Chippy, crackled and lovely!

Last year, I was fortunate enough to have attended a magnificent barn/estate sale 2 miles away from our home. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen with lines spanning down the length of the massive driveway and all the way down the road. The contents, oh the glorious contents of this home were just breathtakingly beautiful…stuff you’dve seen in “Gone With The Wind”. There were some pieces of furniture that were truly grand and begged for rehoming so they could continue to be loved on for many, many more years to come. There were also some that, while beautiful, could definitely have used some love and attention of a different sort…that’s where I come in.

I purchased several pieces of furniture at that sale, that until now, have remained unpainted. One piece in particular, a dresser, became part of our family room. While I loved it, it just seemed to melt into the new wall color . Now, let me just say, I’d never been in love with the color of the stain and the finish was clearly redone at some point. I decided that since I loved the shape and the design though, that I’d live with the color so as not to “ruin” or devalue it in any way. Yeah, the only problem is, I’m a painter. I would open the drawers every day to take out blankets for the kids and imagine it painted and reinvented. I didn’t want to live with a piece that I liked when the alternative was living with I piece that I was in love with. My thoughts of late are, if you have an antique or a treasured family heirloom, but don’t truly love it or it doesn’t serve your family in the way you need it to, is there really value in it? Is just having it exist in your home truly honoring it? For me that was a bit fat no. It was time.


I knew I was going to go with a lighter color to make it stand out against the rich brown wall color. I opted for milk paint because I love how it can be manipulated. The versatility, variation, textural effects and finishes you can achieve are truly unparalleled. I really wanted authentic chips and cracks, not crackle medium chips and cracks. Yes, there’s a difference as you’ll see in a moment. I jumped in, did a tester drawer to make sure I was headed in the right direction and the rest is history!

Milk paint

This final product has a chippy, crackled, aged gracefully kinda feel that appears to have happened over time. It looks like it belonged in the lovely home in which it once resided. I have no regrets at all about refinishing it. Sure, in its former glory, it was pretty, but now it’s pretty and me. It’s a conversation starter for sure and anyone who asks about it gets to hear about how it once lived on the farm down the road. What better way to honor something, than to share its story!?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment. Be sure to share the inspiration if you dig this dresser as much as I do and of course, please feel free to ask away if you have any questions!

Milk paint dresser

Milk paint

Milk paint

Milk painted dresser

Sharing at…

Dorrie XO


  1. Linda says:

    Does milk paint generally crackle like that. If not, how do you get that look?

    • Milk paint is the most unpredictable of all the paints IMHO. Depending on the substrate, you may or may not get the crackle. You can help it along some for sure. I’ll be putting out a tute soon on exactly how to do that, so make sure you check back!

  2. Love the finish! I’m with you on your philosophy on painting family furniture. The age of this style (relatively young, by antique standards) and the tendency for veneers during this time combine for the perfect candidates for painting. This furniture just wants to be loved!

    • Thanks! Yeah, ya know it’s a tough call sometimes, and I totally get it. I would never want to devalue something that was extremely rare. If I have no intention of selling it though, and it’s not of overly high value, I think it’s only right that I love it and display it how in a way that compliments my home.

  3. Can you share the deets? I just snagged some salvaged French doors that are going to spruce up the empty walls on either side of my fireplace, and this is exactly the finish I didn’t know I had in mind! 😉

    • Lol!! The colors are pretty much all Homestead House milk paint. The main white is called Sturbridge White, the yellow is called Buttermilk and the aqua is a mix of Laurentien and Sturbridge White. I got it good and chippy, gave it a sanding, and glazed with Van Dyke Brown. I’m not a big wax lover, and with 5 kiddos, I go for durability, so I opted for one of my favorite top coats, Master Clear by Modern Masters in a matte sheen. It’s the bomb dot com!

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