Is she French? Is she British? Well, she’s a little bit of both!
I found this beautiful, French provincial, chest on chest, tallboy dresser sulking in the corner of the basement at the local Goodwill. She had a broken drawer and a chewed up leg. And massive amounts of over-spray from a really poor paint job…no idea what someone was thinking.
After making all of the necessary repairs, I painted a couple coats of black as the base. Easy parts done. Next, I had to lay out the Union Jack and tape it off. Getting straight lines with tape, over details and drawer edges, etc, is not easy. But I knew this beforehand and, in small part, is why I decided to heavily distress the Union Jack.
After taping, I painted the turquoise parts first. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Florence from an old sample I had laying around the workshop. Let me just say…I LOVE the way Florence looks when cross-hatched over black. It took a lot of willpower for me to put a 2nd coat on in order to get the right look for the Union Jack. I think it’s inevitable that I will be doing an entire piece, sometime soon, in Florence dry-brushed and cross-hatched over a base of black.
Anywho, enough about that. Without any further blabbering, I present to you “The Chelsea!”
As you can see, I wrapped the broad stripes around the sides. I also wrapped it up on to the top. I think it looks fantastic and I love the way that it breaks up all of the black on those expansive, flat surfaces.
I struggled a bit with what to do for the hardware. When it comes to reproduction French provincial furniture, the hardware is usually all extremely similar, with the majority all being the very common, low-swooping (like a half-smile), single bar with the leafy blooms on each end (how is that for a very precise wikipedia-esque description?). There are a few, less common, types that I absolutely love and my very favorite are probably the ones that came with this dresser:
I love the fullness of this pull. Rather than having a single, skinny bar stretching across between the two leafy blooms, these pulls have that extra bit of detailing
above below the bar. Some people might notice here that I installed the hardware “upside down”… let’s call it artistic license, mmk? I happen to like the way these pulls look “upside down.” It’s a simple way to make the pulls standout (I think), and if someone is, like, totally OCD, it’s very easy to flip them back the other way.
Back to those struggles though…as you can see, these pulls are brass. I’m a big fan of antique brass (if you couldn’t tell in this post,) especially when contrasting with bold, saturated colors. The problem with this hardware, though, was that someone had previously painted right over it, and then distressed (perhaps it naturally did this over time) the paint so that all of the high points exposed the brass. Now, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and bust out the toothbrush and toothpicks to polish and strip finishes off of ornate pieces…I just didn’t feel like doing that after the hassle of painting the Union Jack. So that left me with few options…obviously, new hardware was not an option…so that left me with rub n’buff or a good ole can of spray paint (my trusty Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze was patiently awaiting me on the shelf). Right as I was about to shake, rattle, and rol…er, I mean…spray, I remembered that ASCP is great for painting metal, too! My first thought was to just paint them completely in Florence, so as to just sort of blend in to the design. And I’m sure that would have been beautiful…but I was still clinging to my love of brass. So I whipped out my craft brushes and paint, sat down with a full glass of the good stuff, put on some relaxing Radiohead, and settled in for an hour or two of tedious work. And you know what? I loved every minute of it! Doesn’t the brass and Florence combination stand out wonderfully?
I have always wanted to paint the Union Jack on a dresser, especially after I saw this beautiful twist on it while browsing around on pinterest…
Isn’t that beautiful? I love it. And I love the way my own Union Jack dresser turned out. Here’s one last look at “The Chelsea.”