Chevron Sewing Table Update

After a year in our first home, the kitchen remains a bit of a challenge. The biggest update so far was getting rid of the huge pub table that was built in to the counter top, which I removed and replaced with a window seat with lots o’ storage. That got us part-way towards my goal of designing an eat-in area for our super-tiny very cozy 60’s ranch kitchen. I knew I would need a small-ish pedestal style table to accommodate the window seat setup. I had been contemplating building one from scratch until…

Finally, y’all! I just found this amazing table at my favorite-of-all-favorites antique store… woo! (Better yet, I sent a courtesy a pic to the husband, and he loves it too!) Woo-hoo! laminate top table before Cute, right?! This table has a lot going for it (including a fully-operational foot pedal that Adam wants to rig into some sort of possibly dangerous, high-performance lazy susan) but let’s be honest… the top is kind of weird. It’s laminate, but not your average furniture-grade “trying to look like wood” laminate. It’s more like kitchen counter-style laminate, which is a weird look for anyone who’s not a kitchen counter. (And truly, kind of weird for them as well.) It’s almost like the top was repurposed from a restaurant table or something. Kind of sterile and, well… not-so-pretty.  I asked the lady at the checkout if she would consider selling me just the base… but she was much too smart for that. (I can only assume she didn’t want that weird top laying around, either!) And it’s a good thing, because original my plan was to go straight home and build a new table top from scratch using various wood scraps from the garage. But when she politely suggested I “find a way to dress it up” when I told her I wasn’t crazy about the top, I was all, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” 

I decided it’s just the right kind of quirky with its sewing table base and modestly-sized top. My sweet husband helped me get it into place in the kitchen and it fits just right! Of course, Murph Cat had to come investigate immediately. He is violently shaking his head in this pic, which is why he looks a little poltergeisty. laminate top table before in kitchen So instead of making a new wood plank top, I decided to work with the one I had by painting it. I started by sketching out a pattern. Try not to be intimidated by my super advanced drawing skills. table pattern sketch Impressive, right? Now you see why I am a graphic designer by trade.

Then, I prepped the surface by sanding it with a 180 grit disc on my orbital sander. I had to remove the top and ROLL that sucker outside. No joke, it probably weighs at least 80 pounds. sanding laminate top with orbital sander I also took the important step of snapping a safety-selfie. I ALWAYS wear a mask when sanding! safety maskOnce I had sanded off the finish, I applied 2 coats of Zinsser primer (not shown.) Then, the real fun began. Who knew this would require advanced geometry?! finding the center of the table top Clearly, you can see I had some trouble with my measurements and markings. For the record, it is SO hard to find the center of a circle! It occurred to me only afterwards that the proper solution would have been to trace the entire top onto a piece of paper, cut it out, and fold it in half twice. Oh, so NOW my brain decides to start working! But that’s OK… the trial and error method works, too. Once I had the table top divided into quadrants, I grabbed a 1×4 board (about 3 feet long) from the garage and cut one end into a 45 degree angle to use as a guide for the pattern. (Sorry, not shown, but you’ll get the idea.) painting faux wood planks on the table top Note the very professional paper plate paint palette. Clearly I take my work very seriously.

At last, the fun part! I took some greige (Behr Sculptor’s Clay) wall paint I had left over from painting our master bathroom and mixed it with varying amounts of black-brown acrylic art paint. I grabbed different shades of paint to create a wide range of gradients. I applied the paint with a 1″ sponge brush in long strokes to create a wood-grain type effect. The intent was never to look realistically like wooden planks… but just to give it that sort of feel. faux wood planks painted on table top At first I left the outlines partially white so I could fill with the darker brown later (thinking, “shadows suggesting gaps between the planks”), but I ended up going back in and spongeing over them after I saw that the color striations created enough definition of their own.

