Nancy Fishelson Inspired French Gray Chair Refinish and Tutorial

When I first laid eyes on this dining set in designer Nancy Fishelson’s home, I instantly fell in love.
(I posted about her home here.) 
I have been on the hunt for similar chairs 
(and materials for that beautiful table) ever since.
Imagine my delight when I found this little (peach) darling
for $2.00 at a yard sale last weekend.

With some Nancy Fishelson inspiration,
French gray paint, and antiquing medium,
this is what my chair now looks like.

Pretty darn close if I do say so myself.
Here’s an outdoor shot for a more accurate color representation.
It’s against gray siding.

More interior shots…
I love how the antiquing medium grabbed the imperfections
and highlighted the crackle from the old paint.
Easy tutorial for this weathered, aged, gray look.

Step One
Prime the entire chair.
(I used white spray primer.)

Step Two
Apply base coat of darker shade of French Gray.
 (I used the custom French gray color below from a Sherwin William’s sample pot.)

Step Three
With a 1:1 ratio of lighter French Gray paint
and water, rub all over the chair with a damp rag.
(I used SW 0055 Light French Gray) 
(P.S. This is the best French Gray that I have ever used…not too blue and just right.)
Step Four
Mix a 1:1 ratio of DecoArt Antiquing/Staining Medium
and paint. I used DecoArt Americana paint in Graphite
with a dab of Raw Umber that I already had on hand.

Step Five
Use a brush and damp rag to apply the antiquing mixture to chair.
Brush it on.
Wipe it back.

Step Six
Seal and protect your chair.
I used DecoArt Americana Matte Spray Sealer.

It’s that simple.

I also made a down filled seat cushion with white canvas
and used this beautiful Olive Rue “No. 05″ design.

Until I find at least 3 more chairs (hoping for 5 more) in a similar style,
I won’t be using it as a dining chair.
Instead, it has temporarily become a stylish
time out chair for the little ones.
I think I’m a pretty nice mama considering this
was my “time out” when I was a child.


Love you, Mom.

I made a canvas pocket that ties to the side
to hold books to read while they’re chilling out.

I love my new, vintage chic chair.
(Shhh…don’t tell. I used my Gorilla Glue epoxy to adhere a penny to the bottom of one leg.
It was a little wobbly before but problem solved. That’s how the pros do it, right?
I’ll add a picture tomorrow.)
And…it’s the first Friday of the month.
What does that mean?
DIY Club Inc. September Party, of course!

DIY Club
It’s time to link up your projects for a chance to win
an amazing gift package.

I won so much cool stuff last month that I’ll be sharing with you soon.

The DIY Club gals have a new, fresh site
with new criteria so click the button above to find out how easy it is to enter. 

I’ll be linking this project up as well as a few others.
You have until the 16th to enter!

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

post signature
This post is also linking with 
 Style Feature Saturday at Perfectly Imperfect
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
 Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Simply Designing
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge

Plant a Punkin’ Seed Friday 
Transformation Thursdays at the Shabby Chic Cottage 
Due to “scraper” websites that earn revenue by scraping feeds (like an automatic copy & paste) and stealing the creative content of others, I can no longer provide FULL blog posts via email subscriptions. I apologize that you now see a partial post and have to click over to my blog for the rest. I try to create lovely and original content so I appreciate your understanding. If you don’t, I am sorry to see you leave and thank you for being a part of my journey while you were subscribed. {Jami}


  1. gorgeous, jami! i love that color. i often use sherwin williams “rare gray” for a french gray, and it’s great, too. it’s on my dining chairs! ;) beautiful as always!

  2. gorgeous, jami! i love that color. i often use sherwin williams “rare gray” for a french gray, and it’s great, too. it’s on my dining chairs! ;) beautiful as always!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Jami you rocked this one for sure! Hmmm I recognized that spoon..LOL You had me laughing on that one. I like how thoughtful you were to hang the book bag, what a good mom you are. Your tutorial was awesome too! Going to try those two grays, thanks for the heads up.

