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A simple diy makeover for charming Swedish Country Style

Sometimes you just need a little change.

A new outfit, a quick getaway or even a simple refresh at home is perfect.
Something like a fresh coat of paint on the walls, a new rug to warm up a room
or maybe a new piece of furniture to invigorate your space.
Or even better...
a new LOOK for an outdated piece of furniture.

Today I am sharing a re-do of an original refresh gone wrong.
I admit it... the re-do on this piece that I did originally just didn't turn out the way I was envisioning.
There were issues with the finish of the paint. 
The gilding. 
The distressing. 
The details in general.
And don't get me started on how after a couple of months, the paint faded and I could see the original, not so in-fashion finish peeking through. 
It left this piece feeling a bit blah...

Basically, trying to cut corners and get something done super quickly is NOT a good idea and left me looking for a new solution to give life to this piece. 
So, when I had an opportunity for a chance to redeem my re-do and turn this secretary desk into the Swedish style desk of my dreams with the help of Ace Hardware - 
well, I jumped at it.

Let's start at the beginning of my paint journey. 
Back in the day when this 1990's piece was floral painted French country style that was love when we brought it home, but over the years turned into not so much love as our tastes changed.

We were ready to trade this piece for something less busy.

and then I had a wild hair of inspiration. And I mixed up some paint and tackled it one day. Here is what it looked like after- and how it looked when I started to tackle the re-do of the re-do.

The paint had faded and turned a weird kind of color. This was not the color I painted it - 
it was originally a French blue that was soft and it turned more olive green which was NOT what I was looking for at all! I think it was the green and yellow paint undertone coming through that changed it.

And among all the cracks and spidered details- there was the design peeking through as well. 
So, it was definitely time for an update.
But even with the not so lovely finish... there were things that I loved about this desk
that I knew could look amazing with the right finish.

I loved all the details of this old piece. 
The curvy lines, 
the charming little pockets, drawers and doors. 
And even the simple carvings that added just the right amount of oomph.

What I envisioned:

I wanted something that looked antique.
 With a chalky old Swedish style look and finish.
 And I knew the perfect paint to achieve that look - Amy Howard At Home One Step Paint.

I went off to my local Ace Hardware and, after speaking with the associates about what to use for this project to get the perfect aged look I’ve been dreaming of, 
I grabbed several different tubs of Amy Howard One Step Paint, liming and antiquing waxes 
and Dust of Ages.  
There were so many different colors and finishes to choose from and the associates shared that they can also color match this paint to any color you want- which is awesome. 
So, after choosing the perfect colors and waxes for the look
 I was ready to get to work. 

 After wiping down the piece, using a rag 
 I applied a layer of One Step Paint as-is
( no sanding, stripping or priming required when using this paint which is awesome, right?!)

 I used the shade Atelier for the first coat.
Atelier is a dark gray/taupe paint and it was perfect for covering those painted details 
and giving the piece a solid starting ground.

After that coat dried, I mixed a bit of Atelier with a bit of the Palmer Pink for a softer, lighter more sugar dusted look and covered the base coat with that layer - which gave it more of a 'pale gray' rather than 'taupe' look.
This paint doesn’t require two coats-it is super thick-  but I like to play around with layers and mixing paint to determine the perfect shade- One Step Paint also dries super quickly, so this helped me see the final color faster to determine any tweaks 
I wanted to make in my second coat. 
I was loving how easy the paint went on – and it was super easy to use.
The coverage of this paint is amazing, not to mention the smooth texture and finish it had... 
but I wasn't done yet.

I added a layer of the Liming Wax with my paint brush, which basically gets pressed into the grain of the wood to whiten the finish. This wax makes it look a bit more aged- and then dabbed a bit of the Dust of Ages into just a few corners. 
This product is a favorite from Amy’s collection of paints and finishes – it’s basically a container of dust that creates that aged, country cottage finish that you find on antiques.

And then went to town with my sandpaper to uncover that original gold detailing, adding bits of 'wear' here and there.
I also sanded the top which is an old gold finish so now it is an old gold distressed finish
and  I sanded and buffed up the hardware a bit.
I am obsessed with the brassy finish.

And it was looking amazing...
But again- wasn't done yet. I know- I am crazy right?
Up next was the inside.
The little surprise you find when you open the doors.

I used One Step Paint in the shade Palmer Pink at about 2/3 strength  (mixed with white to lighten it) and coated the inside of the hutch - including all the nooks and crannies in the desk part.
I love how the shadows create more blush than the other areas
and how that color mingles perfectly with the soft blue gray.


Ahhh... now we were talking.
Soft, faded, vintage gray on curvy lines with gilded and distressed details
and a barely blushing interior?

This piece is speaking perfect Swedish country style with that matte finish and subtle details.
The best part? It was SUCH an easy transformation.

For more about Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint you can check out your local Ace Hardware store
Here are the colors and products I used to get the look- 
click to read more about each of them.

What do you think of how this desk turned out? 
I am in love with the new look and have another project on the list to tackle with a fresh coat of paint that will be coming your way soon.

Happy Friday everyone!!

I partnered with Ace Hardware to share Amy Howard One Step Paint with you
but all designs, opinions and crazy re-do of this re-do are my own.


  1. Thank you for all the detailed steps. I just bought a lovely shade of pink in the Amy Howard line and can't wait to get started.

  2. Great makeover! Are the Amy Howard paints as easy to use as Annie Sloan? Can you paint it just straight on the wood or do you need a primer? Thanks!

  3. Wow! I remember the original post and thinking it looked pretty good, but Courtney, it now looks amazing! Love the gray/pink/gold. I antique quite a bit for French/Swedish pieces and I think your secretary looks beautiful!

    I have a china hutch that's been sitting around with one door painted for a while. I've purchased several colors of 2 different brands of paints, but nothing is pleasing me. I'm going to give Amy Howard paints a try. This may be the winner for me. Thank you Courtney!

  4. It turned out beautiful! I will be painting some pieces soon. Thanks for telling me about this paint brand.

  5. It turned out great! And this "Dust of Ages" sounds like magic potion.

  6. Stunningly gorgeous

  7. The result turned out marvelous, Courtney. I love Amy Howard at Home paint and Dust of Ages...I adore. You have a gorgeous piece that is sure to make you smile every time you see it!
    Have a great weekend,

  8. This is the first I've heard of this paint brand. Your re-do of a re-do looks great!

  9. Three words: LOVE LOVE LOVE

  10. Fabulous makeover makeover! ;) Love the colors...

  11. It looks amazing!!! Great, great job Courtney! ... I so remember having some of those painted pieces. You certainly transformed that secretary into a true beauty!

  12. Gorgeous!!! Love love love the color!

  13. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the tip, haven't heard about this paint.

  14. The makeover looks great. I'm going to try the paint, my piece is about the same size and was done in the old crackle look.. How much did you buy for the base coat?