Our Shutter Gray Secretary

Our good friend, Rhoda is hosting a Christmas vignette link party over at Southern Hospitality today, so I thought I’d blog about the Christmas-y touches I added to our newly-painted secretary. Here it is “before”…

…and here it is now!

As for the secretary itself, I ended up using Miss Mustard Seed‘s “Shutter Graymilk paint on the outside of it, and I’m currently awaiting the arrival of some “Grain Sack” milk paint to use on the inside of it. I LOVED working with Marian’s milk paint! It’s exactly the finish I’m always drawn to, but can never seem to achieve myself. It took me a minute to get used to the consistency, but man does that stuff totally rock when it’s all smoothed on and dry. And her furniture wax that seals everything when you’re done painting? Total. Perfection!

Love, love, LOVE it!

The drawer pulls came from Home Depot:

I chose them because they were simple, inexpensive, and I liked the way they looked.

Up on top of the hutch, I used some things I already had on hand- including a few of my Grandma’s old crocks:

I popped a bunch of stuff that makes me smile inside the hutch, too:

had to work Mr. “KP” in there, of course…

The small bowl, basket of ornaments, “joy” stone, snowflake ornament, Christmas trees, cinnamon sticks and cable-knit candle cozy all came from Hobby Lobby, and the green ribbon came from Michaels…

I dug everything else out of our moving boxes- ha! #StillUnpacking

My favorite “thing” though, is the card that’s stuck to the wall behind our “3” tray…

I love not opening it…and just letting that sentence soak way in. It takes me to a Positive place every time I see it…especially today. We received word that our adoption application has been approved by Lifeline Children’s Services! And while there are a lot of unknowns ahead of us on this journey, we’ll take comfort in knowing that One Thing’s for sure…and He’s got a plan for us and our little one.

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  1. Julie B.[Holland] says

    Layla and Kevin Happy Holidays. I love the color choice you painted the secretary. My fav thing is that little owl.

  2. says

    Just thinking of “What IS going to be”…is so exciting, Merry Christmas on your last one without the pitter patter of noisy, stinky, and cute little piggies!!

  3. Lisa says

    Ohhhh! This is beautiful. I just love the soft grey color, and your accesorizing. I’m a little intimidated by the thought of having to mix up the paint….maybe I will try it soon.

    Congratulations on the acceptance. You two will be amazing parents.

  4. Laura says

    Congratulations on the approval! Of course He has a plan for you all. It just takes faith to open your eyes and hearts to receive it. Blessings to you and your family!

  5. says

    Oh my heart skipped a beat when I read the “approved adoption papers!” Yay – definitely one step closer!! Oh,am I supposed to be writing about the secretary?? It is beautiful…need my mom to see how good this piece looks painted since she has the exact same piece of furniture.
    Merry Christmas!
    from kelly in georgia

  6. Rochelle says

    Love it. Just wondering where you can buy the paint from? I’m from Canada, just wondering if this can be purchased here as well or just online? Looks great! Congrats on the little one. I hope everything happens quickly and smoothly for you both.

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Rochelle! As for the milk paint- just click on those links to Marian’s shop page for all the deets! :)

  7. says

    That secretary is stunning! Posts like this tempt me to try MMS paint for myself. Love the items you gathered for your styling. That’s a talent I’m still trying to develop. Lastly, congrats on your approval. I’m adopted myself, as is my mother, and I’ll be cheering for you as you continue along your journey. Blessings to you and yours.

  8. Denise Carter says

    Love it. I painted our china cabinet with black spray paint over beautiful wood. The first spray I felt like crying but kept going and I love it.

  9. Marie G says

    Why use the furniture wax? Because you used something other than latex paint and you needed a protective layer? I’m new to painting furniture and have typically used latex paint, but am not sure that the “finish” will last a very long time or hold up against use.

    • Layla says

      Yup! Marian’s got a bunch of great info and tutorials over at her place about it if you’d like to check it all out! :)

  10. says

    The hutch looks amazing but more importantly…Congrats on your application. I’m a mother of 2 so I know the joy and anticipaton you are feeling. Prayers and love to you all.