  4. ~*~*WOW are amazing!Thanks for all the tips..and yes I also recognize the spoon!!LOL..Great deal for $2…dont you just love it when that happens!? Crossings my fingers you will find 5 more soon~**~Have a happy holiday weekend~*~Rachel :)

  5. Kristin says:

    oh..swoon…i’m on a mission now… :0)
    i’m so glad i’m not the only one who shudders and to sight of a wooden spoon!!

    prairie hugs,

  6. Pamela says:

    You are such a clever girl!!
    Time out chair…Love that !!!
    Pamela xo

  7. julie says:

    Holy friggin’ brilliant! I would have never, ever, Ever, thought to glue a penny to the bottom of a chair to make it not wobble. Good bye ugly folded up piece of paper.

    Jami, you are a repurposing goddess! This chair is incredible. I tell ya, you might have a problem because I think your kids are going to want to get in trouble now just so they can sit on that cool chair!

  8. Shaunna says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I’m working on a vanity right now with this treatment and I can’t wait to finish! Beautiful job! Come link it up, friend. :) shaunna

  9. Megan says:

    gorgeous! love the way your chair turned out.

    and for the table, check this out!

  10. Leah says:

    Love that color and the book pocket is such a cute idea.

  11. Ellen says:

    Love the way your chair turned out…and such a nice price to begin with!! I also love the little pocket you made to go on the side. Very nice!

  12. Tommie Jo says:

    NICE! I love it! (I remember the “spanking spoon /: )

  13. Great tutorial~your chair looks really good. Very much like the inspiration photo. Well done!

  14. It looks so cool! I wish I had the time and patience to try a project like that! :) I love the pillow you added. I had to chuckle at the spoon…..I think my Nana threatened us kiddos with that a few times, LOL!

  15. Joselyn says:

    Love the color; great job! Thanks for including the tutorial.

  16. Sassy Sites! says:

    I love this Jami! LOVE love LOVE the color you picked! Great job!

  17. Can I have a “time out” in your chair? wow, just love it, and the color is great. Super tutorial, it makes me think that I ACTUALLY COULD do it! So glad you linked up with me today, Jami. you’re a doll!! I’m gonna start hanging out with you maybe I’ll be inspired and motivated to get a few more things accomplished! Have a great weekend,

  18. Oh…your chair turned out so pretty. Just like your inspiration. Love it.

  19. Jen @ Coastal Lust says:

    Amazing! I love the color – I need to head over to SW and pick some up tomorrow, I guess:) Not only do I recognize the spoon, but if you’d put a rubber spatula up, I would remember it too! Great tutorial.

  20. Olive Cooper says:

    Love this grey. Well done. olive♥

  21. Signe says:

    What an amazing dining set and I love how your chair turned out! Well done :)

  22. Jami you are such a talented painter. I want to attempt these projects….you make it look doable. But I get scared when I put on the antiquing glaze…maybe I have to try it on something I don’t care about and practice first…love the chair and the pillow back. so sweet

  23. Amanda says:

    I love this Jami, it’s wonderful. I have featured you this morning!

  24. Brenda says:

    Wow so pretty, well done. If I wanted to paint anything gray I would certainly use your tutorial it was well done.

  25. I’m not sure I would call this chair punishment! Better watch out….it might be an encouragement to get in trouble LOL!!!!

    I love it, turned out beautiful!

    Thanks for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party.


    Punkin Seed Productions

  26. Oh I just adore your wee chair. The finish is just perfect!

  27. That chair is gorgeous, I love the grey! The antiquing job you did is perfect, too. I had to lol at the wooden spoon :)
    xx Karen

  28. You did a fantastic job on antiquing this precious chair. Love the little pocket you added.
    Hugs, Sherry

  29. $2 you say? That’s a fabulous buy, and it looks gorgeous after your transformation.

  30. Oh Jamie – you just continue to amaze me with your talent, sweet friend! I LOVE your darling chair and the pillows/pocket you made for it. It looks adorable at the end of your bed, too! (sigh!) Your work is just beautiful!!!!

    xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

  31. Becky says:

    So fabulous- you continue to make me rethink the color gray. We got the wooden spoon at my house too! No damage done. :)

  32. nancarts says:

    Beautiful chair. This grey is so great…very
    peaceful and calming as well. What child wouldn’t love to sit here? even in time out?!!
    Have to tell my gdaughter about this.
    Have a great day.

