Weekend Projects

If I post about some projects in progress today, maybe we’ll work extra hard to actually finish up some pieces this weekend so I can show the final product next week. There are FOUR things we’re working on currently, and my goal is to have 2 of them done by the end of this weekend to clear out some space in our apartment.

The first I gave you some teaser photos of in my last post, which is a set of side tables for one of Nik’s coworkers. She just bought a new house, and is trying to phase out of her “grad student furniture” into “real people furniture”. We found these great solid wood side tables on craigslist, and told her if she didn’t like the way they come out, we’ll keep them because we love them! Here are original pictures of one of the tables, minus the drawer which Nik was already busily sanding.

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Both tables were in pretty good condition, but the finish was a bit dated and orange-y. We stripped them down and sanded both tables:

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She wants a dark stain, so we went ahead with dark walnut. In this next picture, the table on the left has dried stain on it, and the one on the right is freshly stained, so the stain “lightens” as it dries. Now the two tables look about the same. I think we’re going to do one more coat of stain to darken the rich color a bit more. Finally, we’ll do a few coats of poly and these tables will be done.

IMG_0934Our next project is this West Elm coffee table that I posted about a long time ago…it has been slow progress since it ended up not being made of wood that we could sand and re-stain. So we ended up spray painting it a high gloss white. The spray paint looked pretty streaky and terrible (from the humidity? from our lack of experience with spray paint? because the coffee table is huge and flat and streaks show up more? who knows…) so our plan is to sand the white coats smooth with very fine sandpaper, and then to do a spray paint clear coat. We tried this out with much success on the drawers, so now we just have to clear coat this beast (hopefully without gnats landing on the sticky surface…they can’t seem to resist the bright white), reattach the frame, and put the drawers in:

IMG_0930Ok, on to the next project. On our way home from the beach this past weekend, we found this little side table at a yard sale for $20. I thought it was cute, and Nik thinks it will be a good piece to experiment with some antiquing techniques like sanding and glazing that I’ve been wanting to try. I want to strip and stain the top, and then paint the rest, and the painted areas will be where we try the antiquing. We might also replace the hardware with something more modern.

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The final project (ongoing for almost one and a half years now…) is this quirky contemporary coffee table made by the famous designer, Edward Wormley. I can’t remember if I’ve written about this table before, but it is a piece that has potential to be worth a lot of money (a slightly larger version of this table that was in original pristine condition sold for around $3500 in NYC when we were looking up information on the designer.) Of course our piece is refurbished, but we’re trying to keep it looking as it did when it was new. This is what we started with:

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Unfortunately, after sanding we found the top level veneer was very water damaged, and when we tried to sand it off, we started sanding through the veneer.


So, we started by at least staining the undamaged area a golden oak color:


After testing colors extensively with test swatches we bought from Capital Lumber in Raleigh, we finally purchased some veneer that matched as best as possible to the veneer on the lower level. We ended up with rift cut red oak, and we have a 3’x4′ piece of it that is sitting in my bedroom waiting to be adhered and stained.

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Nik is nervous about cutting the veneer, which is thin enough to do with a razor blade. It wasn’t cheap, so we’re procrastinating since dealing with  veneer is uncharted territory for us. It shouldn’t be too difficult if we take good measurements and make straight cuts, so once we get up the courage, this is on our list of things to do.

So hopefully, one or more of these projects will be wrapped up this weekend and I’ll show the final pictures next week!


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