Today, I started the makeover of a French Provincial dresser!
Several weeks ago, while attending an estate sale, I found a vintage French Provincial dresser and knew that it would be perfect for a makeover.
The dresser wasn’t in great shape which is a plus for me when looking for furniture to make over. If it’s in perfect condition, I always hesitate to do anything to it. However, this piece had seen better days. It had old paint that had run down the front, something had bubbled the top, and the wood was chipped in several places.
The dresser also appeared that it had possibly been stored in an outdoor storage building or barn. All of theses blemishes and imperfections make it the perfect piece to breathe new life into!
Speaking of blemishes and imperfections, I embrace those when making over a piece with paint. Once the piece is finished and glaze has been added, those imperfections will give it one of a kind character!
This particular dresser was made during the mid century period. It’s French Provincial in style and is made very well with tongue and groove construction.
Not familiar with French Provincial style furniture?
French Provincial style furniture has a shapely silhouette and evokes a sense of the romantic. It’s a very iconic style, and technically speaking, most French Provincial furniture is in the Louis XV and Louis XVI style (no wonder I love it!).
French Provincial dressers, chairs, and tables will showcase either the curvy cabriole legs associated with Louis XV style, or the tapered and fluted legs associated with the Louis XVI style. Historically, French Provincial furniture was designed to furnish a countryside home as opposed to a city apartment or palace. Typically, French Provincial furniture does not feature heavy embellishment like ormolu.
In the mid 20th century, makers like Thomasville, John Widdicomb, and Baker Furniture Co, produced furniture in the French Provincial style. The pieces made available were often extensive, including everything from dressers to dining tables.
This style of furniture has had a resurgence of popularity in the last decade, and larger pieces like the dressers are getting hard to find in the secondary market, so I was thrilled when I found this one at my favorite monthly estate sale for $148.00.
I made over another French Provincial dresser several years ago. It has been pinned on Pinterest thousands of times, and was very recognizable as “the blue buffet“. When we moved from Missouri, back to the Gulf Coast, I decided to sell it because I didn’t think I would have room for it. That’s a decision I have since regretted, so I was excited to find this piece.
I’m going to take you along with me as I make over this dresser, and even though I’m using the famous “blue buffet” as inspiration, it will probably be a bit different because I’m using slightly different paint colors.
Step One: Remove the old hardware
My first step in the makeover process is to remove the original hardware and set aside. Be sure and save all the screws and little nails that held them in place.
I love re-using the original hardware when possible instead of replacing with new.
Step Two: Clean
The first thing needed before painting a piece of furniture is a good cleaning. This piece was soooo dirty. I don’t know if I’ve ever found a piece as dirty as this one.
After removing all of the old hardware, remove all of the drawers so that the interior can be cleaned, as well as the exterior.
There are many cleaners on the market designed to clean furniture…..and I’m sure many of them are good. My “go to” has always been a very simple solution of Dawn dishwashing liquid (the blue kind) mixed with water.
I use a soft cloth and wring it out really well between rinses. It works great to remove old grime and get rid of any lingering smells.
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Step Three: Make any repairs
At this point, if there are any needed repairs, they need to be done before painting. This piece only had one issue….one of the drawers had a split on one side. It was an easy repair with Gorilla wood glue.
Step Four: Paint
After all of the above steps, the fun part begins….painting! I always paint furniture using layers of several different colors. For my base coat of paint, I chose the color Steel Blue by Pure & Original Paint.
There’s lots of specialty paint brushes on the market, however I usually use a Purdy tapered brush, just brushing on a solid coat of the paint in smooth strokes. If needed, I will give it a second coat.
This is the base coat that I will layer the other colors on top of. The Steel Blue color will continue to show through but it will change a bit as I layer the other colors.
I let the base coat dry overnight before starting the next layer, so stay tuned for Part Two!
Any questions? Please ask! I’m happy to answer!
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