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Antique paint effect on a hand painted kitchen- Leeds

Listed under Blog, faux, hand-painted kitchen, Lee Simone Posted Jul 07 2015

Lee Simone, Traditional Painter in Yorkshire, reveals how he created an antique paint effect on a hand painted kitchen.

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (12)I undertook this wonderful hand painted kitchen project in a truly unique house in Rawdon, Leeds. The house is an old converted chapel and as you can see retains many of the original features. Stone archways, wooden slatted ceilings, corbels, niches – they are all there and all hundreds of years old.

The kitchen too was a one off, bespoke, hand made and fairly gothic in design. The clients contacted me as the original colour of the kitchen was looking distinctly yellow and darkening with age. This was due to the inferior varnish that it had been coated with years previously. Moreover, the paint finish hadn’t been particularly well done and wasn’t really bringing out the best of the lovely features.

hand painted kitchen beforeThey initially contacted me by phone and after discussing  some of the main points, I asked if it would be possible to email me a few images so I could compile an estimate and email it back by return.

A couple of days later I received an email saying they were very happy with everything I had proposed and would I able to visit them for a consultation. Naturally I was very happy to do so 🙂

During the consultation we discussed the process and logistics in more detail and also delved into the wonderful world of colour.

As this kitchen was going to have a subtle ‘antique‘ paint finish, the colours we looked at would be the base and not the finished shade. The antiquing effect would change and darken the base so the colours we initially looked at were pretty light – The Little Greene Company’s ‘Slaked Lime (105)’ and ‘Slaked Lime -Mid (149)’ .

I painted up a couple of samples, posted them to the client, and waited to see how they thought they looked after living with them for a while.

After a couple of months of moving the samples about and looking at them in different lights, she was still unsure, so we arranged a second visit and another colour consultation.

hand painted kitchen beforeThe ‘Slaked Limes’ were looking a bit cool in some lights, so armed with an antique paint effect sample done on a warmer, brighter base I headed off to see them.

One look at the new sample in situ and we knew it was perfect – a light bright base with warm yet earthy antique finish, perfect!  Decision made, a base colour of Dulux’s Jasmine White with a raw umber/paynes grey and burnt umber glaze – lovely.

The main reason this kitchen was not just re-painted in a solid single colour was that it would have looked quite stark and a bit incongruous amoungst the stone archways and other features.

The kitchen needed to look as if it belonged there, had always been there and was almost a natural feature unto itself. It didn’t need the full on ‘distressed‘ treatment as this would have made it look too beaten up and old. It needed to look aged but still remain sharp and stylised, which a  subtle ‘antique‘ paint effect would achieve perfectly, not only softening the look of the units but also enhancing all their lovely detailing.


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The Project

To create a hand painted kitchen with a specialist paint effect can essentially be broken down into two main stages – the base painting of the units and the creation of the paint effect itself.

In many of my other blogs I have explained the process and materials I use for preparing and hand painting a kitchen, so for this Blog I thought I’d focus a little more on the creation of the paint effect finish itself.

Before the paint effect is created however, the perfect base needs to be achieved. You are essentially painting the kitchen in a single colour just like you would do for a normal hand painted kitchen re-paint. The only difference is you don’t stop there, you create the paint effect finish over the top and then lacquer it to achieve the finished result.

In short you clean, mask off, sand, prime, fill, prime again, top coat, create the effect and then protect with a lacquer.

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (5)

You can read more detailed accounts about how I go about ‘normal’ hand painted kitchen and re-paint projects here

Pre Paint Effect Preparation & Painting –

Stage 1 –

Remove handles and thoroughly clean everything with a good cleaner/degreaser. My preference is the wonderful and eco friendly * Krudkutter Original, now only available in small sizes, as it is being discontinued.

Stage 2 –

Mask everything off. I mask off the floors, worktops, walls and other areas with 1200 lining paper and various tapes. Different masking tapes have different properties and I typically use 3-4 different types when masking

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (4)off the different areas of a kitchen.

Stage 3 –

Remove doors and stack. To make this as easy and efficient as possible I used my wonderful * Erecta Rack.

Stage 4 –

Throroughly sand every square inch of the areas to be painted. As usual I used my trusty Festool RTS 400 Q-Plus GB 240V Orbital Sander (which allows for virtually dust free sanding) with Granat 120 pads and Mirka Gold Flex.

Stage 5 –

Hoover off & tack cloth any residual dust and then apply the first coat of primer. In this case I used Zinsser B-I-N.

Stage 6 –

Sand back the Zinsser B-I-N until prefectly smooth, remove any dust and then fill/caulk any areas that need attention.

