how to dry brush {white wash}

Well folks, the big a$$ tv has a new home.

You’ll remember it used to live here.
If you want to see how I upgraded an old dresser with some fun maps and stenciling, click here.

Yes, that is in our bedroom.  :/

And we had this little cutie in our living room.

Wait…is that a plain, dirty piece of plywood hanging above my tv?  Hmmm, odd…more on that another time.  :)

Why?  You ask, do we have our little tv in the living room and large tv in the bedroom?? Well, we have this great outdoor space (being as we live on an island and all) and we will often move our tv outside when we are just hanging out on the roof.  It is a space I have been keeping under lock and key…well not really, it IS outside.  But, I have yet to share it on the blog.

The outdoor space is one of the best parts of this house.  No, I take that back, the outdoor space IS the best part of this house.  :)

But, after over 2 years of living here we find we’re not lugging the little tv outside quite as often as we used to and… really people…the house is the size of a bread box so moving the little tv into the bedroom adds an extra 12 steps when we do decide we want to take it outside.  Yes, I just paced it off.  :)

But, clearly the big a$$ tv wasn’t going to fit on this gal.
No, not the dog, the cute little Ethan Allan 4 drawer I got for….wait for it…$10.  Now…where to put her, hmmmm.  A decision for another day.

But, I did have this, not real special, hutch.

Some of our neighbors actually gave it to us when we lived in MD.  They had sold their house and it was the morning of closing day and whatever was left in the house was being left…unless we wanted anything.  Hahaha…they had no idea who they were dealing with when they innocently came over and made the offer to husband and I to “take whatever we want”.  Ahhh, so many pieces of junk treasures we acquired.  :)

The hutch made the trip to Curacao, you know, along with all of the essentials.  😉

That’s a joke about all of the items my husband gives me a hard time about bringing on our island adventure.  There may be a still un-upholstered chair and some yarn lying around.  😉

Anyway, I figured the hutch =
1 – a piece we didn’t care about if anything happened to it, and
2 – good storage.

So, take that husband.  That’s called logic  😉

One cool part about her is that she is two pieces.  So I thought, if I just take her top off she’d make a great tv stand.  Who needs a top, er hutch, anyway?

But, if she was unremarkable all together, now she’s less than half of that.
Those are close ups of left) cute idea…coral handles, middle) cute idea gone wrong, scratches from coral and, right) top of the bottom of the hutch.

Am I right?  She’s a mess.

I was hesitant to paint her because of the sliding doors.  Wouldn’t they just rub, scratch and get haggard looking?  No, really, wouldn’t they???

Then I saw this beauty hopping around Pinterest.  Seriously, at least 3 of my blog buddies had pinned this, including Roeshel, Kari and Sherry.
Now, it’s going to take more skill than this girl has to turn my hutch into this.  haha

But, I thought a finish like that might give the bottom of my hutch a little pizzazz.

So…how does one get that finish?  Is it a white wash, is it a dry brush, is it a stain?

Let’s say it’s white wash.

How exactly to does one white watch?

Well, if you don’t know Shaunna, you’re missing out.  Not only does she write a beautiful blog, but she has an eBook that is all about different furniture finishes.  And, she wrote a great post way back in 2010 about the difference between white washing a dry brushing.

She gives all kinds of great details and tips so definitely check her out.

Following Shaunna’s advice, I added some water to my paint.

I brushed on my watered down paint.

And then I wiped it with a lint free cloth to get rid of any paint strokes.

I ended up doing two coats and do have a few tips:

1- Less is more.  Brush on your paint/water mixture very thoroughly.  It helps with the look, dries faster and saves paint.
2- Wait a few minutes before wiping if you want a whiter finish.  I wouldn’t have needed to do 2 coats if I had learned this the first time.  :)
3- If you have a spot you don’t like, STOP wiping it.  I had a few OOPS! spots and realized that the more I wiped the worse they got.  I had much better luck just letting the spot dry and then reapplying and wiping.
4- If you put the paint/water mixture on areas to, say touch up a bit and maybe, just hypothetically, forget to wipe it off and end up with a few spots that are a little more painted then you’d like…don’t panic.  :)  I just dipped my brush in pure water and brushed over the same area and it evened out the look a bit.

It’s hard to see in the picture but the top has two coats and the side only has one.

Now, of course, I don’t ever take the time to take pictures when I’m rectifying an OOPS! moment.  Somehow my body just doesn’t react this way.  As, I was evening out my OOPS! spots I was definitely thinking, “I should have taken a picture”.  But I just can’t seem to stop the quick reflex action to Fix. OOPS. Now!

Similar to when I was balancing the one screw gallery wall.  :)  No pics of that hazardous moment either.  :/


After I had the two coats we had her in place for a couple of days before I thought…STRIPES!

I have been wanting to do stripes for awhile and thought this would be an easy little first go round.  Then I thought…DRY BRUSH!  (Yes all of these thoughts came in all caps, exclamation point strength.)

