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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Bestie Table Twins

Have you ever had a moment where it occurs to you that you and your best friend are friends for an innate reason, beyond shared experiences and years and years of laughter and tears? It’s because you just genuinely like each other and actually like the same things! It’s amazing to go through life with someone that — despite time and distance apart — still sees things the way you see them (even if it is just when it comes to furniture).

Last week I got to visit my bestest friend 600 miles away and tour her beautiful new home for the first time. I all but totally freaked out when I walked into her dining room and found myself in the presence of my new farm table’s doppelgänger. TOO. WEIRD! But so much fun to realize how similar our tastes are. Check out the side by side:

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Can you even BELIEVE how similar they are?? I gotta give it to her – she has GREAT taste. I think she found hers at Ashley or another local showroom. She definitely shares my design style but not my stubbornness when it comes to insisting on paying less than $50 for everything I buy, ever.

Anyway, I just got such a kick out of this and wanted to share.

Here’s to bestie love!

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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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Living, Dining, and Bringing the Farm to the Ranch

To me, one of the greatest joys of home ownership is sharing our space with loved ones. Specifically, I’m talking about dinner parties. What’s better than enjoying great food and conversation in the comfort of your own home? Especially for those of us – ahem… HUSBAND – who suffer from the chronic and incurable condition known as the “food coma.”

We love our adorable, comfortable home, and have also loved having the opportunity to get a little creative with how we use our space. The original dining room had great natural light and looked out over the back yard, but the dimensions were a wee too teeny for all the guests we envisioned hosting. Here is the listing picture:

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Additionally, we had this big, beautiful, “formal” living room that we couldn’t really see ourselves using the way it was designed. Again… the listing picture. (I can’t believe how much furniture this room holds!!)

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After pondering this too little / too much space quandary, my husband had the ingenious idea to reinvent and repurpose our space in the way we saw fit – and that meant turning the living room into a big-o formal dining room and the dining room into a sunroom. (It’s cozy enough, after all!) This of course gave me license to have a great big dining room table. WOO HOO!!!!! Happy dance. Let’s get to work!

I found a tutorial on Pinterest for a homemade farm table from the Domesticated Engineer. She provided a cut list and step by step instructions, which we printed and took to Home Depot to collect lumber and supplies. The nice man in the lumber department made all the cuts for us so it was easy to load up the car with all the pieces. We got them home and laid them out to see what the final size would be.

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Turns out it will be about 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. (Don’t you love that I waited until after I bought and cut the lumber to really assess the final size?) Anyway, it’ll be long enough to fit 3 parsons chairs on each side and 1 on each end… just in case someday  we can afford that many chairs! 🙂  Here’s what it looks like all put together… thanks to my sweet, drill-wielding husband!

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I gotta say, the sanding took FOREVER, even with an orbital sander. There are just so many pieces and you have to sand each one the same way, rounding off the planed edges just so. If you try it yourself, make sure you wear a dust mask! Once we got it all sanded and assembled… Adam’s work was done and it was my turn working to get it all finished. We picked a dark walnut stain… and word the wise… that stuff needs professional shaking! I had never stained anything before in my life, so when the can said to “shake before using” I figured a few cocktail-style over-the-shoulder moves would suffice. NOT! The first half was water and the last half was tar. Miraculously. it turned out OK in the end after about 4 coats. Next time I’ll have the paint folks at the hardware store put the can on the paint shaker for me. (That’s probably what it would have taken to mix it thoroughly.)

So here’s what it looks like after 3 bad coats of watered down stain and one really extra thick one:

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UPDATE:

Here’s what it looks like all finished and in its new home in the transitional dining room.

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