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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. Jessica B says:

    beautiful, especially the drawer pulls against the shades of blue – well done as always!

  2. Lorretta from NH says:

    Absolutely wonderful…and the wreath with the Psalm is so soothing.

  3. Laura says:

    I received such a blessing from the verse you have written in the background! Daily life can be overwhelming, but God IS the rock higher than I.

    The dresser is beautiful too 😉

  4. Ellen says:

    Lovely, can’t wait to get the details on how you got the great results. Have a great weekend.

    PS: the verse was wonderful!

  5. Shelly Windeknecht says:

    Very pretty! I look at the before picture and wonder if i’d ever be brave enough to do that. I think that I’m a bit like the scared kid on the diving board….scared to jump but when I do I’m sure it will be great fun! I’m just afraid of messing up something that was so pretty to start with. Great job on the dresser!

  6. Jenn A says:

    Pretty dresser, but love the chalkboard, wreath, and verse combination!

  7. Oh…what a beautiful makeover…you just might get another call right after you drop her off. Love the verse and how you wrote it around the wreath…such a neat look.


  8. Susie says:

    Oh Marian, how sweet are your new pieces. I love the dresser the chalkboard with boxwood wreath and your sweet little circle of beautiful text…what a great way to start my day. You are truly a gift from god.

  9. Just beautiful – love the dresser, love the paint treatment and colour, love that frame and the chalkboard and the wreath… ok LOVE EVERYTHING!!!

    Have a happy weekend!

  10. Pretty Marian love the color and finish!

  11. Very cool! It has a lot of character. Have a great Thanksgiving! — Pauline

  12. GORGEOUS!! Love the colors!!

  13. I just love how the entire piece turned out. Your photos are gorgeous too – it makes me think that I need to have a chalkboard in an ornate frame to hang my boxwood wreath on for the holidays. Thanks for sharing that. Happy Weekend.

  14. mary eguia says:

    OK, I really think you need your own line of furnure and home decor. Yeah,I can see your space at the furniture mart in Highpoint! You’ve really got it girl. You’ve got the midas touch.

  15. mary eguia says:

    I spelled furniture wrong i my comment. :(

  16. This is so pretty! I LOVE the 2 colours of blue. Why can i never find empire dressers in my area? I so wish I could!

  17. Beautiful. I love the two colors layered on top of each other.

  18. Love that! The psalm on the chalkboard with the wreath is just so lovely!

    Have a great weekend!

  19. That could be the title of your next book…”The Painted Empire”. Why not!



  20. I think the dresser turned out very nice. I love a good re-doo.

  21. Beautiful!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  22. Monica in Littlestown says:

    The dresser is beautiful. And I love the wreath – what a great verse for these troubled times. I’ve been reading your book this week, and it’s everything I expected and more – thanks for writing it! I plan to stretch my creative self this weekend and see what happens :)

  23. Allison Brown says:

    Just beautiful!! You are so talented and such a joy to read your blog!! I did have a question….do you use regular chalk on your chalkboards or chalk pens? The writing is always so clear and legible…my chalk writing attempts tend to be light and uneven in tone. Thank you!!!

  24. angela says:

    love it and love the color.

  25. WOW, its beautiful!

  26. my favorite piece to date!

  27. I love all the eye candy!! Oh my!!!! Now stop making me covet an antique trophy already, I can’t stop thinking about finding one!!!! 😉

  28. Wow!!! So beautiful. That piece will sell in a heart beat so you better start to work on another!!!! So pretty.

  29. Denise T says:

    Wow! Love all the eye candy! The dresser in 2 shades of blue, Moss in trophies, boxwood wreath ( bought it and love it) hanging over the chalkboard in glided gold frame, the verse – love this verse.

  30. I love your trickery! Looks fabulous!

    P.S. I’ve had a number of those mixed blessing calls……first it’s ‘Yay!’ and then quickly…. ‘Oh crap!’.

  31. Love the dresser…but I love the chalboard even more! A refreshing change up for something so popular. Thank you for making me think outside the “boxwood” (ha, ha! my sad attempt at a joke)

  32. So adorable and I’m dying over your chalkboard! That wreath and lettering are too cute!

  33. I love the two tone! Beautiful job!

  34. I love this piece, the color is fantastic. The chalboard and the wreath are a perfect touch!


  35. nice work 😉 Again!

  36. Certainly a beautiful piece and one of my favorite colors too. I know the right person will fall in love with this piece with the “chipped” look on the front.

  37. Debbie Rejmer says:

    I can’t wait to see your posts each time – everything is so beautiful and the scripture on the chalkboard is the icing on the cake. Glad you are honoring God and He is blessing your endeavors:-)

  38. Annie Thalie says:

    Vraiment très joli. Félicitations pour votre beau travail :-)

  39. Another “time worn” gorgeous beauty!

  40. This is beautiful….wish I lived closer as I would buy this in a heart beat!

  41. Marian says:

    OH MY! Love, love, love the piece and finish! And yes, you must share your “trickery” with us. I’m now off to purchase Flow Blue to go with my French Enamel (which I use so much it’s disappearing quickly!). Thank you as always for your inspired ideas and for sharing your creativity, tips and techniques.

    P.S. The chalkboard is awesome as well… all will be “pinned” to share with others :)

  42. Ashley says:

    Absolutely ADORE it all! The blue, the boxwood, the verse. Just perfection!

  43. again amazed at your creativity, the dresser love and yes it will sell.. But the mix of a simple wreath with a chalk board….I really love.

  44. Hi Marian. Wow. Very beautiful. I have an identical empire that has been signed by the maker. It’s the only piece I hesitate to paint although ill probably paint it soon. I didn’t think the glass knobs on my piece were original but now I think they were as you have shown a few empires with those way cool knobs. Thanks for sharing beauty with us. It’s a reflection of God’s beauty in creation.

  45. Just the bit of inspiration I need. Now for the pocket to catch up! Your furniture refinishing is impeccable but that chalkboard is such a pop of surprise and comfort,

  46. Angela G. says:

    My friend forwarded this post to me! I, too, display a fancy framed chalkboard (in a different finish than the gold) and a boxwood wreath. I guess she wanted to “validate” what I have been doing in my house for years. At holiday time I put clear lights on the wreath, take the chalkboard down and replace with a mirror behind it…stunning! Thanks for the validation :)

  47. I love the piece, but what really caught my eye here is your wreath and saying around it on the chalkboard. Just beautiful!!!

  48. You know I feel about that dresser and I look forward to the ‘trickery” tutorial. That wreath against the chalkboard looks amazing!

  49. I look forward to learning more about how you layered those beautiful blues! Also, I love the psalm wrapped around the wreath like that- gorgeous! And what a wonderful verse.

  50. I love how this piece did the chippy thing! I’m really considering going flow blue and then the grain sack on my large black cupboard. After the craft market next weekend maybe I can concentrate on my home for a little!

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