We’re sharing another project from Loblolly today, a French Linen painted armoire!
For the first time in a long time, I only have before and after photos of this antique armoire makeover.
There’s not a single “during” picture of the actual process.
And that’s strictly because this French Linen painted armoire makeover almost didn’t happen.
And when it finally did happen, I was virtually painting with little light around midnight because my mom couldn’t bear to look and went to bed.
To Paint or Not to Paint…
To be perfectly honest, for weeks we were totally on the fence about whether we should paint the armoire or not.
My mom bought this piece from an estate sale in Georgia decades ago.
Normally, it would be on the “no paint” list.
But our family has lived in 13 different homes over the years.
And with every move, the armoire got more and more banged up.
A little chip here, a major knick there.
Until one day the top fell off the bottom in an unfortunate accident.
After that, the top just didn’t sit quite right or close the way it was supposed to anymore.
Still, my Mom loved the lines and the French feel of the armoire.
And for whatever reason she just couldn’t let it go yet.
I finally convinced my Mom we should paint this armoire based solely on the fact she had no plans to get it repaired given the expense of the restoration.
Loblolly is not her primary home and that’s exactly where this piece currently resides.
So, with a knot in her stomach, she went to sleep, and I stayed up painting.
Choosing to Paint the Armoire in French Linen vs Paris Grey…
At first, I painted the armoire with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Gray.
But it was way too blue.
Then I tried French Linen and it was exactly the color we needed.
Three coats of paint later, the antique armoire had a new lease on life and the French Country feel my Mom has always loved.
I painted the metal appliques by dry brushing a mix of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White and Valspar’s Faint Maple in all the nooks and crannies with a fine detail art brush.
Then I lightly sanded the appliques to “age” them even further.
Since we won’t be using the armoire to store clothing (my dad created a separate space for those needs in the walk-in closet) we decided to repurpose the armoire as an activity center for the littles.
We used to have markers, crayons, and coloring books in one area and cards, puzzles, games, reading books, and toys in another area.
Now everything is together in one place and the littles can reach what they need.
As always, make sure there are only age-appropriate toys in your activity center drawers so that your child’s safety is of top priority and consideration.
I didn’t want to freak my Mom out too much, so I left the inside unpainted.
French Linen Painted Armoire: My Mom’s Reaction…
The morning after this piece was finished my Mom made a beeline for the entry THE MINUTE she woke up.
She didn’t even make a cup of coffee or anything which says a lot.
All in all, she was excited about the way this French Linen painted armoire came together.
And despite whatever misgiving she had in the beginning, I think she’s happy we saved it.
Questions to Ask Before Painting an Antique…
If you’re in the midst of trying to decide if you should paint an antique or not, consider asking yourself these questions before you start…
- Is this antique valuable in any way?
- Is the piece in perfect shape?
- Do you have the skills to enhance the piece? (I say this with love because I have seen some heartbreakingly bad DIYs at so many thrift stores and charity shops. Pieces like this are probably not for beginner painters…or latex paint…in my honest opinion)
- Do you have the right paint and/or materials to do this piece justice?
- Why do you think this piece should be painted?
Ultimately, the decision to paint or not to paint an antique piece of furniture will be completely up to you. I hope these questions will at least help point you in the right direction though.
Let us know what you’re painting or what antique you’re shopping for this season!
Other French Country-Inspired Projects to Enjoy: