Vintage french provincial furniture has always been one of my favorite types of furniture to work with. Those pieces have beautiful carvings and curves, and I think paint just makes them shine!
If you like french provincial makeovers, then today is your lucky day–I have a great one to share with you!
It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a french provincial piece, they’re honestly getting harder to find. But recently a local customer reached out and said she had two pieces that had belonged to her mother, and she was ready to pass them along–yay for me!
Sometimes when you find old french provincial pieces, they have that weird ivory/yellow finish, sometimes stained wood. I have a method that I use specifically for those ivory, yellow ones (there’s actually a video tutorial workshop, if you’re interested), since you can’t distress those at all–nobody wants to see that weird yellow finish coming through!
The pieces I got from my customer were stained wood though, which opened up a few more possibilities for them. One piece (a small nightstand), I decided to paint and then lightly distress, using Fusion’s Ashwagandha.
See how sanding back just the edges along the carvings and details helps highlight those areas? It’s a super easy technique that creates instant visual interest and character.
And if you want to learn more about how I sand and distress Fusion, then I would for sure go check out this post all about how to wet-distress (but after you finish reading this one!)
For the larger cabinet, I decided to go with a light gray color. I had an open can already of Jolie’s Misty Cove, and I like the slight blue tint it has. So that was the color I chose.
Since I was working with our Jolie chalk paint on the cabinet, my prep was super easy–just clean off with my trusty TSP substitute cleaner, and then paint away. I could have scuff-sanded if I had wanted to (it wouldn’t have hurt), but with the Jolie it really wasn’t necessary.
It took 2 coats on most areas, and a dab of a 3rd coat in a few spots. With each coat dry in about 30 minutes, it was a quick job!
Usually I finish sand my pieces with a fine-grit sandpaper to get a nice, smooth finish, but I decided not to this time. I knew I wanted to apply a dark wax on this piece, and if I left the paint a little rough, it would actually grip the wax better and create more visual texture.
Here’s a little waxing tip when you’re using a dark wax on chalk paint–mix your dark wax with a bit of clear wax! This helps your dark wax not stain your paint quite so much and gives you a bit more control over just how dark the finish gets.
So I took a dollop of Jolie’s Clear Finishing Wax, and mixed in a dollop of their Black Finishing Wax, then brushed the mixed wax onto the piece with my wax brush. It’s best to work in sections, and make sure you use the brush to push the wax into the corners and detail areas–that’s where you will want to create the most shadow.
After brushing the wax onto each section, I wiped off the excess using an old cut-up t-shirt and left it to dry. The Black Wax mixed with the Clear Wax sealed the Jolie, as well as created that aged-frenchy look I was going for.
Wanna see it all done?
See how the Black Wax settles into all those detail spots and draws them out? It also gives the paint color a lot of depth.
If you’re interested in seeing more French Provincial Makeovers, here are a few more!
French Provincial Buffet Makeover with Aviary Milk Paint
French Provincial Nightstand Makeover with Metallic Paint
Raw Wood Finish French Provincial Nightstand Makeover
Thanks for joining me today 🙂 As always, you can find the products I used, along with many more, here in my Online Store.