Emerald Forest French Provincial- Jessica Breeze
Shabby Green 4 Drawer Dresser – Lisa Ourada
Art Nouveau Vintage Musical Jewelry Box
Vintage Painted Chair – (look at that natural worn finish !) Cordova Cordova
Vintage German Candle Clips – Brytni Cozzens
Vintage Kids Play Table – Facebook Marketplace
Julie Matier – Vintage Dixie Buffet
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.
When Frederic Mechiehe arrived at this chateau in Normandy, he was faced with decaying floors and a missing roof. Everything in this home had to be reassembled or “faked”. Period style wooden stairs were installed and artificially worn and hollowed by an industrial sanding machine. The stone floor with black marble lozenges were also added. In this picture, the only thing genuinely to be period is the Louis XVI barometer on the wall. Taken From-Rooms To Remember – Interiors Inspired by the Past By Barbara Stoeltie.
Interior designer, Frederic Mechiche is known quite well in France for re-creating the old world interiors that many of us dream about. So it comes at no surprise that his own home would be fulled with beautiful French antiques, and breathtaking detail. His home is located in Hyeres, which is the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. Hyères is the oldest resort on the French Riviera. His home, a fourteenth-century fisherman’s cottage which has retained much of it’s architectural elements The details which are preserved give the home warmth and depth, and a sense of story behind the charming details. The irregular walls, original plasterwork and ancient floors have all remained true to their original form and provide some interest.
Avant-Gardenist on Flicker features the chapter that covers Frederic Mechiche in the book Rooms To Remember – Interiors Inspired by the Past By Barbara Stoeltie. Here are few excerpts from the book:
“Whatever the reason, the desire for the patina of a bygone era is very powerful. Frederic Mechichc, one of France’s most prominent designers, has busied himself in his old fisherman’s house in the south of France in an attempt to “deceive the eye”, furiously attacking his walls with a hammer and having them re-stuccoed as many times as necessary to achieve an age-worn surface.Mechiche has proved over the years that he is a master of the most complicated means of achieving an illusion of age. He has stained his walls with pigment, milk, and coffee, ground away at the edges of a stone staircase to create the impression ot wear, and applied layers of paint to a wall, only to scrape them off later to obtain a multi-layered that could have been caused by centuries of repainting.”
” A few years ago, however,he managed to overcome his horror of the French Riviera for long enough to visit a friend in the area who claimed to have found a haven of peace. Strolling through the narrow, twisting streets of an ancient town with a Romanesque church, he was suddenly confronted with “a small, tall house, eaten away by time, unusually beautiful, and up for sale.” The estate agents description of “warped” floors and “appalling” condition were enough to whet his appetite. Mechiehe was on the lookout tor things authentic and deeply suspicious ot terms like “luxury,” “frilly restored,”and “impeccable,” saying “I’d rather contemplate a door and a few windows with their paint peeling off!” Where the patina of centuries did not exist, Frederic Mechiche invented it. First of all, he astonished the whole neighborhood by climbing up a ladder and plastering…… the entire surface of his facade with an ocher paste,daubing it with evil-smelling mud, and drenching the result with hundreds of gallons of greasy, opaque water to recreate the effect of age. Then a team of masons,
carpenters, and painters came and went for six months, and Mechiehe spent weeks going around the demolition yards of the region, tracking down eighteenth-century architectural salvage”
If you like the pictures featured in Rooms To Remember – Interiors Inspired by the Past consider buying the book….
More About Rooms To Remember:
Barbara Stoeltie has been a regular contributor to The World of Interiors since 1984 and regularly collaborates with her husband Rene’ on magazine articles.Rene’ Stoeltie’s own interiors have been featured in Decoration Internationale, and his photographic work has appeared in magazines all over the world, including The World of Interiors, House and Garden, Elle, Country Homes and Interiors, Harper’s Bazaar, Colonial Homes, and Classic Homes.
Timeless Interiors: Rooms Inspired by the Past by Barbara Stoeltie and Rene Stoeltie– Timeless Interiors is about capturing the romance of the past without throwing away your washing machine and living in an old fashioned way. Primarily an inspirational source book, it shows how to recreate the tricks designers use: she shows why a room looks romantic and how to get that effect through colors, paint, wallpaper, flower arrangements or still-lives on a shelf. The opening chapter of the book is a detailed story of the featured houses. The following sections are divided room by room: halls, sitting rooms, studies, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and dining rooms.
Other Beautiful Posts By Sotte Il Monte Vineyards Blog
– Christian Tortu – Design Inspiration – Christian Tortu is one of the leading floral designers in France
– Charleston Interior Designer Amelia Handegan’s summer house at Folly Beach
– French Style Authority Blog– French Decorator Frédéric Méchiche
– Elle Decor -In a former office building, French decorator Frédéric Méchiche re-creates 18th-century grandeur for a couple who also love contemporary art.
