On a pedestal (table)


If ya noticed that I was missing. That’s because… Well, I was missing.   On purpose.   Also known as vacation.   We decided to take Lucas on a little road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  A mere 5 hours from home.  We’d never been there before and decided to give it a shot because it seemed to offer lots to do.  Though, Lucas was more excited about the hotel room, the rolling chair by the desk, and his little pull-out bed than anything…

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some pics of the trip as it went on.   We were happy to knock off a few firsts for Lucas including  hiking, an amusement and water park, and eating out for EVERY SINGLE meal.  For a family who mostly cooks at home, this was a hugely huge deal and was very exciting for a self-proclaimed-4-year-old-grown-up such as himself.  So, now we’re home and trying to get organized.   Well, let me rephrase… Were trying to not to have unpacked junk strewn about every room.  I don’t think we’ve lived in our home long enough to qualify as organized.   Yet.   😉

So, now onto the beef of this post.  Before we left, I posted about our new lighting fixture in the breakfast nook, which left the space looking like this…

And now I’m here to tell you about the newest addition to the fam, our $40 Craigslist table….

Attractive, huh?   #sarcasm.   See, I wanted a round pedestal table with a streamlined base that I could refinish… For preferably under $50.   So, when I saw this puppy listed on Craigslist, I snatched him right up.

And introduced him to my good friend Citristrip…

I thought about trying a different method of stripping furniture this time around, but I already had the Citristrip on hand and knew that it’d not only remove the varnish, but most of the stain as well.  From the start, I knew that I wanted a lighter toned, white/grey washed finish on this table, so the removal of the darker stain was a step in the right direction.

Now, I’ve talked about stripping furniture before (here and here), but I’ll briefly review the basic steps (you can read those other posts for more details if you want).

Step one: Slather that stuff on with a brush…

Step 2: Wait until it bubbles (but not until it dries).  I actually added a second moist coat over the first because it dried so fast.

Step 3: The most satisfying step.  Scraping.  Use a plastic scraper and scrape in the direction of the wood grain to remove all that grody finish…..

Step 4: The most tedious step.   Removing all the residue by rubbing it down with mineral spirits over and over (andover).   Use a toothbrush to remove goo from the nooks and crannies.   This was a tip given to me by a reader and it is the most brilliant tip ever known to man.  Ever.

Step 5: I always end up having to do a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to really remove all the residue.   It doesn’t usually take long, but is wholly effective.

Which leaves a naked table…

I actually really liked the table in it’s natural state, but wanted a slightly greyer tone that would stand up to being beaten up by a 4-year-old.

Once I got to the store, I had a little dilemma, though.   I couldn’t decide whether I should use an individual stain followed by poly or a combination product.  So, I decided to buy small cans of both and do a little experiment.

Let the testing commence…

Sunbleached was my color of choice for this table.  I was pretty excited about it, too.  (Seriously, isn’t this exciting, though?  Is the suspense killing you right now?)   I applied all products to a scrap piece of wood and evaluated….

Color-wise, they were similar, though I felt that the individual stain and poly was more grey, which was my goal.   Plus, as shown in the pic below, the combo product left little raised ridges in the wood whereas the individual products left a much smoother result…

So, individual stain + poly it was.   I applied 2 coats of stain with dry time in between, which left this…

 Sunbleached gorgeousness.  Yeah, buddy.

And I loved that the top appeared weathered and mottled…

So, my next step was adding protection with poly.   I’d never used the wipe-on poly before and I have to say that I really liked it.  It goes on thinner than brush-on poly, so you have to apply more layers to equal the same protection, but I felt like it was much more foolproof.    I had more control which equalled less drips and imperfections.  Plus, since I was going for more of a weathered, hand-rubbed look anyways, it was a perfect fit.

The basic process was:

Wipe down the table with tack cloth, apply poly with a clean rag, allow to dry, sand with extra fine sandpaper, repeat.


I ended up doing 4 coats on the base and 5 on the top.   It may have been overkill, but I know this table will take a beating, so it’s worth it.    I let the table cure in the garage for about a week and a half and then brought it inside.

Without further adieu, I give you the next step in our breakfast nook makeover.  Oh yeah, but first…  Please, for the love of Pete, ignore the bird chairs, which (in my opinion) do NOT look great with the table.  And imagine these pretty babies instead.  They’re the next step in the makeover. Once we actually buy them anyways….


Anyways, here’s what I got…


And a little glimpse of the dining space and back patio from the nook.   It’s one of my favorite views to take in as I drink my morning coffee…


I can’t even tell you the difference the round table makes in the space.  The flow is so much better.  Plus, the table is way pretty.  The camera doesn’t really capture the texture as it is in person. I’m really happy with how it turned out.  As mentioned before, the bird chairs have got.to.go.   Like, way gone. They’re fine in general, but they just don’t compliment the finish of the table at all.  I may recover the seats with some leftover fabric that I have on hand just to tide me over until we buy my dream chairs.   We’ll see.

