When I saw this French provincial style chest of drawers in a second hand furniture store, I knew the piece was a great buy.
French provincial pieces always sell well for me so I train my eyes to look for them whenever I’m out.
When I got it home, I stripped and refinished the top using CitriStrip.
This is the stripper that I always use on my refinishing projects and it works very well. You can buy it in the paint aisle of any hardware store. The keys are to apply it thick enough to work and to be patient while it eats through finish and paint. It smells like oranges, making it a fantastic product to use indoors. The finish on some pieces require multiple rounds of stripping and cleaning, but I was fortunate on this one – it only needed one round.
Once the top was stripped of its original finish, I sanded it down using 100 grit then gradually brought it back up using 120 and finally ending with 150 grit sandpaper. Following this progressive schedule of sandpaper helps to avoid swirl marks and ensures that you have a clean surface to stain.
I decided to use General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain on the top. Because I was using a gel stain, I stopped sanding at 150 grit. If you take the sandpaper any finer than that, you run the risk of the gel stain not soaking in because you close up the wood grain.
After applying the Antique Walnut Gel Stain, I let the top dry overnight. Gel stains are oil based and require more time to dry than water based stains. For more information on applying gel stains, you can watch the video below.
In the video above, Chris Adams sealed her gel stain with Gel Topcoat, which is oil based. I opted to seal my gel stain with High Performance Topcoat in Satin. While this product is water based, you CAN apply it over an oil based gel stain. They are formulated to work together!
High Performance Satin has a bit more durability than the Flat shine because of the amount of matting agent that is needed to dull the sheen. Satin still looks absolutely lovely on a refinished top and it’s not too shiny, in my opinion. I like this sheen level for refinished tops and Flat for sealing General Finishes Milk Paint on the base of furniture pieces.
The top turned out great!
Now when it came to the base, I struggled a little bit. I prepared the piece for a Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint makeover and painted on 3 coats of Ironstone.
This is a gorgeous shade of white and while it has worked for me in the past, it painted on very unevenly on this particular piece. After 3 coats, it was still looking transparent, which is a risk you always run when you paint dark colored wood with white paint. Because whites don’t have much pigment in them, they’re practically transparent. Looking back, I should have started with a coat of gray first and then proceeded with coats of white paint. Or I should have primed. That would have helped me get the coverage I was looking for.
But, the fluke gave me a chance to try out a new paint product! General Finishes carries a line of chalk style paint and I’ve never tried it before. So, in my last order, I picked up a few pints including a yummy color called Cardamom Brown. I’m not sure whether I’m going to start carrying this type of paint right away, but it’s so nice to paint with!
The color out like a gorgeous greige and it’s definitely a color I would use again in a heartbeat! It actually reminds me of a darker version of Annie Sloan’s French Linen.
To lighten things up, I sealed the Cardamom Brown with a coat of Furniture Wax by Miss Mustard Seed and then topped that off with White Wax.
I haven’t used wax to seal furniture in a while, and General Finishes Chalk Style paint sealed beautifully with Miss Mustard Seed’s Wax. It also helps that this line of wax products is incredibly easy to work with. It’s malleable and doesn’t smell, making it perfect when you’re painting indoors.
So, what do you think?
I really love the warmth of this piece. The Cardamom Brown covered incredibly well and gave me the lovely greige color I was looking for.
This color is a bit of a chameleon. Sometimes it leans gray, brown, blue and even lavender. So I leaned into that and staged it with bunches of dried lavender from my stash.
The original hardware is just beautiful and I like how the white wax settled into the grooves on each drawer, giving it a subtle whitewashed look.
The lines on this piece are so sweet.
This cutie pie is hanging out with me for a little bit until space opens up at either Morgantown Market or Homestead Studios. I sold two pieces this weekend at the Market, so I took my map nightstands and the radio cabinet over (with Marc’s help).
If you’re interested in this piece, it’s $195 plus tax. The bottom drawer slides in and out a bit wonky, but it’s still usable and clean. It measures 29 inches wide, 30 inches tall and 16.5 inches deep. Feel free to email me if you’re interested and we can arrange local pickup!