Why not dry brush the stripes in a gray color (they really are gray, I know they look blue in the night pic), over my nice new light, light gray white wash.  Or would that be gray wash?

Then I wrapped a few of the handles I took off of the mapped dresser with twine.
And then…I thought….NUMBERS!

I am clearly loving numbers right now.  So I picked a couple not-so-random numbers, the same copper stencils I used for the HOME art here, and added some numbers.
My stripes were measured at 5 inch height (the whole cabinet is just about 30 inches tall) which worked perfect when I pulled out my stencils and realized they were 5 inches high. Score!

I traced the stencil and then  painted in the lines.  You know how I roll. 

Then I sanded them down a bit…and called her done.

Pin It

Dare I say she’s nautical and beachy?  I love her.

Joel’s reaction…

…what are the numbers for?  Sigh.

You can’t please everyone. 😉


  1. says

    WOW!! I just love the way you washed this piece with paint! ha Ha My husband would say the same thing to me,lol.Awesome job and thank you so much for the paint tips:) Deidre~

  2. says

    Darn good job I say-I am so glad there is someone who has a blog that does try new ideas and might not be perfect (though it looks absolutely perfect) I find reading many blogs I feel a little intimidated everyone seems so talented, chic, and perfect. The numbers just make the piece adorable-very coastal chic!!! Oh my husband did not get the numbers thing either-aren’t they funny

  3. says

    Just pinned this one :)

    I’m a major horizontal stripes gal and I just can’t stop thinking about items that could be wrapped in twine. I love how perfectly this piece fits with my notion of island decor and enjoying your living space. I keep saying that I want some beachy element in our Great Room and now I really have to figure out how to make something like this happen.

    Can’t wait to see how you re-envision / repurpose the hutch ’cause I know you didn’t toss it out! Such a fantastic job Karah.


  4. says

    oh my goodness this is gorgeous and I love the twine handles …I have a bit of a thing for twine. So here’s a random question…do you have a lot of sea glass on your beaches?

  5. says

    I get a great deal of grief over the varied numbers that I put around the house. My husband want’s to know what they stand for? Or, it would make sense if the numbers correlated to each of us …. and oh the fun he has with our numbered napkins at our weekend family dinners …


    Looks great!


  6. says

    I love it – the colors, the numbers and the dry brush technique (and I would never have known you had an oops moments)! Now you’ve got two dressers that got it goin on (I still love the map one)!! Oh, and the hubs (like mine) obviously doesn’t have your number!

  7. says

    Aw, she’s lovely! I love the dry-brushed stripes over the white wash. As for the top of the hutch, you could hang that on the wall somewhere. I’d love to get one to put over my washer and dryer. My husband wouldn’t get the numbers either 😉

  8. says

    I LOVE this piece!! The finish, the stripes, the numbers, the colors and of course the neat hardware!! What a great job! I am your newest follower : ) -Sarah

  9. Dana says

    Love love love! The twine on the handles is the perfect touch. …and I have to say… you don’t exactly pack light when you move, eh?! (Don’t tell your hubby I said that!)

  10. says

    Ha! I loved reading this post…you be so funny! The topless hutch turned out amazing… I’m a big fan of the white wash/dry brush… but the hubs just doesn’t get it. Go figure…

    BTW…totally followed your logic.

  11. says

    Karah– it’s AWESOME!! Love everything about it…especially those handles!! Fabulous. So excited to have you stop by my blog. I’m happily following you as well!! Have a great rest of your week!

  12. Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D says

    Somehow I missed this post…but luckily “Creative in Chicago” referenced it in her Seaglass post. Love the white washing!

    Of course, or new bedroom isn’t beachy…yet I think I might be able to use some of your technique. The grey whitewash looks like it might be perfect for aging some wood making it look a little desert worm.

    I’m kinda excited about that. :)
    ~ Dana
    P.S. I’m not normally a stripe gal, but I love your faded stripes!
    P.P.S. Can’t wait to see your outdoor space!!!(Actually, I would love a tour of your whole breadbox 😉

  13. says

    Love it! Thanks for all the tips.

    I love the stripes and the numbers too. I laughed out loud when I read the response from your hubby. My hubs would say the EXACT same thing. They just don’t get it, do they? Haha.

  14. says

    LOVE THIS!!! have just found your blog and had to follow, love the things you do, i am a newbie at this home decor stuff, you certainly do inspire me

  15. Diane Killmon says

    Just a thought for the leftover top: finish it in a similar fashion and hang it on the wall fairly high. Put baskets/bins in the shelf openings and add hooks for coats to use in an entrance area. Beautiful job!

  16. says

    Karah ~ lolol! Sometimes guys just don’t “get” it, do they….??? LUV what you did with that hutch! The colors and stripes and washed out beachy look is just perfect!!! :)

    xoxo laurie


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