This French provincial three-piece bedroom set make-over has been a long time in finishing and has turned out to be truly a labor of love.
Two of the three pieces of French provincial furniture that will make up my grand daughters “Princess Room.”
Six-drawer dresser with its diversity of curved top, apron and feet and straight sides.
Front of dresser close up to show the silky chalk paint/dark wax finish and bronze painted drawer pulls.
What I thought would take a few hours of time to paint and wax ended up with nearly 100 hours of labor involved. It’s a good thing that I had not made a time or price estimate for this set upfront or I would have lost my shirt! Instead it’s a gift of love to my darling three-year-old granddaughter, Brenna Ann.
This set, according to the label in the desk drawer, is called Bonnett by Sears. I’ve heard from numerous furniture painters who have shared that they had the same set as a young girl. So apparently this was an affordable and highly popular furniture type for girls in the 1950’s through 1970’s.
The typical French provincial dresser “before,” painted originally in gold and white.
I found mine at a garage sale in Zeeland, MI, and paid just $25.00 per piece. The set contains a six-drawer, long dresser, a two-drawer bedside table and a matching headboard and footboard (not yet pictured.) This set is not constructed totally of hard wood and does have parts of MDF, but part of the beauty of chalk paint is that it can cover up the less than perfect.
A close up of the popular gold and white metal drawer pulls.You can also see the fake “grain” of the MDF.
The legs are molded plastic and washed in a gold tone spray paint.
Raised panels on drawers with original knobs (and a few of the many stickers on the set.)
When considering what colors to paint this set, I seriously considered a soft Antoinette pink with white trim…very girly-girly! However, even at the young age of just three-years-old my granddaughter tells me with certainty that blue is her favorite color. Her bedroom walls are painted in a pale blue color and her mother is partial to green, hence the blue/green combo topped off with dark wax. I decided ultimately to select a color combination she could grow up with and not out grow.
I painted the main part of the three-piece set in CeCe Caldwell’s Maine Blue. The trim and legs are painted in a custom green color that began as CeCe Caldwell’s Alaskan Green that I custom mixed to give the impression of blue/green summer water of Lake Michigan in the summer sunlight. Lake Michigan is where my son’s family has a summer cottage and he was raised there during the summer months. That lake played a big part in our lives and family memories and I miss it.
I know that in these photographs the green paint look like a light blue color but what looks light blue is indeed a custom translucent blue/green tone in reality.
I made a conscious choice to finish this furniture using AS dark wax directly painted over the blue and green paint – no light wax used first, as typically recommended and practiced. I had painted another small vintage cabinet in this same color combo and that piece of furniture probably gets more favorable comments than any other piece I have ever completed. I also just love the richness of the French provincial design finished this way and feel that this set will not be quickly outgrown.
The curvy metal handles are all original but many of the round drawer pulls were missing. I found these replacement pulls at Menard’s and I spray painted all the hardware in a Rustoloem Metallic Bronze so they would be color coordinated and look a bit more modern and elegant.
If you attempt to paint a French provincial set like this know these things:
- MDF needs a coat of Zinsser first before the chalk paint middle coat is used
- That to paint over the gold trim on the drawers and the plastic carved feet – plan on painting at four to five coats of paint to cover the gold as it has a tendency to bleed through. The gold showing through is quite pretty but it is hard to make it look uniform.
- Many dressers do not require special attention to the boards under the drawers, but with curvy drawers, this one does.
Would you have waxed this piece in dark wax directly over the paint to “tint” the color…or waxed in clear soft wax first? Thanks for reading!
Small House / Big Sky Donna