Beautiful Teal

I have written in the past about how much I love turquoise and all its variations.  Annie Sloan’s Provence is one of my all time favourite colours; I also love her Florence, but it is a very bold blue-green that is probably too strong for most people.  It’s very easy to mix chalk paint and get hundreds of variations both light and dark.  I love the combination of the blues and greens that produce shades of turquoise, teal and peacock.  Leslie Stocker’s excellent blog Colorways shows lots of mixes and I really admire the peacock coloured cabinet that is in this post.    

This Art-Deco dresser was painted in a combination of Annie Sloan Florence and Aubusson.  It produced a green/blue teal.  I have a wall in my kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore Majestic that is almost the identical colour:DSC_0017

I opted to paint the dresser a solid colour without distressing or any other textural detail.  This is unusual for me as I generally like washes or dry-brushing.  I thought I would try something plainer and rely on the glass knobs to add a bit of sparkle to the piece.  The dresser does have nice Art Deco detail on the drawers.

teal dresser #4

teal dresser #1tea; dresser #2

teal dresser #3

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Return to the 1950’s

If you grew up in the 1950’s-60’s as I did, you are probably familiar with certain furniture styles.  The 3 most popular looks that I recall were a contemporary look, rustic Colonial and an updated French Provincial.   Modern 50’s style had a lot of straight lines, lighter woods and bright colours.  This Kroehler ad is a good example and it is amazing how similar the look is to today’s popular styles.  That couch could easily be a contemporary version.

1950's ad

The rustic Colonial look never really goes out of style ( think maple furniture) and it was very popular in 1950’s suburban homes as seen in this Ethan Allen ad.  ethan-allen-custom-room-plan-68

My parents favoured French Provincial. Most of those fruitwood dressers that have have become popular painting projects originated in the 1950’s.  Fruitwood ( or a mid-brown stain) is the hallmark of these well-made pieces.  There was a trend towards lighter woods, such as blond finishes, after the WWII and a desire for less substantial-looking pieces than the traditional mahogany and walnut styles that were holdovers of the Victorian era.

I’ve never really liked the look but I have to admit that French Provincial furniture paints beautifully and it is fun to work with all those curving lines and legs.  If you want to read background on the topic, I wrote a post about Classic French furniture here.

I opted for a classic look when painting this French Provincial dresser.  A lot of people are choosing to update these dressers with bright colours and I was debating whether to paint it coral which is a hot colour right now.  In the end , I decided to do pale grey and Old White.  Two-tone is very elegant and I have had a lot of interest in the various grey dressers that I have painted in the last year.  Pale grey is a  popular baby’s room colour judging by the number of dressers that I have sold

,grey dresser #5

I started out painting it in AS Paloma which is a pale grey with a purple undertone but I found it looked mauve especially beside the white so I mixed a darker grey with Old White and got this colour.  It still has some purple but not as much.  I dry-brushed Old White over the grey to add texture.  The original handles were a brassy gold so they were painted white and had some gold gilding paste added.  The final result is a very sophisticated mix that suits the style.

grey dresser#6grey dresser #1grey dresser #2grey dresser #3

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Things you may not expect

blue dresser

I bought this small farmhouse style dresser from a young woman who had used it in her bedroom for a few years.  I guess she liked the shabby look of the peeling paint.  The top had been refinished at one time but it had some water rings on it.  I thought it would just be a matter of sanding the obvious areas where it was peeling and stripping the top.  It turned out that this little job became one of the most labour-intensive pieces I have ever worked on.

First, the blue paint was enamel that must have needed a primer because it came off in huge pieces.  It would have been easier to have chemically stripped the whole thing than to have spent the hours that I did scraping and sanding.  And it created messy blue dust-a signal that I needed to wear a mask.  The top was easy to strip but after much sanding it didn’t lose the uneven coloration.  I believe the original was built with paint in mind and that it was never supposed to be a stained wood top because the wood was not very nice.  My only option was to go for a rustic look.  I stained it with tea and a steel wool/vinegar solution which ages the wood.  Then I put 3 coats of Danish oil on it and a coat of paste varnish.   Why didn’t I just paint it?  Good question but I guess it was because I had made up my mind that I wanted a wood top.  While I was doing all this, I discovered that the back leg had been mended at some point and was a bit wobbly.  It had to be reinforced with a metal bracket or brace.  I really began to feel that I had bought something that didn’t actually deserve to be upcycled and should have been chopped up.

I painted the body in 2:1 ratio of Annie Sloan Coco and Old White and the inside of the drawers are a fuchsia mix which really contrasts nicely.  The knobs are very pretty and provide a feminine touch to the exterior.  The final product is certainly cute but I’m not sure it was worth  all the effort.

brown dresser#1brown dresser #2Brown dresser #3brown dresser #4