A Year of Change Challenge {April reveal}

It’s the last Friday of the month which means it’s time for us to show the results from this month’s Year of Change challenge! If you missed out on the first couple of months, here’s a recap. Tricia and I teamed up with three of our favorite bloggers Commona My House, Life on Virginia Street and Rosa Beltran Design to bring small projects your way that can be accomplished in less than a month’s time.  On the first Friday of each month we’ll introduce the latest challenge and on the last Friday we’ll each reveal our projects. Our hope is that the Year of Change Challenge can help you bring big change to your home, one manageable month at a time.

Last month (March) we challenged ourselves to transform a space using one of the stencils provided by Cutting Edge Stencils. If you missed out on our stencil projects reveal last month check out Amy, RosaSarah’s, and our gorgeous designs. I think the stencil challenged really proved how something as simple as stenciling a wall can make a huge change to a space- which is what the Year of Change Challenge is all about!

For April’s challenge we went with revamping a piece of furniture. It could be something small, something big, something that you already had, something you found on Craig’s List or at a garage sale or maybe even something from Ikea that you just wanted to hack up. The pieces Tricia and I were revamping for the April challenge were shown here in this post.

And in April we added a  fun new twist on our challenges – a guest designer for each month! For April we were thrilled to have Amanda from Recycled Consign & Design as part of our team. Who better to have join us in April than the queen of vintage furniture?

Okay, now on to our April projects! Quick recap- I needed storage in my office. After a failed trip to IKEA I decided to go the vintage route and searched on Craig’s List for a midcentury credenza. I found this art deco style credenza and brought it home for $200.

art deco credenza | Suburban Bitches



My plan was to paint it a dark gray and spray paint the hardware, in what else, gold! I’m so predictable and boring, I know. But let me tell you, this baby looks good in gray and gold! What do you think?

dark gray and gold credenza makeover | Suburban Bitches

Instead of sanding down this piece before painting it, I used the best primer made. The Zinsser 1-2-3 primer is awesome and sticks to furniture like fat sticks to my ass! Two coats of this primer and it was on to painting the credenza. I used the same gray color that I fell in love with after seeing the doors in Jennifer’s house painted this color. The color is from Kwal Paint and is called Estate and I used a semigloss finish. I spray painted the hardware using Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic gold spray paint. I like this gold because it’s not too yellow.

Rustoleum metallic gold


And I couldn’t easily remove the hardware around the base of the legs so I just used my Liquid Gold Leaf on those and it matched really well to the spray paint.


Kwal Estate (gray) and gold hardware | Suburban Bitches

gray and gold hardware office credenza | Suburban Bitches

gray and gold hardware office credenza | Suburban Bitches

I love how this piece turned out, one of my favorites in my whole house right now! Way better than anything I could have gotten at IKEA and it gives me exactly the storage I needed in my office. Next time you see a piece of furniture that isn’t necessarily the color you like but has good lines and is the right size, give it a coat of paint and love it! Don’t worry about the wood purists out there who feel that even oak furniture should stay pristine! And after getting this piece into my office I did some rearranging and find the whole space more put together than before. I still have some plans to finish off the office but just adding this one piece of furniture in has helped get me on board with putting the space together!

Don’t you love Erin’s credenza? I want to sneak out with it every time I go over to her house although that might be a bit obvious. Sorry for the delay in getting mine Year of Change project up – I had one pukey kid and another one getting X-rays to determine which type of pneumonia she has.  Fortunately it’s not the pertussis we were worried about (my babysitter told us last night she had been exposed at her other job). My husband walked in the door from a week of travel and got to go sit in the doctor’s office with her for two hours. It’s that kind of day in suburbia.  I think it will also be one that involves wine at the end of it.

Here’s the before of my piece for the challenge.

secretary - Suburban bitches

I found this secretary on craigslist a couple of years ago.  I wanted to use it in my family room but the scale was too diminutive for the room so I put it in my dining room until I could decide what to do with it.  It didn’t work there either but I really didn’t want to part with it as I felt it had potential and it was such a bargain.

My daughter wants a slightly more grown-up room so we are going with with a Restoration Hardware Child & Baby grey & pink theme.  When this challenge came up I immediately thought this would be a perfect piece for her room.

I bought Annie Sloan paint in Paris grey a while ago – it looked so fun I just wanted to paint something with it.

Annie Sloan chalk paint

Secretary meet Annie Sloan; Annie Sloan – secretary.  What sold me on using these paints for this project was that there was no prep involved – no sanding, no priming, only one coat of paint and you’re done!

I was down at the Restoration Hardware Outlet a few weeks ago and came across one panel in this design.

