Tag Archives: restorations

Silver & Dark Wood :: Two Toned Table

6 Oct

Silver & Dark Wood :: Two Toned Table

Now that Carrie and I live in the same state, we can do fun things together like refinishing furniture.  When we visited our friend Cory the other week in Dallas, we took some time to help her out with her dining room table.  Cory had previously painted the table silver but was unhappy with it.

The problems:

1) A silver table that didn’t match dark brown chairs with beige upholstery.

2) Additionally, the silver paint was lacking something. It was a dull shade, almost gray with a very monochromatic look.  The paint didn’t emphasize the details on the table and looked bland.

The solutions:

1) Make the table two-toned with a dark top to create a more cohesive look with the chairs and

2) Use glaze to give the dull silver paint a more striking effect and make the details on the table more visible and defined.

Beautiful now isn’t it?

Here’s how we did it…

First, the table was prepped by taping the edge of the table top.

Gel remover was sponge painted to the top surface.

Scraped off paint.


After all the top paint was removed, the surface was sanded to help the stain to adhere.

Dark stain was applied with sponge brushes.

While the stain was setting, we started working on the glaze.  We bought this fancy glazing brush on a whim.  However, a good ole cut up t-shirt ended up working much better.

We had Cory help us beat up the table a little more with a knife. Scraping off some of the paint helped add character to the table.

Glazed was applied all over the bottom of the table and very liberally in all groves and detailed lines.

The excess stain was wiped off the top.

Here are the results – a pretty two-toned table!

The glaze really made an impact.  Here is another picture of the Before.

Here’s the After.

The glaze brought out the silver tones in the paint and emphasized the detailed features that previously went unnoticed.

Carrie and I are going to start taking on interior design and furniture restoration jobs soon. I guess you could say Cory was our first client!!

However, considering she paid us with goat cheese, wine and petit fours…

…maybe not?! Oh well, that  meant more to us anyway!

What do you think of the two-toned look?  Do you have anything you want to refinish the same way?





Check out these fun blogs for amazing inspiration!

Between Naps on the PorchDIY ShowoffDomestically SpeakingFinding FabulousFunky Junk InteriorsHouse of HepworthsMiss Mustard SeedMy Backyard EdenPerfectly ImperfectPrimitive & ProperRemodelaholicSAS InteriorsShabby NestWhipperberryToday’s Creative BlogThe Thrifty HomeSavvy Southern StyleSome Day CraftsEisy MorganGreen Door Designs,  At Home with KHome Stories A2Z



DIY :: Making furniture new again…with stain. (Before & After Outdoor Patio Set)

30 Jun

DIY :: Making furniture new again…with stain. (Before & After Outdoor Patio Set)

The last few weeks I saw about a billion things on craigslist being given away – for FREE.  Not junk either.  Great amazing things including a fabulous ornate Spanish desk, industrial vintage factory cart and huge 8 foot farmhouse table.  FREE!!!! Can you believe??  I whined and sulked because both my husband and I own cars that have almost zero hauling capacity. Neither one of our back seats fold down which means our trunk space hauling area is the size of a peanut.

So..all those amazing things that were free on craigslist were out of my reach.   I contemplated renting a truck or paying movers but the cost of that wasn’t in my budget right now.  And it kind of defeats the purpose of getting it for free, ya’ know?

I soon quit whining because I realized this obstacle was a blessing in disguise.  There are so many home improvement and old unfinished projects left yet to complete at our house.  My garage is stuffed with old supplies that need to be used up along with half finished furniture.  Not to mention about 50 home improvement projects we need to finish. I should be focusing on that instead of stuffing my garage with more projects.

This teak patio set is one of those old projects.  I got this from craigslist at least one year ago and since that time, it has sat ugly and unused on a patio area located on the right side of our home.

The table set and patio area are so hideous we never spend any time there except walking briskly by as we pass through.  Also check out the fence in the background – yuck isn’t it? Well, I’ll tell you more about that later too.

Welcome stain to the rescue!


It’s been a while since I used stain and I forget how miraculously it can bring new life to dead pieces.

I had almost a full can of stain leftover from another project – Varathane “Early American”.  A little stain goes a long way and this small can was just enough to cover the table and all four chairs with almost two coats. I painted one thick coat and then painted a selective second coat only on areas that needed to be touched up.

Before staining, the entire patio set was given a quick sand with this sanding pad.  The sanding job was so quick it took less than 10 minutes.  I wanted to lightly roughen up the surface to help the stain adhere.


After sanding, the dust was brushed off with a small hand held brush and then wiped off with a damp rag to help ensure the smaller particles were removed.

Next the stain was applied very liberally with a foam paint brush.  The stain was layered on thick because the wood on the patio set was very dry and I wanted the stain to soak in well.  Applying the stain was such a rewarding experience because within minutes glorious results were achieved.


It is shocking how new the old wood now looks.

