How to Paint a Restoration Hardware type Finish on a Table

Finished Table

I found this little table and 4 chairs at a garage sale.

The original finish was maple.  It needed some work and I decided to update it with paint. (of course!)

I really DO NOT like to strip furniture!

But I felt like I needed to strip the top of this table so that the paint would penetrate the wood and give a more interesting finish.

 After stripping the top, I made a mix of half and half French Linen and Old White Chalk Paint®.

This mix creates a light grey color.

I added about 20% water to thin it.

I painted the top with the French Linen/Old White mixture –

as you can see, I really didn’t try to cover it evenly.

Let it dry.  (Doesn’t take too long to dry!  Maybe 30 minutes or so.)

After it dried, I sanded the top using an electric sander.

I don’t usually use an electric sander when distressing Chalk Paint® or Milk Paint, but in this case, I wanted to do alot more sanding than ususal and the electric sander is much quicker.  I used 220 grit sandpaper.

The sanding makes the surface very smooth and shows up the grain in the wood.

The next step was to apply a second color.

I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint “Trophy”, which is a dark grey.

The great thing about Milk Paint is that it soaks into the surface more than other paint and really creates depth.

I mixed the Trophy powder about 1:3 with water to make a wash.

I covered the whole surface with the thinned out Milk Paint.

This layer will dry quickly also!

Sand with electric sander.


My goal with the sanding was to smooth the surface again and to show up some of the warmth of the wood grain.

At this point, the overall color was a bit too gray, so I wanted to add some lightness.

I thinned down some Old White Chalk Paint®.

Painted a thin layer over the surface, not a perfect coat, just enough to cover.

Let it dry and sand again.

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what I was doing during this whole process! 

I knew I wanted sort of a white wash look but with some grey tones.

The finish evolved as I applied each layer.  At one point, I thought I was going to hate this finish but it started getting more beautiful as I added each color.   Someone had once told me  (I think it was Annie Sloan!) that, when adding layers of paint, start with a medium tone as the first color and then add the dark and light over top.  I used this advice for this table top and it worked great!

The final step was to apply Clear Soft Wax, two coats.

I experimented with adding a layer of Dark Wax on top of the Clear Wax but I didn’t like it, so I wiped it off with a little bit of mineral spirits.


The base of the table and the chairs were painted with Old White Chalk Paint® and Clear Soft Wax.

Before and After

It really is a very pretty finish and is not hard to do.

Don’t be afraid to use layers and to experiment with using Chalk Paint® and MMS Milk Paint together on the same piece!

How to Transfer Flower Images to an Old Window


I found an old window at an Antique Store. 

The color of the vintage paint was beautiful and

it still had its original rusty hinges!

But most of the glass panes were missing.


The old green paint seemed like spring time to me

so I thought flowers would look pretty in the panes.

The first thing we did was cut plywood pieces to fit inside the panes.


Then I tore some pages from an outdated encyclopedia.


I adhered the pages to the pieces of plywood

using Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel.


The Transfer Gel can be used as a decoupage medium as well as a Transfer Gel.

I applied the Transfer Gel to the plywood and the back of the pages.

After adhering the pages to the plywood,

I also applied a coat of Transfer Gel to the top of the pages to seal them.  Let them dry.

The flower images I used were in a book of Southern botanicals – they happened to be the perfect size for this project!


I didn’t have to tear them out of the book to use the images.

The most important part of the process is to make laser copies of the images that are to be transferred.

Most copy centers have laser printers.

I took my book to Staples and made color copies of the flowers.

Its so easy and so much fun to use the Transfer Gel!

Just spread a coat of Transfer Gel on the surface (the plywood covered in paper)

and spread a thin coat on the front of the image to be transferred.



Then place the image face down on the surface and smooth it out from the center with your hands.

There will be a few bubbles but they are fairly easy to get rid of.


Once it is smooth, let it dry overnite for best results.

The next day, you will need a spray bottle to spritz the surface with water.

Spritz a small area (not soaked, just wet enough that you can see the ink from the image showing through),

then use two or three fingers to rub the paper in a circular motion until it starts to come off.

Its a messy process, lots of little pieces of paper!

And it takes a bit of patience to slowly remove the paper but its very rewarding to see the image appear!


Sometimes its hard to know when all the paper has been removed

but I’ve found that I have to keep rubbing until I feel no more small balls of paper coming off.

Once all the paper is removed, it will feel a bit damp so let it dry

then you have the option to seal it.  I like to use either Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel.

I cut off the excess paper from the edges with an exacto knife

and glued the boards into the window.



I love how the window turned out!

Can’t wait to do more projects!

There are so many things you can do with Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel!

One thing to remember is that if you are transferring an image that has letters or numbers on it,

it has to be a mirror image of the original.

We also carry Artisan Enhancements’ products in our retail stores and online store.


We opened our new store in Cumming, Georgia a few weeks ago and we love it!

It was a lot of work getting it ready but worth it.

For a couple months,  I spent hours on Pinterest looking for store ideas.

Some of my favorite pins were rooms with old, white brick walls.



So is this one!

 Emily Wren Photography

 My vision for my store was a combination of whites, greys, and other neutrals.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy to achieve this look in a retail space in a shopping center!  I was on a tight budget and a tight timeline.  Unfortunately,  dirty, old white bricks were nowhere to be found!

So I settled for a mix of brown and grey veneer brick applied on the back wall of my store.

    Cumming bricks install

They definitely added character to the space but looked too new.  I mentioned to everyone who saw them that I really wanted white bricks.  Then I mentioned that I was thinking about painting them.  “DON’T PAINT THE BRICKS!”  they all said.   “You’ll ruin them,” they all said.  “They look good the way they are.”   So I didn’t paint the bricks, at least not right away.  But then a few days later we installed a new floor and the combination of all the browns and greys was just too much.  Too many colors and too much texture.  It hurt my eyes every time I walked in the door.



So one day when I was all alone in the store, I poured some Old White Chalk Paint® in a small roller pan, took out my mini fabric whiz roller, and started painting the bricks!  I have to admit I was scared to death!  What if all those people are right and I ruin all these beautiful, expensive bricks!  But I kept going and just rolled the Chalk Paint® gently over the surface of the bricks.



I tried to cover up the colors of the brick that I didn’t like and left the grey areas showing through.  After I finished a small corner, I stepped back and looked.  It was EXACTLY what I wanted!  I kept going and finished the entire wall in about 45 minutes.  I didn’t have to prep or clean the bricks because they were brand new.


  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE BRICKS NOW!  And everyone who told me not to paint the bricks….THEY ALL LOVE THEM TOO!

It was the easiest and fastest “faux finish” I’ve ever done and totally transformed my store.

Cumming store bricks2

Just another example of what the amazing Chalk Paint® can do!

 (The bricks and floor were installed by “Three Little Dogs Flooring & Interiors” of Cumming, Ga.  They did a great job and are fantastic to work with!  This is NOT a paid announcement.)