    Smiles and Blessings,

  33. I LOVE Nancy Fishelson’s style! She has been so inspirational to me, too. Your chair is gorgeous! I love the color, and the little tie-on book holder is adorable!! I LOVE your #5 pillow, too!
    I found you through Debra’s party at Common Ground, and glad I did. I love your blog!
    Have a great day!
    ~ Jo :)

  34. I love it Jami–you are one creative gal.

    I think it will be AWESOME having an eclectic array of chairs. I love that look.

    Thanks for linking up .

    I hope you are having a great weekend.


  35. Bravo!! Encore! Encore!

  36. Tricia - A Rosy Note says:

    Wow, your chair turn out great! Good idea to add the little book pocket too. I love the tidbit about your mom’s spoon…mine had a yardstick…nice.

    Can’t wait to hear what you decided to do with your fireplace :)

  37. Lori @ Projects Plenty says:

    Really nice finish. Thanks for the tutorial!

  38. the VG huis says:

    Hi, not sure how I came about your blog but I am so glad I did! I absolutely love your chair makeover…very well done : ) Thanks for sharing and Happy holiday Monday! ~Stacey

  39. Deb says:

    I love your chair…you did an amazing job! You have totally inspired me to paint something(?) grey now! Love your blog too!!! Deb

  40. Love the chair. It turned out so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Burlap Luxe says:

    Ooooh! yes, I to love Nancy Fishelson’s style…I have her magazine featured page in my collection of fabulous rooms and inpiring design ideas folder.

    I have things in my own home featured on my blog that I am working on getting that washed gray look with the whites.

    Thank you for sharing this chair, just love it. Oh and I would love to see the iron bed in the photo as well, I just love iron :)

  42. Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust says:

    Love this project & the darling twins. Thanks for sharing!

    Warmly, Michelle

  43. Anu@My Dream Canvas says:

    This is beautiful. I am hosting a 50 dollar CSN Giveaway on my blog. I would love for you to stop by.Thanks Anu!

  44. Looks awesome Jami! I appreciate the step by step guidance and the ratios. I would like to do some projects like this, and the more information you have, the more confident you feel!

  45. Terrell says:

    This is just oh so chic!! Loving it! I would love to have you as a friend at Frou Frou Decor! I would also like to invite you to link your creations up at my weekly Fabulous Friday Finds party..every Friday! Hope to see you there!
    ~Terrell @ Frou Frou Decor~

  46. Pamela says:

    Loving your chair and oh do I remember the ever infamous wooden spoon. A couple I baby sat for had one. It was never used but quite a few were broken against the counter top!:)

  47. Amy Kinser says:


  48. I love your inspiration and I love the chair! You always have the most amazing results! Great job as usual! ;)


  49. Rachelle @ Adventures in Creating says:

    Great job on the chair! It looks fantastic and what an awesome price. Love it!

  50. Rachel says:

    That chair looks amazing! You did such a great job. Thanks for sharing!

  51. Jami!
    You are AMAZING!
    I don’t know where you live but I wish I was close by to come and take painting lessons from you!
    Love it. You are my GO TO gal for paint finishes.
    No wonder you have been featured all over the place! They know a good thing when they see it.
    Great post.
    I’m off to go paint shopping!!!

  52. Wow! awesome!! I’m seriously thinking of using that same technique w/ my dining chairs…love the way it turned out.

  53. Frances says:

    What a great result!! You have clearly experimented with different products, gotten great advice, and shared your knowledge in an easy to follow format.

  54. Really it is so hard to find good-looking patio furniture. Those chairs are so cool and attractive!
    patio design

  55. Gorgeous!!!!

  56. Kierstin says:

    Love this project! I am new to the DIY crafting world and can’t wait to try this!! Silly question, do you allow each coat to dry before you apply the next one?


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