Here is a before and after comparison of the first chair that was completed.  Such a difference, don’t you agree?

After staining, the the entire set was painted with polyurethane outdoor sealer.  I never use sealer anymore for indoor furniture (I prefer oil and wax).  I think sealer is a little outdated and changes the color and effect of the stain.  However, on outdoor items sealer is a necessity. Without sealant, the outdoor elements like sun and rain will weather and wear out the furniture’s surface faster.

I am so glad I started working on all my old projects. My house is really coming together now! I have completed so much and even stained that fence that was in the background (which I will share the “how-to” with you soon!).  Maybe soon, I’ll start on that closet full of old sewing projects!

Do you have old projects you have been piling up?





Check out these fun blogs for amazing inspiration!

Between Naps on the PorchDIY ShowoffDomestically SpeakingFinding FabulousFunky Junk InteriorsHouse of HepworthsMiss Mustard SeedMy Backyard EdenPerfectly ImperfectPrimitive & ProperRemodelaholicSAS InteriorsShabby NestWhipperberry,Today’s Creative BlogThe Thrifty HomeSavvy Southern StyleSome Day CraftsEisy MorganGreen Door Designs,  At Home with K,Home Stories A2Z



Blue Coffee Bag Side Tables

21 Apr

Blue Coffee Bag Side Tables

Upon Carrie’s insistence, I finally went to Goodwill.  It was my first Goodwill experience and it was a definitely interesting. When I walked in, I was confused. Was this where old shoes go to die?

But after wondering around for a while, I realized what a goldmine Goodwill can be.  It is not a place you walk into and have billions of goodies at your fingertips.  Goodwill is a place for hunters.

You have to search and be patience and then find your kill. Well, I found my kill.  These cute little nesting tables.

Priced at $5. Awesome.

I carted them home and then later discovered another goodie about these little babies.  I think they might be Eames era mid century three-legged spider tables.   Double Awesome.

Before you think I ruined an antique, let me first let it known these tables were damaged.  The leather like tops (maybe leather, maybe pleather?) had tears on the sides and were also pierced with tacks on the top!  So there ya’ go.  Nothing wrong going on here.

My initial plans were to cover the tops with coffee bags and paint the legs shabby chic white.  I did that but then changed my mind.  The white was pretty but wasn’t exactly matching my bedroom decor and our new Anthropologie bed cover. So the legs were then repainted blue.

Here is how I originally made them in white (and then at the bottom of this post, I’ll show you how I converted them to blue).

First the tops were popped off which was easy because they just wiggled off.

The legs were painted white.   Then instead of scraping the paint off and damaging the wood —  what I did was my favorite aging technique ever…taking a cloth dripping with water  (while the paint still wet) and ringing the water out of the cloth so that it washes off some of the paint in selected areas.  It is so easy but hard to explain and even harder to photograph since it is done so quickly.  Maybe I’ll make a video of it soon! :)

Covering the table tops was easy.  Since the leather like tops were thin and flat, the leather was left on.  The tops were used as a pattern for cutting the coffee bags.The pattern was cut about 1.5 inches from the edge of the top of the table. I should have made it larger because the coffee bags were very firm and a little extra space would have been helpful when turning the edges over.

Time to attach the coffee bags.  The coffee bag was laid “pretty side” down.  The table tops were laid on top of the coffee bag.

Then the sides were pulled up and glued to the back edge of the table tops, using Gorilla Glue.

To keep the coffee bag and table top pressed together while the glue dried, I secured with these high tech fancy rocks from my patio.  Ha!  Hey, it worked.

Once dried, the tops were popped back into the legs.

DONE!  Well maybe not done?

We needed some small bedside tables in our bedroom.

The white shabby chic tables were pretty but they just didn’t quite go with the design direction I am trying to accomplish in our bedroom.

So, they got a coat of blue paint!

Now they compliment the bedspread better.

I think the blue matches and also goes with the funky eclectic vibe.

There is not a lot of room in our bedroom.  These tables are a good fit because they are small yet still provide ample space for a drink or a book beside the bed.

What do you think?

Making Exceptions – Ornate Chair with Claw Feet

25 Jan

Making Exceptions – Ornate Chair with Claw Feet

After spending 3 hours Saturday – and another 3 hours Sunday delicately sanding all the detailed lines on this vanity (not to mention a million other prior weekends also dedicated to sanding this)….

and it’s claw feet….

I swore to myself I would never ever restore another piece of detailed or ornate piece of furniture again.

It had to be completely sanded because most of the paint was either cemented on or flaking off. It was a lumpy mess.  I rarely use paint remover.  I’m not sure what I do wrong but it just never works well for me. And it wasn’t possible to use my orbital sander due to the risk of damaging the detailed features.

So all the sanding took a toll on my manicure!  And my patience.  I was so adamant about only refinishing simple and FLAT projects in the future…

And then along came this chair. Detailed, carved, and lots of design.

