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Kitchen Island Painting

This kitchen island painting project was a real pleasure to do and something very unique. The clients wanted to make it a real feature and create an effect that would compliment an old Chesterfield sofa that sat in the corner of the room. They were in the throws of renovating their old lakeside house and were doing everything as sympathetically as possible, maintaining much of the original features and having any new work designed and decorated to work in harmony with the original building and its surroundings.

Kitchen Island Painting
The original oak kitchen island
Hand painted kitchen Island
The completed hand painted kitchen Island

They initially emailed me this image as an example of what they wanted. They essentially wanted the island hand painted in a deep red and then aged and ‘antiqued’. They had a very clear idea of the look they wanted though they said it could be a little subtler. I assure them this kind of effect is something I have a lot of experience in creating and that ‘antiquing’ is a bit of a specialism of mine. After a very productive consultation a deposit was paid and the work booked in for later that year.

The first part of the project was to prepare and hand paint the island in a deep crimson colour. This would essentially become the base for the specialist paint finish that would add the ‘aged antiqued’ look. As with all my hand painted kitchen projects, preparation and attention to detail are the keys to getting a great result and a lovely smooth finish.

kitchen painting preparation
kitchen painting preparation

I first cleaned everything with a specialist cleaner/degreaser and then sanded every square inch so as to create a ‘key’ for the paint. As the island was made of oak I chose a shellac based primer so as to eliminate any potential ‘tannin’ issues from the wood. Once the shellac primer was applied and had hardened I sanded everything back to get a lovely smooth finish before applying a coat of another specialist high adhesion primer. Once the priming was complete I applied two coats of this deep crimson colour in oil eggshell, ‘laying off’ each coat so as to ensure a beautifully smooth finish.

The finished crimson base coat
The finished crimson base coat

The Paint Effect –

As I mentioned above, the idea behind the effect was to create a truely unique piece that complimented their old Chesterfield sofa that sat in the corner of the same room. Chesterfields look naturally aged and the effect on the island had to be painted in sympathy with this and look natural, like it had been there for years.

To create most paint effects I use tinted glazes. By this I mean a mixture of scumble glaze and paint. The scumble glaze makes the paint semi transparent and also increases the open time so you can play and get the exact finish you want.

polyvine oil scumble

To create the finish I tinted the Polyvine Oil Glaze with a mixture of Paynes Grey, Purple Madder and Prussian Blue tubed oil paint. I mixed the paint with the glaze and added white spirit to get a  consistency akin to single cream, then splodged (think that’s the technical term) the glaze on with a brush, stippled it with a Hog Hair stippling brush and wiped away any excess/blended it in with a lint free cloth.

With this type of ‘antique’ specialist paint effect it’s all about the balance, too heavy and it looks contrived, too light, you can’t see it. As you can see from the photos the effect I created is subtle, fading in and out but is definitely noticeable without being over the top. It also looks natural, like the kitchen and paint has just aged over the years, but in a stylised way.

Hand Painted Kitchen Island
Subtle antique paint effect to match the Chesterfield sofa
Painted kitchen island
Painted kitchen island with paint effect
Hand painted oak kitchen island
Close up of the aged paint effect

It really helps to have an artistic eye for this kind of thing. There are a lot of painters and decorators out there that have paint effects on their list of services but I have seen very few over the years that can hold their own against a specialists portfolio. Painting and paint effects are two very different things, it’s not just about knowing how to create the effect, it’s about getting the colour just right as well as the weight, the balance and the patina. It’s quite difficult to get a good photo of this kind of subtle paint effect so if you’re struggling to see the full effect I would suggest tilting your screen back a bit….eh voila!

The Final Protective Coats

To give the island true and lasting durability I applied two coats of varnish. Water based varnishes tend to have a blue tint due to the cobalt in them and this is very noticeable on dark red colours – I therefore used an oil based varnish with non yellowing UV protection trickery.

Hand painted kitchen island
Hand painted kitchen island

To add a bit of funkyness to the whole design and look of the island the clients had fitted a run of LED lights to the underside of the worktop, adding yet another dimension to the look of the piece and creating a bit of a party atmosphere on a night.

Kitchen Island with LED lights on
Kitchen Island with LED lights on

All in all this project was an absolute pleasure to do and very rewarding. The paint effect was exactly what the clients had envisaged and they were simply thrilled with the results. Before leaving there was talk of ‘rust effect’ columns and a mural so I look forward to heading back to this lovely house for more painting, fun and creativity!

Lee is a specialist kitchen and furniture painter working throughout Yorkshire, and is within easy reach for projects in Harrogate, Leeds, York, Ilkley, Otley, Ripon, Halifax, Pontefract, Doncaster, Wakefield, and all the surrounding areas.