the french laundry dresser.


My stay-cation week off from the day job went by really quickly, isn’t that always the case?  And I didn’t get nearly as many projects done as I’d hoped I would.  Of course.

But in addition to lots of little things, I did get a couple of bigger pieces of furniture finished including a lovely vintage dresser.  You may remember seeing the ‘before’ of this one a while back.

tall oak before

It had that orangey oak-y finish.  I have to say, this one had me a little stumped.  I kept looking at it out in my workshop and not feeling any inspiration.  Finally I decided I wanted to give it a farmhouse look, something old and chippy.  I mixed up some Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Farmhouse White and I started painting.  The first coat didn’t cover well at all, but that’s to be expected with white milk paint.  The second coat wasn’t much better.  Not a good sign.  By the third coat, the coverage was still not up to my standards.  Plus, I wasn’t getting any chipping at all.  Argh!

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to just cut my losses, so that’s what I did.  I got out the Fusion paint instead.  I had a little bit of Limestone (a warm creamy white) left in a jar, so I supplemented it with some Casement (a brighter crisp white) just to be sure I’d have enough.  And then one coat did the trick.  Now to be fair, I’m sure I would have needed two coats if I didn’t already have a base of white milk paint.

Still … once painted I didn’t have to wax or add a top coat (my favorite thing about the Fusion paint).


After the paint dried, I added this gorgeous French Laundry stencil using acrylic craft paint in a nice greige sort of color.  I wanted to keep it subtle.


I think this is one of the prettiest stencils I have, and it added just the little bit of extra something that this dresser needed.


Did you notice the screen hanging above the dresser?


I’ve always been fond of a pop of black in an otherwise mostly white space.  I even have a pinterest board devoted to the idea (here).  I didn’t intend for the screen to go with this dresser (otherwise I wouldn’t have used them same stencil on both), but I wanted to add that pop of black to my photos of this piece.


I think perhaps this is how this dresser was meant to end up all along, don’t you agree?

17 thoughts on “the french laundry dresser.

  1. It’s gorgeous and sweet and perfect. I must get some Fusion paint- really tired of working so hard to get a piece beautiful then having to fret about how it takes the topcoat or whether wax will be durable enough to protect a finish. Love your blog always.


  2. Your projects are always so beautifully done! I think this dresser would be perfect tucked into a hallway or even a laundry room for storage, it has such a great shape and size to it. Love the stencil done lightly and the minimal distressing – fantastic presentation!


  3. What a lovely piece you are like the Pied Piper of furniture you pull out your brush and the coolest pieces appear. I have to agree this stencil is a beauty and the perfect addition for this dresser. I need to buy some Fusion in colors other than red. Remind me have you used black in Fusion? I have a couple of pieces around this age and with this stain color. I bought both with the thought of painting them. When I got them in my room they seemed perfect as is. You would croak. Lol! You would definitely put a paintbrush to them. Pondering pondering….


    1. LOL, oh, I don’t know. In the right room I’m sure they look lovely. I have only used Fusion’s black on a hat box, I’ve never used it on a piece of furniture. The Fusion paint has a bit more sheen that chalk or milk paint, and I tend to like my black pieces to be a little more flat. That’s just a personal preference on my part though.


  4. Fusion paint is the BEST !! For the stencil on the screen did you use a roller on the stencil or a tapping brush?? I want to try it on a couple screens! I have tried to paint on screens before, but it did not work so well. Thanks Linda


    1. I used a stencil brush (the Martha Stewart brand from Michaels). You need to have a flat and firm surface with no give directly up against the underside of the screen to get good results. I also used black paint, although it doesn’t look black in the photos.


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