Painting My Shutters Scared

You might think that for a paint-lover like myself, there wouldn't be anything I would hesitate to paint, but this isn't always true. 

These dark shutters are a good example.

We purchased these beautiful shutters in Homer, AK, the year after we moved into our house, and for a long time they hung in our entryway.  Rustic, full of texture, and very heavy, these shutters are authentically genuine in every way.  What a shame for ANYONE to cover up all that authenticity with paint! 

Just this winter, Fireman hung the gorgeous shutters in the living room for me after I had an epiphany that they would be WONDERFUL on our tall window wall in there.  I hung scroll-work along the side, and stepped back to look.

We had one, very big problem.

The shutters, lovely as they were, were way too dark up there.  They looked like a big rectangular hole in my wall.

And yet, I really liked them in the space.  Deep, deep down in my heart, I knew I was mentally and emotionally preparing to paint them, but it took several months for me to admit it to myself, and even longer to take the leap.

Earlier this week, I was driving home from dropping one of the kids at church and had three hours until I had to pick him up.  On the drive home, all alone in my Yukon XL, I made a decision: Today is the day to paint those shutters.

My heart actually began beating faster.

As soon as I got home, I took inventory of my paint stash because, if you must know, I have so many colors of paint I may not need to go to the paint store for a very long time.  

I knew I wanted to try a layering technique to add depth and dimension, and hopefully bring a lighter wood-tone into the space.  Truthfully, I had this picture of a beautiful home designed by Georgia Carlee in my mind and used it as inspiration.

I came across a Ralph Lauren paint in a tannish-caramel color (See?  It was so old it didn't even have a label on it anymore!), took the leap, and painted those authentically dark shutters like this:

I did not opt for complete coverage as I liked how the dark texture was still exposed in places.  My brush stayed rather dry throughout so the paint did not go on heavy.

Now, you may be wondering why I did not remove the shutters in order to paint.  There are several reasons, the most important being that 1) Fireman was not home, and 2) Even if Fireman was home he would not be happy about moving them for the third time, and 3) I only had a few hours, and 4) I'm fearless now, remember?

At about this point, after painting the caramel color on, my 14 year old walked in and shrieked.  I am not exaggerating.  He was quite alarmed at what his mother was doing to those beautiful shutters.  But I (trying hard to convince my OWN self this would be okay), told him to please not judge until I was finished.  He kindly agreed, and even offered to take a few pictures of me in process.

After the tan-caramel step, I poured a very small amount of white paint on a paper plate, and using a dry brush technique, carefully highlighted all the edges and texture with a very light coat of white.  My brush this time was even dryer than when I painted on the tan-caramel color.  I'm talking very, very dry brush.  Apply, lean back carefully so you don't fall off the ladder, and see if you like the look.  I was going for very uneven coverage here.  This following pictures show this dry-brush technique up close.

I love how the dark texture of the natural wood shows through the paint. Here's a side-by-side of one shutter that's dry-brushed white and one that's not.

My final step, once I was happy with the texture, color-tones and white dry-brushing, was to apply a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax (mixed first with clear was so it wasn't so scary to use ~ it's VERY dark) to help tone down the white and add some age.

I am SO happy with the results of my new shutters!

No longer a big dark hole, now they draw your eye in a pleasing way and add such character to this room, don't you think?

Every now and then, even with painting, I need to take a risk and try something that makes my heart beat fast.  I'm thrilled this risk paid off in a beautiful way.

Labels: , ,