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Painted Empire

I got a call a few days ago from Lucketts  It’s a great call, but an “oh crap” kind of call, too.  Both of my large furniture pieces had sold, so I needed to get some furniture into my space ASAP.  I decided to sell a little wash stand I’ve had for a few years and I finally started working on the empire dresser I had in my basement for a while.  Here’s how it turned out…

 Here’s the before…


The wood on the front was really beautiful, but the sides had been painted, so I didn’t feel a lot of remorse about painting this piece.  (Do I ever?)  I layered French Enamel over Flow Blue and used a bit of trickery between to get some clear definition between the coats.










Can you tell I’m a little in love with the finish?  Yeah, I am.  I’ll share more about the technique in a few days.






Here’s the tutorial on the technique I used for this dresser.  You can also find detailed “recipes” for other layered looks HERE.

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  1. I am love with those drawer pulls… So pretty.

    vera :)

  2. Williastene Norvell says:

    I love the framed chalkboard and wreath. So simple and effective. Thank you for all the wonderful and “doable” ideas.

  3. Oh wow oh wow…took my breath away! Looove IT!

  4. Holly says:

    I love, love, love the color combinations!

  5. Can’t wait to find out about this “trickery” – I absolutely love this dresser!!! Wish I wasn’t so far away so I could buy it!! The two blues are gorgeous together..
    Happy Holidays!
    Leah: )

  6. Beautifully done. Don’t know what the secret is, and can’t wait to find out. I ordered more Milk Paint today and I’m a happy happy girl! Love the chalk board and the verse as well. Have a happy weekend!

  7. Miss Barb says:

    Love it all, especially Psalm 61:2!

  8. Marian, the painted empire is beautiful. The gold-framed smeared chalkboard with the verse and centered wreath is brilliant. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  9. Julie says:

    The dresser is really beautiful, and I just love the wreath! Is it real? Did you make it or buy it? I’m interested in making one just like yours–its so green and fresh!

  10. Karen Little says:

    I especially love the Ps. 61:2 verse as it was the main one that encouraged me through my breast cancer time in 2001. That version is the best wording and so uplifting. I now wear it on a silver bangle bracelet almost everyday. Love the empire dresser, too. Such an amazing blue with “breaks” in it as they would describe it in a pottery piece. Karen L.

  11. The chest came out so beautiful!! Love what you did with the frame and chalkboard, thanks for including these wonderful words and promises from our loving and merciful Father. May He continue to bless you and yours as you continue to serve in this wonderful ministry to so many women. You truly are an encourager to us all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  12. Janet Lawson says:

    I love it and the chalkboard has such a beautiful saying on it..

  13. It is beautiful! and I love love the wreath and surroundings! Keep inspiring! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  14. I normally like your painted finishes, but I would have stripped the sides or only repainted the sides, that beautiful wood is now totally obscured. I don’t like a lot of ‘chippy’ paint anymore, just a little sometimes…oh well…someone could strip it if they want to again anyway, but I did really love the wood in this piece.

  15. Cindy Faith says:

    Can’t wait to hear how you got that perfect finish, but I have a question regarding the chalk board….what type of surface did you paint that on? It looks so smooth. Thank you ! :)

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      I painted it on 1/4″ hard board and used a foam roller, so it was nice a smooth.

  16. Marian…the wash empire dresser is phenomenal…I really think you are going to get another phone call from Lucketts…saying, you need to bring more things…as this one sold in 5 minutes!!…

    I also want to say that I was told by a blogger who paints wonderful pieces of furniture that your wax is superior to the others!!

    Also, I love the chalkboard..!!!!

  17. Goedele says:

    I hope to read the instructions very soon, because I want to try it too. The dresser is gorgeous!


  18. Love the finish Marian – really beautiful. Those colors are great together. Love the wreath and the blackboard and the quote all put together (the circular way you did it is so simple yet so creative!).

