This Swedish-style bureau is painted in colors inspired by the Gustavian period. A glaze was rubbed with steel wool to enhance the overall patina of the piece.
Clean previously painted pieces with a damp cloth. Fill nail holes with wood filler, and lightly sand the entire surface. Clean again with cloth. Apply 2 coats of primer; let dry. Apply 2 coats of light-gray paint; let dry. For best results, remove drawers and paint them on a separate work surface. Also, paint the surfaces of the bureau frame one at a time, allowing ample drying time between each.
Painting the Lines
Make marks for a 1/4-inch-wide border that's set in 1/2 inch from each edge. Using a T-square, connect the layout lines with a colored pencil. In a plastic container, thin blue latex paint with water until it flows off the brush easily but is not too watery. Using liner brush, fill in border with paint; let dry.
Applying the Glaze
In a plastic container, combine 4 ounces each of light-gray alkyd paint, alkyd glaze, and mineral spirits; mix well. Apply with a natural-bristle brush. Work in the glaze with a cotton rag.
Distressing the Finish
While glaze is still wet, run steel wool over bureau's surface in the same direction as the brush strokes. Let dry overnight.