There’s an area in our neighborhood that people can drop off large things they want to dispose of, so Nik and I venture over there to scope it out once in a while. This past week we found a couple of nice tables that we promptly claimed and dragged home: The weather wasn’t too bad last weekend, so Nik got to work on the smaller table. He stripped and sanded the top, then stained it dark walnut. We used the blue paint that I had refinished a side table with a couple weeks ago, and then I sealed the whole piece up with water-based poly. I love the carved wood details this delicate little table has. It was a perfect (free!) weekend project.
And after stripping, sanding, staining, and sealing the top and painting the body blue, it was up to this point:
And then I was indecisive about whether I wanted to antique it by rubbing stain over the paint, or antique it by sanding small areas, so I put it on the back burner. This weekend I decided I wanted to slightly antique the edges with sanding, just to break up the monotony of the color. I’m not a big fan of pieces that have strong antiquing finishes added, but the color was just too plain on this piece to let it be. For example, look at the edge of the drawer before and after a little sanding:
It gives it a little more depth, right? I did this by very gently sanding with 220 grit fine sand paper. Some places you can see the white primer showing through, other places there is wood showing through. Depending on where it is on the piece, some of the wood underneath is dark or light.
I went around and did this to all sharp edges, and then I dragged it inside and gave it a good coat of water-based poly which actually helped accentuate the sanded areas a bit more. I added handles we had left over from another piece, and now it’s finally done!
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! As I said in my last post, my parents picked up some pieces from an unfinished furniture store to keep Nik and I busy during our visit so I wanted to put a few pictures of those on here.
For a little bit of back story (and way too much personal information!), I had a wonderful kitty that my parents have thankfully adopted from me so I could move in with Nik, who is very allergic to cats.
My cat has always had a weird affinity for bathrooms, and she loves to be near people while they’re in there (maybe its the sound of running water? who knows…). So, my parents bought a little end table so she’d have a small place to perch in the bathroom. This end table was made out of parawood, which is a newer type of hardwood from Asia that is cheap so it is often used for less expensive furniture that can still claim to be made out of wood. The second piece was a little pine chest, perfect for sitting on to put on shoes that also has a bit of storage. Here are the pieces. Of course I forgot to take a pic before I stained the tops of each…so imagine they’re all raw wood and the lid of the chest isn’t flipped over:
We stained the top of each of them a hybrid stain color that we mixed with about equal parts special walnut and red chestnut, since my parents have a stained wood vanity in their bathroom we were trying to match. The stained sections were sealed with water-based poly. My mom wanted some color in her bathroom, and after much deliberation she decided on a light spring green color called “Spring Moss” by Valspar. I think this color is decidedly banana yellow, but she insists that it has the perfect hint of green she was looking for. We painted multiple coats of this paint, and we choose semi-gloss paint and primer in one so we wouldn’t have to seal it since the sheen is protective. Unfinished wood is very thirsty, and even after a coat of primer followed by 3 coats of paint, I still felt like a 4th coat would’ve been ideal but we ran out of time. Here is how the side table turned out:
And the chest:
We knocked these out in about 3 days, so I think this was a success. Now I just need to get a picture of my cat enjoying her new perch – maybe when I visit for Christmas!
We finally wrapped up these two side tables we’re doing for a friend, so I’ll post some before and after pictures. This wasn’t a huge transformation, just updating the stain color to a darker and less orangy color and fixing nicks in the finish by re-sealing it. Here’s how they started:
And we stripped and sanded them down to raw wood:
And then we stained them with 2 coats of Minwax dark walnut stain. We sealed these with a product we hadn’t tried before, wipe on oil-based polyurethane. Oil based polyurethane has a nice finish over stained wood, but we haven’t used it as much recently because cleaning up the brush is a pain since you have to use mineral spirits which never totally gets the poly out of the brush. But you can just use disposable rags with wipe on poly! So we put on three coats of this, since it is on the thinner side. Here’s how they turned out:
The color looks a little different between the two, but in person they match relatively well. The wood patterns on the tops are a little different, though, but it makes the character of each side table more unique:
In the pictures, the finished product doesn’t look very different from the original, but in person they’re much darker and richer looking and they have a brand new finish. The wipe on poly left a smooth, luxurious finish so I’d recommend it. It took about 10 minutes to do each coat of poly on both tables with the wipe on which was a huge time saver. Hopefully we’ll be dropping these off with their new owner this week to make room for some new projects!
After my previous lengthy, descriptive post, I promised I’d make a post with updates on our ongoing and new projects. I’ll start off with a fun crafty project that is totally not furniture-related. Nik and I LOVE pistachios, and find ourselves going through a Sam’s Club-sized bag every month or two. On one of the blogs I read, Addicted2decorating.com, she posted about an idea to use up all the shells left over from pistachios.
I love this, and had all the tools to get started – tons of empty shells (which I rinsed a few times with water), glue gun, and downtime in the evenings when I like to do mindless things to relax. I’ll still need to figure out a frame or shadowbox to use, and get some dye to make them colored.
The first one I tried to make ended pretty terribly (its the one that’s laying on its side in the picture above because instead of making the petals on the same plane, each layer added height to the flower and it ended up more like a pine cone). I decided this was a stupid activity and was about to give up, but then Nik tried one with more success and renewed my motivation to keep going. Each one got easier to make, and now I probably have about 10 flowers of varying sizes. I’ll get some dye and a frame this weekend and finish this up.
Next, I posted about the ugly little side table we picked up from a yard sale a couple weeks ago:
Since then, we’ve strippped, stained, and sealed the top of this.
And then we primed the body – we’re trying to figure out which of these handles left over from other projects to use on the drawer – any preferences? I’m leaning towards the round ones…
We were planning on going with cream paint that we were thinking of antiquing with stain, but then we got this awesome clearance color for 50 cents at home depot that I absolutely love. Unfortunately it didn’t have the color label on it, so it was probably a color match reject from someone else.
So now I’m debating antiquing over that color or just leaving it pretty as it is. I might do some practice antiquing on junk wood painted with the color, to see how I like it and that will help me make a decision.
Finally, we went to the flea market with some friends on Saturday, and we bought a new piece to work on that is a really really old secretary/dresser. This piece is in rough shape and will need a lot of sanding and cleaning up and possibly some repair to the back panel to get it in working condition.
I’m clearly dedicated to this piece, because I battled these awful spiderwebs and eggs to get it onto my porch. Gross.
Nik’s idea for this piece (assuming the wood drawers actually yield decent quality wood when we strip them) is to do an ombre pattern with stain on the drawers, kind of like this dresser. I like the gray tones in that, so we’re going to check out the options for gray stains, which we’ve never tried before. Rustoleum and Minwax both make a variety of gray stains, so we’ll have to pick some out to try. The rest of the body might be painted, we’re not sure just yet.
That’s it for right now. I’m looking forward to a weekend with great weather so we can actually wrap up these projects in progress!
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.
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:
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.
Our 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:
Ok, 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.
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:
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.
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!