– Trouvais Blog– An 18th century Venetian églomisé mirror are from Frédéric Méchiche’s Paris apartment in the January 1994 issue of World of Interiors photographed by René Stoeltie.
–Door Sixteen Blog– Interior designer Frédéric Méchiche‘s 1712 home in le Marais, which he calls “a tribute to Bauhaus in Paris”.
–My Best Interior Design Ideas– Interior Designer Frederic Mechiche’s apartment in Paris
–Interior Archive– Interior designer Frederic Mechiche’s Parisien home was once 3 separate apartments that he has reorganized to form one light, harmonious apartment on two floors with the guiding idea of creating something of the feel of a small Directoire townhouse. Remodelled with salvaged wooden panelling, period stone floors, cornicing and mouldings the space has the laid back organic feel
Frederic Mechiche in the book Rooms To Remember – Interiors Inspired by the Past By Barbara Stoeltie.
The best way to practice distressing techniques is on an old piece of furniture that is either a thrift store find, or something you don’t mind donating if the end result is not what you expected. Don’t begin your experiment with pieces that are valuable or antique furniture passed down in your family until you have tried this technique and are confident in the results.
Distressing adds a lot of interest and detail on painted furniture. It is the one technique that will improve a painted finish guaranteed! Over the years of selling white furniture, I have had more men love distressing than women. Distressing can look primitive, rustic and even masculine.
Your painted furniture should either have one coat or multiple coats of paint in the same color with bare wood under the paint. When distressing the piece of furniture, you should see the top color and the wood.
For a layered effect, use a neutral color as your base coat such as gray or black. When you distress the furniture, black will also show along side the natural wood color and your top coat paint color.
The worst thing you can do with distressing is have a white primer under a color. If your top color is white, then, it works just fine. Although you don’t want a red dresser with white paint peeking through.
The way to get around this is to fully sand your furniture before painting so you will have one coat of paint and your natural wood color which shows through distressing.
1. Distressing can be very simple. The first way of distressing is with sandpaper. Start by sanding it with fine sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain. This will greatly improve the look of your finished piece. Sand in the areas which would get banged up over time. The edges of the chest, the feet, the areas around the handle. You want your distressing to look as natural as possible. Use a hand sander, or a foam sander for great results.
2. Heavy distressing involves more than just sandpaper. Metal chains whipped on to a wood chest can depressions to the piece. Be careful that your distressing is random, and not obvious such as a screw driver, or a hammer. Chains work quite well for heavy distressing because the indents will be random than purposeful.
A. Now you want to emphasize the marks you made. You can either use a wood stain in walnut, or brown glazing. Either of these two colors will give the impression of dirt. Both techniques are simply done by painting on a coat of glaze or stain, and wiping it off quickly. Be sure not to use flat white paint with either two approches, as both the glaze and stain will permanently stain the white.
Antique Walnut Polyshade in Satin, or Pecan Polyshade in Satin are great stains to use over white or a color. Apply it with a brush and paint thinner, and wipe it off with a rag.
Be sure to wear throw away Vinyl gloves through this process, as it will save the time getting the chemicals off your skin once you are finished. Vinyl gloves stay on your hands easier than latex and can be used many times before throwing them away through out your painting projects
Simply paint on the stain or the glaze, and within a couple minutes after it sets and dries, wipe the stain off the piece which should leave just enough stain to collect in the holes to emphasize the distressed wood. Often times after glazing I like to add a polycrylic sealant to the furniture. With stain no sealant is necessarily. Enjoy your new antique looking white furniture!
This beautiful bathroom vanity is constructed in a size that is perfect for small bathrooms and is suited perfectly for any French Provence country decor. It has a durable resin top, one faux drawer, one door with one adjustable shelf inside, and a sliding back for easy plumbing connections. It is featured in a striking off white Bordeaux finish with rub through and antique finished fixtures with a biscuit ceramic sink. The Bordeaux collection also includes dining room furniture.
Floor to top of faucet: 41H Floor to top of backsplash: 39H Floor to top of counter: 35H Hardwood Solids with Red Birch Veneers; Resin; Ceramic; Metal
Bishop Coffee Table is shown in Antique White finish on base and Signature Stain top. This solid wood table has one drawer with antiqued drawer pulls.
LOUIS XV CONSOLE;Vintage Cygne Blanc finish on six drawer console with drawers finished in Heritage Stain. Antiqued hardware.
The Provence cabinet boasts hand carved detail and beaded trim for storage with feminine flair. Its antiqued mirrors and Vintage Cygne Blanc finish lend a nostalgic appeal.
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This chest is an antique reproduction of a chest originating from the countryside of Southern France typical of those seen in the 18th century. This fabulous chest is made from solid pine wood and wrought iron, and features a beautiful aged patina.
The process that Laurel Crown goes through is they layer their paint, and then scrape it and then sand it down by hand.
Charles Faudree is known as a French Country Designer, and features a lot of solid wood 18th century style chests in his French Country Living book.
