So Many Paints, So Little Time

So Many Paints, So Little Time


Paint is one of the oldest forms of decor, yet the technology of paint production and use has progressed to keep up with current technology.  The choices you have for painting your furniture are varred.  The primary types of paint used in furniture painting are chalk style paint, milk paint and latex paint. Oil-based or Alkyd Paint is not typically used in furniture. There are plenty of variations within those categories.


Chalk Style Paint

Essentially any water based paint with a chalky binder is chalk paint.  Chalk is defined by Webster as “a soft white, gray, or buff limestone composed chiefly of the shells of foraminifera or a prepared form of chalk.”  In the paint world, this chalky substance has expanded to include fossil, mud, plaster of paris, tile grout and more.  While the market previously was dominantly by Annie Sloan, there are now loads of great chalk paints on the market.  My far leading favorite is a newcomer on the block:  General Finishes Chalk Style Paint.  The color palette is rich and deep, the ease of use and cleanup are unmatched and the leveling properties are remarkable.  No matter how many times I have to go over and fix one of my mistakes, the finish always comes out smooth and consistent – no brush strokes.

General Finishes Chalk Paint Color Pallette

I am also a fan of making my own chalk paint from latex paint – described in the Latex section..


Milk Paint

Milk paint is a nontoxic water-based paint. It is made from milk and lime, generally with pigments added for color.  Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein (milk protein) and as a preservative.  Milk paint has been used for thousands of years. It is extremely durable, often lasting for hundreds of years if protected from the elements. It is made of all-natural ingredients, and is very safe and non-toxic once applied. Traditional milk paint is sold as a powder and must be mixed with water for each use.  Once milk paint has been mixed, it must be used within a day.  My favorite milk paint is the next generation of technology.  General Finishes Milk Paint is a high quality interior/exterior pre-mixed paint. It’s not a true “casein based milk paint” but a modern version of old world paint with a strong mineral base. It is adaptable and UV resistant, and can mixed, lightened, distressed, glazed and layered.  It is the best paint on the market, in my opinion, for painting kitchen cabinets.  This translates to furniture by providing rock solid adhesion after it has cured for three week.  It does not need a top coat, but I always use a wax or poly to a furniture paint job.

Generla Finishes Milk Paint Color Palette

You can make your own milk paint at home that is closely related to the original version.  Here is a recipe from Earth’s Pigments and a recipe from Martha Stewart and a recipe from Bob Vila.


Latex or Acrylic – or is it – Latex and Acrylic

I often get asked about the difference between acrylic and latex paint.  Essentially there is no difference.  Natural latex is a milky fluid produced by various seed plants (milkweed, spurge, and poppy families) and is the basis of rubber. Latex paint is a category of paints that includes several types of acrylic paint.  This Latex category is water-based and made up of synthetic polymers that resemble natural latex—but there is no actual natural latex in them.  So, when comparing, it’s not latex or acrylic: the terms can loosely be used interchangeably.   Generally speaking, the higher the acrylic amount, the better the quality.


When making my Furniture Rescue Paint, I like to use Behr Matte Premium Plus Ultra.  It is paint and primer in one, can be tinted to any color, is super durable and mixes well with plaster or paris. Here is my recipe.

Pick Your First Piece of Furniture to Paint

How to Pick the First Piece

The shape of your first piece will determine the scope of your project rather than the size.  The easiest piece to paint, in my opinion is a small to medium night stand or a small chest of drawers.  They are essentially the same piece, they just vary in size.  The solid surfaces and clean intersections create less of an environment to make a mistake.  These items pictured below are small enough to lift myself and can easily fit on my plastic folding table.

I like to use a plastic folding table, because it doesn’t take up much room when it’s folded up, it’s very strong and has been able to hold as much weight as I’ve been able to lift onto it (so far) and I don’t care how much paint I splatter or drip on it.  It has a wonderful colorful patina on it now.  It used to look like this,folding table2

If you are interested in painting a really heavy piece, a spindle bed frame or a set of spindle chairs, you might consider getting a few easier project under you belt first.  These projects are not super hard, they are just much more time consuming.  While a chair is small, each spindle need to be painted separately.  While a bed has flat sides, there are lots and lots of flat sides. If you’re just starting out, it feels great to be able to start and finish a job in one day.  If time drags on or you have to wait for help, it could be frustrating.  Build up your confidence with a fast win.

Lots of spindles
hard to paint1hard to paint2

Super heavy
hard to paint6hard to paint5

Lots of surfaces
hard to paint7hard to paint8

Now that you’ve picked out what you’re going to paint, you need to decide what paint you will use.  Stay Tuned

It’s Back to School Time!!