** Check out this post for how our breakfast nook looks now post seat-recovering and additional styling***

So, anyways, that’s our nook as of now.   How was everyone’s weekend?   Any fun stuff happening around your part of the world?

TDC Before and After

I stripped! *furniture*

Remember my Goodwill mid-century tables that I discussed in this post?  Well, progress has been made (cue applause).


After my sad cry for help as to what to do with these small furniture gods, I took the generous advice given and purchased an orbital sander.   We literally just chose a mid-range sander at Lowe’s and ran with it.

I started with the coffee table… Now, as I’d expressed before, I was very, VERY nervous about sanding through the thin wood veneer on top, so I used 220 grit sandpaper and sanded very slowly…

It took a good hour or so, but (wait for it) I succeeded in getting down to the bare wood without destroying the veneer (joy)

Once I’d finished, I examined my work closely and broke into celebratory dance, respirator and all (it was a fist-pumping-Hammer-dance-combo).  And our neighbor saw me.  I panicked and nearly blurted out something about “table dancing!”, but fortunately, my brain caught up in time to stop that little nugget of awesomesauce from escaping.  Instead, I went with the always-smooth, ever-popular “Um… Hi. (awkward pause) …How’s it goin’?”

Right.  Way to get down with my socially-awkward bad self.  Welcome to my life.

Anyways, my original plan was to use Polyshades because I never-in-a-million-years thought that I’d actually get down to bare wood that could be stained with REAL STAIN.  But I did.  So, it was on.

Next, I proceeded to hand-sand the base of the table.  Which took FOR-ever. I literally got one of the short sides done and decided that I’d go the chemical stripper route .

I’d never used chemical stripper before, so it was a little scary for me.  I was wholly afraid I’d do it wrong and be scarred for life.   But, then I did it anyways.

This is the stripper I went with (it claims to be low odor = Bonus)…


I decided that since I’d already partially sanded the coffee table, I’d start with chemically stripping the end table because I wanted to see the difference between using the stripper and sanding.  I also wanted to be sure that I was making the right decision by switching methods mid-job on the coffee table.  As a reminder, here’s how the end table looked when I bought it (um, forgot to take a shot of the whole thing (mybad), but here’s the top)…


The main issue was this part of the finish…


I hoped that stripping the table would allow me to be able to refinish it with stain (fingers crossed!).  The damage seemed to go deep into the wood, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off, but figured it was worth a shot (…I told you… I’m a pathetic sappy when it comes to vintage finds #gottadoit).

I started by brushing on the stripper…


I waited about 2 hours (the directions said you could scrape in as little as 30 minutes or as long as 24 hours).

And I scraped…


And scraped and scraped, but found that scraping the rounded areas and details was somewhat difficult.


And although the directions stated that the stripper remains wet for up to 24 hours, my guess is that these statements were not made in the Texas heat.   Granted, I chose to do this during the polar vortex when it was 85 degrees (In July!  In Texas??!), under the shade of the garage.   But the areas facing the driveway still became gummy and difficult to scrape in that time frame.

So, I switched to the second method recommended on the bottle.  Abrasive pad plus mineral spirits…



This did the job, but took quite a bit of time and elbow grease.  And murdered a few innocent bystanders…


And these were the heavy-duty gloves, folks!  TIP: Buy more gloves than you think you need.

I used toothpicks for the little grooves…


And then (ahem!) a few days later, I gave the table one last scrub down with the mineral spirits.

There were areas where the stripper dried in the crevices…

But I found that simply wiping on a little more stripper was enough to moisten the residue…

…so that it could be scraped out using a very small, pointy screwdriver.

The top of the table looked pretty good at this point, but felt wavy to the touch where that large damaged area was. So, I took the orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper to it.

I got the top pretty smooth, but not perfect since I was afraid of sanding through the wood veneer.

I lightly hand-sanded the base of the table with more 220 grit in areas where I felt there was still residue. And then went over it again with mineral spirits.   By this point, I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that stripping furniture is a time-consuming task no matter how you slice it.   It’s definitely doable, though.  And I was happy to see that I’d likely be able to stain the table after all my hard work. With that said…

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re bashful I implore you to avert your eyes….  I give you naked furniture…

(applause! applause!) 

I will say that the damaged spot is still mildly detectable (although it’s hard to see in the pictures)…

The texture is different from the rest of the top and the wood is slightly darker, but all-in-all it’s a vast improvement.   I’m just curious if it’ll absorb the stain differently than the rest of the top.   I guess I’ll just have to do it to find out.

I still have to finish stripping the coffee table, but decided to fully finish this little end table first to be sure it comes out well once stained.  Since I want the two tables to match, if staining the end table doesn’t work out, I’ll paint it, thus there’s no point in wasting time stripping the coffee table if this is the case.  So, I’ll update ya’ll once that’s done.

So anyways, that’s my story… Have ya’ll ever stripped furniture?  Any stories to tell??  Tips??


Linked up at: Houseologie, Brepurposed, Anything & Everything, Home Stories A to Z, Lines Across, Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Coming, Tatertots & Jello

The DIY Dreamer
TDC Before and After