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Get the Look: Vintage inspired Kitchen Island

I am pretty much in love with all those soft old faded finishes
 that an antique piece of furniture wears.
That old hand rubbed patina,  worn paint and wear
just adds to the charm.

But it isn't always easy to find the right vintage piece for you or your space.
I had a great piece in the kitchen already. Not vintage- but vintage inspired.
It was the right size, the right look, the right everything.
But  I was ready for something different.
I wanted a beautiful vintage piece that said French Cottage Farmhouse style
and that fit into the newly refreshed kitchen.
And so...
 that newer piece got a little makeover.

The Before

Our kitchen island was classic in a black finish with a butcher block top
 and I loved it. I really loved it. 
Quite honestly, I wasn't even 100% sure I wanted to change it and I argued with myself a bit about what direction I wanted to go in with it.
But the more I stared at it, 
the more I felt that black island felt like a big 'bam' right in the middle of the kitchen
 and felt a little too heavy and front and center in the room. 
I really wanted something more elegant and soothing color wise that made the kitchen 
feel as if everything was working together to paint a picture. 
And you know, after like 7 years, I kind of wanted a change.
Similar to how a new pair of jeans can just give you a whole new look, you know? 

But see- I see it again in this photo- and I do love it. So I am keeping those old favorites too 
But, I decided to go for it and try something different because- 
it is just paint. 
Paint is easy to play with because it is so noncommittal- you aren't getting married to it.
And it is easy to change if you aren't happy with it. You just put a new coat on it.
And I knew that black would definitely be easy to just repaint if I absolutely hated the new color.
So, I was sold on stepping outside of what I had been doing and trying something new.
I just had to find the right color- which might have been the hardest part.

But when I saw an inspiration image in a Kitchen and Bath magazine- I was in love.
Changing the island and making it look a little on the vintage side
 was a super simple process- it only took a couple hours start to finish.

I started with painting the island a soft greenish blue color
 that I had color matched to an inspiration magazine photo- so unfortunately, I don't have a specific color to share with you.
But- if you have one you love bring a photo or sample chip or something
 and they will help you find a very close match.

 I mixed the color into a flat paint because I was planning to also
make it into a chalky finish paint to give it that 'antique' feeling.
*Note: Lowe's has pre-made chalky finish paints now. Yes, seriously.

Since I was planning to use the black underneath to show through as distressing,
I did not use a primer. 
Just 2 coats of paint and it was good.

After it was painted- the color was a light greenish blue but more blue and it was fairly pale.
(You can see a tad bit of the just painted color below) 
I was ready to add the distressing which would darken that color 
and also bring in that vintage character I was looking for.

I used a Danish Oil in a dark walnut color to 'age' the paint. 
The oil does smell- and you will need gloves to keep it from getting on you.
There are some other paste waxes out there you could try- which I did try first but I wasn't happy with the look. 
It was more smudged and blotchy looking than smooth.
 So, I switched gears and went with the oil 
which I have used before for other antiquing finishes.

Note #2. 
It is a process for sure. 
You wipe it on, leave it for a bit, wipe it off, evaluate and repeat.
Possibly several times because the stain can 'take' to some areas more than others
and you will want to even it out a bit for a good even finish.
The good news- see how much of the oil is on the paint right there? 
It is super easy to wipe off quickly if you realize you put too much on.
It is very forgiving to work with until it starts to dry too much.

You can see how dark the oil is on the drawers -and how in the next photo
 is barely noticeable after wiping off. 
That was after 1 layer of stain.
The color is a little darker and more 'antiqued' but not quite there yet.
Just keep applying it until you are happy with the look and color. 

Then go back and use a small brush to add more of the oil to the grooves
and detailed areas to get a darker look in the grooves of the drawers, for example.

Sometimes more will settle into a spot than others- or drip even if you are using a brush to apply it.
Keep wiping and layering until you get it the way you like.

Once the wiped off leftover oil dries completely-
you can start distressing the finish with sand paper.
The key to getting an authentic look is to take the paint off in areas 
where it would normally be worn off over the years.
Like the corners or the edges that you might bump into with a chair.

Lightly sand some areas and use a heavier hand in others to get an uneven look
and don't worry -
 you can always go back and touch up and start over if you are overzealous 
with the sandpaper and you aren't happy.

