Painting the Goat Barn with Milk Paint from the Homestead House Milk Paint Co.

I blogged a few days ago about building the goat pen and barn (click here to read) and I spoke briefly about the various special touches and décor elements that we indulged in to achieve our quaint and old-timey chic urban homestead barn.
Almost every detail of our pen and barn has some local history, relevant back story or historical recreation value – from the turn-of-the-century shake tile roofing from an old local barn, to the farm equipment from my great-grandfathers home, to the vintage lumber salvaged from our property. And that even goes for the paint we used on our structure as well!
One of the most transformative touches to our mini-barnyard was painting the barn and entry gate the classic barn red. We were able to achieve the authentic and classic barn color using milk paint – the same historic paint that American farmers used a century ago to paint their timeless homesteads!
Since I was aiming for a weathered, vintage and unique feel, (I wanted to avoid the “I bought this in a box from Home Depot” brand-spanking-new look) I just KNEW that I needed to find a product that would help me to achieve an aged, turn of the century, classic middle-of-America barn red.
So I was just tickled pink to partner with the Homestead House Milk Paint Company and use their amazing milk paint on my barn! The best part is? I initially found this company not because I was looking for a good paint for historical recreation (thought that most certainly was a priority!) but because I was trying to find the safest, cleanest, most eco-friendly paint option I could!
After all, I am going to great lengths to ensure that the environment our new furry friends are raised in are completely safe, natural and earth friendly. The whole purpose of starting a backyard dairy is to have access to raw milk for my daughter that is organic and free from consumed or environmental toxins. Since goats have a lovely tendency to nibble at anything and everything at least once (and sometimes twice.. or thrice.. or until it’s utterly consumed), I had to give some serious thought to what I would use to paint the barn.
Basically, anything I used would need to be safe around the goats, safe around the pregnant lady and safe around my daughter who, perhaps inspired by the goats, has taken to licking random surfaces.
After much research, I discovered the Homestead House Milk Paint Company, mentioned on sites from Apartment Therapy, to Houzz, to Pinterest, and usually in the context of vintage furniture restoration and antique replica reproductions. Can we say WIN WIN?! And lucky me, the lovely folks at the Homestead House Milk Paint Company were awesome enough to send me some samples of their no-VOC, all-natural, eco-friendly paint to use on my goat barn and share with you all!


About Milk Paint

When it comes to barns, if historic accuracy is a priority in a paint job, then you cannot use anything BUT milk paint. Historians assert that early American farmers painted their barns with a mixture of milk, lime and iron oxide or ferrous oxide (basically, rust), because the oxides were known to kill fungi and mosses that might grow on barns. When topped with linseed oil, milk paint was a very effective sealant. So barns were painted red not out of a sense of personal décor preference, but because rust was plentiful on farms and it was the best option for protecting raw wood… it just happened to be a beautiful color that has become a romantic icon through the ages!
But aside from the historical relevance and practical authenticity of the paint, the BEST part is that milk paint is considered 100% safe and as mentioned above, is made from all natural and historic ingredients!
Milk paint is a powdered, no VOC product made up of clay, limestone, chalk, casein (milk protein) and iron oxides for pigments. So it is safe for children, animals and can even be used during pregnancy.
Furthermore, milk paint has great adhesion on raw wood – it does not hide, cover or smother natural wood grain – and it will never chip, peel or fade. In our modern era of VOC-laden, headache inducing paints that are all about concealing cheap drywall and ply board, it’s refreshing to handle an authentic product that is designed to enhance the natural beauty of a structure. Working with milk paint infuses a project with an element of beauty and individuality that is just not available through run of the mill toxin-laden paints. Milk paint is an art form, pure and simple.


