25 May 2015

Driftwood Table

But first...this is where we started.

This table caught my attention a few weeks ago, and it was offered at a price that I couldn't refuse.

It looked frumpy when I brought it home. The top was not appropriately attached to the base, which is why it sits at an awkward angle. 

I knew the legs would be white/ivory, but I just couldn't bring myself to paint the wood on top. 

After the first layer of stain & stripping agent was removed I loved the rough texture of the wood, but not the orange tones.

After patching and repairing the base and legs, I primed and painted it Antique White. Somewhere in the history of this table, a previous owner had a dog who liked to gnaw on wood. The top was attached correctly and sits level now.

I have been waiting for the perfect piece to try a gray wash/driftwood finish, and decided to try it on this table.

I sanded the top and applied a very watered down mix of white paint and water, quickly wiping it away with a damp cloth.

I did this twice and really liked the effect, but it needed more gray for a weathered driftwood look. So I mixed in some gray from my paint stash, and did the same wash, wiping away with a damp cloth after a few seconds.

Time for the top coat, and this is where it got a bit hairy. It looked so pretty, and I didn't want to alter it by adding wax or clear coat. But raw, unprotected wood is not going to last on a dining/kitchen table.

First I tried a wax, and when I rubbed in the wax it brought back all of the orange tones in the wood. I waited and panicked, thinking it might return to gray after it dried, but no luck. So I sanded that small area and reapplied the gray wash. Long story short: I should have started with Minwax Polycrylic. It is my favorite; it always dries to a hard, solid, satin finish. And because this table will be used, washed, and wiped down regularly, it needs a solid wipeable finish. Bonus: Polycrylic made the finish even more beautiful. It was a bit dull before, because I used flat paint in the wash. The satin poly added dimension to the grays, whites, and wood grain.

Before & After:

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18 May 2015

Midcentury Chair

I get the most satisfaction from the simplest projects. 

This simple chair was listed on Craig's List for $10 and I believe me when I say that I ran to it as fast as my legs would carry me. 

It was rickety and dirty, but in good shape overall. I reinforced the legs with wood glue and clamps. I lightly sanded the wood, but I could not bring myself to paint the wood. Painting mid century furniture makes me cringe. The furniture of this era is designed around beautiful wood. Please, paint the other stuff, and maybe paint mid century furniture sparingly, with design in mind. 

On to the seat & upholstery...

You can imagine my delight when I removed the first layer of icky vinyl, and discovered a bonus layer of icky vinyl. It was my lucky day. 

The upside - a double layer of vinyl left the padding clean and in great condition. 

I brought out the Restor-A-Finish, just to see if it would work on this worn out stain. I love this stuff, and I've used it before with great results. Honestly, I was not expecting these results, this chair seemed to be past the point of a simple fix.

Look at the difference in the legs. The scratches and dullness wiped away, leaving beautiful shine and enhancing that gorgeous wood grain.  

refinish, mid century chair, black and white, upholstery

before and after

11 May 2015

Classic Desk In Ivory

This gorgeous desk was listed as a FREE item on Craig's List. By the time I contacted the seller, he had received so many inquiries, the price had increased to $100. Whether this was a marketing strategy or honest circumstance, I don't know. I decided to pass. I have a $30 rule with Craig's List furniture. In the end, we worked out a deal because he wanted to sell it immediately. He gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. Although not free, it was a great deal. 

This is a beautiful desk. Solid and heavy, with old-fashioned details and dainty legs under all of that weight. I love those legs. That really was the detail that sold the desk for me. 

I don't rush to paint beautiful old pieces like this, and I don't just slap paint on everything that crosses my path. But the finish was in need of some love. It practically rubbed off on my hand. I barely had to use sandpaper. And those legs were begging to be accented in a lighter color. 

After a thorough sanding, patching holes with wood filler, two coats of primer, two coats of Antique White mixed with Floetrol, and a layer of wax/top coat, here is the new desk!

I'm secretly hoping this doesn't sell so I can keep it and swap out the current desk in our office. Update: the desk sold immediately. :(  I was so sad to watch as it left my garage.

The wooden square knobs were pretty awful. I chose brass knobs (shocking!) to contrast against the ivory. They also coordinate with the tiny original brass lock.

Side-by-side, it's like a completely different desk.

On to the next project...that round dining table sitting all sad in my garage. I can't wait to pull my Highlander in to the garage again. That thick layer of pollen on the car is gross, and the kids would like to play basketball someday.
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04 May 2015

Turquoise Beauty, Loretta

This table was found in a nearby garage. 

I carefully placed it in the back of my Highlander and drove off to pick up a cute little midcentury chair. My friend, who was keeping me company for the day, was visibly worried. 

The table looked really bad. 

It was dirty and the paint was in horrible shape. 

I chipped away the damaged veneer, and sanded the top to a smooth finish.

I filled the damaged wood and uneven surfaces. 

The wood on top had a green tint, which I worried would remain after I stained. I treated the wood with conditioner, which really brought out the green.

But, to my relief, the green tone was neutralized by the stain. So after two coats of Dark Walnut and one coat of Red Chestnut, I applied three coats of Polycrylic to seal & protect the finish. 

It looks turquoise in the evening light of this picture, but that is still the original green paint.

After the top was complete I still had to decide on a color for the base. I sanded and primed. My helpers assisted in washing the legs with hot soapy water, scrubby sponges, and toothbrushes.

The base will never be smooth without completely stripping several coats of paint, and a delightful layer of crackle paint. With all of the grooves and details, I wasn't interested in taking on that task. So (I'm telling myself) the texture adds to the beauty and rustic nature of this table. Sounds good, and it really is a cute table, layers of paint and all.

I played around with several color options, but this table stumped me. The gray was too serious and dark. The ivory was too formal. My first instinct was turquoise, and I need to start listening to my gut. Even though it took three or four attempts to find the right turquoise, this is the right color for this little table.

And here she is, after one coat of primer, a coat of turquoise, some distressing to bring out the details, and a protective finish.

Am I crazy or is this table giving off a Loretta Lynn vibe? 

But also, I was listening to Van Lear Rose while I painted, so maybe that had an influence.

One last look at the before & after...

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