OK, maybe it’s a little early to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Although obviously this year I will be giving thanks that my sister and niece live here in Minnesota now and will be celebrating with me!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this post is about giving thanks that the next step in my dining room makeover is complete! The table. Here’s a reminder of how it looked before.
Mr. Q made this table about 20 years ago. At the time a co-worker of his was selling some 4″ x 4″ cedar boards so Mr. Q decided we needed an extremely heavy, indestructible table. He’s added several coats of shiny poly over the years to make sure it remained impervious to damage. I’ll be honest, this has never been my favorite piece of furniture (sorry hon!). If you’ve read my blog, you’ve seen my style and probably realize that this isn’t exactly ‘me’. But one has to make compromises in marriage, and this was one of mine. It wasn’t until I started my recent dining room update that it occurred to me that even though Mr. Q is quite fond of the table, maybe he wasn’t ‘married’ to the finish. Eureka! How did this not occur to me sooner?
So I asked him how he felt about me giving it a fresh new look. Turns out he was on board (pardon the pun)!
The first task was stripping all of that poly off. Egads. It took 4 passes with the citrus stripper to get that stuff off. It was a messy and time consuming process. I probably could have sped up the process by using a more heavy duty chemical stripper, but since I was doing this inside the house I didn’t want to add toxic fumes to the mix. Once it was stripped and then cleaned with buckets and buckets of fresh water, I sanded it down a little to get a smooth surface.
Meanwhile, in between passes with the stripper, I dug out some scrap pieces of the original wood from the back of the carriage house and tested some possible finishes on them.
I started out by purchasing two different shades of grey stain. I really didn’t like the way the stain went on, something about it just felt off. It was partially the sheen, partially the colors, and partially the streaking that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. Honestly, staining just isn’t my forte. I’m sure that there are expert woodworkers out there who could have achieved the look I was was going for with stain, but I’m not one of them.
So I went back to the drawing board. I gave some more thought to what I was hoping to accomplish. I wanted to tone down that orange color of the cedar, maybe get a sort of sun bleached look, lighten up the entire piece and give it some more ‘age’. I didn’t want to entirely cover up the grain, but I wanted to minimize it a little. I did some more research on pinterest looking at many different approaches to faux-aging wood. And finally I realized that I should just stick to what I know, paint! I decided to pickle the wood on the top of the table, and then just paint and distress the base (there was no way I was going to attempt to strip the base!)
There are a myriad of choices for pickling methods out there! There are even special products made just for pickling. I stuck to the basics. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White, and diluted it about 50/50 with water. I wish I had diluted it even a little more for a more sheer look, but hindsight is 20/20.
As it turns out, pickling is incredibly simple. I applied the watery paint with a brush and then wiped it off with a paper towel. The paper towel probably breaks some official rule that requires a lint free cloth, but it worked for me. I’d use caution with that if you use a darker color. I worked board by board because I didn’t want to have any weird overlap lines. I wiped off quite a bit of the paint, and I really rubbed and smoothed with the paper towel to get rid of any streaking and to work the paint into the wood, frequently changing to a fresh paper towel. I did just one coat. Once it was dry, I went over it with my palm sander and some fine (220 grit) sandpaper. Then I waxed with Miss Mustard Seed furniture wax.
Well? What do you think? An improvement over the shiny cedar look? I really love the new look, it is almost exactly what I was picturing in my head for the table top.
For the table base, I just sanded the original finish lightly and then painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen. Once dry, I distressed and then waxed with my custom blend dark wax.
I’m really not sure I like the way the French Linen on the table base is playing with the Fusion Linen on the inside of the hutch or with the bamboo rug. It’s funny because I would have called both of these colors a ‘greige’, or warm beige/grey. But when you put them in the same room with each other the Fusion Linen has a warm green undertone, while the French Linen has a cool blue-ish undertone. I debated using the Fusion Linen on the table base, but I thought that would be too ‘matchy-matchy’.
Maybe I should have just stuck with the Old White on the table base?
Well, water under the bridge. After nearly cramping every muscle in my body while crawling around under that table to paint the base, I just don’t have it in me to change the color just now.
I’m choosing the live with the colors for now and see how they grow on me. I’ll be honest, this table still isn’t going to make it to the top of my favorite furniture list, but is is vastly improved. And Mr. Q is happy with it too!
There is still one more big project that I’ll be tackling in the dining room, plus a few smaller tweaks here and there. But I’m checking things off one by one, and before you know it, I’ll have this project completed!