  11. Cindy says

    Awww, you made me cry! I’m so happy for you two – soon to be three! I will continue to pray for all of you and your new adventure ahead. Merry CHRISTmas. Big hugs,

  12. says

    You decorate with items you love- I love that. Such an important part of decorating. Looking at things that make you smile! I always say that too. You did a beautiful job styling the shelves!

  13. Holly S says

    Love the way it turned out! The owl ornament in the basket is great! Where did you find her? I have been looking for owl ornaments and we have mercury glass ornaments, so it’s exactly what I’m looking for! :)

  14. chrissi says

    loving that milk paint, it looks wonderful, but i really am loving that your adoption app was approved. such grand news.

  15. says

    Congratulations on the approval. I so remember the day we got ours. God does indeed have plans. Look forward to watching you lives unfold. Have faith, be strong and keep believing.

  16. says

    Your secretary looks fit for a Lettered Cottage in her new ‘dress’! God gave the Palmers a wonderful gift this Christmas! So happy for all three of you — You, Kevin and your future child!
    Your Friend,

  17. says

    Congrats on the Adoption Application Approval! What a great early Christmas present, huh? (And your hutch looks really pretty.)

  18. Lucy says

    Thrilling news about the adoption approval!! You will absolutely LOVE being a Mom! He or she will be so fortunate to have your love! Happy Happy Holidays and a Very Joyous New Year!!

  19. says

    I could have saved them all a lot of time and trouble and approved you instantly. He does have a plan, and there is a lucky little soul waiting for you who will be very lucky indeed. Love your hutch. Great color. xxoo

  20. Denise says

    Just want you to know you are in my daily prayers in your adoption journey – God bless you both!

  21. Faerie Pabich says

    Layla, that’s so awesome! Just know that a lot of prayers are being offered for you and Kevin on your journey. Blessings to you!

  22. says

    i do adore
    your gussied up secretary
    all primped and painted
    for the Christmas season

    but even better
    is your announcement


    what a reason to celebrate!


  23. says

    ok…that’s it…I have a secretary that is in desperate need of a makeover…you have encouraged me to tackle it…I LOVE how yours turned out! (well, I love how everything you do turns out :) xo

  24. Cheryl Victor says

    I LOVE it.
    I have a similiar one, that needs painting, does yours have drawers inside?
    If it does, I would love to know how you painted the inside
    Is the color a true grey or more blueish?

  25. Kelly says

    Congratulations on your approval! That looks amazing painted, you did an awesome job! Love the decorations too!

  26. says

    I am finally making a comment after reading your blog about a year, good intentions are just not good enough. When I read the last sentence, that was my cue…Yes, He does have a plan for you, our God is so mighty and His timing is perfect. I am praying for you and your husband and the little one. I live in Birmingham, so I am a fellow Alabama girl as well. I began blogging (and didn’t realize that was what I was doing…smile) during my breast cancer journey on caringbrige,org. almost four years ago, and when I began my new blog about a year ago, I found yours. Before I got sick, I was all about my home. Well, things changed. But now I am finally back to it.. and with a new plan and a new perpective. So, just a little bit about me, but I so adore your style and your pictures. For now, my blog is basically just a place I love to “write letters” of encouragement as I call it, and my goal is to step it up in 2013. I close with Jeremiah 29:11, a hope and a future, I am excited for all He has planned for you and your family…. and I have just babbled away on my first comment. Thanks for your fabulous posts, Layla! Blessings, Suzanne

  27. says

    Layla, I’ve been enjoying your blog for several years now, but seldom leave a comment for some reason. Today, besides the beauty of your refinished secretary I am struck by the beauty of your life and how open your are with sharing about it on your blog. You are a breath of fresh air and you bring me and many other fellow believers encouragement. Thank you.

  28. Andrea says

    the secretary looks amazing….I have to try her paint…..and best wishes on your journey….I can’t wait to follow along!

  29. says

    YEAH!! Congrats on the acceptance. I read this today. It was from an adoptive mom and said that it got them thru the waiting. But I had just been emailing with a friend and we were talking about praying and being patient for Gods timing as she desperately tries to grow their family. And now your post. I’m praying for you.

    Habakkuk 2:3.
    “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

  30. Denise says

    Amazing hutch ! Did with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in grain sack on a dresser. Love this color.

  31. Starla says

    What a wonderful Christmas present! Congratulations on your wonderful news! Merry Christmas!!
    Oh…and the secretary looks fantastic!

