Chalk Paint – Beams and Banisters

Recently I wrote a post on my friend’s home in Cornwall where we did a lovely cheap nautical makeover in the bedroom.

The other makeover we did in this house was to update the beams in the living room and kitchen.  The house is a small fisherman’s cottage overlooking the sea and has beams in the ceiling of the whole ground floor.  These beams were last touched in the 80’s when they were varnished with an awful mahogany colour which made the small rooms feel smaller and the ceilings lower.  We decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and Louis Blue to cover the mahogany colour.

We chose Annie Sloan for a few reasons, first – no need to prime, prepare or sand.  And as my friend and I are both lazy that’s perfect!  Second, we would see quick coverage and and thirdly it would be cheaper than getting in a decorator, and budget was a real issue.

Before I go any further, I will make an apology, the pictures below were taken as a bit of an afterthought, so they are fairly bad – however I hope it’ll give you the feeling of the overall effect. They were also taken with a phone, in late afternoon in winter and without thought of me ever writing a blog!  So yeah, they’re not great.

We started with the kitchen which was always going to be the biggest job.  It is open to the stairs complete with mahogany banisters.  So we started with that first.  Here’s the before, you can see it immediately dates the room and makes it feel so much darker and closed in:

The ceiling beams we went with the Old White, which is a nice soft white, not too bright and looks like it’s been up a while, which is perfect for the old cottage.  We decided to go a bit different with the banisters and add some of the Louis Blue as a nice contrast to the white and to add a bit of welcome colour into the room (my friend has a fear of colour!).

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As you can see from this photo, it really brightens the space no end.  The ceiling felt a couple of feet taller!

We did two coats of the banisters, beams and the insides of the front and back doors.  The ceiling beams we didn’t wax,  but left natural and let the cracks and their age come through in order to keep the character.  The banisters and doors also had two coats of paint but they had two coats of clear wax over a few days to protect them from knocks, dogs and cats!  We watered down the paint for the second coat, the chalk paint is very thick and can get a bit tricky to work with if not watered down, so a few drops of water and a good stir gave it a nice consistency.

Next we attacked the living room.  There was a 70s pine clad wall which was that really old fashioned bright orange (trust me, I know it’s a blurry photo!) but we brightened this up with a mix of Old White and Louis Blue to make a slightly softer pastel blue colour.  Apart from that, all that was needed in the living room was was the beams and mantel, and again you can see how it feels brighter below.

The Pine Clad wall now has a cute string of Beach Hut Fairy Lights courtesy of Laura Ashley and a fabulous picture from Not On The High Street.

The last thing we tackled was the pine coloured coffee table, dining table and chairs.  We again used a mix of the same colours and also added some fun with the Annie Sloan Fish Stencil on the tops of the tables and on the chair backs.

Previously this house had a mix of Pine Oranges and Mahogany Reds&Browns.  Now it has a brighter feel, with a little nautical upgrade and with some lovely coastal colours.

Now my friend is a chalk paint convert and has big plans for bedside tables and mirror frames.

Have you done any major work with the Annie Sloan paint?  I’d love to hear your stories!

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