A French Provincial Beauty

I finished this piece for a customer a few weeks ago and it has been by far my most popular project. I also love everything about it: the dark gray, the depth the black glaze gave to it, the shiny silver pulls. I guess this is the kind of piece that would look good in any room.

In response to all questions I got from people who wanted to know exactly how I did it, I wrote a step by step tutorial and also made a short video to show how I glazed this piece.

Here they are… (This post contains a few affiliated links)

Paint: Homemade chalk paint Ben Moore Steel Wool – satin
Glaze: Valspar clear glaze with black latex paint (update: apparently Valspar discontinued their clear glaze, so you can use GF Milk Glaze, Pitch Black instead, for the same effect).

Drawer pulls: Clean with soapy water and spray paint them with Rustoleum Silver

Prepping and Painting

1 – Light sand the whole piece (120 grit)
2 – Clean entire piece with TSP solution and paper towel. Clean again.
3 – Tape and cover with paper the inside of the dresser and drawers to avoid primer overspray
4 – Prime everything with Rust-Oleum White Primer
5 – Roll first coat of paint over large areas with a high quality foam roller. I made my own chalk paint for this project. You can check this post for the recipe.
6 – Brush same paint on corners and details (I ALWAYS use my Purdy Paintbrushes)
7 – After it dries, repeat steps 5 and 6 for the second coat
8 – After paint is totally dry (4-6 hours) finish it with glaze.

GF Pitch Black Glaze (add a few drops of water to prolong its workable time).
A Chip Brush
Baby wipes
1 – Brush glaze over a small area, i.e. a drawer. Immediately wipe glaze off with a baby wipe with steady linear movements (horizontal for drawers and top, vertical for sides)
Wipe as much or as little as you want, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.
2 – Repeat step 1 on other small areas. The largest area will be the top.
3 – After your piece is dry, lightly apply some brush strokes on the edges of piece (see pictures) using a cheap brush “dirty” with black glaze. The brush should be almost dry, just with a tiny bit of glaze.
* If you don’t like what you did, wipe it off with a baby wipe and start that small area over.

This is a short video to show how I glazed this piece.

After whole piece is dry, spray Minwax Polycrylic, satin. 2 coats.

Are you planning to try? Please share your result with me.




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It all started in the spring of 2013. I realized how tired I was to see my house entirely decorated with IKEA stuff. Nothing against IKEA, but after 12 years, I just needed some change. I wanted stylish, original furniture, but noticed that everything I liked from retail stores was way out of my budget. Thanks to Google, Youtube, and a couple of amazing blogs, I was able to discover and explore the world of furniture refinishing, and it was the beginning of my addiction. I now spend my days rescuing old, dull, unwanted pieces of furniture to give them a fresh look so they can be displayed, used and loved again for many more years to come. Thanks for stopping by.

59 thoughts on “A French Provincial Beauty

    1. I was so excited when I saw my project featured on your last FFF! I’m always drooling over the pictures I see there, and I thought it would be a long time before I got close to being featured. You made my day! How can I include the FFF button on my blog? I tried copy and pasting the link but it didn’t work.

  1. I refinished an almost identical dresser in pure white for a girls bedroom, but now I’m loving the dark gray. My next french provincial will definitely be dark gray! Gorgeous.

    1. Thanks! You can’t go wrong with a white French Provincial! I’m sure yours looks great too. This dark gray was a first for me, and I was also pleasantly surprised with the result.


      1. Can you tell me the exact colors you used and brand for this piece?? It is gorgeous!! I’m a little intimidated but I’d like to give it a shot😏

  2. I love the way your dresser turned out! You’ve inspired me! Thanks for posting the tutuorial. I’ve been following it closely on my own French Provincial project and it’s been going well. I am the point where I have two coats of chalk paint applied and I’m ready to glaze. The chalk paint finish is rough, should I do any sanding before applying glaze? Without sanding, will the glaze and poly smooth the finish more? Thanks! Ann

    1. Thanks Ann! The glaze will not smooth the finish. If you think it is rough, the best thing is to light sand it and give it another thin coat of paint (water your paint down a little). Wait for it to dry and glaze it. Good luck!

  3. What a fabulous makeover! The color is gorgeous and so are the drawer pulls. I like that you kept the original pulls and spray painted them. Very nice job!

  4. Just stunning! Here in Australia we don’t have what you call glaze. Would there be another name for it? Many thanks. Suzanne

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I don’t know what would be the equivalent to glaze in Australia but you can achieve the same effect by mixing water and paint, 1:1. Glaze is a little better to settle in carved details but both options work fine. I hope you try it.

  5. Beautiful! The before makes it such a commanding piece something you will definitely notice when you walk into the room. Thanks for the great tutorial. Pinning!

  6. What a beautiful piece of furniture. It is over the top in WOW. I am going to try to come close on a piece I have. Heading out to buy the paint now. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I’m doing a very large project. Can I “brush” on poly or varathane after glazing (instead of spraying) or will it lift the glaze?