In his book he details the Nomadic lifestyle and features many pictures with authentic looking rooms that could give you some ideas of how to decorate with this style of chest.
This French Country chest of drawers is a charming and is a provincial addition to a home which is designed around french furniture. The dresser consists of four solid pine drawers, wrought iron handles make this chest of drawers both beautiful and practical.
The chest is made from pine, and weathered,so you are guaranteed a realistic looking antique chest to complement your home. Only a few companies have made reproductions of these french looking primitive chests that having one in your home would certainly speak volumes.
Laurel Crown is known for their reproduction furniture and meticulous craftsmanship. Their time tested techniques for creating detailed rich painted finishes saves you time painting, and lets face it, most of us are not professional faux artists! The chest has an antique off-white patina which will enable you to match it up with your existing furniture.
This chest shows you the quality of the antique french furniture here.
Fine 18th Century French Provincial Chest From Carl W Stinson Antiques
Charles Faudree’s French Country Signature has made a handsome living by bringing a bit of the French to the Midwest. Famed for his Parisian buying trips, where he negotiates with flea market vendors using a pen and paper, Faudree confides “a signature piece doesn’t have to be expensive.
The look the designer refers to is typified by floor-sweeping silk draperies and overstuffed chairs upholstered in merrily patterned fabrics long on luxury.
Faudree’s obsession with textiles is evident on every page, and far from simply focusing on predictable pastoral-themed toile to recreate the charm of French country cottages, his experiments with dragon-fly prints, check patterns and rich golden embellishments have formed his signature style.
A testament to the author’s knack for gilt-edged comfort (including the liberal use of painted furniture, ornate mirrors and pottery displays), this book, and Faudree as an unpretentious guide, will please readers looking to spruce up their homes.
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The two tone effect is basically where the wood shows through the paint finish. You can achieve this result by liming, which can be picked up at your local hardware store, or paint alone can achieve this finish.
This effect ONLY works when you have unfinished wood which enables the paint to soak into the furniture.
White-washing can also work with oil based paint in combination with paint thinner. If you are working with vintage French Provincial you might run into a stumbling block like I did, where you have a really hard white melamine paint that is baked on. If you have patience you could strip off the paint.
Every dresser is different, some manufacture paint finishes are relatively easy to remove, while others are very difficult. If you have a white french provincial dresser that has a white finish, check out what I did with my painted french dresser:
I had a white dresser so I decided to fake the appearance of a white painted piece which was distressed showing the wood underneath. What I did to mine was started with a orange oil paint, and layered on color with slight distressing in between to produce a finish that looked to have layers of blues and creams and beiges to the finish.You can also achieve this look by mixing water based paint with glaze BUT, for most of my pieces I prefer to work with oil paint, rather than with latex, so this article discusses OIL rather than latex paint.
I would highly recommend Rust-Oleum’s oil paint in satin or flat finishes. Rust-Oleum’s satin oil dark taupe is one of the most frequent colors I use when I paint furniture.
Using a faux washing technique with soft butter yellow satin oil paint is one of the best colors to use on top of dark taupe. Additional oil colors such as the butter yellow can be purchased from specialty paint stores that tint oil paint. I use this technique on a lot of my projects. I have come to know that my local Home Depot paint store no longer carries this color. Here it is on Amazon.
The other color which works well is Rust-Oleum’s color Fossil in latex . Again using white-washing techniques, Rust-Oleum’s oil flat paint tinted with an off white works extremely well in creating a washed Swedish finish.
I would suggest Sherwin Williams for oil paints, and you also can get virtually any color with Behr’s Paint and Primer in one.
Here are a few of my staples:
If you are working with latex paint a glaze can go a long way toward adding depth to your furniture.
If you are working with oil, translucent finishes can be achieved by simply working with paint thinner and stippling it on to your furniture just like you would with glaze.
Many french provincial reproduction furniture pieces have such durable finishes that they are almost impossible to chip, which is an excellent quality to have. If you are looking for a french dresser, and you want to make it over using a white washed appearance, I would highly suggest working with a dresser that has just a wood finish and no paint.
Typical white french provincial furniture pieces are often found with rock hard enamel paint. The challenge with these white finishes is they are especially hard to strip.
Many vintage manufactures have taken the enamel finish and combined them with chemicals such as melamine paint and baked them in large ovens, which gave them rock hard solid paint finishes. Stripping these finishes is next to impossible.
So what do you do if your original paint is white?
The dresser I painted was solid wood, but also had an original white finish, so I had to duplicate the look of wood with a coat of orange paint, so that when I distressed the furniture, it would give the appearance of some depth to the paint finish.
The next layer is an off white beige color, which I was able then to distress showing the orange.
After the distressing, I used a white oil paint diluted with thinner and dabbled it onto the dresser giving it a little bit of a textured look. Additional white washes were applied to give it an overall white effect. I did about 7 layers of additional washes until the entire piece was finished. Here was the transformation.