HOWEVER… that all changed when I came back the next day and realized that my Sharpie lines had “eaten” through the paint and surfaced back to the top like some sort of paint-resistant zombie ink. I had to paint over all the lines the next day after all. Mental note: NEVER use a Sharpie to draw paint lines. That stuff is weird-strong! sharpie line bleeding through paint and poly Luckily, the end result is still pretty sweet looking. I’ll show you both possible results… before and after the Sharpie debacle. finished plank table top without sharpie showing through finished plank table top with border linesNot gonna lie… I tend to think it looked better “before” when the pattern was more subtle and before the zombie Sharpie came back to haunt me. But what are you gonna do? I suppose the brown lines are better than the weird purply-blue ones that the Sharpie left behind/beneath/on-top-of-everything-important.

So at the end of the day, I still think it looks pretty good. I had to make some compromises due to poor material selection on my part, but that’s just the way it goes! I think it’s much better than where we started, anyway. And when the paint and poly fully cure in about 2 weeks, I will finally have my first official casual, comfortable meal in the kitchen!

UPDATE:

Two days later and I am still having to go back and paint over some of the Sharpie lines in certain areas and then add another coat of poly. Apparently, this was a really blonde thing to do, because so far no one has had any sympathy for my plight and seems to think it’s ridiculously common knowledge that paint and Sharpie don’t mix. (“Lindsay, you’re telling me YOU didn’t know that? EVERYONE knows that!”) Well somehow I managed to survive 20+ years of crafting and painting without this ever becoming apparent to me… but I will certainly never forget! Truly, I can just feel myself getting smarter with every dumb mistake. 😀

Thanks for reading!

XOXO

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Dining room update – in progress

A few days ago, we successfully got our shiny new homemade farm table moved into the “new” dining room (formerly known as the formal living room) with the help of my sweet brother.

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He also helped me rearrange the room – china cabinet and all – several times before we found a layout we liked.

Here’s where we started:

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Notice the awkward “AA circle” as my bro so aptly named it. We were using our old dining chairs as placeholders to figure out if a seating arrangement would make sense on that side of the room. You guessed it! Not. Working.

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Then we moved the table to the middle of the room:

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And put the china cabinet in the nook along the side wall where it fits perfectly!

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I think the room looks so much bigger now! Plus we have space for a seating area at the end of the room that’s nice and cozy instead of hanging out in the doorway right next to the foyer.

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There is so much more to do to make it an actual dining room… Chair rail, box moulding, oh, and a chandelier maybe. You know, just a few more little major purchases! But for now, I think the giant table in the middle of the room sort of sells it. What do you think? Murph cat agrees… He can smell the food already!

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Chic of the Week – Home Style

After moving in almost exactly 3 months ago, I’m amazed at both how much and how little we have gotten done! It turns out – and everyone told me as much – that the things I thought I would be focused on took a back seat to the things that actually DEMANDED our attention.

In 12 weeks we have managed to:
• Install a brand new and very color-coordinated roof
• Have a gas leak fixed and plumb our stove for gas (goodbye glass cooktop!)
• Install a new (amazing) gas range and over the range microwave
• Install a new dishwasher a few weeks later (despite having sworn two new appliances were enough) when we finally got over the sound, smell, and size of the old one
• Replace the original 1960s Sears garage door openers with newer, quieter ones that don’t make the whole house shake when they open
• Paint the kitchen cabinets and install cabinet and drawer pulls. What. A. Job!

So, with that in mind, decorating and furnishing has been the last thing on our minds.

But now that those biggies are out of the way, I’ve become recommitted to decorating little bits at a time. I mean REALLY little bits. It was major news when I bought pillows last week! (And I was super excited to find them in a 2 pack for $20 at TJ Maxx!)

They go perfectly with our red couch and give me some great color ideas for the rest of the room… Hello, blue! By the way, this photo looked much better on my iPhone screen. Sorry about that!

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I also found this adorable x-side table and metal and glass lamp at goodwill. So snazzy!

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I seem to have such great luck at Goodwill, but really it’s just a statistical probability that if I go to three different stores every weekend I’m pretty much going to find SOMEthing awesome. 🙂

Let’s hear it for baby steps!!