Transforming Trim – White To Rich Bronze….

Go figure, I didn’t take a before photo of this powder room.    I was hired to do a cool textured stone finish on the walls.  The basecoat was a metallic bronze, and I suggested to the client that she consider painting her white crown molding to a rich bronze.

SCREECH!  Brakes…   Often, I get scared looks from clients at this point.  Much like when I suggest they paint their ceiling, say black.   So what do I do?   VISUAL.    I show them –

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Once they can SEE a decorated piece of trim, next to their ‘new wall finish’  it’s much easier to get an ‘Okey, lets go for it!’

Anytime I paint over existing white trim I like to base coat it black first.   Typically, metallic paints are quite translucent, and 3 coats later you still don’t feel like you have good coverage.    Give it a coat of black primer paint. ( I prefer Setcoat black but its not readily available) –

Brush on one coat of black.   Then get a quart of Modern Masters Metallic Paint color Antique Bronze-


Brush on 1 coat of Antique Bronze Metallic Paint.   When it dries you might need to go back and do another coat

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When the bronze dries,  try Old Masters Wiping Stain or  Gel Stain in a dark black color –  Spanish Oak.

Old Masters Gel Stain is oil based.  Think messy. Stinky. Staining…..   cover everything!  Use a brush that you plan on throwing out (cleaning up after oil is a drag).  Have  turpentine on hand for cleanup of spatters.    Put your gloves on,  and brush on the Spanish Oak stain-

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Brush it on your trim piece then take a piece of cheese cloth,  ball it up,  and lightly wipe off the stain.  Use a dry chip brush,  to brush one more time over the trim to even everything out.     Pounce (lightly bounce)  your bristles into the corners,  then continue on to the next run –

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If you really want to kick it up,  do the back of the door as well.  This door was originally white.  Doors are trickier though, you need to work one section at a time or you’ll get yourself into trouble.  Before doing a focal door, practice on a junker…

kennedy door

The rich stained antique bronze trim finishes this room off nicely, don’t you think?DSC_2378 [Desktop Resolution]

Check out Kimba’s A Soft Place to Land for other great DIY ideas!


21 responses to “Transforming Trim – White To Rich Bronze….

  1. Looks fantastic! Love the color combo, the door and the patina tile!!

  2. You are my hero!!!!! First of all, I use Ant Bronze….. like everyday. My fireplace is in it, my wainscoating, my master cabinets. But I always base in a brown… LOVE the idea of black base!!!! Second, I always use Eng Brown and Glacais for the glaze, but I am addicted to Gel Stain in Dark Walnut….. I am all over that idea!!!!!! Do you topcoat???????????????????? And finally, I want that wall finish!!!!

  3. You’re so cute Jen!I love the color too, and have a couple other MM yummy flavors as well. Funny, I learned with FE’s Metal Glow metallics – bought the color deck, had colors, and never got excited about them. THEN… tried MM metallic paints.. Oooh la la….

    I love Dark Walnut as well. Wish the Gs’s didnt smell and wish they werent oil, but other than that, they’d be perfect!

    I topcoated the door but not the crown. I typically do NOT topcoat moldings….

    That wall finish was a base of bronze, then I used Rotto Stone – get it from Kathy Carroll at Chicago Finishing Institute. Troweled it on then smoosh/smacked and created texture/pops/pits. Then did a slooooow drag down of the trowel to get the sag effect. Glazed using aquacreme – not sure the colors, I’d have to dig out the file but I’m pretty sure its dark brown and earth brown mixed.

  4. SO delicious! I will have to try the oil-based overglaze, Patty, since your results are gorgeous. I generally use the FE Stain & Seals with some additive in it. 🙂

  5. can i do this to my white bathroom cabinets??

    • Yes, you can try almost anything on cabinets, but you’d have added steps of preparation.

      Im not a cabinet guru, however. Typically with a cabinet refinish, you’d want to make sure they are clean, use a degreaser, sand them up a bit, then prime, THEN you could basecoat with the metallic bronze. Then stain. Then topcoat.