      1. Thanks so much. Love your projects. Great to have someone with your experience to get advice from.

  8. I DID it!! Thank you for an exact step by step on how to refinish a piece I’ve had since High School (20+years)…is there a way to post my result photos??!

  9. Love this piece and your instructions are very well thought out. Is there a name to the black latex paint you use, I know there are shades of black. Thank you!

  10. Also, another quick question. I have read your instructions on some of your other pieces which look like this one. Do you always use homemade chalk paint, or do you sometimes use latex with a satin finish? I am wondering if it changes the way the glaze goes on the wood/if your outcomes are different or the same?

  11. Love this piece, I was getting ready to refinish my childhood dresser, which is almost identical. Quick question, don’t baby wipes have detergent or lotion in them and won’t that effect the stain/glaze application? I will let you know how it turns out. 😬

  12. Wow this piece looks awesome, I’m going to try this, do you have to use chalk paint? If you use a flat matte gray then finish with the glaze will it look the same?

  13. You made this dresser a star! I painted this exact dresser years ago, but did not like my result. I am going to repaint to match yours! When I painted, it showed a bit of dimpling like an orange. I put poly over the dresser when I finished. I did not paint the top, it is formica. Should I just sand everything and begin again? What about the formica? Can I just paint annie sloan over all of it and then glaze it? Wonderful web site!

    1. Thank you Mary!
      If you want to repaint your dresser, just light sand it to make your surface clean, smooth and without any gloss from the previous finish. That will help the primer and new coats of paint to bond.
      Formica can be painted too. You need to make it a little porous by sanding it completely or wiping deglosser then cleaning it well. Make sure you use an oil-based primer before you paint. I never tried to apply A.S. chalk paint right over formica without priming, but wouldn’t do it. I prefer to be on the safe side. My favorite primer is Rust-oleum Painters Touch ultra cover 2 x primer spray. They have it in gray and black as well.
      Use a water based poly, not polyurethane if you don’t want your paint to yellow. I use polycrylic.

      Good luck!

  14. Beautiful! I can’t wait to play with my piece of furniture. Thank you for sharing your creative talents with us!


  15. I am confused on how to make this paint….what do you I need to buy? Benjamin Steel wool but what finish and how do I make that into chalk paint?

  16. I’m currently working on my kitchen hutch and pub table with chalk paint. Next project is my tall boy and two side tables. Seeing this dresser, I know exactly how I’m redoing them – your work is beautiful. Can’t wait to begin!

  17. I know this is an old post but this dresser is gorgeous. Thank you for the easy to follow tutorial. I found a solid wood desk with a hideous paint job but beautiful curves for $15. My 10 year old son had been begging for a desk for his “office”. He’s very picky but agreed to let me do this to his desk. It came out perfect thanks to you & your instructions! He and I both love it and love showing it off. The technique brought out all the beautiful curves and details that were hidden behind the pitch black high-heat spray paint that had been used on it previously. I never dreamed I could do it but thanks to you I did! Thank you!

    1. Congratulations Christie!
      I’m so happy you’ve finished your project succeaffuly and that my instructions helped!
      Well done! I’d love to see a picture.

  18. Hello… I love what you did, so elegant! I have a vanity that looks the same but it seems it is veneer instead of solid wood. Is there anything special or different that needs to be done for veneer? Thanks for the info… can’t wait to apply this to the vanity! Thanks!!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! Veneer can be paint just like solid wood. Just make sure you light sand, clean and prime it to endure a good adhesion.
      Good luck!

  19. Hello… I just love this look!! So classy. I did have one question, you mentioned Valspar clear glaze with black latex paint… Was it clear glaze and then you added your own black latex or did Valspar sell it combined? I went to Lowes and it seems they have the clear glaze but you have to mix it yourself with whatever color you want. Thanks for the info!

      1. Ah… ok, that makes a lot more sense. The Lowes in my area has the clear glaze that you mix into paint but I was looking for it all combined. Do you recall the ratio of glaze to black latex paint you used to achieve this look? I’m assuming you used flat or matte black latex paint? Sorry for all the questions!! I can’t wait to try this out.

      2. Jennifer, I used about 4 parts of glaze to one part of paint. It doesn’t matter what paint you use or what finish. I’ve tried several colors and different sheens and all of them worked. This one I think it was a satin black.

  20. Have you ever used Annie Sloan furniture paint? How does your homemade chalk paint compare to that? I have never painted furniture before and I am very nervous about brush strokes showing. I have been assured that with Annie Sloan that isn’t an issue, but it a little pricey. I am assuming that you mix your own due to cost? Thoughts?

    1. Hi Vickie, yes I have used Annie Sloan and it is a great paint. Not sure you will avoid brush strokes just by using it. It also depends on which brushes you use and how thin or thick are the coats you apply (the thinner the smoother). When not using a spray, my go-to are whizz foam rollers (https://goo.gl/H5iaDP) for large areas, and Purdy brushes (https://goo.gl/8sJcED) for corners and details. I also add a few drops or water to my paint to thin it.
      For most of my projects I use just the paint, no need to make chalk paint, and I also get beautiful results. I used chalk paint when I wanted a matte finish.
      Good luck on you project!

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