Arabesque Vanity

Feb 14, 2018 | Tough Coat | 0 comments

Disclaimer Notice
In the interest of being open and transparent with my readers, I partnered with a wholesale hardware company called Rustic Brands for this furniture makeover.

There are a handful of colors that I have never painted with in the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint collection.  February’s Color of the Month, Arabesque, is one of them!

When I bought this vintage vanity off of Facebook Marketplace, I had a feeling I had finally found the perfect canvas for the blush pink color.

The vanity is a pretty neat piece because it completely deconstructs. The four legs unscrew from the body, and the mirror can be taken off via screws under the top. When I bought it, the surface was oddly greasy. Like, I-wonder-if-this-was-sitting-in-an-olive-oil-factory-for-the-last-ten-years greasy.

The finish wasn’t shiny or glossy, so I didn’t think that I needed to scuff the surface to prepare it for Milk Paint. Instead, my Mom wiped it down really well with Mineral Spirits, which is a petroleum-derived degreaser.

I let the piece sit for a few days to give the Mineral Spirits a chance to completely evaporate. I had a feeling that Milk Paint would chip from the surface, but after two coats of Arabesque, it was obvious that the greasy surface had reared its ugly head, and I had massive chipping patches all over the vanity. The paint had completely come off the right side and the legs looked like a pink Dalmatian. Now that’s not the fault of Milk Paint at all. It did what it’s supposed to do – randomly chip from smooth or glossy surfaces. The problem was with the piece I was painting.

It wasn’t a big deal though. I actually had this happen to me before on this dresser.

You can read all about what happened with this piece here.  To fix the issues, I followed the same steps that I did when my dresser chipped.  All of the really bad chipping spots were sanded smooth and Bonding Agent was painted on those patches straight from the bottle.  This is a trick that I learned from some of my fellow Milk Paint retailers!

Bonding Agent is an extra additive that looks like milk and can be mixed into your Milk Paint to help it adhere to slick and glossy surfaces.

After the Bonding Agent dried on the surface of the chippy spots, a fresh batch of Arabesque Milk Paint was mixed up, but this time Bonding Agent was squirted in to make sure the paint stuck for good!  It took two more full coats to cover the chipped patches again and get the vanity to look like this:

Now the Arabesque Milk Paint did chip as I smooth sanded the piece and went in to further distress it.  The chipping wasn’t nearly as much as before though, and it was under much more control!  To seal the piece, I applied a layer of Tough Coat.

Tough Coat is a water-based acrylic polymer resin.  It’s the water-based liquid topcoat in the MMS Milk Paint line and it does not have any shine.  It dries flat, matte and it acts a bit like a coat of clear nail polish.  It seals in chipping patches like a champ, and it’s my go-to choice whenever I have a piece with a chippy finish.

I think it turned out pretty darn cute.  I’ll be honest and say it’s not the look I intended to execute for this piece, but I’ve learned to relax a little bit over the years when I’m painting furniture.  The piece plays a HUGE role in how it turns out, and this piece was going to be chippy no matter what.  So I rolled with the process, trusted my product and leaned into the chippy look.

I actually really like the contrast of the soft and muted pink with the pops of dark wood underneath.  It looks very shabby chic.  Now I don’t know if you’re “allowed” to use that design term anymore because it’s outdated, but that’s exactly what this piece is – shabby chic.  So there.

The legs have the sweetest and subtle turned detail at the top.  They’re slender and delicate, which perfectly matches the feminine and romantic feel of this vanity.

In keeping with the romantic feel, I accented the drawers with a pair of crystal knobs with gold accents from my friends at Rustic Brands.

The scalloped flower shape of the knobs was perfect for this piece.

Don’t you think?

I kept the staging simple on this vanity.  There was enough going on with the chippy Milk Paint and I didn’t want to make it seem too busy, so I hung a vibrant round preserved boxwood wreath on the middle pane of the mirror.

The side mirrors can fold in about 45 degrees or lay straight at 180 degrees, depending on what you need.  Here they are opened up… 

…and here they are straight back.

The glass in the mirrors has some lovely age to it.

This spot towards the bottom has my heart.  I think it’s beautiful character.

Because I painted over Milk Paint that had already begun to chip several times, a lovely texture developed in some places.  You can see it on the curve of the right mirror panel.

The drawers are clean but I wanted to add something fun and interesting inside.  I have a hymnal from the 1890’s that I bought from an antique store in Downingtown, and I tore out a few pages and lined the drawers with the music.

They aren’t glued down in case the new owner decides to take them out, but I thought they looked beautiful layered inside. Again, they totally work with the romantic, shabby chic, vintage feel of the vanity.

This piece is coming with me to Morgantown Market this afternoon. It measures 32 inches wide, 28 inches to top of vanity table, 19 inches deep, and 50.5 inches to top of mirror. It’s available for $195 plus tax.

It’s been a really busy day today. There’s been a lot of going here, there, home, back out, pick this up, meet this customer, drop that off, etc. but one of my big to-do items is to get fresh pieces into my antique booth. This Arabesque vanity is one of them and it’s just in time for Valentine’s Day!

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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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