A while ago I inherited a beautiful solid cherry hutch from my husband’s grandmother. I loved the shape and detail of the piece; dovetailed drawers, locking cabinets and classic lines. This hutch had lived a full life for and had the scars to prove it. So, although we love wood stain on a timeless piece, this piece was going to require more restoration then was possible for the moment. The hutch sits in a room that gets very little light, so the dark color of the piece made the room feel dungeon-like. We decided to try a white wash effect using Annie Sloan paint that would brighten the room, allow the wood grain to show through, and cover some of the flaws. One of the great things about ASP is that with no sanding or priming we could just jump into the project. (Instant gratification!)
First, remove the hardware and take about 1/2 cup of Annie Sloan paint (we used Old White) and 1/3 cup of water. Mix it thoroughly and grab your brush (I like Purdy brand, and a good brush will pay you back with quality results) and stroke in the direction of the grain. The timing part of this next part is tricky because it depends on so many variables (heat, humidity, type of wood) but after the paint sets for approximately thirty seconds, but no more than a minute, take a clean soft towel and wipe in the direction of the grain, removing some of the paint.
I suggest testing a small area to start. It is important to wipe the paint before it fully sets because otherwise the paint will pull and look uneven and you will need to sand it and start over. I got into a rhythm of painting a section and then going right back over it with my rag. I waited about thirty seconds from when I brushed the paint on, to when I wiped it off. Continue the process over the entire surface of the piece.
After finishing the first coat you can decide if you like the coverage and finish. If there are any places you can see where the paint pulled, or you just don’t like the way its looking, go over it with fine sandpaper. It is surprising how great a piece looks after a light sanding. If you want less paint and more wood to show, get your brush wet with water and go over the surface. Wet and wipe some of the paint off. If you would like a more intense white wash go back over it and do the whole process again (make sure it is completely dry). I found that there were areas I wanted two coats and some I was happy with one.
If you are happy with the finish go ahead and wax the piece with a clear wax to seal it. I used Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax and wax brush. Just dip the brush, and using small circular motions with a small amount of wax, go over the painted surface in sections, then go back and wipe it down with a clean cloth before moving onto the next section.
Here is the finished product. The wash is exactly what I wanted and I love the way it turned out. The painted hutch lightened up the room, hid some of the flaws in the wood, but still allowed the grain of the wood to show, and brought new life to a treasured family heirloom.