A Blue French Provincial Dresser

The one piece of furniture in our home that gets the most attention and comments has to be the blue French Provincial dresser in our kitchen/breakfast room. It was recently part of our feature in the French magazine Shabby Style. It made me smile when they described it as a “Louis XV commode”. It just proves that you can add french style to your home without spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars to get it.

A Blue French Provincial Dresser | Edith & Evelyn Vintage | www.edithandevelynvintage.com

Our “Louis XV Commode” is a piece of furniture that was salvaged from a 1950’s french provincial bedroom set.

When we were renovating the kitchen/breakfast room area, we took down a wall to open up the kitchen, which resulted in one long wall between the family room and the formal dining room. I had envisioned a long, french style buffet there, and knew that a french provincial dresser would work perfectly. Unfortunately, all the dressers that I found were too short for the long wall.

DSC_0079

But patience paid off when I ended up finding the perfect piece at an estate sale. It had beautiful curves and legs and lots of drawers for extra storage. Plus it was 72″ long, making it the perfect size for the wall.

This was a dresser that originally belonged to a french provincial bedroom set. It dated to the 1950’s and had a “golden oak” finish. I knew I would be painting it, so I didn’t care what kind of finish it had. We ended up buying it for $79.00 and hauled it home, storing it in the garage for the eight months that it took us to renovate the kitchen. 

img_0835-0

I knew that I wanted it to be finished in a “frenchy” blue color with lots of depth to the paint. If you want to achieve depth to your painted furniture, you can’t just slap one coat of paint on and that be it. You need to layer colors, using some for shadowing, others for highlighting, giving the end result of a deeper, aged over time look.

DSC_0081

I ended up layering five colors on this buffet, starting with the base color of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Aubusson Blue. Once it was dry, I gave it a wash of ASCP Provence.

To make a wash, just add some water to the paint to make it a bit thinner. You still want to see the base color through it. I usually brush a wash on, working in sections, and then wipe some of it back off with a soft cloth.  After the wash of Provence dried, I then added a wash of ASCP Duck Egg, again taking a dry soft cloth and wiping back some of the paint as I went.  

After the Duck Egg was dry, I dry brushed a coat of ASCP French Linen for highlighting, especially accenting the edges of drawers, and high spots on the legs and details. 

The final coat was dry brushing ASCP Paris Gray over the details of the wood as a highlight. To do a dry brush coat, just slightly dip your brush in the paint, and wipe off the excess so there’s not much paint on the brush.

Be prepared for the “ugly stage” while you’re doing all of this. Hubby walked by as I was into the second wash and said, “Are you leaving it like that?” Um, no.

DSC_0073

A Blue French Provincial Dresser | Edith & Evelyn Vintage | www.edithandevelynvintage.com

Once the dresser was completely dry, I lightly distressed. You can use a fine grit sanding block, but my favorite way to distress furniture is just get an old “nubby” wash cloth, make sure it’s wet, but well wrung out, and use it to remove the paint where you want it. It’s a lot less messy than sanding.

Because the original finish had a golden finish, it added some wonderful highlights.

DSC_0074

A Blue French Provincial Dresser | Edith & Evelyn Vintage | www.edithandevelynvintage.com

The final step is waxing. I use clear wax first, and then a combination of clear and dark over it.

I find that the dark wax straight out of the can is hard to work with. For me it’s not “user friendly”, but I like the way a dark wax will bring out the details in a piece of furniture. So I always have a separate container that I mix three parts clear wax to one part dark wax and this is what I will use to “antique” and bring out some of the carvings and details. 

I also don’t use a wax brush to apply the wax. I find it much easier to apply the wax with a soft cloth, like an old t-shirt, and “massage” the wax into the wood. It seems to keep me from applying too much wax, which can turn into a problem when it’s time to buff.

DSC_0075

After waxing, I let the dresser cure for 24 hours and then I buffed it with a soft cloth. I put the original hardware back on it, because the old brass had some wonderful patina.

DSC_0078

DSC_0071

A Blue French Provincial Dresser | Edith & Evelyn Vintage | www.edithandevelynvintage.com

I love the way our “Louis XV” commode turned out, and it fits perfectly on the large wall. It’s turned into the centerpiece when you walk into our kitchen door.

DSC_0076

This is the one piece of furniture that always gets decorated for different seasons and holidays. 

DSC_0080

DSC_0077

The French Provincial bedroom dresser has a new life…as a French Louis XV Commode!

Cheers,

           Cindy

69 thoughts on “A Blue French Provincial Dresser

    • Reta, we layered the colors for this piece. As stated in the post, we started with Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue, then layered Provence, Duck Egg, French Linen, and Paris Gray. We didn’t use any kind of gold accent. The “gold” that you are seeing in this piece is the original “golden oak” finish coming through the areas that we distressed. Hope that helps!

  1. Pingback: DIY Chalk Paint Project - ENREVERIE Blog

  2. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for lamps. What great inspiration! Where did you find the matching lamps that you are using on your Louis XV?
    Thank you!
    Jessica

  3. You are amazing! The tutorial was the best! This is a gorgeous piece, you turned an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan! I love seeing it decorated for the seasons too!

  4. I am not usually a fan of painted furniture and I am not a blue person but this is fantastic. I can see the numerous steps you took to create the patina really make a difference. What a lot of effort…but it really paid off.

