Barely Gray Dresser

By Kate Riley August 26, 2011

Hey all, happy Friday!  Y’all know I have a weakness for French style dressers and can’t resist a good one when I spy it, especially at a thrift store!  I thought I’d share a quick little dresser makeover I finished up this week.

I spied this vintage dresser just as it was coming in the door at a local thrift shop. The wood was damaged in places, but it’s a well made piece and solid wood.  Wood putty filled the cosmetic flaws, and two coats of AS Chalk Paint in a custom mix prettied it up in a shade of barely gray almost blue.   

dresser before and after


I’m still playing around with my two quarts of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint leftover from this mirror and this table.  This time I mixed them, using 2 parts Old White to 1 part Paris Gray (which I’m noticing has a hint of blue to it, especially after it’s waxed). 

mixing chalk paint together


Chalk paint easily distresses with a sanding wedge, and I follow it up with a clear paste wax – lately I’m using Johnson’s.  Rub ‘n Buff is the quickest way to freshen up vintage hardware like this and give it that ‘Antique Gold’ glow. 

gold rub n buff


This revamp only took a few hours since since there’s no priming with this kind of paint.  I even painted it indoors on a tarp since there’s little to no odor with the AS Chalk Paint.  Pics are less than stellar today since the light was fading fast, but it looks so classy in person. This piece will eventually get sold at a local shop.

blue gray painted dresser cg


What DIY projects are you up to this weekend?  I’m thinking of restaining a tabletop in between the kids’ soccer games and hoping for a little wine tasting adventure.  Wishing you all a relaxing weekend and cooler temperatures. Those of you on the east coast, stay safe! 


cg kate signature




  1. Gorgeous Kate!! Another great piece you’ve redone. : )

    I’m getting some chalk paint soon and have two antiques chairs and a side table in mind. Glad to hear you could use it indoors. Being in Canada, I’m already getting bummed about the cooler months ahead and not being able to get out in the garage to do projects. Guess with the chalk paint I won’t have to worry about that!! Thanks soo much for sharing!!

  2. Love the blue/gray color…never tried chalk paint. Maybe this weekend during the hurricane I ‘ll give it a try! :)

  3. Beautiful! I had a chance to snag a similar dresser from my mom’s house recently and decided to give it to my sister since I would have had to ship it. Now I’m wondering if I did the right thing! :)

  4. That looks great. I am wild about ASCP and have done several pieces with it. Will be revealing a piece later this weekend that is my favorite.

  5. LOVE IT!!! I just got inside from my super-packed garage (preparing for the incoming hurricane!)- where I was refinishing our dining room table!!! So excited to see the finsihed product once I put the final wax finish on it! Thanks for the inspiration as always:)

  6. The dresser looks so beautiful Kate! Again – you have done another fantastic makeover. You are sooo lucky to have pieces like that come into your local thrift shop. All I see at mine is bad 70’s and 80’s styles with unsightly ‘lines’.

    Living in Hampton Roads, I have spent the whole day preparing for Irene – and my husband is in South Korea right now too! Ugh. This is my ‘first’ hurricane (we moved here 2 years ago from Canada) and I have to say…this is NOT FUN!!!!

    Everyone on the east coast here with me – stay safe!!!

  7. Oh! I’m in love! How come they never have any quality pieces coming through my thrift store when I’m there? LOL! I guess I need to stop in more often! :)

  8. That is really beautiful, Kate! The color is so peaceful. Lovely orante hardware. You’ve done another stunning job!

  9. You hit another one right out of the park. Can I tell you how much you have inspired me. I started working on that side piece I tweeted you about? Well okay. I stopped because I didnt like the primer or the paint.

    But I am working on it!

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  10. That’s beautiful, I LOVE the custom color! I just posted about my lasted Annie Sloan project, a cheap, cheesy 2 tiered 70’s table refreshed with a provence & old white harlequin pattern. Are you enjoying the AS paint? I purchased 2 quarts and the wax and I’m in LOVE.

  11. Gosh, first of all my thoughts are with all your readers anticipating Irene. As you and I know living in California, we can only imagine what it is like to go thru a hurricane, they are all in my prayers.

    The dresser is beautiful, I love the end result color. A soft blue/grey, gotta try that paint someday.

