A desire to update our massive, dark, ugly stone fireplace has led me to a great discovery: chalk paint! It started when I did an Internet search for ways to give a dated fireplace a new look. Short of having our fireplace torn out and replaced at a cost of several thousand dollars, I wanted something that would be (a) inexpensive, (b) relatively easy to do and (c) would be acceptable to Hubs. His typically masculine preference for decor that's dark and woodsy has frequently clashed with my preference for decor that's light, bright and white.
Erin Anderson's lovely blog. Erin treated her natural stone fireplace to a wash of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint mixed with water in a 1:3 ratio. Her now-updated fireplace has the same look I'm hoping to duplicate: lighter in tone, and refined rather than rustic.
My fireplace at present could be described as "Adirondack run amuck." It's 12 feet long, 8 feet high, and totally overwhelms its surroundings. It would fit right in at a hunting lodge, but in our house it's the proverbial elephant -- or should I say moose?? -- in the living room.
Anyway, when I saw the photos Erin posted of her fireplace makeover, I decided I just HAD to get my hands on some chalk paint. I had never heard of chalk paint before, but it intrigued me for several reasons. First, it needs NO prepping: no sanding, no primer, just a clean surface. The surface can be wood, metal, glass, ceramic, stone ... darned near anything. It yields a beautiful "soft" appearance, can be distressed if desired, and it comes in a wide range of decorator colors. It looked fantastic on Erin's fireplace. But before taking a plunge of similar magnitude I wanted to try it out on something small first, just to see what it was like to work with.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint seems to be the best known brand, but at this time it's available in a limited number of retail locations and by mail order only. Being impatient, I didn't want to wait for a mail delivery, and I didn't have time to drive into the city to visit the nearest stockist, as retailers carrying the line are called.
Another Internet search led me to Decor Chalky Finish Paint from DecoArt Americana, which is sold at Hobby Lobby and a number of other retailers. So I promptly drove to a nearby Hobby Lobby and bought an 8 ounce jar of it in a beautiful turquoise color for $8.99. I have no way of comparing it to Annie Sloan's, but I'd like to give hers a try in the future.
My first try was on a wooden mug rack I found earlier this year in a thrift shop. The Decor formulation glided onto it as smooth as butter. It reminded me of painting with pastels, a medium often described as "sensual." Truly, this paint is sensual also. It delivered a wonderfully rich, matte appearance, transforming that nondescript mug rack into a good looking accent piece. Cleanup was a piece of cake: soap and water and done. Love it, love it, love it!
One 8 ounce jar of this stuff covers 60 square feet, according to the label. So now I'm painting a console table with it. I'm not done yet, but already I can tell my tired looking table is going to look sensational when it's finished. And after the holidays I'll take on the fireplace. Using a color other than turquoise, of course! :) So stay tuned -- I'll be posting pics soon.
©2014 Lynn Edwards