  5. Pingback: Share It One More Time Inspiration Party - The Everyday Home

  6. Pingback: Share It One More Time #21 - One More Time Events

  7. Pingback: Share It One More Time #22

  8. Pingback: Welcome to Friday’s Furniture Fix #28 – The Chelsea Project

  9. Hi, Cindy–I’m a little late catching up on your blog because I was under the weather for a few days, so I apologize for the lateness of my comment. Just like everything else in your lovely home, this piece turned out beautifully…it’s a real eye-catcher, and the attention the magazine gave it is well-deserved! Thank you so much for the detailed tutorial with a board displaying the colors and finishes used in the order applied. Very helpful!

  10. Your whole house is beautiful and I love your posts. I was so glad to see this. You are an inspiration to me in the decorating of my home. Thank you for the detailed tutorial on the dresser. I hope to be using it soon. Keep sending us all of your wonderful ideas!

  11. Hi Cindy,
    Thank you for the information on how you painted your “Louis XV Commode” aka French Provincial dresser. I have always admired that piece in your blogs but it was interesting to know just how you painted it. It also made me smile when you said it was called a “Louis XV Commode” in the Italian publication.

    Years and years ago when I was in my 20’s back in the 1960’s Standard Oil Gas stations were giving out china as a premium gift. At that time I had my whole family collecting china pieces for me from the gas station. I eventually collected service for 12 along with serving pieces.

    Shortly thereafter, I had a home demonstration and I used my cups and saucers and some of the serving pieces and the woman who was the demonstrator complimented me on my “Noritake China.” I didn’t dare tell her otherwise. Your story reminded me of my story and I couldn’t not tell it to you. I hope you got a kick out of it. Just goes to show you that we see things for what we want them to be.

    Carol Paulus-Kalis
    Addison, IL

  12. Cindy, what a great tutorial on how you refinished your Louis commode it turned out simply magnificent, I also enjoy when you dress her up for the the different season, Can’t wait to see how your going to decorate you Louie commode for Easter…..

    Smiles~
    Mari

  13. Cindy~

    Yes, she sure is a beauty , and always steals the show !! Thank you for suggesting the small prayers books, and rosaries under the glass dome (I know there is a name) I do have a few of them, and that is perfect !!!! hug for that one !! 🙂
    Paula IN

    p.s. the wood pizza like paddle on the island, are those hard to find?? thanks

    • Paula, that is a french bread board….sometimes hard to find. I’ve actually been able to acquire quite a few lately, but they sell almost as soon as I list them in the online shop..as a matter of fact, I just sold the last one I had a few days ago. I’m on the hunt for more, so you might check the shop periodically!

  14. Love that “Louis XV” piece….You did an amazing job on this French Provincial dresser. This piece is beautiful painted. It catches my eyes every time I see this room. I have a china cabinet like this that I would love to paint but just don’t want to try myself….afraid it will look worse. I have not painted any furniture. This piece has been sitting in my garage and would look great if you would paint…..too bad we live too far apart.

    • Thank you Nancy! You need to paint that china cabinet….if it’s sitting in the garage anyway, then give it a shot! Besides, I always look at it this way…it’s only paint, if you paint it and you don’t like, paint over it!

  15. I was fortunate to buy a complete French Provincial bedroom set-queen bed, mirror, 2 end tables & a 62″ chest in early 1980s out of an estate sale. The drawers are lined in a beautiful wall paper. One of my daughters used it. I still have the set and plan to paint the chest like your beautiful chest. Thanks for your inspiration!

  16. My favorite color is blue……I love this so much. You have tremendous patience, I don’t know if I could do this. I think I’ll try it on something small! Haha. I’ll let you know how it works out! Stunning dresser! Your whole house is beautiful. Rebecca

    • Thank you Rebecca! When I first started out painting furniture, I started with a small inexpensive piece that I picked up at a flea market. So starting with a small piece is perfect! You will do fine!

  17. I’ve got a dining room set with a beautiful sideboard and server that I’m itching to paint, but fearful! Thanks for the good tips. I pinned it for future days when I’m feeling bold!

  18. Cindy,just a thank you for in depth instructions. Alway excited to see you in my inbox. Also , will you do the same ceiling treatment in your foyer as your kitchen and bedroom?

    • Thank you Sue! Fortunately, the ceiling in the foyer already has beautiful planks and wood beams that are original to the house, so we won’t have to do anything to the ceiling there!

  19. Hi Cindy, Your home is fabulous. It is my all time favorite. In several pictures of your kitchen there is a gorgeous oyster mirror. I have the exact mirror and love it!!! Do not see it in your kitchen any longer, where did it end up. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.

    • Thank you so much Mary! I made the oyster mirror myself many years ago when we lived on the Gulf Coast. I usually only display it in the summer months, so I still have it, and you will probably see it again as soon as we start seeing warmer weather!

  20. I love that piece! I used your colors a couple of years ago to paint a ‘patisserie’ sign from a footboard I found in an alley. It’s one of my favorites (although I haven’t found a place to hang it)! Great instructions Cindy!!
    Celia

  21. Beautiful Cindy! Keep the posts coming! My favorite…I always get so excited when I see you have something new for us! Have a blessed week!

  22. It’s a showcase piece Cindy! You did a beautiful job on recreating the commode using layers of paint. Haha when your hubby asked about it…

We would love to hear from you!