  32. Sunni says

    I adopted my daughter from China almost 14 years ago…I still remember my documents being accepted! It was the beginning of an amazing journey…your child is waiting for you…God has the perfect child that He decided before you were even born, was going to be yours.

  33. Cindy says

    I’m relatively new to your blog, but I love your style….you’ve been a real inspiration to me! So glad to hear the good news on the adoption approval!! Prayers for the road ahead!…

  34. Mom Palmer - Katie says

    I love the secretary, Layla. I was so excited when Kevin called today and said you all had been approved for adoption. Can’t wait to be grandmama again. I know that God has the perfect child for Kevin and you. We will continue to pray that everything will happen according to His plan. Love you both.

  35. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    Oh crimany………….(sniff). God BLESS your hearts.
    Jeremiah 29 11-13 in action, for sure. My favorite passage. i am beyond thrilled for you and Kev. This is the best Christmas present ever.
    Oh yes, I positively LOVE the secretary. The color and your finish is just luscious. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
    Layla, I can just feel the smile on your face. If you can feel love from afar…….I am sending you and Kev a huge hug.

  36. Deb Darby says

    Congratulations to you and Kev! Children are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord. Trust in Him with all your hearts, and He will direct your path. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you both!

  37. Jessica says

    Hi Layla… love your new secretary. I have been eyeing this milk paint. Did you use the bonding agent? Did you sand in the areas you wanted the wood exposed? Great work as always!

  38. says

    The secretary looks beautiful! You sure worked some magic on it ;) And, I love all the Christmas touches. Congratulations on the acceptance! What a great Christmas gift! May the Lord grant you much peace, patience, and rest in Him as you wait for His perfect timing on receiving your little one.

  39. Jaime says

    You share your heart with all of us in your designs and posts. Thank you for doing that and congrats on the news!

  40. Liz VanKirk says

    I am happy for both of you as well! We too adopted from Russia – our son. We also have 4 biological daughters. It’s a long journey with getting your dossiers in place but just make a list & plug away at it.

    By the way I love the milk paint color you chose for the secretary. Sort of a country/beachy flare to it.

  41. says

    I love the secretary! I have to say you’ve got vignettes/styling down. If it had sheet music or something else falling off of it I’d swear it was in a PB catalog, lol. Congratulations on getting your application approved!

  42. Maggie Fieger says

    I loved your secretary! But most of all I love that you are approved for adoption. Our youngest granddaughter is adopted from Guatemala, and she made our family complete. It is quite an experience, and I was fortunate that our daughter shared every step of it with us, from the moment they were accepted to the moment they knew they had Emerson to the Gotcha Day (when they took custody of her) to every moment since. Good luck with your journey – I will be wishing you well every step of the way.
    Maggie Fieger, Lawrence, KS

  43. says

    how exciting for y’all that your application has been approved!!! i remember my husband and i being giddy as school girls when we found out ours was approved! what a wonderful early Christmas present…congratulations…y’all are one step closer to parenthood :0)

    the secretary looks great as well…love the color…makes me want to get my paint on!

  44. says

    i knew that the secretary was going to look great, but BAM!, you took it up a notch. spectacular!
    i’m so thrilled for you and kevin and your progress in the adoption process. exciting! (is it weird for you to know your readers, who do not actually *know* you, experience true joy for you?)

  45. Patti B says

    Beautiful job on the secretary … but your adoption approval is probably the best Christmas gift ever! So excited for you guys!

  46. says

    I love the way that came out. I want to try the milk paint soooo bad. I need to save some money first though. Budget budget budget.

  47. Marianne in Mo. says

    Wonderful news about the adoption process! One step closer! :)
    Love how the secretary turned out! I’m off to look again at Miss Mustard’s color choices!

  48. says

    The secratary turned out so pretty…I now have the courage to do mine.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    and sweet happy day to you on the adoption application being approved.
    Merry Christmas!

  49. Julie says

    I love to distress furniture, now I’m inspired, will have to order Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint. The secretary turned out fabulous!!
    I wish you the best of luck on your adoption, someone is watching over you both.

  50. Jude says

    “PARENTHOOD” Another chapter begins in your book of life…and you have written the first sentence. Looking forward to the adventure that follows!