RH drapes


At $13 it was cheaper that buying a yard of fabric. I bought it knowing it would come in handy for something in the bedroom redo. When I realized I didn’t have time to find a fabric to line the back of the secretary I remembered this panel!

I went with the Annie Sloan Antoinette pink for the interior of the secretary to contrast with the grey.

secretary prepping ~ suburban bitches


And here’s the finished product.

Painted secretary ~ Suburban Bitches



I heart the antique floral panel behind the shelves. I wrapped it around a piece of foam core and set it in the back.  Should I ever want to change it out – easy enough! I can’t even believe how well that worked out.

Painted secretary ~ Suburban Bitches

Wouldn’t you have thought I bought the fabric specifically for this project?

Painted secretary ~ Suburban Bitches

So, what are my thoughts on Annie Sloan paint?  I’m not sold.

Her products are very expensive – $40 a quart for the paint and the wax.  The wax brush was another $50.  It was another $60 for the paint brush so I just used a basic paint brush I had lying around.

It required more than one coat of paint.  Maybe if that’s the look you’re going for, ok, one coat will work.  I wanted an even finish on my piece and one coat didn’t even come close.  It took a solid two coats to achieve that.

Prepping the piece would have made for a better finish.  By the time I reassembled the secretary I already had chunks of the paint out all over it.  You should have seen how carefully I was putting all those screws back in late, late last night.  The slightest slip and I had another big gouge out of the paint.  Every little touch seemed to cause paint to come off.  Maybe once the wax dries it’ll be ok.

The paint dries out super quick.  The upside of that is the paint on the furniture is dry within 20 minutes especially in our dry climate.  The downside – the paint was getting really tacky and difficult to work with.  I discovered that if I kept wetting my paint brush every few minutes and kept the lid on the can between strokes, it worked much better.

The wax does not dry out super quick.  It takes 4-6 weeks to harder and seal.  SERIOUSLY??? I think I really would not have used this paint if I’d realized that bit.

It wasn’t a time saver. I wanted to try this paint on this project because I wanted it done in a jiffy.  But, it was not fast.  Applying two coats of paint, one coat of wax and buffing out the wax probably more than equalled sanding/priming a piece of furniture and painting it.  That’s why I was still at it late last night.  Applying a second coat to everything (and many pieces are two sided) was, well, a BITCH!

Despite all of that I will paint my daughter’s bed in Paris Grey this summer.  I’ll let you know if I have better luck with the paint the second time around.

Be sure to check out the awesome pieces done by our other Year of Change participants. Click on over to see Rosa, Amy, Sarah, and Amanda’s pieces.  Next Friday we’ll be announcing our project for May.  I can’t wait!  Happy weekend ya’ll!

Related posts:

Year of Change {June Reveal}
A Year of Change {August - book shelf styling}
One Room Challenge Week 2 {Laundry Room}
A Year of Change {November Challenge}
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4 Responses to A Year of Change Challenge {April reveal}

  1. Debbie says:

    The secretary looks fantastic. Thank you for your honest reviews of ASCP. I’ve painted a couple of things now using a homemade recipe for chalk paint and it seems to work the same and yes, does not cut down on time. I have been hesitating paying that much money for such a small can of paint. After reading your post I won’t do it. Your project looks awesome though so the extra work involved paid off! Thanks again!

  2. Rosa says:

    Both of your refurbished pieces turned out great! I’m always a fan of a deep grey + brass combo, and the fretwork secretary is completely sweet. Love the tassel on the door too 🙂 I see those fretwork cabinets in thrift stores all the time and have always wanted to paint one and modernize it like that. Next time I have the right client with those “classic traditional” tastes I will try this! Great job ladies!

  3. Elaine says:

    I have not used Annie Sloan, but I have used Van Gough chalk paint (I believe it is made in Canada) which I guess they are not allowed to use the word, chalk, anymore so they have it relabeled as Fossil paint. We needed to do more than one coat, and my hubby spray painted the one chair we did and it turned out awesome, silky smooth and rich looking. The Van Gough wax takes about 3-4 days to harden off. We did not prime either piece that we have done. I have used it to paint picture frames as well. I did not find that it dried out as fast as it seemed for you, at least I do not recall that being a problem. If you spray paint with it you do water it down 8-10%.

  4. angela hitchner says:

    I TOTALLY disagree on the AS chalk paint, accept for the price…I painted around 4-5 pieces of furniture….and everything came out fabulous!! Patience is the key!! I don’t care how fast it dries, you must wait to wax. LOVE Annie Sloan and her humble paint!