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (9)Stage 7 –

Apply a second coat of primer to ensure a brilliantly durable and scratch proof base. For this I used Otex by Tikkurilla which I ordered from Holman Specialist Paints and had it tinted to the equivalent of Dulux’s ‘Jasmine White’.

Stage 8 –

Apply the top coats, sanding between coats. I applied two coats of Empire by Tikkurilla which I also had tinted by Holmans to the equivalent of Dulux’s ‘Jasmine White’.

After all the thorough preparation and painting I ended up with the beautiful, brush mark free finish you see here ( I re-attached some handles for the full effect). Most kitchen projects stop there, but not this one, oh no, there was more to come!

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Antique paint effect –

As I mentioned above, the idea behind creating an aged or antique paint effect for this kitchen was to make it look like it naturally belonged there and fitted beautifully into its surroundings. Also, the effect would enhance and ‘bring out’ all the lovely detailing.

To create most paint effects you need a tinted glaze. 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.

In search of a new glaze

In days gone by, Ratcliffes Oil Glaze was the glaze of choice but with the introduction of new VOC laws and various other reasons this wonderful and much missed product is no longer available. They did bring out a replacement but in my opinion it is truly woeful.

polyvine oil scumbleI spent many many many hours in my workshop working out the best chemical composition to create my own glaze after the original Ratcliffes was discontinued.

Though I was eventually successful it was pretty messy to make and a bit time consuming.

Now, however, there is a new kid on the block and, having used it for a while now, I can honestly say it’s as good, if not better than the original Ratcliffes. It’s Polyvine Oil Glaze, yay 🙂

Create the antique paint effect

My hand painted kitchen with paint effect

To create the finish I tinted the Polyvine Oil Glaze with a mixture of raw umber / paynes grey and burnt umber tubed oil paint. This created a natural looking ‘tea stained’ colour with a hint of warmth.

I mixed the paint with the glaze and added white spirit to get a  consistency akin to single cream. Rough ratios are 1 third paint, 2 thirds glaze and then 15-25% white spirit  (maths has never been my strong suit lol).

hand painted kitchen with paint effectI then splodged (I think that’s the technical term) the glaze on with a 1″ gold teklon artist 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 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 with paint effect It really helps to have an artistic eye for this kind of thing and as a decorative artist that is something I definitely have. 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 decorative artist’s portfolio. Painting and art 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 –

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (12)

The base on which the glaze has been applied is very very durable, but the glaze itself is pretty thin, so needs some additional protection to ensure it has great durability and is easily wipeable.

The final stage is therefore to seal everthing with a protective lacquer.

Kiva Lacquer

For this stage, I turn to another Tikkurila product, this time Kiva.


Kiva is water based and comes in all manner of sheens from 20%, 30%, 40% through to gloss.

For this particular project I actually used the matt version, which actually has around a 10% sheen level.

I applied 2 good coats of the Kiva using a combination of a mini gloss roller and gold teklon brush.

Job complete, what did the clients think?

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (11)And that my friends, was that, job done. The project took about three weeks to complete and was a pleasure to do. I was really very happy with the results as were the clients.

Very kindly they emailed me this great testimonial.

Who knew, having your kitchen hand painted can also be good for your health!

When we bought our house 6 years ago the kitchen was key to our decision to buy. The design, layout and worktops were everything we wanted. However, over the years we noticed the colour of the cupboards was getting darker and eventually the kitchen looked like it belonged to a family of heavy smokers (which we are not.) After researching on the Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (8)internet we found Lee….

After an initial consultation we discovered the kitchen had been subject to a previous repaint and the paint used was not suitable hence the discolouration. Lee gave us solid advice on colours and was prepared to revisit for consultations as many times as we needed to get the colour right. We waited 10 months and it was worth every second. The end result is beyond expectations.

Lee kept us fully informed of what to expect during the re-paint process. There was no dust or mess and the process which took three weeks was relatively easy for us. Having Lee in our home was a pleasure. He is good company and hardworking.

As a final bonus to having a beautiful kitchen we lost 10lbs each through having to live on healthy microwave meals and no snacks”

Mrs M, Rawdon, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Thanks for reading my Blog and please scroll down for more photos of this project below.

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If you would like to see more pictures and read about other hand painted kitchen and decorative painting projects I have undertaken, please visit my website –https://imaginativeinteriors.co.uk/

hand painted kitchen with paint effect

Hand Painted Kitchen with Paint Effect (2)

Lee Simone hand painted kitchens yorkshireBased nr. Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Lee Simone began Imaginative Interiors in 1999 and now travels throughout Yorkshire transforming and rejuvenating furniture and kitchens to the highest level.

Alongside beautifully hand painted kitchens and furniture, Lee can also offer you outstanding specialist paint effects, faux finishes, murals and trompe l’oeil.


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