Why No-VOC Paints Are Worth the Splurge

The biggest selling point for me, as I mentioned, is the absolute safety of milk paint and the absence of dangerous VOCs.
Volatile organic compounds – or VOCs, as they’re commonly called – are chemicals inside paint that are released into the air as you paint. (These are the components that cause you to develop a headache after painting.)
VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate from their liquid form in the paint and enter the surrounding air.
Although the majority of VOCs leave the paint as it dries, not all of them do. In fact, paint can release VOCs into the air for years following the initial painting, putting your family and pets at risk long after the remodel.
VOCs in paint are known carcinogens. A typical bucket of paint contains chemicals such as benzene, methylene chloride and many others that have been linked to cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency VOCs can also cause:
– Eye, nose and throat irritation
– Frequent headaches
– Nausea
– Asthma and allergies
– Can potentially damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system
So, yeaaah.. not anything you want coating your organic barnyard. VOC-free paint is certainly worth the investment for short and long-term health for you and your family!


More About the Homestead House Milk Paint Company

Here is some information about the Homestead House Milk Paint Company, from their website! (Click here to visit!) 
Originating as the only Canadian Milk Paint manufacturer, our family run company has shown its dedication and commitment to providing high quality non-toxic paints across North America since 1988. With the increasing demand of eco-conscious consumers and years of innovation we are now able to provide a premium Zero VOC paint that no competitor can rival.
By enforcing GreenSeal standards we help to provide our customer with paint that targets the increasing concerns for the environment without compromising quality, durability or performance. Its about making the right choice and in doing so we all have the ability to provide ourselves with a healthier lifestyle.
In using premium quality raw materials, our zero VOC paint is virtually odourless, non-toxic and provides 30% more coverage per gallon. Another great feature is its ability to cover previously painted surfaces (in good condition) without a primer.
Our outstanding in-store specialists strive to make your decisions easier! Whether you need help selecting colours, quantity of paint or aren’t quite sure which product to select our in-store product specialists are highly knowledgeable and can help you every step of the way.


Our Thoughts on Painting with Milk Paint

While Homestead House has many beautiful colors to choose from, I was drawn to their deep, rich “Trading Post Red” color. (Modern “barn red” tends to be on the brighter, bolder side, but historically barns had a deeper, almost burnt coloring to them, which I wanted to stick to.)
The paint came in a convenient powder form, and when it was time for painting, we simply added water and mixed up a small batch with a hand mixer. We worked in small batches (enough to fit in a baking dish) so we wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with leftovers.
We found that mixing the paint to the instructed consistency (exactly one cup of water to one cup of powder) produced a very easy to work with paint, with no messy drips or splashes while working with the roller or brush. However, we decided to deviate from the suggested ratio and watered ours down a bit more, because I was enjoying the layered effect the paint was producing when applied in multiple thin coats.


My barnyard inspiration board basically consisted of older barns that showed some wear and tear while still being sturdy landmarks, and I wanted to achieve a similar rugged, natural streaked look if possible. I had read on the Homestead House website that the natural little lumps of clay in the paint can be smoothed out after it’s dry, and can lead to some really neat distressed / antiquing affects, so we had a lot of fun experimenting with the myriad possibilities of the paint.
I will say, some areas that I painted too thin and then coated unevenly did not produce a very clean look (it just looked like some idiot who didn’t know how to paint was set loose with a brush), but other areas had a perfect vintage effect that simply could not be reproduced with modern paints. The areas that I messed up through my overly adventurous and attempted artistic exuberance were easily remedied with another, even coat of paint.. and even fixing my artistic flops was fun, easy and quick, with the paint drying to the touch in just 30 minutes!


I am completely ecstatic with how the barn turned out. I like that while providing even and smooth coverage overall, the milk paint leaves enough of a streaked / rustic feel that the barn doesn’t look or feel artificially coated in a veneer. The grain of the wood, with all it’s quirks and imperfections, shines through, giving the structure the unique homespun feel we were working so hard to achieve.
I am particularly smitten with how the color rests to a perfectly aged tone. You would not know if the barn had been painted 30 minutes ago, or 30 years ago.. it maintains a steady, mature texture that does not look overly aged or overly new. The antiques I placed around and over the painted boards provide such an artistic contrast that I will admit, I have spent more time than is probably healthy just hanging out in the barnyard, gawking at my backyard art! lol!








