After a light sanding, I applied two coats of paint.
For the highlights, I added a whitewash in white chalk paint to the grooves and the carved flower. After a good drying time, I applied a wax and buffed. Using a glossy white spray paint, I applied several coats of paint on the handle. I've been debating on whether to apply a polycrylic topcoat. It has turned out way better than my expectations!