I saw it on craigslist for $20 and bought it immediately.  Claw feet. I just couldn’t resist! It will match my desk so well.

And then of course I got a little more than I bargained for.  When I went to pick it up, I realized one of the arms and legs were loose.

And the entire chair is dented and chipped.

The fabric appears to have tire tread marks and bird poop.  WTH?  Oh well, the fabric will be replaced anyway!

Overall, I am pretty excited about this chair.  For $20, I am still happy with the purchase.  The chips and dents can easily be fixed with wood filler. It is a heavy solid chair made with high quality wood. The other things that need repairing will just give me more experience.  I’ve never repaired loose legs or arms before…and this will be my first upholstery experience! Woot!

And there is more good news….I finally finished all the sanding on my desk! I worked long and hard Monday after work with the final necessary sanding. I was so pumped, I stayed up late last night priming it.  All the hand sanding really paid off because the desk is smooth and flawless!

Right now, it has one thin layer of primer on it.  Today I plan to sand and prime more, and repeat…with more thin layers of primer. Can’t wait until I can actually paint it!

It will be still be painted red.  Rojo baby!

Bad Weather Bonus

24 Oct

Bad Weather Bonus

When we first moved to Los Angeles, people told us that we would get sick of the good weather. That we would eventually yearn for icy days to could curl up with a blanket, drink hot cocoa and snuggle up with this furry guy. (This little thing puts out a lot of warmth.  And gives sweet licks.) I had just moved from Texas where the weather drastically changes. Freezing one day, then scorching hot the next with humidity that makes you feel like you have a perpetual film growing on your skin. So I pretty much thought these Angelenos were bonkers. They “warned” me that the weather was amazing and perfect. Can you believe? Who needs to be warned about great weather?

The weather is usually nice. But that 1% of the time when it isn’t really throws everything off kilter.

Take for example last Saturday. I woke up exited to go to the Affaire in the Garden.

And then to my surprise. Rain. Not just a little rain.  A mini monsoon.

Rain = no Affaire in the Garden. The event was located outside which meant getting drenched. And the main reason I wanted to go, practicing photography, would have been fruitless.

It never rains here. I was so unprepared for what was unfolding. Not only was I going to miss the event but I had left a lot of my furniture projects outside which was the worst tragedy.   Since we don’t have much garage space, I usually work on all my painting and restoration projects outside. After days of working hard on my vanity, I looked outside and it was soaked.  It couldn’t be moved because there was nowhere else available to place it.  I kept thinking it would stop any minute so I never covered it.

Well…for a city that never gets rain or bad weather, it rained for 5 days straight.

I looked outside and the drawers on my vanity appeared ruined.

But after close inspection I realized the rain had done me a big favor. Even though I spent several days sanding three layers of paint off these rounded drawers, I did not realize that there was a cheap molded plywood layer glued on the front of each drawer. The rain had softened the glue and the unwanted layer was rippling up.

After quickly peeling off this gunk, beautiful solid wood was revealed. The wood appears to have grooves but the lines are actually flat and the wood is smooth and perfect.

I only wish it had rained several days before I wasted days painstakingly sanding all the paint off!

Ahhhhh…. now everything is back to normal.  The sun is shining and my furniture is drying out ready to be painted soon.

The moral of this story? It may rain on your parade but it also might save you some sanding time.

Restoring my baby – Day #1

20 Sep

Restoring my baby – Day #1

I started on my baby ! (See baby here)

First I used a scraper I bought at an art store ($2). I don’t know exactly what this tool is called. Maybe it is really intended for artists to put pigment on their pallet board? That’s just a guess. Whatever it is, it works great when removing loose paint.  It’s thin like a razor blade but not sharp. The edges will not cut you.  Since it is slim, it slinks under paint layers very easily.  Strong but flexible and actually bends a little.

Most of the paint was so loose on top, it fell right off in matter of minutes with my scraper. Yes, you see orange paint because I also tested an orange sample paint.  BAD idea!  Still going with the red! (This red here)

Then I sanded the remaining top paint off with my orbital sander.

Even though the sander has a dust bag, there is still some dust that needs to be brushed off. I use a brush with soft but strong plastic bristles.

It may appear clean but there are still fine particles of dust. I use baby wipes to really get the wood clean.   Any brand will due as long as they don’t have lotion – Wet Ones were used this time.

Next step – repair the top cracks with caulk.  I used leftover silicone caulk from a home improvement project.  This one is waterproof and intended or indoor or outdoor use.

Filled the holes.

Then wiped off the excess with a terry cloth kitchen towel. I bought a huge bag of about 20 of these at Smart and Final for about $6. I wash and reuse for all my restoration projects.

Then I took off the hardware with an electric drill.

All the above took about 1.5 hours.  Now I can start removing the paint on the front drawers and the body.  I work a full time job so I may not be able to start on it again until maybe this weekend.  But at least I got a pretty good start on it and can’t wait to finish the rest.

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