    You are going to laugh when I tell you what I am working on…using rub and buff on my front entrance gate, seeing your tube in your post reminded me. It isn’t a small gate. (imagine two cars driving through it side by side) My index finger is getting a workout, and it is messing up my manicure because the best method is without a glove lol Luckily for me I only have to do it every 3 years or so. I use the gold leaf paint on the bigger areas, and rub and buff on the decorative details. Have a great weekend

  12. I love the look that rub and buff gave! I’ve never tried it before. Thanks for teaching me something new. I don’t know if you know this about me, but .. I like to learn new things. A lot. To the point of insanity. Now I need a nap. ~ karen!

  13. Very nice! Question: What is the paint colour in the top half of the wall in the last photo? I love it. Very clean and serene looking, exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  14. Well done! This is one of the best colors I’ve seen so far from chalk paint. Guess it pays to know what colors to mix together. I’m sure your dresser will be sold quickly. It’s lovely.

  15. Oh so lovely! We’re on assignment in Malaysia and I dream of thrifting and using chalk paint. Maybe one day when we return to the US, until then I’ll have to content myself with reading your blog.

  16. I love how that chalk paint looks! That rub n’ buff looks like it works wonders too. I definitely want to try it out on my next furniture makeover!

  17. For some reason, I am liking this one better in it’s real wooden state, although you have done a beautiful job as always.

  18. Seriously…you make painting furniture seems so easy and effortless! It never FEELS that way when I am redoing a piece! I am actually excited to paint 2 desks…one is a family piece I am bringing back to life for my bedroom and the other is a desk my very best bestie found at a garage sale for $15…it’s amazing and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I got some custom Behr primer/paint mixed today to match her armoir in her room but I am going to use your trick and add a bit of her pink wall paint to hopefully make it just a light blush pink. The handles are actually very delicate and cute so I plan on cleaning them up and painting them silver. I also have to tell you that I found an old brass small chandlier at GoodWill this week for $4.99 and I plan on painting it white and hanging it in my daughter’s room…I have always been inspired by your kitchen chandi redo (that’s actually the post that brought me to your blog!) Wish me luck that all goes well :) Hope you have a great weekend!

  19. Unfortunately, I prefer the before dresser. I’m not a fan of painting vintage pieces unless they are totally ruined and not able to restored. It is a shame that this piece has lost all its charm.

  20. Great makeover! And now you have convinced me to make a lighter grey with my Paris grey and old white!

    And I’m sorry, but Dolores, didn’t your mother teach you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? And I think she GAVE this piece charm, not took it away. Everyone has their own taste, don’t bash it.

    Have a great day! :)

  21. Thanks Andrea! I’m sorry you don’t care for it Delores. I love antique pieces and dark wood and hesitate to paint anything in good condition. I feel dark wood pieces ground a space and give it character.

    Unfortunately with this dresser, the veneers and edges were badly chipped in places requiring wood putty to fill, and the stain in other areas was bleached out. In those circumstances, I have no issues painting to refurbish a piece and breathe new life into it! You’ve inspired a post, I think I’ll address this issue on when to paint wood and when to not later this week, everyone certainly has a valid opinion on the topic!


  22. What kind of paste wax do you like that doesn’t yellow? I see ASCP has a wax, but you mention Johnson’s? I am ordering 2 quarts of the paint. Thanks for your posts!

  23. Hi Kate…another beauty! I have a similar dresser, made of solid mahogany. It was covered in a heavy, canary yellow paint when I purchased it. After I stripped it, the previous painter had done so much damage that I didn’t have a choice but to re-paint. I painted it white and replaced the hardware with clear glass knobs. (inspired by you, of course!)

    But I have one question…my dresser has similar scroll-type indentations throughout the front of the piece. I attempted to paint the scroll work a pretty gray/blue so it would stand out against the white, but it became a mess. How did you make yours look so great?


  24. Hi Kate… I am wondering, because I cannot see a close up, if there are severe brush strokes on the piece. If you use the ASCP, do you just accept brush strokes?
    Thanks for your input!

  25. I just tried using chalk paint for the first time. Luckily, I experimented with some old candlesticks first. I thought I would try waxing with Briwax since I had some on hand, but it is taking the finish right off even though I am barely applying pressure. Is this supposed to happen? I wasn’t planning on distressing, but applying the wax gave me a distressed look anyway. Is Briwax the culprit? Or, maybe it’s just the old finish on the cheap, wood-like candle sticks? :-) By the way, your blog is so inspiring!!

  26. I just discovered your blog – I plan to read through all the posts, etc., but before I do, I’m super-eager to find out, is the wooden starburst wall hanging that is peeking out from the top of the dresser pic another project you’ve done?? If so, is it on your blog somewhere? It’s really neat, and I’d love to recreate the look. I tried searching for it on the blog, but couldn’t find it. Any info is welcome! LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

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