Sometimes you will find a vintage piece of furniture that has great structure and lines but the finish is very dark. It used to be a very long, messy and difficult process of stripping, sanding, bleaching and liming. Even then, the results could be disappointing.
Dark Walnut Finish
Here is one way to get that light, whitewashed, limed, Restoration Hardware look, that I used on my
old Stepback Cupboard shown in the above photo. Although Graphite is included, it was only used on the hardware to create a rustic zinc color and not on the wood. My first coat was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. French Linen and Coco were lightly brushed on in long strokes following the direction of the wood grain. It takes a little practice, but you can always add a little more of any of the colors to create the look of wood grain. After a coat of clear wax, you can also use the dark wax for a grain effect. Just remember to continue to brush in one direction. The old pulls were were painted with Graphite and Old White.
This is a very easy finish to create with Chalk Paint. I used French Linen and Coco because I like the depth created by adding additional colors. But really you could easily create a similar look with just Old White and a second color, or Old White plus the clear and dark wax.
Painting the inside is a matter of personal preference. In this cupboard I used Provence mixed with water, for a wash effect.