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.
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.
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
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.
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