Overall, I could not have picked a better paint, for my health or for historical and practical relevance for my project. This is a product that I would highly recommend, and that I will most certainly be using again in the near future!
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]

Have you heard of / tried milk paint before? If you enjoyed my review, or liked the rustic old world results of this all-natural paint, show the Homestead House some love and share your thoughts below!

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

65 thoughts on “Painting the Goat Barn with Milk Paint from the Homestead House Milk Paint Co.

  • 17 January, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I love how homey and cozy it looks. I can’t wait to come see it in person. Even your little stool that you used in the photos has ‘history’, although it’s a kind of silly one! (we did use it in the last few years of Ren Faire).

    • 17 January, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Wasn’t that stool a dumpster dive outside the Museum of Art in San Francisco?? Haha! 😉

  • 17 January, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Looks like a fun project! I love the new color!
    Melanie @

    • 17 January, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks!!! We are quite smitten with it ourselves! Came out better than we were expecting!! ^_^

  • 17 January, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I have never heard of Milk paint before! that is so cool though – I hate the smell of regular paint – I remember being pregnant and my sister and husband had to paint the nursery because I couldn’t get near it. This is great alternative. I love the color! 🙂

    • 17 January, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Yeah, this being pregnancy safe seriously made my YEAR!!! I am nesting so hard right now, and I can’t even imagine not being able to join in on the fun of painting for this project!!

  • 17 January, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I liked that paint! Plus it wasn’t horrible with I tried to hold the brush in my mouth but messed up and put the paint side in.

    • 17 January, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      LOL!! I should have listed it’s “Jessica-safe” too.. 😉

  • 17 January, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    You know so much historically and about the circumstances of the past of your area!! And you were brave and lucky to find all the right materials. Here it’s impossible, you always have to settle for (often bad) compromises……
    The pictures again are gorgeous!!
    Never heard of milk paint before, although I’ve done quite some painting in life. I will though inform myself, and next time the house has to be painted try to have it used.

    Have a nice Sunday

    • 17 January, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      I’m surprised how many people HAVEN’T heard of milk paint! It’s really quite fun to work with.. aside from the unique and beautiful color and effects it gives, it doesn’t stink! hehe. If you ever do try this paint, do let me know! <3

  • 18 January, 2015 at 6:47 am

    I love it!!! I love the color. It’s like what I see on magazines or movies. 🙂 It must be very fulfilling to complete such project.

    • 18 January, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      It is!! Seriously, my husband and I have basically funneled all of our “date night” money into “home project” money.. and honestly, it’s a far more fulfilling bonding experience working on the home with my husband than eating out! lol! ^_^

  • 18 January, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I like the photos very much!
    Thank you for visiting my blog!

    • 18 January, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you! And I’m glad we connected! I need more quality blogs to follow! ^_^

    • 18 January, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Yay, I’m glad! I’ll for sure check out your blog! Thanks for stopping by! <3

  • 18 January, 2015 at 11:38 am

    love the paint job! and so lovely to read about this eco-friendly paint…to be honest I didn’t even know that such a thing as a milk paint existed.

    The goat barn truly looks perfect now…and there are so many lovely elements in your garden…in the last post I noticed that wonderful antique water pomp…a thing of beauty for sure!

    • 18 January, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Yeah, milk paint is seriously one of the best kept secrets in eco-friendly home upgrades! And it’s really worth every penny! I’m planning on doing some more posts in the future (gonna TRY to space them out so I don’t bore everyone with repetitive goat-themed posts, haha!) on different elements and features we incorporated into our pen and backyard area! Hope you stick around to read them! <3 <3

  • 18 January, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    This sounds like the perfect paint! Thanks for the history lesson to, I’d often wondered why so many old American barns were that wonderful red colour!

    • 18 January, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      You know whats funny? I grew up with my dad always telling me about how “old farmers would use the rust from their farm equipment to use as paint for their barns”.. it’s one of his favorite pieces of random history trivia! So it made me more giddy than it probably should have for me to use paint that is so historically similar to what was used “in the old days”! ^_^

    • 18 January, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Cool bit of history, huh? 😉 And thanks! I think they’re quite adorable myself! hehe!

