French Provincial Carved Oak Linen Dining Chair–
Vtg Link Taylor 12 Drawer French Provincial Dresser
So you bought a vintage set of French Provincial furniture, and it looks as though it hasn’t been touched for 40 years. Is it salvageable? The answer is yes, heck yes! We show you the best techniques to update this style of furniture that will make it look like several hundred dollars.
1. Strip Your Set and Go All Natural
Raw wood has always looked good, and has never looked better. Over the summer I took all the furniture in my basement and united the finishes by removing the paint. Most of all the furniture I had in this one room was all miss-matched sets, but interesting enough, they all had the exact same wood underneath. The sofas we bought came with a mahogany finish, but underneath they were pine. After removing the paint from 6 pieces, I had a fully united set. I could then introduce color with the slipcovers and the paint finish on the walls.
Inspiration- A Louis XV Limed Oak Chest- here
Instead of Using a non-toxic stripping agent to get rid of the old paint or stain is the greenest way to go. Products like Franmar’s Soy Gel Paint and Urethane Remover work well to remove all types of abrasive paint and stain , while still being gentle on the environment. This product is also 100 percent biodegradable. It works by trapping particles within itself and keeping you from being exposed to them.
Soy Gel Paint Reviews:
Garden Web– “My current fave is Soy-Gel, which I got from the Real Milk Paint Co., though it can be ordered from the manufacturer and other suppliers. I added it to a recent order more out of curiosity, and without much hope. But holy smokes, it works like gang busters if left alone to do its thing. I haven’t done a big project with it yet, but I plan on stripping a pine floor. My test patches have been great! I have tried just about every chemical and mechanical method, and So far Soy-Gel is the best I’ve found.”
My Experience With Stippers:
After using many of the most popular strippers on the market and having very limited success, I decided to try out other methods, which lead me to Heat Guns.
After purchasing a Wagner Heat Gun for about $20 dollars, I was thrilled with the results. Not only did it work fast, it also saved me a great deal of money with chemical stripper. The heat gun I purchased has two settings, one high, and one low. After the heat gun starts heating up, you will notice the paint start to bubble, which you can scrape off with little effort. The best technique for removing paint is to slowly move the paint gun along the paint, for an even amount of heat in each section. Heat guns can also ruin wood if they are left on the wood too long, so you don’t want your heat gun positioned in one area for two long. The wood can turn dark, which can be impossible to sand out. While some suggest wood tools, instead of metal tools, I enjoy working with a multi purpose metal tool, such as this one from Shur-Line. Working with heat guns for stripping paint, it is imperative to buy a Respirator made for fumes. One of the draw backs of heating up the paint, is the fumes they produce, so a respirator is a must have when using this technique.
Products That Might Be Worth Trying:
– Wagner Power PaintEater – $59 Removes paint, ergonomic handle, and may be better than those attachments meant for your drill.
–Electric Paint Remover Sold through Chicago $63
–TruePower Electric Paint Remover-$39-
- Removes paint, paint chips, paint oxides and mildew, and feather finishes paint edges.
- Use on wood, masonite, concrete and steel
- Will not abrade surfaces – Perfect for large, flat, solid surfaces
MUST Have- Safety Gear
Breathing in fumes from stripper, stain or paint can create heath problems that can effect your lungs long term. If you have a garage, workshop, or even a storage shed, working from within it will help contain any harmful dust or debris from being let out into your yard or the surrounding area. Purchase a heavy duty respirator designed for paint fumes. I am so glad to come across the MSA Safety works Paint and Pesticide Respirator because it is comfortable to wear for several hours straight, and it will save your lungs for today and long term.
2. Old World Patina – Paint Or Stain?
After centuries of trying to perfect our furniture, it comes at no surprise that many companies are selling the all natural chalk paint and milk paint products that our ancestors used. Milk and chalk paints can be a sensational source of color. If you are after an old world Provence look, consider either stripping your furniture and staining it, or painting it, and distressing it.
Take the Finish Off
I have found for my furniture, stripping the existing finishes off allows the piece to age naturally over time without seeing several layers of existing paint. I sit at a beautiful curvy French desk all day long, and one of the areas where my arm hits as I type on my keyboard shows the white paint that the desk was painted in originally. The desk is blue, and the white just sticks out like a sore thumb. If I would have put the extra work into the desk, and removed the paint, then over time, the natural ware would show the wood. Wood or existing paint? Wood is so much more attractive.