After that- simply seal it with a matte finish sealer and enjoy!
Though I do love the photo of the black island when I see it, and I'm not saying I won't change the color again-or that it might not go back to black, because, I did really love it.
But I must say that I absolutely love how the softer color and finish turned out.
The lighter look  of the island brightens the kitchen and make it feel much more cohesive and larger
and am loving that vintage French cottage inspired look it has now.

You can see more of the kitchen before and after here

Imperial Danby Slab- Arizona Tile
Farmhouse sink- Lowe's
Faucet- Delta
Hardware- DLawless
White Paint- Lowe's 
Island- Costco (back in the day) 
Farmhouse oak stool- Restoration Hardware
Paint- Valspar Flat
Watco Danish oil- dark finish
French Barstool- Joss & Main

Happy Tuesday everyone

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  1. Bonsoir chère amie,

    Je pense que vous avez fait un excellent choix de couleur. La décision que vous prise de repeindre et de donner une seconde jeunesse à votre îlot central était pertinente.
    J'aime beaucoup son rendu. Il agrandit l'espace.
    Toutes mes félicitations pour ce magnifique travail.

    ❀ Gros bisous ❀

    1. I totally agree- the room really does feel much larger visually and the island doesn't feel as heavy as it did. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Gorgeous transformation, Courtney! I'll be honest-I really LOVED your island before-but the color you chose gives it even more of a WOW factor!!!

    1. I know... I hear you!! I really LOVED the black too. Just needed to try on a new pair of jeans for a bit ;). I think the new color definitely brings a different feeling to the kitchen and in person- I am loving it. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Courtney, I have to say I really loved the black, but I agree, this new pale blue/green really does fit better with the rest of your kitchen and home. always gorgeous! thanks for giving us the products and "how-to"!

    1. The great debate,right? The classic black with the white or the subtle aged charm that is more quiet? I love them both :) I hope all is well with you Debra! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Oh Courtney, your new look is really awesome! It's such a great piece, great job!

  5. Courtney I loved the black but I love the new softer color just as much!!

  6. The island looks beautiful! Love the new color!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous!!!! I thought I liked the black until I saw the transformation! Blew my socks off! Great job.

    1. Thank you Mary! I do love the black too- but am enjoying this lighter brighter look! Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Looks lovely!!! What a difference paint can make..enjoy it!

  9. Please don 't be mad at me folks - but I loved the black. I thought it was stunning - just saying.

    1. No reason to be mad about you loving it Betty! I loved the black too- just needed a change and can appreciate both colors for different reasons. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I wish more people would adopt the attitude.'s just a paint change and a little work to have your dream. Go for it and go back and forth and don't fret perfection. Black yesterday white now turquoise next month

  11. Love it! Thank you for sharing your process - I have used dark wax but haven't tried the Danish Oil. Your photos made it seem not-so-scary. What is your sealant of choice? I've tried polycrylic in the spray and the brush-on and have had mixed results, depending on what it is going on. Thanks Again!

  12. You've done a very good job - I love your kitchen!
    Bonne journée, Monika

  13. How can I say your kitchen looked perfect and now I say it is more perfect?? Is there such a thing??I love the light look, the black is very dramatic but your kitchen now is the right combination. Who knows, you may figure out another combination that suits you next week. Great job Courtney.

  14. Hi Courtney, great job! I love the new color and lighter look to your whole kitchen, beautiful finish too!

  15. Yes, I agree with you, the black was really pretty but the new color is gorgeous too. I am glad you decided to change it. It turned out beautiful. Your kitchen is spectacular!! It is my inspiration kitchen, hopefully some day... :)
    Thanks for sharing!! XO

  16. Looks great Courtney what a difference it made.

  17. What a fabulous makeover !!!
    It looks like a piece that could be found in a Paris shop - just gorgeous !

  18. Thank you for hosting and allowing me to share my post this week...have a beautiful weekend!

  19. You have the prettiest kitchen ever Courtney! I also have a huge Black Island distressed a little with pretty corbels. I do love your new color on your island. Your kitchen is fabulous ~In Love.

  20. So beautiful! I love the new look.

  21. well...the black was gorgeous.....but this is even better! I never would have thought to do this. so pretty!!!!