River Ranch Project

A few weeks ago I started working on a new project called River Ranch. This will be a second home and retreat space for a super sweet family. Since the floors will be installed next week, we’ve been on the hunt for furniture and accessories.

Most of the rooms need to be completely furnished. The owners want a coastal inspired home given the property is on the water but they don’t want it to scream shells and beach themed décor. We’re looking to achieve this look by adding in layers of textures, navy blues, reds and crisp shades of white. We’ve already picked up a few pieces of art, linens for the bedrooms and a lamp for the living room.

While I was out looking for my space at The Pickers Market one day, I came across a media cabinet that was really close to the inspiration cabinet the homeowner wanted from Ballard Designs. The only problem was that the cabinet I found wasn’t creamy white. The price was amazing though. I texted the homeowner the pictures and price and a few minutes later loaded it up in my car. I was beyond a shadow of a doubt sure that I could make it work at a fraction of what the other media cabinet would cost.


I’ve been painting long enough to know if there is a slick finish, you need to sand the piece down first to help give it some tooth so the paint has something to stick to.


After using 120-grit sandpaper, I figured I was good to go.


As I mentioned earlier, we’re using layers of creamy whites so I got out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and proceeded to apply the first coat. Within minutes I realized there was a big problem.


I didn’t panic at first. I mean chalk paint is supposed to stick to everything right? But with every stroke came a sinking feeling in my gut. It was like some sort of strange oily film on the cabinet.


Even after two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, there was something on the original finish of the media cabinet that wouldn’t allow the paint to stick. I sent a note to my painting buddies seeking advice. I haven’t dealt with anything like this in years. We all agreed that I should sand the entire piece down and start over with a primer first. I’ve used Zinsser 1 2 3 Primer For All Surfaces in the past and it worked well so I decided to try it on this piece too.


A round of sanding using 80-grit sandpaper, one coat of Zisser and two coats of paint later the cabinet was still chipping paint…and not in a good way.


Another round of sanding, priming and painting yielded the same results. So. Frustrating.


Thankfully, the homeowner has been great about this little hiccup in the road. I have a meeting at a specialty paint store to help me troubleshoot the bonding issue and I haven’t given up on being able to use it as a media cabinet either. My plan B is to take the doors off, add baskets to each shelf and use it in the entry. It really is a pretty piece…


I’ll keep you guys posted on how this media cabinet turns out after we’ve repainted and put the beadboard back in place. I’ve been painting for years, finishing hundreds of pieces of furniture and honestly, I’m stumped. Have you guys ever come up against anything like this before? If so, what did you use as a bonding agent?

See you guys back here tomorrow. It’s two weeks until St. Patrick’s Day and I’ll share a few fun ways to celebrate.

Many blessings,


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  1. Hey CoCo – man, we feel your pain. We KNOW that you are a fabulous furniture painter and this is not a testament to your skills in any way. Wonder what this cabinet was finished with originally? We have always had great success with Zinsser Gold. Good luck with this piece…can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    1. Thank you ladies! It was really hard to see this piece totally fall apart because as you can tell it has great potential. I love all of the Zinsser products so I will definitely give this one a try. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Hugs, CoCo

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