  51. says

    Congratulations!! You two are gonna be the blessing that some child needs. There is nothing more hopeful, faith-filled and glorious than to be a mom & dad. God bless y’all!!

  52. Terry says

    Layla, do you like the milk paint better than the chalk paint? I am needing to paint some bar stools and was thinking of going with chalk paint. But after seeing your secretary, I really like the milk paint finish. I know you’ve used both, so wondered which you prefer.

    Congratulations on the approval! As you “Wait on the Lord!” I trust He is preparing you – all 3 of you – for the future He has planned for you!

  53. says

    What a beautiful transformation. I was just thinking of painting my hutch in my dining room gray and you’ve helped me make that final decision. I didn’t want white on every piece in the house.
    Congrats on your adoption application being accepted. May God’s blessings be with you two in the coming year.

  54. gina says

    i found out my brother’s expecting a new baby, their fourth. i am just as excited for you and kevin as i am for my own brother! thanks for keeping us in the loop!

  55. says

    so so soooo excited for you!! i know its just a step in the process but i thought that the acceptance seemed super fast [just from what ive heard about adoptions]. you guys are going to be the best parents… im kind of jealous.

    you dont want to have a married 25 year old by chance, huh?

    the cinnamon was my favorite touch. and im in love with the milk paint. looking for something around here to paint…

  56. says

    I love your style. Inspires me and my wife for our adventures in our new home. Great, great news on the adoption front! Been following a long time silently and thought I’d say my part today.

  57. says

    Congrats on your approval from the adoption agency! You must be thrilled:) One step closer! Love what you did with the secretary and how you styled it. A perfect before and after! I’ll pin later tonight to the BHG home projects board :) Have a great day!

  58. Leila says

    Looks great. There wasn’t a shot of the inside I’m thinking it may have the same kind of small places that are harder to paint. Wonder what the inside looks like and if you can share how it was to paint the inside also.

    Congrats on you application approval!

  59. Juli says

    Congrats on the application approval!

    Is there a detailed tutorial that you followed somewhere? I’ve been very interested in milk paint and thinking that is what I will do to my bedroom furniture, but need to have directions……

    Your secretary looks great!

  60. Jennifer Clause says

    So very happy your adoption app has been approved we have been in the process for almost a year. We just were liceased as foster parents adn are half way through the adoption home study process to adopt a foster child from our county. Patience is so hard for me at this part. Love your card, God has a plan for our families looking forward to watching your journey unfold.

  61. says

    The secretary looks awesome! We have one that looks almost identical to the bottom portion of yours- so interesting to see it with a hutch on top. Love the paint color. And congrats on the approval! What an exciting time!

  62. Deborah says

    Merry Christmas Layla and Kevin
    Your secretary is perfection!
    Praying God’s perfect will in your adoption process and in your lives. Know you will make wonderful parents. Be blessed.

  63. B says

    Layla and Kevin! Great job. Did you use a bonding agent? Love the finished look. I love the light sanding too!!!
    thank you.

  64. Courtney D says

    Love that you used MMS milk paint! Just got some last week and painted our kitchen table’s pedestal base “typewriter”–and went back to Lucketts yesterday to buy “tricyucle” to see if I can fun-up our saddle seat barstools a bit…and THEN was wondering how ‘shutter gray’ would be on top of our table? not sure-but i am LOVING her product. glad to see your gorgeous piece!

  65. Misty says

    Hi Layla,
    I love your style! … and, what’s more, I love your heart! Fellow Christian here and I can relate to so much that you say and the way you see things … my husband and I are also in the midst of looking into adoption. We are going the “foster with a view to adopt” route through our local Children’s Aid Society. It is an exciting time as we wait on our Lord to learn of His plans for us and the children we trust He will place in our care. Our journey has been long but our faith has grown SO much along that way. Our God is good – all the time! Amen. We wish you and Kevin God’s richest blessings as you trust in Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine! :) Ephesians 3:20 ~xx

  66. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I have a secretary that is identical to this (except the glass… mine has panes). I bought it a few years back on Craigslist and thought I may paint it. I haven’t ever gotten around to it and have tried to sell it a few times on CL. Seeing yours has convinced me to keep it and paint it like originally planned! Yours turned out so great!

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