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Harrogate Hand Painted Distressed Cupboard

Listed under Blog, faux, hand-painted furniture, Lee Simone Posted Aug 06 2013

Traditional Painter for Yorkshire, Lee Simone, explains how he tackled this hand painted distressed cupboard for a longstanding client in Harrogate.

For this project one of my best clients wanted to spruce up an old school supply cupboard she’d bought.

Original Wood Cupboard

Original Wood Cupboard

It was part of a complete revamp of her spare room which she wanted to feel lighter, brighter and more sunny – a place to both work out and chill out in.

(This is the 6th room I’ve done for her in the same house, each one being specially painted in a different way and having a different feel.

This time I hand painted stripes in a 3 tone ‘cloudy’ colour wash effect.

I will be posting pics of the completed room once all the curtains and other fabric bits and bobs have been made and fitted so watch this space – in the mean time…distressed furniture…)

How to prepare and apply distressed paint finish

I began the project by first thoroughly cleaning the cupboard with Krudcutter Original which worked a treat and took a lot of the stain off too.

Once cleaned I then sanded the outsides and the insides of the doors with 120 grade sandpaper, to create a great key for painting.

I then used my standard ‘wax barrier’ technique and rubbed wax over certain areas of the cupboard that would naturally have received more wear and tear – the base, the edges and around the handle got the most attention. This wax creates a barrier so the paint doesn’t adhere so when it comes to the sanding stage the paint ‘chips off’ to create a nice authentic aged ‘Shabby Chic’ look.


The next stage is the all important priming. As I was distressing this piece I was using water based paints and so used Zinsser Bin 123 as my primer. Due to the cupboard being old and being stained at some stage with some pretty cheap stain, it took three coats of primer before the stain stopped leaching through.

Top Coats

Once I was sure that the stain had been thoroughly blocked and wouldn’t come through anymore, I applied quite a few coats of F&B’s Tallow emulsion. The number of coats required was down to the colour of the wood and the opacity of the paint.

Distressing Effect

This is the really fun bit – after the final top coat has been applied (using a Dulux high density roller and a * Picasso ) I used 120 grit sand paper to gently sand back the areas where I’d applied the wax. As planned, it ‘chipped off’ beautifully and created an effect that didn’t look just sanded, but bashed about from years of use.


Finally, and to add a bit more depth of colour and to make the cupbaord look more aged, I mixed up a transparent oil glaze with raw umber pigment and applied this to various areas using a small sable brush and muslin.

Distressed & Antiqued My Completed Paint Finish


To create a beautifully even finish with durability and a wipeable surface once the glaze had dried, I varnished all the painted areas with Dulux’s Matt Clearcoat, applying it with a high density foam roller and very soft artist brushes from Windsor & Newton.

Close Up

Close Up


With the furniture painted and the wall effect completed, my client was over the moon again and wrote this fab review for me 🙂

We have had work done by Lee in the past of an excellent standard, this was now the 6th area to be painted by Lee. He painted the walls in our dining room with a paint effect and then stripes on top. Lee also painted the woodwork to tie in with the walls. Now the room looks like it has the sunshine in it all the time.

He has also helped me decide on the window cushion colours. Lee always has an interest in the overall effect of the room. He also distressed an old cupboard and added a little effect to a mirror for the hall I bought, to give it a new lease of life.

We are really happy with the new room and the mirror. He is always happy to advise too as he helped me and the seamstress decide on the curtain material. A first class job again.

Mrs Wright, Harrogate

Happy Days! 🙂

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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