Annie Sloan made me do it

August 4, 2016


One of my first stories for the newspaper was about how I would never, ever, ever give in and paint my grandmother’s china cabinet, even though Annie Sloan paint was all the rage. Well, guess what? I caved in, so here’s the updated story. Have you given in to the trend?

IMG_4720It was the early 1960’s when my grandmother decided to paint her small walnut china cabinet a queasy shade of avocado green. It was all the rage and I’m sure it was fabulous — then. By the time I inherited it in the early 90’s, I worked like a dog in the sweltering heat to remove every smidgen of green and restore its natural walnut finish. For years, it looked great and I swore I’d never let paint touch it again. That was before decorating maven, Annie Sloan, appeared on the home decor scene and convinced the entire civilized world we needed to take our perfectly good furniture, beat it up, paint it, sand it down and make it look like it was pulled from the trash heap.

I happen to know that Annie Sloan (who built a successful kingdom with her line of soft, muted paints) raised three sons, so perhaps that’s the reason she decided to go with the old, dinged-up furniture look. Having a house full of boys, it’s a case of the standard, “if you can’t beat them, (literally) join them.”

IMG_3068 (1)Suddenly, women around the world were determined to distress every table, chair and lamp in sight. Some went as far as to hit their furniture with heavy chains in order to . . . click HERE to see the rest of the story on


  • I love it…you really made me laugh out loud. Have we put down the paint brushes yet? You did good and everyone should just go for what they want.

    Great blog…so glad I found it!


    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Jane. It’s so tempting to keep painting everything in sight!

  • That’s the beauty of a good, well built vintage piece of furniture – it can stand up to the painting/stripping/painting it is subjected to and still stands strong!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      That’s a good thought because I see several more coats of paint in future of this cabinet!

  • I know, I know! So many folks think it’s just a sin to paint a piece. I believe you just do what you want and I love your granny’s piece all painted up! Can you believe I’ve never bought any AS paint!! I kinda like ‘no distressing’ I guess i could still do that! Any way, you get my vote! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I think the, “just do what you want” style is the best! Thanks Sheila!

  • I have yet to fall prey to the chalk paint “craze”, but I must admit I love the look. I think the new look on the cabinet is marvelous. So maybe I will cave also…I’ll let you know.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hold out. You’ll be ahead of the trend . . . eventually! But then we’ll all be jealous of your wisdom.

  • So beautiful, Leslie Anne! An amazing difference, very fresh looking especially with how you’ve arranged it. I not only remember the avocado green, my husband did that to a modern china cabinet my mother gave us in 1961. And how many times since then I’ve wished I had it in the original condition.

    We’ve never tried the Annie Sloan but we did stop halfway through the Amy Howard process, afraid to go further. I think it may be time to look for some white paint for it.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      In the 90’s it was all about “sage.” Sage is the rage! We painted our kitchen cabinets sage green, so I’ll have to go easy on the avocado trend. Go for the white. How can we go wrong with that?

  • Leslie Anne, your grandmother’s china cabinet is beautiful in it’s new clothes! I love painted furniture if it’s done well, and who says painted furniture can’t be formal?!?
    I do have a few pieces that I refuse to paint, and they actually mix very well with the majority of my painted pieces. Yours is lovely, and look out, it is addictive! And, Annie Sloan just introduced three new colors……just sayin’.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Three new colors? Oh, my! That’s better than a new box of crayons! Thanks for the tip. I’ll look it up now, because you’re right, it is addictive.

  • Annie Sloane has gotten to me too, on several pieces of furniture. I have loved every piece that I painted. But, my china cabinet has been one of the hold outs. Hmmm.. maybe…. someday.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      There always seems to be an order of what we’ll paint and what we won’t. . . . for now!

  • Leslie Anne,
    I do love what you have done to your grandmother’s china cabinet! I am one of those on the fence girls regarding the chalk paint revolution. I did buy a can of Annie Sloan, but only painted the legs of a sewing machine that stubbornly refused to strip (must be shy legs!). I am leaving the top the original stained finish. That is as far as I’ve traveled in the world of Annie Sloan. I have a room upstairs I am redoing as a girly office for me. I would love a little Annie in there, but my stubborn husband has given his stamp of disapproval. Now to hear that the formal look is making a comeback! Woo hoo! When will that be? Have a great day!
    Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

    • Leslie Anne says:

      They can talk about a certain look coming back all they want (who is THEY??) but I’ll believe it when I see it. Good thought about just doing the legs of the table. I just tried to strip an old gate leg table, thinking I wanted it to be a more natural wood look, but the legs turned out terrible! Maybe it’s back to the Annie Sloan for my table legs too!

  • Oh, I love it Leslie Anne! I must confess that my dining room is stuck in the 90s with a brass chandelier, but joy of joys it’s now back in style! I am a firm believer in do what you want and have what you like 🙂

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I always cave at the very end of a trend, so don’t follow me! And the 90’s weren’t so bad, were they? (said the dark green walls).

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Sandra. You have a good eye so I trust you!

  • Wow, what a transformation and I love it! I love this look but haven’t done a thing about it. I’m stuck in a time warp and I wouldn’t know where to start. So, I will just look lovingly at everyone’s beautiful Annie Sloan’s before and after photos until I get the courage to take the AS change………..

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hey Emily,

      My son keeps telling me my antiques are old fashioned (duh, that’s why they’re ANTIQUES) and all his friend’s mothers have wonderful modern furniture. I told him having family pieces is a sign of good breeding. Or relatives that couldn’t throw anything out. One or the other.

      Stay firm. When we’re all stripping our furniture, you’ll be laughing.

  • It looks lovely and everything in too.
    We can’t beat styles and change. That is inevitable, so my philosophy is “if you like it, then that is all that matters.” My daughter is dealing with this very idea of traditional formal vs more casual painted at this very moment. She is quite torn, but the house they are buying is lending itself to more casual.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I finally decided my office things would be beachy – white, and the rest of the house natural. But then again . . . like your daughter, I love my office so much that now I’m looking at a few other things and wondering what they would look like with just a little dab of paint . . . hmmm.

  • I feel your pain. In the early 90s, I was a refinishing demon, bringing back old Heywood-Wakefield pieces, not to mention a spooled-spindle chair hiding under layers of (probably) lead-based crackled paint to reveal that bird’s-eye maple or walnut respectively. I have always painted some pieces since my very early life, but they were what I considered to be “only a throw-away.” That is, until Annie Sloan turned my world upside down, too. I still remember your article with that unforgettable phrase, “world-domination by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!” Funny.

    Your grandma’s piece looks fabulous, and I would toss any regrets over having painted it this way to the four winds! The way you have it styled with the shells, etc., is quite wonderful, especially for the Coastal area where you live.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Ellen. I know what an expert you are on painting, and I almost called for your opinion, but I knew you’d talk me into painting it bright red, which I seriously considered! If you ever see it in person, you’ll scold me for not doing a good job, but for now, I just look at it from far away and love it!

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    %d bloggers like this: