Whitewashing brick with milk paint / by Lara Periut

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On my previous post about finishing the vent hood with a two year slaked lime plaster, I alluded to the brick veneer applied to the wall around it. It was very pretty, but a little too colorful (read: pink) for a very white kitchen. We all loved the texture, but thought it would be better suited with a wash over it so that it became an aspect of the whole and not the forceful spotlight that it had become. I looked at several options that appealed to me over acrylic paint: in my experience acrylic paint, even watered down to a wash, dries too quickly on such a porous surface as brick. There are all kinds of issues that could arise: runs that would only get darker (thicker?) once I was able to get down to that area, brush strokes that I didn't want, too many light vs. dark areas, and the list goes on. So I knew that I wanted something I could control just a little more, but with less elbow grease required later applying a sanding pad to bring back a little of the brick color. Since I have become enamored by lime plaster I began to look into lime whitewash, only to decide that the chemical reaction that takes place where the white became stronger as it dries was something I couldn't control on the first try. While looking into this process, I noticed a lady using Miss Mustard Seed milk paint on brick. In her description the milk paint got lighter as it dried and soaked into the porous brick surface, which was interesting because what I experienced was the opposite to that: the wash went on almost translucent and dried for a more solid look. I ran a test on some excess pieces of the brick veneer and I realized that of the 5 ingredients combined to make milk paint, lime was included. I knew then that Milk Paint creates a similar chemical reaction that a lime wash would create: when exposed to oxygen it bonds with the substrate and solidifies. However, I was able to control the milk paint on brick for a wash affect without having to sand down the excess by adding more water to the mix than it required. When all was said and done, I also sealed everything with a water based sealer so that my client A) wouldn't be vexed with excess sand turning her counter tops into a beach, B) food splatter would be easier to remove and C) with only one coat we could retain the desired matte finish we were looking for.  Overall, I think the finished look flows beautifully!

Kitchen designed by Brooke Phillips Design and finish work for vent hood and whitewashed brick veneer completed by Lara Periut.

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