Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Faux Zinc Tabletop--Super Easy Tutorial

 I've always loved the Messina Dining Table from Ballard Designs. Love. It.

Messina Dining Table--Ballard Designs

I just have two issues: one, I need an oval table and the Messina is rectangular; and two, I don't have $900 to spend. As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Craigslist, so I started looking around for a table I could use to create my own version of the Messina table. Last week I found a good possibility. It was the right size and shape and it came with 6 chairs and an extra leaf. It had been languishing on Craigslist for a few weeks, so when I contacted the seller, she offered to sell me the table and chairs for a total of $100.  Yeah, it needed work. A lot of work...

I'll be sharing the progress over the course of several posts. Today, I'm starting off with a tutorial on how to create the look of the zinc tabletop.

Messina Table
My version

The Messina tabletop is covered with acid-washed zinc sheeting. Metal work isn't my thing, so I decided to mimic the look of zinc with a painted finish. I looked at a lot of tutorials on line, but many of them were quite complicated and none of them had the exact look I was going for. I decided to experiment with some different techniques and ended up coming with a method that I was quite happy with.  Here's the step-by-step tutorial:


  • Chalk paint (commercial or homemade) in dark gray (alternatively you can use regular flat latex paint, but you'll need to sand and prime before applying)
  • Tube of silver acrylic paint
  • Small container of glazing medium
  • Small amount of light gray paint (acrylic, latex, or chalk) (optional)
  • Paste wax
  • Paper towels

Start with two coats of dark gray paint. I used my homemade chalk paint that I mixed with some leftover paint I had on hand. The color was very close to Benjamin Moore Evening Dove. You do need two coats. I thought I could get away with one coat. I was wrong. Give it two coats and let dry thoroughly.

Next, mix about a tablespoon of glazing medium with about a tablespoon of water. Dip your brush into this mixture and then put a small glob of silver paint on the brush.

Now you have to work quickly for the next couple of steps. Do just a small area at a time because this stuff dries fast. Take the brush and using random cross-hatch strokes, apply the paint to a small section of the table top. You want to vary the direction of the brush strokes. Cover the entire area, but don't worry about getting even coverage. It should look like this when you're done. By the way, I apologize for the fuzzy photos. I was trying to paint and take pictures at the same time. Not a good idea...

Without wasting any time, take a slightly damp paper towel wadded into a pad and pounce over the area you just painted. This is important. DO NOT wipe, blend, or smear. Pounce straight up and down. Keep moving over the entire area you just painted until all your brush strokes are obliterated.

Now move on to the next area, overlapping back into the area you just painted. When you're done with this step, it will look like this:

If you're happy with the way it looks, you can stop here.  I wanted to add additional patina to mimic the acid washing of the Messina table. If you'd like to do the same, take a small amount of light gray paint and thin it with water. Dip a brush into this mixture and hold it about 2 feet above the table surface, letting some of the mixture drip onto the surface randomly. Wait about 5 minutes and then gently blot the drops. Then do the same with some of the dark gray paint you used for the base coat.

When everything is dry, finish off with a coat or two of paste wax.
And that's it! I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please stop by again. To see the rest of this makeover click here.

Visit the Tutorials & Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z for more great tutorials!

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2014
I was featured on Remodelaholic

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hamptons Style Lamp Makeover

Hello everyone,
I've got quite a few projects in the works. I'm going to start with something quick and easy.

The other day I got the urge to check out the Goodwill store. I haven't been there in...almost forever, and I'm not sure why. Anyway, I popped in on Tuesday and 30 minutes later walked out with a bag full of stuff for less than $20. Awesome, right? One of the first things I snagged was this lamp for $9.95. It's a really good size (about 30" tall) and it has a great shape. I wasn't thrilled with the dark brown color, but I knew I could do something about that.

I was going after a Hamptoms vibe--soft, faded, driftwood-like colors. So I decided the easiest way to do this makeover would be with a gray wash. I mixed several paint colors I had in my stash, ending up with a medium gray color. I thinned it a bit so it wouldn't be too opaque, but I didn't want it real runny either.

After a bit of experimenting, I ended up using a dryish brush (i.e. very little paint). I worked in small sections and using both damp and dry rags and paper towels, immediately rubbed off and blended the paint. I kept working it until I was pleased with the results:

I didn't want it to end up looking "painted", just washed in gray. I found a great drum shade in a rough textured linen at Home Goods for $19.95. Perfect!

I'm very happy with the finished product. I ended up with a lamp I love for less than $30 and an hour's worth of work!

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Classic Coastal Kitchen

Hello! I hope you're staying warm. I don't know about you, but I'm so over the snow and freezing temps. Bring on spring!

So today I'm looking at kitchens. Although there are plenty of lovely options, my favorite combination for a coastal cottage feel is the classic look of white cabinets and warm wood counters. I come back to this combination again and again. Here are a few of my favorites.


This is such a great example. The additions of bead board walls and bin pull hardware make this one of my favorites. 

coastal living

I like the added touches of the vintage shutters, wider wood paneling, and wall-mounted fish. 

smitten studio

This proves that kitchens don't have to be massive to be wonderful. Check out the white subway tile, farmhouse sink, and open shelving. Just perfect.

twice remembered

Glass door cabinets are another classic element. I especially like the vintage latches on the cabinets and beautifully arranged white dishware.

apartment therapy

This is another good example of the good-things-come-in-small-packages rule. This one has a bit of a tropical feel.

life is a dance

I love this kitchen so much. The chandelier is amazing. While stunning, it blends perfectly with the cottage feel of the rest of the room. The bamboo shade is another favorite element. And that wall color...

If you're thinking that having a great kitchen has to cost a fortune, you need to check out Ikea. They have everything from painted wood cabinets, to butcher block counters, to farmhouse sinks all at amazing prices.


This kitchen is a bit more refined with lots of detailing on the cabinets. It's a sweet, charming look.


This kitchen is open to the dining and living areas. The dark wood counters on the island help to create a transition between the spaces. It also proves that even a larger open space can look inviting and cozy.

 So here's my list of "must-haves" for a beach house kitchen:

1. White painted cabinets.
2. Some open shelving and/or glass-door cabinets would be great.
3. Classic bin pull hardware. I wouldn't mind finding some vintage cabinet latches too.
4. Farmhouse sink.
5. Rich wood counters.
6. Bead board.
7. White tile back splash.
8. Simple bamboo shades on the windows.
9. Vintage looking light fixtures.
10. Simple white dishware.

What's on your list for a perfect a kitchen?

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2014