Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dining Room Table and Chairs Update Finished!

{William and his Gimps passing judgement on wine  for Thanksgiving}

Our dining room table and chairs have been well-used.   We got them  in the 80s (as if all that oak wasn't a clue!) and, as Montana Daughter would say, "it's been rode hard and put away wet "- many times!  The kids used the chairs as train cars and fort walls, and the table has seen years of homework, craft projects, nail polishing mishaps and general wear and tear from 5+ kids .  I've refinished the top a couple of times, and  it was starting to show wear  again.

This time I decided to bring the whole shebang out of the  matchy-matchy 80s and get rid of the overwhelming oak of it all.

I started with the table - stripped off the finish with Citrasolve, wiped it down with Liquid Sander and a final pass with TSP.   

Then the magic happened; I wiped down the top (and all those leaves) with Old Master White Pickling Stain.

I put on a couple of coats, letting each one dry first.   The wiping stain is easy to use - wipe on, leave for 10-15 minutes and wipe off.   I played with it - leaving on more in some areas, less in others.

Since this table still gets lots of use, I needed to protect all this white goodness.  My original plan was to use a MinWax wipe-on poly, but all the reviews said it yellows over paint or light stains, clearly a deal-breaker.  Plus, I didn't want any shine as that sort of defeats the look of whitewash.   Off to the helpful folks at Benjamin Moore who recommended this instead- a clear flat polyurethane.  Flat poly?  Who knew?

So here's where the project-induced OCD comes into play - I think I put on 6 coats!  I probably would have kept on going, but The  Captain staged an intervention.

Table top - done.  Now the chairs.  I had seen pictures of mismatched dining chairs all over Pinterest and decided to trade in my matching ones for ones that didn't match, all painted white.   Then I bought a chair at a yard sale painted in Annie Sloan Chateau Grey chalk paint and was on to NEW PLAN - paint them ALL Chateau Grey.  Chateau Grey isn't grey at all - it's a rich sage green.   But moi, painting with Annie Sloan paint ?   Yikes, I've read all the  "752 things you need to know before using AS paint" and was totally intimidated.  But the woman who sold me the inspiration chair gave me good advice:
     *  Stop reading all those scary articles
     *  Just paint with it - first coat right out of the can, second coat thinned with a little warm water
     *  First coast will look awful; keep going.

So I did.

Shopping for AS chalk paint isn't like a trip to Home Depot - got mine at Vintage Chic Boutique in Newburyport, MA.  The store is full of AS painted pieces, in addition to the paint, wax and related paraphernalia.

AS chalk paint is pricey, with a quart costing as much as a gallon of Home Depot's premium Marquee  paint (which I also love).  It is only available online or at selected retailers, like the lovely shop where I bought mine.

Here is my motley group of chairs,  thrift store finds, plus one of our original chairs for old-time's sake.  Two of them need new seats - although it was tempting to save the one covered in gold velvet and topped with heavy plastic!

One of the SERIOUS benefits to AS paint is that you don't need to sand or prime - a major concern with all these spindles and ridges.  I did wipe them down with liquid sander, mainly to clean them up from their stay at the thrift store and the garage.

First coat - yucky as predicted!  The chalk paint is pretty thick, so I was extra careful about drips.  The paint pools along ridges, so I kept going over to smooth out any ridges and  drips.

I thinned out the paint with a bit of warm water for the second coat and that went on like a dream.  I added a little bit of Aubusson Blue accent swooshes here and there.

So there is always a catch - all that luscious color and texture come with a hitch - the paint needs to be sealed, usually with Annie Sloan wax.   I was apprehensive about the wax - whether it would be enough of a finish for dining room chairs, and the application process is complicated.  My go-to expert told me she sometimes waxes, sometimes uses varnish .   So, I brought out the Benjamin Stays Clear and brushed on 2 coats, plus another 2 on the surfaces that get the most wear - backs and seats. Again, no shiny-shiny!

Now on to the two seats - The Captain cut new seat bases, then I added a layer of foam wrapped with batting and covered with a navy Ikat fabric and DONE.

And while we're talking about seats, check out the beautiful caning on this one:

Table and chairs, welcome to 2015!!


  1. Wow, Deb!! These chairs looks straight out of anthropologie! You sure are creative. We're moving into a bigger apartment in a couple weeks and I want to buy new furniture from thrift stores...definitely bookmarking this post :)

  2. Thanks , Stephanie and good luck with the move. I'm no painting expert, but let me know if I can help. Best advice - just do it !


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