  • 18 January, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Hmm, that’s really interesting! I have never heard of milk paint before. The Goat pen looks great!


    • 18 January, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      You should give it a try sometime! You’ll never go back to regular paint!! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Yeah, the color just gets me! It’s the first thing people comment on when they visit our little backyard homestead! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks!! <3

  • 18 January, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Great post, I love the color of the paint! I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin. If you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted, thanks!

    Camille xo

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks for the comment, and I will most certainly check out your blog! I look forward to keeping in touch!! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Yeah, they are little camera hogs.. they’re cute and they know it!! hehe!

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks!!! We’re pretty excited ourselves! <3

  • 18 January, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Milk paint is totally a new concept to me ~ but one I’m excited about. When painted with traditional paints, I find myself always wearing a mask to try to avoid breathing in the fumes and think somehow I’m dodging the carcinogens! We do a lot of painted here, always in the midst of some new project. My 2 year old sort of peeled the paint off our kitchen so in the near future, i’ll have to get some milk paint. And she’s the type to lick the walls too!!!

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Yeah, I cannot STAND the smell of regular paint now! Seriously, we are spoiled on milk paint, it is virtually odorless! And I totally get the being “always in the midst of a new project”.. this weekend, we’ve been renovating our entryway, lol… and next weekend it’s cleaning the backyard for garden season and building some raised garden beds, haha! If you ever give milk paint a try, do let me know what you think of it!

  • 19 January, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I love the photos! Especially the one of the goat through the window/keyhole.
    I know nothing about milkpaint but I know this will come in handy because we have quite some land and plans to have goats and chickens.

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Ohhh, you are planning on having goats and chickens! I WANT TO HEAR MORE!!! hahaha.. seriously, hit me up when you are in the process!! I have learned a little bit by trial and (lots of error) in these past three months!

    • 19 January, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Yeah, it’s very fulfilling! We love working around our house!

  • 19 January, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I have never heard of milkpaint but I can understand wanting something safe around your goats. I love the idea of no VOCs, we are going to be doing alot of painting come Spring and I have been looking into a healthier alternative. I love your pictures btw! 🙂

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Yeah, milk paint is amazing! And it feels good to know I can craft and play and run my animals and kid loose without worrying about toxins in their environment! If you ever give it a try, let me know! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      LOL, let’s keep in touch!! In a few weeks, my hubby is building me a raised garden area in the back yard!!! ^_^

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks!! I like yours too! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks! I am too! hehehe! <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Yeah, it’s pretty cool history, huh?! Now you can be a trivia nut and ask everyone if they know why barns are red, hehe! 😉

  • 19 January, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve never heard of milk paint but the benefits sound pretty awesome. I love how historical this kind of paint is — very cool!

    • 20 January, 2015 at 12:36 am

      Yeah, I am sucker for anything “living history”! ^_^

  • 19 January, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Although I am all thumbs, I heard about milk paint. Some of my friends used it. You did again a great job here. Love the red color. Cute goats.

    • 20 January, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Thanks!! Wish I’d learned of this paint sooner! <3

  • 19 January, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    That looks great! I really want to use milkpaint someday when we have our own home.

    • 20 January, 2015 at 12:55 am

      You should! It’s really an awesome paint! ^_^

  • 19 January, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    So impressed with everything you do! Thanks for teaching us a little more about milk paint.

    xo katie // a touch of teal

    • 20 January, 2015 at 12:57 am

      Awww, thank you! That makes my day! <3

    • 20 January, 2015 at 1:02 am

      Thanks!! <3

  • 19 January, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    I never knew that about paint! Wow that is so crazy and definitely useful information to have, as I was planning to revamp a few things sometime soon! Thanks so much for sharing. Love that paint job you did!


    • 20 January, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Thanks! If you do end up using milk paint for any upcoming projects, do let me know what you think of it!

  • 24 December, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Looks great, did you apply a top coat over the milk paint after it dried? How has it help up to the weather?

    • 3 April, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      I’m also curiousmas to how it’s held up. Tung oil as a top coat?

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