It’s that wonderful time of year again!  The kids are back to school and it’s time for you to reclaim your house.  Shake out all of the summertime sand, clear out the clutter of lazy days, freshen up the foyer, and rejoice in the time to finally fulfill all of those decorating dreams!  Just remember as we dash about in our styling frenzy to keep our eyes open for that yellow schoolbus and all precious cargo that might be crossing the streets.

Front Doors and Front Porches – They wait all year for Christmas

Christmas - Front Door 2Christmas - Front Door 4 Christmas - Front Door 3 Front Door - Christmas Christmas - Front Door 6 Christmas  - Front Door 5Even if you don’t have time to go all out this Holiday Season, spend a little time on your front door.  All you really need is a garland, a wreath and a few embellishment.  I suggest fresh greens so you get that wonderful evergreen aroma every time you cross the threshold.  The embellishments bring on the creative side.  Simply add a solid red or silver bow – or go all out with a whimsical ornament theme or a woodland creature theme or anything in between.

You can also use things that you already.  Hearty potted plants and topiaries look perfectly festive with lights, ribbons or ornaments.  Do you have an old sled or ice skates in the garage?  Prop them beside the door.  You can even buckle a black belt around a solid red pillow and it has an instant Santa feel.

Have fun and please send a picture of your entryway to me and I’ll post them on the Facebook page.

Cultural protrait photographer Steven Miller featured at The Front Porch

photo 4(2)We have added fine art and photography to our furniture and home decor collections and this month are featuring the powerful black and white photography of Steven L. Miller. With a global perspective and a discerning eye, Miller’s images are committed to documenting the human condition. His work has been collected by the Smithsonian and we are thrilled to be offering our customers the opportunity to collect his work.

Mid Century Modern Collection @ the Front Porch

Our partnership with the savvy collectors at Barefoot Dwelling is giving us the opportunity to showcase some spectacular Mid-Century Modern  pieces at The Front Porch.  Be sure to stop by and check out these mid-century classics.   photo(2)

Come on now – wouldn’t it be fabulous to watch a few classic episodes of the Jetsons while perched on this blue Pod Overvan Sofa.  The  turquoise Thonet chairs and  set of three side tables will complete the experience.


Looking for just the piece to give your design style an photo 2industrial edge?  We can help with that. Check out this  great side table made from electrical hardware storage drawers.

Be sure to stop in a see the complete collection.

great mid century modern entertainment bar from our partners Barefoot Dwelling.

Just in time for holiday entertaining a stunning mid- century modern bar cart from our partners Barefoot Dwelling.

We are getting in the Holiday Mood @ the Front Porch

The Front Porch is loaded up with new holiday items and good cheer too.

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We just received a fabulous new collection of holiday photo 3(4)themed pillows from Odds and Nipperkids.



We also just got in a charming collection of holiday napkins from Flowery Fussbudget that will set you holiday bar cart or dining table apart from the standard issue.  You’ll want to be sure to check out our unique Christmas  stockings hanging from the fireplace  – do I need to tell you that no two are alike!   photo 5(2)photo 1(2)

Come see us when we reopen after the Thanksgiving Holiday and we will help you check off your gift list with unique and one -of-a -kind treasure.

Dave’s Tips Easy, non-toxic bath for gunked up or painted hardware


Need to bring back that bling to painted over hardware?  This is a no-fuss and non-toxic method that will make your hardware shine again. Remember how rejuvenated you feel after a long, hot, sudsy soak in the tub?  Well it works for that old hardware too.  The paint-to-shine-xdifference is the metal pieces take their long, hot, sudsy soak in a crock-pot. This method, advocated by Brad Kittel, owner of Discovery Architectural Antiques, in Gonzales, Texas, uses nothing more than water, a bit of liquid detergent, and heat to break the paint bond. Typically the paint layers will slide off just using your fingers. If some stubborn bits remain just scrub those off using a nylon brush.  Don’t using  anything harsher or you’ll risk  scratching the hardware.51ZN2nh-0eL._AA160_

We recommend a beeswax furniture polish after stripping to restore the sheen to solid brass or thickly plated hardware. Two of our favorites we use at the Front Porch and Back Dorr are Van Gogh and Daddy Van’s beeswax and we keep them in stock. So give it a try and let us know how this method works out for you with your next  hardware restoration project.

Paris Je T’aime

We’ve been painting with Paris in Springtime on our minds.  We found a great petite nightstand with two drawers that was just calling to be painted in something fresh!  We used the lovely off-white Cashmere and the bright turquoise van Gogh from the van Gogh Fossil Paint Collection.  We added a little panache with a stencil of the Eiffel Tower and finished the whole thing off with a dark wax that highlighted the wood grain perfectly.We think this is the perfect accent piece for any francophile.   The finished product – C’est magnifique!

A touch of Paris in the Springtime during these dreary winter months!

A touch of Paris in the Springtime during these dreary winter months!

viva la france 2 viva la france