On a pedestal (table)

HI! IM BACK!

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…

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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.

(HEY, LOOK!   I’M WEARING GLOVES!!!!)

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….

(WIPES DROOL FROM FACE)

Anyways, here’s what I got…

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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…

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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
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Dining room madness

That’s right, folks!  Madness, I tell you!!!

So, in order to really review the changes that’ve gone down as of late, let’s look back at the journey that our dining room has taken up to this point.  Because I like journeys.  And progress.  Progress is good.  So, when I revisit a journey it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something even though I’m not done yet.  It’s like giving myself a pep talk.   I guess that’s what this blog really is, huh?  One giant pep talk.  Plus, it’s fun.  And I like it.  I like to blog.  I like a lot of things today.  It’s a good day.  Wow. #patonback

(*coughcough*) Anyways.  Moving on… when we purchased the house, the space looked like this, complete with beige carpeting that was just BEGGING for stains…

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So, we changed out the carpet for ebony laminate and plopped our furniture down on moving day…

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…and added a rug, curtains and shelves

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I liked the space well enough like this, but it just wasn’t right.   Something just rubbed me the wrong way. Annoyed me.  Made me twitch.   After much deliberation, I realized as much as I loved the rug, I couldn’t help but feel that it was competing with Drex (my beloved mid-century buffet) and our awesome 70’s stone fireplace. Ya know, the two pieces that really should’ve been stealing the show to begin with.   There was just a lot of brown happening.  Too much. I thought that maybe painting the table white would help change up the tone of the room and allow the rug to work in the space.   So, I did that…

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The process was pretty simple… I cleaned the table really well, wiped it down with deglosser, then painted it with a coat of Zinsser shellac primer followed by 3 thin, even coats of Sherwin Williams Proclassic Extra White in Semi-gloss.

Once the paint had cured, I tried the rug again…

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But I just couldn’t do it.   The white table didn’t take away from the orangey-brown tone of the rug at all.  And I was having trouble envisioning the space without it.  So, we removed the rug…

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(Excuse the red chairs in the corner… I tried them in the space, but they didn’t work.)

Once the rug was gone, something still bugged me.  And I was having trouble imagining the space with a different rug.  The ideas just stopped.   And that was when I realized that I needed to simplify further.   The chair covers.  Although I really loved them, the busy pattern really limited the other elements that I could add to the space.  I needed something more neutral and simple.

So, I visited Ikea and picked up six of these deep grey covers….

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I switched them out once I got home, and now the space looks like this…

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(Note: I’ll be ironing them soon)

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You guys.  I finally feel like I’m onto something here.  Things are jiving.  I love how the cool grey tone of the covers makes the gorgeous wood of Drex pop….

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And the subtle texture of the woven slipcovers add interest and depth without being too overwhelming…

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And they allow the fireplace to shine from this direction….

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(Now to paint those darn built-ins… Oh,yes.)

I feel like the room has been cleansed.   It has a whole fresh new outlook (like me today, apparently).  😉  Now, I have a much clearer idea of what else the space needs in terms of a rug and other accessories.   This clarity of thought is also bleeding into the living area as well.  Now I have a much better idea of where to go decor-wise.  Sometimes you just gotta strip to figure it out (wait…).

So, anyways, this is kind of how things go for me when it comes to decorating. Trial and error. I live with things for a while to see how I like them, change things up until elements start clicking.  I think sometimes in order to figure things out, you just have to clear the space.  Cleanse the palate if you will, to get a fresh perspective.  More often than not, my first decor move doesn’t work, but it gives me a good base to work off of.  And that’s all part of the fun.

So, with that, I hope you all have a great weekend!  Tell me your thoughts on this… Do you ever think a room will go in one direction, only to strip it down and go another?   How do you handle that?

 

TDC Before and After