Distressing looks so much nicer with the natural raw wood. Something about having the all natural wood showing through the finish allows for a nicer aged finish than simply painting over the existing paint or varnish. Working with the raw wood really can go a long way for creating the old world distressed finishes. Stripping all the existing paint gives you a raw look, rather than working over a poly finish.
Layer Your Colors:
Layering paint can produce a sensational old world effect. Try several tones of blue, and combine it with a layer of white. Consider several layers of paint which you can then hand sand, adding the right amount of distressing. Layer on a translucent glaze, or wax to complete the look.
Work With Stain Finishes:
Consider doing a “wash” instead of a solid color. After removing your paint finish, consider mixing your paint with part water, and applying a stain. You can also buy semi transparent stains through your local hardware store. Using a beige, and then white stain would produce the aged old world looks that are so well loved.
In this article we show a chest with beautiful texture on the drawers. A gray toned blue is used under a creamy white, with beautiful texture that shows off an old world paint finish. Adding texture can be easier than you think. Simply get a box of un-sanded grout. Paint your furniture using a base coat with NO grout added. Once it is dry, mix together a bit of grout with the existing paint. Next stipple on the finish with your paint brush and let it dry over night, or for two days. Once it is dry, lightly sand it, and add your top coat. Using the same technique, mix together half and half paint and un-sanded grout and paint on an even coat of paint. Using two colors like the picture shown in the article will produce the best results. For a subtle effect, consider using a creamy beige and white together. The colors don’t have to be opposites to work well. Once the dresser has dried over night, take a hand sander and start sanding the finish. The texture from the first coat will show through to the second coat. Add additional wax, or glaze to make the finish pop, or leave it as it is.
Old World Techniques -Additional Articles:
3. Go New And Modern With Color :
Do you like vibrant colors? The lines found in the French styled furniture can powerfully pull off the sensational bright colors. There are so many bright colors that I admire but don’t have the guts to put up on the walls, so why not put it on a piece of furniture.
Do you like the brighter colors, or the patterned printed chests? You might want to just buy spray paint for those high gloss mirrored finishes.
In the past I have hand painted gloss only to find paint lines from my brushes. With brighter red, or yellow, it can take up to 7 or 8 coats of paint, so spraying your paint just makes more sense. Often times the gloss you find in spray paint can be so much more vibrant and glossy than regular gloss paint in the quart size. Oil paint can produce sensational glossy finishes. Overall, I have found for those really glossy finishes, it is worth buying the spray paint, than hand painting. The coverage is faster, and the gloss is so much more vibrant and glass like.
Glossy finishes are best achieved with spray paint, and why not buy a case of your favorite color online? For some of my last couple projects, I have been really impressed with Krylon’s Paint and Primer sprays. I started looking online when my local hardware stores spray paint failed to impress me. Never do I see the lavenders, the soft grays, or light blues. The nicer colors are online, and many companies are starting to sell by the case.
French Chests From Cote France
Color Master Colors By Krylon. These colors above come from their website, and if you look on their website, you can toggle over the colors for the name of the paint swatch that you love. Type the specific paint name in Amazon, and you can buy it in cases of 6 with free shipping.
– Go Bold With Red- Part 1 Grand Sophisticated Interiors – The Swedish Furniture
– Go Bold With Red- Part 2 Country Interiors- The Swedish Furniture
– High Gloss Painted Furniture – The Painted Furniture Online
– Absolutely Breathtaking French Painted Furniture- French Style Authority
– How To Paint Black Furniture-A Dozen Examples Of Exceptional Black Painted Furniture- French Style Authority
– 10 Ways To Use Pink, Orange and Coral In Your Home- French Style Authority
– Decorating With Pastels For A French Styled Home- French Style Authority
4. Add Furniture Jewelry
Ormolu is the jewelry of the furniture trade. Antique and reproduction furniture ormolu can be found on ebay making it easier than ever to dress up that worn antique, or that vintage chest that is outdated.
Reproduction ormolu can be found in bronze, and there are sellers out there who also produce these beautiful appliques in stain-able wood filler. Being able to buy appliques in unlimited quantities allows you to dress up the chest of your dreams.
The high gloss looks found on bombe chests are often accented with heavy ormolu or furniture appliques.
