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julie nolta design
Julie Nolta

Hi, I'm Julie, Chief Executive Empress

of my little apple green design studio.

Welcome to my blog!

When I'm not out visiting a client or searching for just the right  product for a project, I can probably be found in my happy little studio (painted the perfect shade of green), busy drawing up new ideas for a cool kitchen or a "spa-licious" bathroom. I like to share the fun stuff I find along the way!


apple green studio

What the heck is chalk paint anyway?

what is chalk paint

For a few years now I’ve been hearing about chalk paint - - people talking about their projects, photos and videos all over the internet, this Annie Sloan person, etc. Blah, blah, blah chalk paint, I thought. What’s the big deal?

Then my life changed forever.

A few weeks ago I got invited to a workshop at Miller Paint for their employees and a few designers. They were going to show us their new Magnolia Homes chalk paint and let us try it out. Wear your grubbies, they said.

Cute little Magnolia Home fan deck :-)

Magnolia Homes chalk style paint

Here's a scene from the workshop and my little make and take picture frame.

It looks better in person!

I don’t know about you, but I hate the prep work you have to do before you paint anything, especially furniture. All that sanding is a drag and just thinking about it is enough to make me want to go lay down and read a book. Consequently I have a few pieces of furniture that badly need an update, plus I’ve actually gotten rid of pieces because I knew I would NEVER take the trouble to sand that dang thing down.

So I went to this paint demo at Miller Paint, and it was kinda mind blowing. Chalk paint is my new best friend!

Here’s the deal: chalk paint requires no priming and NO. SANDING. And what’s more, it adheres to just about anything. Wood, metal, glass, sheetrock, floors, old paint, plastic, bricks, the cat, even tile, with NO SANDING. It also covers in pretty much one coat and dries FAST, man. It's a miracle in a can! What's not to like?!!

Chalk paint was created by Annie Sloan more than 20 years ago because she wanted a faster process and she didn’t like prep work either. She just wanted to get to the fun part. (I can relate.) :-D

The paint has a lot of extra pigment in it and has a velvety smooth, matte surface when it’s dry. You can leave it flat, sand the edges to distress it, and/or buff a wax into it to seal and polish it. The wax comes in a clear version or an espresso color to make it look like it’s aged or glazed. (I'm starting to sound like a commercial!)

And if you don't like the effect you've achieved, you just sand down the mistake (no paint gumming up in the sandpaper!) and give it another coat.

Lots of other companies have jumped on the chalk paint bandwagon and, I must warn you, the stuff ain’t cheap. $35 - $45 per quart!

And the other down side is that the number of colors it comes in is limited. However, they ARE gorgeous. Here are Annie Sloan's colors.

These are the Magnolia colors:

Magnolia Home chalk style paint

A week later, enter my new friend Maureen from Double Dutch Vintage. She’s a rabid collector (and I mean that in the best possible way) of all things vintage, and she re-finishes furniture and sells it at Camas Antiques and at her pop up shops in Vancouver.

Over coffee in her chock-full-of-great-old-stuff living room, I mentioned my chalk paint revelation and it turns out she's a fan from way back. She proceeded to divulge the “secret recipe” for her own chalk paint: 1 cup of any brand and color of latex paint, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of plaster of Paris all blended together in her little Magic Bullet. Easy and inexpensive. And that's the way we like it.

Just for fun, here's a few of her distressed chalk painted furniture pieces:

Double Dutch Vintage
Double Dutch Vintage

Double Dutch Vintage

I call dibs on this little orange corner shelfie thing!

I left Maureen's house clutching a Rubbermaid container of plaster of Paris with my brain buzzing with plans for all the stuff I want to paint around the house.

Since then I’ve discovered some other recipes for chalk paint that you can read about at Salvaged Inspirations, including one with actual chalk!

Whether or not you want to make your own recipe, if you've got something that needs a coat of paint, you should try this stuff. It's pretty hard to mess it up (if you're worried about that) and how many things in life can you say THAT about?!

Already tried chalk paint? I'd love to see some photos of your projects and hear what you think about it!


BONUS INFO: Got old cans of paint you don't know how to get rid of? Here's a link to drop off locations in the Portland metro area.


971 322 7000   |

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