My mom bought me a vintage rocking chair and I am looking forward to painting it antique white. Although I'd like to, I don't have the budget to hire a NYC painter to do the job for me. It was perfect timing: blogger Lisa Lewis Koster just published a tutorial on how to refinish a wooden rocking chair. She started by sanding down the chair with a poer sander. Next, she applied a base coat of dark brown paint (you could use primer instead). She painted over the dark brown paint with a reddish paint, and then applied a rub-off technique to create an antique look. Next, she sealed the chair with a polyeurethane sealer. I love the antique finish of her chair, and I look forward to creating a similar look on my own chair.
Bonus: Here's a tutorial on techniques for antiquing wood.