Add Furniture Escutcheons
Dress up your chest with keyholes, or otherwise known as escutcheons. Buy a set of identical keyholes for each drawer of your chest. Keyholes can be gold leafed, or painted the same color as the chest. Consider dating your metal furniture appliques or keyholes with aging solutions. In this post ” 9 DIY Recipes For Rusty Hardware” From Hersite, you can get the look of aged hardware in your own home.
-French Furniture Restoration ~Gold Leafing Tips- French Style Authority
5. Pattern Your Furniture
Patterns can look so wonderful in a space lacking interest. There are several ways to get the look of a pattern on your chest, which range from complicated approaches to simple techniques.
One of the harder techniques would be hand painting furniture. For those who have the gifted talent of hand drawing, this may be a project that you can accomplish over a weekend. For those who don’t have the natural abilities of drawing, there are several other approaches that can give you a professional look without much try.
One of those ways is an overhead projector. An overhead projector may be your new best friend after seeing how simple it is to copy a design without much work than having a marker in your hand. With this chest, I simply photocopied a flower pattern from a cardboard box that I bought from Ikea. I had gold paint in one hand, and outlined the flower, and painted it in after I traced out the design. This zebra painted dresser was traced using an overhead projector, as well as this dresser. Overhead projectors allow you to trace a perfect, proportionate design right the first time. They also allow you to match up the existing pattern which has been already traced on to your furniture, allowing for even spacing for the next pattern. This also works quite nicely on walls. Take your favorite comic book, custom graphics from books and be able to re-produce them with ease.
Aurélien Deleuze and his wife, Pascale, have ren0vated this sensational old world 1700′s chateau that was originally built by an minister who was knighted by Louis XIV. The home sits in the town of Pau, in south of France and has a distinct French country flavor which can be seen in the furniture and the architectural choices.
Whether you are re-decorating with French tastes in mind, or a life-long admirer of the Provence style, this house is certainly one to study.
The couple were not afraid of tackling such a magnificent structure, as they were lovers of architecture and interior design. Their restoration preserved all the beautiful details, and gorgeous antiques and decor were found at the local Parisian flea markets which added to the period touches of the home.
Inside, you will see captivating stucco ceilings, and painted plaster walls that are magnificently detailed. Consider getting the look of their living room by painting your walls a light blue and working with blue and beige furnishings. Demilune tables line the wall in a light painted ivory finish. Linen is casually draped over the sofas with matching throw pillows. The furniture makes this room comfortable, yet functional, and still holds to the aesthetic period style of the home.
In this post below we have collected the very best Linen furniture on Amazon with a French flare. Consider working with all-natural fabrics in your home to achieve that rustic old world charm.
A Swedish secretary in a light blue sits in the corner of the room, and a reclaimed wood coffee table float in between the sofas. Furntiure is distressed and worn showing years of love and use.
In this picture we zoom in on the country French chair with the velvet upholstery sitting along the wall in the Deleuze’s home. In the post we list a chair made from Currey & Company whom sells a terrific reproduction chair almost identical to Deleuze’s chair, listed at 2,138.00. If that is a bit pricey, consider shopping on ebay under “Country French Chair” and comparable chairs will surface for lower price points.
In the picture the chair seems to have a rich velvet cushion which highlights the blue tones in the antique painting on the wall. The bright blue also works nicely picking up the hue of the wall color and the painted secretary in the corner. This painted Louis XV chair has the same rich velvet blue tone seen in the cushions making this fabric a supreme choice for your furnishings. Velvet is usually rich in color and adds vibrant touch to a muted color palette.
The living room is based around blues, and the faux finishes found in their bedroom and bathroom give this home a historical presence. The home retains the original floors, and the over sized kitchen has an impressive fireplace from the 1600s that brings warmth to those cold windy nights. In the dining room, a rustic plank table serves as a long traditional table for friends and family to gather around for traditional French dining.
Here we see a new picture of the hallway from a different angle. Bright yellow has always been a staple color for country French decorating. Look how the trim is painted in a greenish gray tone. White is used on the shutters while the walls feature a deep hue of yellow. Linen drapes hang on the wall, where an antique bench sits with a white cushion.
Borrow some of these Provence elements of this home for yourself.
If you are looking for great set of candlesticks, check out Jack’s Candle Stands from IMAX.
The candlesticks are made of turned aluminum and finished in black sheen. The candlesticks have a wonderful footed design with incredible shape. The set of three feature graduating sizes, and would look terrific paired together for an impacting statement. The dimensions of the candlesticks are 14-20H x 4.75-5.25D and have been discounted to $96 dollars from $175.
