding, and sanding, and sanding...you get the idea.

I finally thought it was good to go and put on the stain.  Well, it was a fiasco.  The stain didn't adhere in parts and the whole thing was a splotchy mess. Like a thin filmy layer was on some of it.  I was in such a mood I had to go to Target for a break!  Then the kids were home and it was over for the day.  Went to bed with a very sore arm and hand...

At this point, I could have given up and said enough!  Paint it already!  I mean, that is what I do, right?  I paint!  But, I just couldn't let it get the best of me and so off to Home Depot for the 60 grit paper and one more try.  

Here it is after a thorough sanding with 60, then 80 to 120 to 220...

I'm smiling behind the mask.  I won!

Here is another project that I ended up loving.  It was a very outdated, nasty orange and dark wood chair.  But...it had amazing "bones" with a shell carving on top and a lovely caned back.  The chair itself was in amazing condition - the caning was all intact and the legs sturdy - so into my minivan it went. 

I decided on a gray color and distressed it back.  I found this beautiful fabric at our local G Street Fabrics and it was exactly what it needed.  After peeling back a few decades of fabric off the seat (none of it nice) I was able to put the new on and it looks terrific.  I hope you all like it too.  It is amazing what paint can do!

My cat, Baxter, peering through!

July 28 -

I was (finally) able to finish the fabulous sideboard!  This has been quite the project with a lot of disruptions.  Power outages, heat waves, kids home...you get the idea.  I was so anxious to finish it all up and take some pictures.  Here's how it went!

The gray kept coming back and haunting me.  It took two more coats of Old White to cover the gray and even then, after I sanded it down smooth, it still showed through a bit.  It ended up adding something interesting to the final effect than just the solid white.  I waxed it all and was finally able to put the vintage pulls back on the drawers for a second time!

I took my Brasso and wire brush and scrubbed the wheels to clean them as best I could.  I never sell a piece with rusty old wheels that could stain someone's rug.  My husband was able to fix the two wheels that were giving me trouble and they all came out clean and in good working condition.  The top really looks GORGEOUS.  I think it is the best part of the piece.  The backboard was painted in the white and distressed and looks really great against the darker wood. 

Here are a few pics from my garage (sorry) and one or two from my new shop at On A Whim.  Hope you all like it!  Next up is my dining table re-do.  It is a fantastic find with two leaves and will look amazing when done!

Here it is - all done - and don't you just love the little adirondack chair?  Thinking of keeping that one for my Sophie May!
The Painted Drawer at On A Whim

July 11 -

I was finally able to get to work again on the curvy legged sideboard.  I am delayed about a week with the heat and our beach get away.  It was a long day...

First, I added another coat of Annie Sloan Old White over the whole thing.  For some reason, the paint was really thick and it needed watering down.  Then, I gave the sideboard a sand to make it super smooth.  I suddenly had the idea of painting a mixture of Paris Grey mixed with white in a light coat on top.  Mistake!  I didn't like it and decided to go over it again with the Old White.  This required another sanding and yet another coat of Old White for full coverage and more sanding.  Talk about making extra work for myself!  The fact that I did the whole thing before deciding I didn't like it was just so "me".  I don't know why I always do that!  I mean, I should be able to tell with just one drawer done but no, I always end up having to re-do the whole thing.  I really do get ticked when my "great" ideas are flops!  Love it when the work though!

The body was then lightly distressed, which made the cutouts on the top and drawers pop out a little and gives the piece a lot of character.  I sanded down the rim of the top along the front and along the back where it meets the back piece.  This was also quite time consuming because I changed my mind and decided to keep the whole rim natural.  This meant sanding off the part I had painted a few days ago (yes, the whole rim).  After destroying yet another fingernail, it was done.  I then vacummed and wiped the sand off the top and waxed it.  Oh, my...gorgeous!