  6. Hi I am loving this bronze finish! We built our house 5 years ago and have oak cabinets in our kitchen and I am not happy with all of the wood grain and light color of the cabinets, I have been thinking about gel staining the cabinets to keep the wood look,but darken them. I found this picture of the bronze door and knew this is what I would love my cabinets to look like. It still looks like stained wood and not painted wood. Is this a technique that I could use on my kitchen cabinets that would give it a beautiful stained wood look that is less grainy?

    • You could do your cabinets like this but I the bronze is metallic-like, so realize you will have a metallic effect to your kitchen.

      If you went over your cabinets, you’d have to prime them first before you could paint on a metallic paint- Aquabond does have a Bronze color – which acts as a primer/basecoat all in one. You would probably get similiar effect if you used that , instead of the Modern Masters bronze..

      Does this help?

      • Yes that does help and thank you so much for your time. I wish you were closer and could come look at my kitchen, I live in Louisiana. As much as I like the picture and the thought of a little bronze sheen, I’m not sure that I would like a “Metallic” kitchen, I guess the picture looked a little more faux wood to me. Could you suggest another base coat that would give a similiar wood look without so much metallic. I could send you a picture of my kitchen if it would help.

  7. Patty,

    Help me with something, will ya? I am building a contemporary home. Sheetrock return on all windows so no trim there. I have beautiful maple doors and bi-folds and they are unstained. I’d like a espresso/cocoa/almost black stain. But I don’t want to stain the trim around the doors or the baseboard trim in this color. What do I do?

    • Wendy, were you planning on painted trim for this house, or stained wood trim? If painted, what color were you invisioning? White? Shade of white? Shade of gray? (trim in a house doesnt have to be marshmallow white).

      And, if you paint a door or stain a beautiful wood door, the trim doesnt HAVE to match. I have a post later this week posting on ‘painted doors’ – if you check back, you can see several dark painted doors – and quite a few of them have the light painted trim around them. I preferred it that way, especially if the rest of the room’s trim is in that light painted color. Of course, more dramatic if the WHOLE thing (door/trim etc) goes dark. Here are some examples – though they all look to be painted, visualize your door as a dark stained version.

      colored door w/matching trim-

      colored door w/ trim painted white-

  8. Patty, I absolutely love the technique you used on the trimwork, here. I would very much like to try this on the vanity in the bathroom. I use the word try very intentionally because I have never done anything like this before in my life. I told you we moved here about 5 years ago, and this bath still has contractor primer sprayed. I want to attempt this as I cannot afford a new vanity, but mine is horrid. I think it’s called the honey oak, from what I’ve read on your website…
    Can I buy the things I need to do this anywhere? Can I be trusted with these things? Would this be an appropriate technique for a bathroom vanity cabinet with the white pretend marble top?? I am going for the Key West theme, ultimately.

    • Hi Sissy,

      Yes you could use this technique on your bathroom cabinet. You’d need to follow the steps, priming your cabinet, then basecoating, then staining, then topcoating… Your final outcome will depend on how crafty you are- if you’re not used to painting, etc then I’d suggest practicing on scrap wood or sample stuff first, so you can get the hang of it. Not sure where you live but you could try getting a quote from a finisher in your area and see if their price is in your budget – that way, it would save you purchasing paints/tools etc that you may not re-use, and will give you peace of mind that it will look professional when completed. This color combo would be lovely with any counter top – but keep in mind it is a metallic base and will offer a dressier look when its complete, as some of that metallic lingers through the stains. One of my fav’s though 🙂 Hope this helps – patty

  9. I am having a hard time finding black primer. Any recommendations? Alternatives?

    • Bill, you could use Caromal Colour’s Reclaim paint – the black is Licorice – its a fabulous paint, – but its not cheap primer paint price – its an excellent paint, bonds to anything, and has a sealer built in, an all in one, thus the price difference, but it would work… or you can try to find faux effects aquabond black – that is close to the setcoat black that i used, but you dont have to be licensed to buy it, as i think its silver label not gold. i stock the reclaim, i dont carry the faux effects products…

  10. Did you base coat the door at all or just went over white? I’m confused. I love your doors!

  11. We have those awful fake wood grain doors – I think they are hollow core cheap wood doors. House was built in 2004. What kind of door material is the one featured here? Will your technique work on the kind of doors I have described we have?

  12. Can I do this on stairs?

  13. Could you use this technique on exterior deck railings?

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