Do you remember the bench that I picked up at a garage sale last May? Also scouted by my friend Meggan, I might add.
The sellers said that it was made out of a bed that their parents brought over from Belgium. Although it was gorgeous ‘as is’, the finish on the bench seat was ruined. It looked as though someone kept house plants on it, lots of water damage. I could have opted to strip and re-stain that bench seat, and I might have gone that route if I wasn’t going to keep it. But I did some measuring and I discovered that it would fit perfectly into the spot just inside my back door. Which is exactly where we need something to sit on when putting on our shoes. As much as I love the warm look of a beautiful wood piece in a room with white walls and ceilings, my room has red barn wood walls, dark wood floors and a wood plank ceiling. That’s a lotta wood, none of which I plan to paint anytime soon. This bench would be kind of lost among all of that wood. Also, you might remember that I am on a mission to lighten up that room with white furniture.
So, I decided to paint it.
I held my breath the entire time just hoping that I would be doing it justice.
I used my own mix of Miss Mustard Seed whites to create Farmhouse White. I found the recipe on The Ironstone Nest blog. It’s equal parts Ironstone, Linen and Grain Sack. It would have made more sense to just buy Farmhouse White, but I had plenty of the other three colors in my paint stash already so why spend more money?
The only thing I did to prep my piece was to go over it with a damp cloth and some TSP substitute. I didn’t sand it at all. I wanted plenty of chippy-ness. I was willing to take the chance that all of the paint would just chip off, in which case I would have had to start over. But I also didn’t want to totally eliminate any possibility of chipping altogether, which sometimes happens when I pre-sand.
I also painted a small test patch on the back of the bench before I started. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would get bleed-thru on this piece and I wanted to know that before I was committed to the white paint. But it was fine. I started painting at the top, but when I got down to the bench seat, guess what? Yep, it was a bleeder after all, but just the seat. I’m assuming the seat was added when the bed was made into a bench and therefore it had a different finish than the rest of the piece.
After just a couple of swipes of Farmhouse White on the seat, it was obvious that I needed to do something about the bleed-thru. Out came my secret weapon, Shabby Chic Clear Primer.
I gave the seat just one coat of the Clear Primer. Once dry, I painted over it with my homemade Farmhouse White and no bleed-thru. Problem solved. However, take note that the seat did not chip like the rest of the piece. The Clear Primer will give the paint a great surface to stick to, thus eliminating chipping.
I ended up doing three coats of Farmhouse White on the bench to get good coverage. I did two coats one day, then came back the next day and added the 3rd. Normally when you’re going to get chipping on a piece you’ll see the paint lifting before you get to coat number 2 or 3. With this piece I only saw two little spots of lifting paint. I was a little bummed at that point, thinking I wasn’t going to get the chippy-ness I wanted.
It wasn’t until I started sanding that this chippy-ness in all of its glory showed up.
The sides of this bench have some lovely details, don’t you think?
I am so happy with how my bench turned out!
Can you see my little photo bomber in the picture above? Behind the left side of the bench?
That’s Lucy, my cat. She absolutely insisted on being included in these photos.
I would call her away between shots, and then she would just meander right back over there.
Anyway, this fab bench has found a new home in my dining room.
I think it works beautifully mixed in with all of that dark wood.
You may remember that I started a dining room makeover last summer. Here we are a year later and I still haven’t finished it! Somehow my own projects always come last. Here’s what I’ve done so far.
Replaced my black waterfall buffet with a Welsh cupboard full of ironstone …
Replaced brown leather Parson’s chairs with painted cane back chairs with feed sack seats …
Painted the cedar dining table that Mr. Q made …
Swapped out some IKEA hanging lights for this …
And now I have the bench.
Still on the to-do list, strip wallpaper (there is wallpaper behind that bench), replace the window (we’ve theoretically got that in the works) and come up with something fabulous for the giant blank wall. Hopefully I’ll get the rest of it done before another year comes and goes. I know I’m not the only one who takes this long with a makeover project though, right? And I have to say, I think the bench was worth the wait.