After working on this piece for five hours, I was covered in paint, sand and dust.  I mean, covered from head to toe.  I quickly showered before we left for my kids swim meet.  They did great by the way :)

Here are the issues I still need to address - the rim in front has a few grooves that accidentally got paint in them and need sanding, the inside of the cabinets need painting, the bottom drawer needs one more coat of white to hide the grey and the rim where it meets the back needs a little more work.  I actually ran out of my quart of Old White (even watered down) and need to see Celeste to purchase some more.  It also will need to be waxed all over for protection and that lovely hand rubbed finish. 

The good news is that I found the missing wheel inside the cabinet :) and I LOVE the way it is turning out.  Love, love, love!


July 5 -

I am finally able to update my Projects page! We are going on day 6 of no power at our house in Maryland due to last week's storm. We are camping out in our basement due to the furnace-like conditions upstairs but I managed to get into my garage and paint for a bit today.  Never mind the 100 degrees plus humidity.  A paintaholic always needs her paint fix!  
I started by rolling on a cream color Behr Paint and Primer.  I had bought the paint a while ago at Home Depot in the "oops" section.  This is a big pile of discarded paint that customers end up not wanting after seeing the color.  I was thinking that it would look nice to roll it out and pick out the details.  Unfortunately, it didn't look the way I had hoped.  There was too much dark wood showing through and, with the dark top, it made it heavy looking.  I thought I would let the paint sit for a while and then go over it with chalk paint.  I thought that Old White would make it brighter and soften it.  This happens all of the time.  I have an idea in my mind of how a project should look but, once started, it takes on a life of its own. 
Then came the problem.  Lesson learned - paint really doesn't like super hot weather.  When I applied the chalk paint over the Behr, the paint underneath started to gum up.  It started to peel off underneath and created gummy patches - the heat must have stopped it from adhering - not good!  I was so upset thinking how I would have to sand it all off and start again.  A lot of work and I love this piece and was worried that the "oops" paint had ruined it.  I always think "It's just paint and can be fixed," but in this case I was worried.  I went ahead and applied a watered down coat of the Annie Sloan Old White over the whole piece, gummy bits and all.  Once it dried, I took out the sandpaper and lightly sanded it down.  Thank goodness, the finish smoothed out.  It will need another coat of chalk paint and another sanding down to give it the finish I am looking for. 
Next, I am thinking of adding a little Duck Egg to the Old White to add around the detailed parts.  This is why I love chalk paint.  It is so much fun to mix the colors to make a custom one of your own.  Or, maybe I will keep it all white and add some dark wax over clear to make the detail pop.  I need to think about it.  I still need to work some more on the top.  I sanded down the rim and painted the bottom section of it and left the top natural.  This way, when the drawer is placed back in, there will be a bit of white between the drawer and the natural top. 
Off to the beach tomorrow for a long weekend - in the cool!  I hope to finish the sideboard when I return next week.   It is starting to really shape up :)
Here you can see where the paint underneath had not adhered
Looking better after a light coat of chalk paint and a quick sand
The rim painted white underneath and left natural on top
Pretty drawer with only the primer rolled on

The Painted Drawer is working on creating a complete dining room. I have a wonderful table with extensions and a curvy sideboard to get started on and can't wait to put it all together!

I'm starting on the sideboard. Here are pics of what I did today. Basically, I decided to sand down the top to show off the beautiful wood grain underneath the dark finish. So, out with the 80, then 120, 220 and finally super fine sandpaper. It looks fantastic!! I still need to put the wax on which will really make it shine.

Starting the sanding process...

The whole top now sanded but still needs the wax (Lucky just hanging out)

Just put the wax on a small corner to see what the finish will look like - LOVE

I always sand my pieces by hand because it gives me more control. My husband has suggested a planer sander but I haven't tried one yet. If anyone reading this has used one before, please let me know your thoughts on it. As long as I go along with the grain and have patience, the result is always worth it. I also cleaned, patched and sanded the body today so it's ready for tomorrow - my favorite day - paint day :) Let's see, chalk paint, milk paint or good old latex? I'll have to sleep on it!


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