    Look forward to seeing your how to!


  19. LOVE the way you finish things. The colors are so pretty!!! I think it’s up to the artist what they want to do to a piece: leave it wood or paint it, and you certainly make things “WoW!” when you paint them!

  20. the paint is pretty, but the verse makes my heart sing! xo

  21. Wow, what a beautiful colour combo.

  22. I adore everything about this!!! How oh how could you ever sell it… looks perfect there!

  23. WoW wow WoW
    can u just ship me the dresser, the framed chalkboard and wreath

  24. wendyjahn says:


  25. love it! turned out beautifully! can’t wait to see your secret technique!

  26. Absolutely beautiful! And can you please share how to affix the ribbon to the back of the mirror/chalkboard or wall when hanging a wreath with ribbon? I struggle every Christmas with this and drive myself and my husband nuts! Thank you!

  27. Oh Miss M! This is absolutely amazing!! The finish has come out absolutely perfectly!

    I’m desperate to hear about this ‘trickery’ because I’ve just discovered you’ve got retailers in the UK and I NEED to have a go at this exact colour combo!

  28. This is so PERFECTLY distressed-awesome job!

  29. The chest is just a bit “scrubbed” down on the front for my taste…but the color is simply lovely! As is the scripture on the chalkboard. So perfect for this time of year that become so overwhelming.

  30. Maria says:

    Paint that baby all you want, MMS! I love it “scrubbed, roughed up, chipped, messed up and weathered!” Go girl!

  31. Love the color combination…love how you layered the blues! I really can’t wait to try your milk paints!!

  32. melissa w. says:

    i am in LOVE with the finish on the dresser! cannot wait to find out how to recreate it. baby #3 is on the way and that is the exact look i want for his or her changing table dresser.

  33. Suzanne says:

    I love the chest, but I LOVE, LOVE,LOVE the framed chalkboard,wreath and the verse! I’m going to put it on my pantry door, so I can be reminded every time I walk by that God is my Rock!I can’t wait to order your book as well!

  34. Sharon Abarca says:

    I’m sorry to say, but I would not have painted this beautiful piece.

  35. This is so beautiful! You are truly talented when it comes to making your pieces look authentically distressed. I can just imagine a child seeing a spot where the paint had chipped next to the keyhole, and feeling compelled to peel a way just a few more flakes. :)

  36. GASP! The color on this is GORGEOUS! That HAS to be one of the prettiest blue color combinations ever in a million years… Plus, the whole wreath thing is adorable…


  37. WOW! I cannot believe that I have only just stumbled upon your blog! I am a huge fan of antique furniture and feel very inspired by your items! You are immensely talented and an inspiration to budding decorators like myself!

  38. JoEllen Giani says:

    Oh my!! I think this may be one of my absolute favorite pieces you have shown us here. I cant wait for the tutorial. This is stunning!!

  39. Well …………I always love traveling through your site. God has truly given you a gift.
    May I ask how you crafted your chalkboard wreath with the Psalms 61:2? Did you freehand it? Thank you in advance for any advice or hints you can pass along.
    Blessings, GG

  40. Love the dresser! I fall for anything in that color blue. And I love the boxwood wreath on the chalkboard & gilded frame. Delightful. And last but not least of all, I love that Psalm! Do you know there is an awesome praise song based on that song? 😉

  41. Tracy Perrone says:

    I love that color on the dresser but really LOVE the fabric for the curtains in the background. Do you mind telling me where it came from? Thanks for all of the inspiration!

  42. Eileen says:

    I have already purchased my paint colors, when can you tell us the trickery! My whole home is being transformed because of your inspirations! Thanks

  43. Lauren says:

    LOVE this!!! I have a similar chest I want to paint and this is a great inspiration! Is there a trick to painting around the keyholes … other than to be careful and use a small brush? I also have a key hole that is missing its metal inlay…any advice on how to replace/repair this?


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