Candlesticks sold in sets should always be positioned together for a dramatic statement. Place them on a bed stand ,console table or any where you need a punch of design. Add ornate candle sticks in your home to get that primitive feel amongst your modern conveniences.
Commode – Moissonnier Furniture
Other Provence Decor Considerations:
-Buy this set for only $90 Dollars! 3Pc finial set – stone grey & gold leaf
-Thus Foreside prosecco pitcher, certainly looks Provincial! By Foreside $34
-Make floral arrangements from this lovely set of three round bowl with Feet – Antique Silver Finish $30. Use it as a candy bowl or to dress up your bathroom. Store soaps or face cloths for guests.
-America Retold sells a set of 6 dish with cloche Set For $87
-America Retold sells this trophy centerpiece perfect for the center of the table.
– Decorate with this lovely planter which features and antique style garden chicken wire cloche for $32
-The Apollo pedestal is a great distressed stand perfect for an over-sized urn. Sit it in front of a mirror or a window or at the end of a hallway. This stand sells for $259
-This Lester Iron Glass Bar Cart is the perfect cart to display your dishware that is too nice to sit behind cabinet doors. Stack your white table ware and wine glasses on for the perfect display of all your silver and glass accessories.
-Buy this Copperplated Revere Bowl for a centerpiece for $53.00
-Currey and Company Provencial White 4 Light Chandelier sells for $985 Currey and Company has a number of alternatives in this same style.
-These dentiled Platinum Chargers have a period flare. This set of 4 sells for $23.60. It is easy to collect, when the price point is so affordable!
-This medium metal cloche makes a great decorating piece for a counter or bathroom bookshelf. It is for sale for $30
-This terrific console table has so much potential. It can be painted and distressed to match your interior. It features terrific detail and is one of the nicest demilunes on Amazon. Universal Lighting And Decor sells this table for $329
-Decorate the outside of your home with this painted old fashioned watering can, sold for $53
-Imax sells this set of 5 candle-holders that have great painted patina for just over $100. Imax also sells this set of 5 candle-holder set in rustic wood for $138. Split them up into different rooms of your home.
-Hang this mini pot holder above your kitchen sink. It has a metal finish, which fits perfectly into the Provincial decorating scheme. It is only $20 dollars
-You will adore this lovely set of mini lion bowls. The set of 6 sells for $10.99
-This topiary two tier large planter is a great planter to line up in a row outside your home. This great planter sells for $40 dollars
Rustic Provence Decorating Ideas- Mr Aurélien Deleuze and his wife, Pascale Own This Captivating Chateau in France
In this photograph, you can see a closer look at the Pavé French terra cotta tile floors with a distinct classic Provencal appearance. Pave Tile Blog, located in Massachusetts, were the first to develop old world French and Italian terracotta tile flooring collections from old world designs. It is surprising to know that the natural color of fired terra cottta is not naturally brown. Brown terra cotta tile is usually a result after a treatment of either wax, oil or stain.
They mention that many Americans are very predictable, when they order stone flooring. They often stick to a neutral range of beige, cream and gray colors, while Europeans fully embrace the rich earthy colors.
Why is that?
America is a very young country, and much of our architecture is fairly new. This can be said for most of the country, with exception the east coast where the earliest settled areas have a primitive British colonial heritage with respect to architecture and decorating.
Compare that to Europe. Europe is much older and the architecture can be seen as very colorful and vibrant. I have a passion for Swedish interiors particularly because of the painted finishes. This pinterest board has over 100 pins of different painted buildings featuring the most beautiful period colors. Take for example Switzerland, which borders France is rich in color. In this picture you have roof tops with hues of red, and lovely tones of yellow. In this picture of Austria, you see brighter tones of red, and light power blue in the architecture.
It can be said that when a culture is surrounded by strong colors, they also feel comfortable decorating around those same tones. People who lived in the countryside of France often decorated with the colors they saw in their backyard. Yellow sunflowers, purple Lilac, and the greenery were tones they felt inspired by.
I believe the reason why the western culture chooses more earth tones is the architecture is based around the same color ranges. If you look anywhere in America, the color palette is pretty modern. Concrete roads are gray and beige and architecture is modern rather than antique which you see in Europe. As a person ventures into the country, more painted homes appear in various shades.