dining room furniture makeover

This is the “Before” photo (please do enjoy the view of our messy garage) but here you can see the curvy legs that first attracted me to this vintage (maple? pecan?) table. It was at the St Vincent de Paul, and had orange $199.00 tickets all over it. I called John and he said “No way!” and then I remembered I still had a little of my last paycheck left (yes. I recently quit. That is a blog post for another time!) So I asked for the manager, pointed out the scratches on top, the many, many tables they had for sale and said those magic words every salesman wants to hear “I have cash, and can take it right now.” Which inspired her to take $40 off. So $160, for my solid wood (and heavy as sin!) antique table!

I sanded her down with my Black and Decker Mouse Sander (one of my favorite gifts, EVER dear Claudia!) then painted her legs with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White spray paint. Then I glazed them, then I roughed up the edges with my sander. I liked it so much, I hauled out all the previously black dining room chairs and did the same, to match.  I stained the top but it was too maple-ly so I added a topcoat in a dark cherry. I hate staining furniture, it is so hard to avoid brushmarks and streaks (come over and peer closely and you will even find a brush hair or two, stuck in there.) But that’s a good reason to start collecting vintage tablecloths, right?!

I have been looking for the perfect dining set for 6 years, or “since we moved in to this house”. We brought a beautiful furniture with us from washington. It was a gift from my father (he had a new furniture store) and was the solid cherry, Mission style set of my dreams-huge and substantial and once set down? Totally out-of-place. It needed a room of its own, not a corner of the kitchen. Its sharp edges kept slamming into soft spots running past it, like my hips and Caleb’s 5-year-old head. Finally I traded it to my Aunt Hilary for her pressback Oak set. She kept saying are you sure?! Because it was hardly an even trade but it felt fair to me! Their beloved old set was just like the one I grew up eating at, and best of all it was rounded at the edges and much lighter in feeling. However, its tabletop was 48″ wide, and whenever we weren’t eating we had to push it up against the mirrored wall, in order to have room for the hallway and bathroom nearby. We did this for 5 plus years, while I scrolled through Craigslist and hunted thrift stores (and considered building myself!) a long, narrow table more suited to the space…

Look at that! Two leaves on the end, opening out to a whopping 102 inches, but still only 40 inches wide! Does God not just provide but spoil rotten His kids, or what?!

I liked the finish on the table and chairs so much that I had to bring in the glaze and swipe the glossy white cabinet and old church pew down, too.

 Now you might ask “Brenda? why do you glaze stuff to take it from clean-white-shiny to old-distressed-shabby?” Isn’t that a lot of work to make something look WORSE? And then, after painting so carefull, covering every edge, you take a sander and start hitting every corner to knock off newly applied paint? That just don’t make sense!”

Trust me, as I spent hours in the garage doing just that, it did strike me that it was kind of nutso to be doing just that-on par with buying ripped up jeans!

But if I had my choice, all my furniture would be heirloom hand-me-downs from my great-grandparents farm, with generations of relatives marring and scratching the table, and years of dinners served across its surface…

 Second choice? It all came from an ancient Bed and Breakfast in France, surviving wars and famines and full of history and interesting stories…

Third choice? It didn’t cost too much, its cottage and old in style, and I can squint my eyes and pretend it COULD be either  #1 or #2 above.

PLUS when my boys eventually (this week, I am sure!) knick/scratch/dent the finish? It will just blend right in. Shabby chic was invented for households like mine. I have to get on my kids so often, anyway.

Did you finish your Math? Did you brush your teeth? I said empty the dishwasher 20 minutes ago! Stop poking your brother. Say your memory verse. Make your bed. You need a shower, I am not even kidding. Why hasn’t anyone fed that pitiful cat, yet?

So I choose to limit the discipline to such issues and rarely, if ever, do I get on them about ruining their clothes in play (it’s all $1.99 each at Goodwill) or marring the furniture (though I don’t allow pen usage on the leather couch!) Furniture like this allows them to be BOYS, not dainty little ladies who must sit carefully and dare not put a drink down without a coaster nearby…

So I am happy that our new set looks old and fits the space. John is happy that he didn’t have to pay for it or paint it or haul it from the store. Kids don’t care either way, just keep the Captain Crunch stocked, Mom.

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About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
This entry was posted in creative pursuits, decorating, saving money. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to dining room furniture makeover

  1. Heather Fisher says:

    Oh Brenda! The white is so much prettier than the black . . . and I absolutely love the warmth and richness of the cherry table top! It all just fits right in with the white framed mirror behind the table. Beautiful!

    Now you’ll have to have me over for tea and we can sit at the table enjoying the time worn (ok, sander-worn) look of the wood and each other’s company – I’ll bring some gluten-free treats!

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