Painted Bench Turned Kids’ Table

Over the weekend, while Chris was working like a busy bee on insulating our house, moving electrical, and figuring out how to put up new siding, I worked on a little pet project.

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I decided to take an old bench that had been sitting in the master bedroom, where it had been covered in a giant pile of clothes for the past 3 months, and turn it into a little activity table for Baby Brownie.

(The giant pile of clothes is now happily sitting on the floor.)

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We bought this bench for $10 at a thrift store and had sanded down the top in anticipation of refinishing it. It has been in the above state for over a year.

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I decided it would be easier to paint it than to refinish it, especially since the legs were all chipped, dented and dog-chewed. So I primed it with 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain, and then painted it with 2 coats of Martha Stewart’s Duck Egg (Glidden). Then, I painted on 3 coats of Polycrylic to seal and protect the top. Because I know this piece is going to get a lot of abuse use.

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It turned out really nice! And it’s just the perfect height for Baby Brownie to stand at and play with the new wooden tea set I got her.

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I kind of like how you can still see the metal bolts.

Baby Brownie noticed it right away and went over to it and stared at it for a long time. I asked her if she liked it and she nodded yes. That’s a big deal since she’s in her “no” phase right now!

I just ordered a couple of little chairs on Amazon and I’ll share with you when they arrive.

Another cool thing is that if we ever want to get all the kids’ stuff out of sight…

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The table/bench works really well as extra seating! The teal/aqua color isn’t so bright that it can’t be used as adult furniture.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is what the bench REALLY looks like after it has been played with:

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Just a note of warning for single/as-yet-childless folks out there…this is what you have to live with when you have a kid. Enjoy.

UPDATE: The chairs have arrived and they are adorable!

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Sharing at MissMustardSeed

Another Refinished Table (This one’s a Pedestal)

It’s so funny. A month ago, we were eating off the coffee table in front of the TV because the dining room table that Chris built was not quite done (the top needed to be bolted down and we were waiting for the polyurethane to finish curing). The kitchen table was also MIA. We had sanded down the top and it was sitting in the garage waiting for its new finish.

Now, we have not one, but TWO newly finished tables. I am kind of in heaven.

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This oak table was passed down to us from Chris’ parents. Honestly, I’ve always loved it, even in the original finish. But after having it for a while in the kitchen with the honey oak floors, it was just looking too oaky. I wanted to have an airier, lighter feel in the breakfast nook.

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It started out like this. Pretty typical oak furniture from the 70s. Solid oak top, solid oak pedestal. The only thing not solid wood was the apron around the tabletop, which was plywood with veneer.

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I held out for a long time because I felt it was a shame to paint solid wood, but I eventually decided to go for it. Life is too short to hold on to something that isn’t working. The color just wasn’t my favorite. I also knew it wasn’t worth much because I’ve seen almost identical dining sets on Craigslist for $100.

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I waffled back and forth on the finish I wanted. Originally I was thinking of doing the whole thing in white paint, but we were worried that a painted finish on the top wouldn’t hold up as well as a stained one, so we decided to sand down and refinish the top.

It was so awesome that the tabletop was solid wood because we were able to sand the heck out of that thing! We rounded the lip of the top and sanded the whole thing down to raw wood with the belt sander. A belt sander is a powerful tool. There was still a tiny bit of stain stuck down deep in the grain but it just turned out to add extra dimension to the finish.

I used one of Minwax’s new colors, Weathered Oak. It’s a slightly grayish oak stain, not as yellow as before. Finished it with 3 coats of Varathane oil-based polyurethane in satin for a strong finish.

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On the apron and pedestal I brushed on two coats of Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain Primer. I needed something really stain-blocking to keep the old finish from bleeding through. Then one coat of Behr’s Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel. I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white (Update: The color is Rushmore Stone). It probably could use another coat of the enamel but that’s a job for another day. The Behr Alkyd Enamel went on super smooth and is not tacky at all, which I love.

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As you can see this table is meant to be pulled apart and there are a couple extra leaves that can be inserted. However, we’re only really going to use it as a round table since it’s in the little breakfast nook. And now we have the new dining room table if we need more room.

I was thinking of painting the chairs too, but now that the table is painted, I kind of like the darker wood finish in contrast. What do you think? I’ll leave them as is for now until I decide what to do with them. I am not a huge fan of the shabby chic look and in every picture I’ve seen of those pressed-back spindle chairs painted, they are distressed and too shabby for me.

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Oh yes, the table is sitting on cut-up Trader Joe’s bags because I don’t want the paint to stick to the floor. It probably wouldn’t (the alkyd isn’t tacky) but just in case. I’m going to get felt feet for it one of these days.

This weekend I’m planning to tidy up around the house and decorate for fall. Then maybe I can show you some full room pics, haha.

Have a great weekend!

Camilla

 

Linking up at TatertotsandJello, MissMustardSeed, TheShabbyCreekCottage, DomesticallySpeaking, Remodelaholic

No Closet Doors, No Problem!

Although Baby Brownie isn’t in school, there’s something about Fall that makes me want to organize. To start things over. To make a place for everything. To nest. During the summer we’re so busy doing things, going out, enjoying the weather and freedom from routine, that the house gets cluttered and at some point there’s a breaking point. I start to actually get ON the organization projects that I’ve been putting off.

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I’m not a naturally organized person. I like to call my house situation “creative chaos”. I tend to accumulate clutter so it’s nice when I have places to hide them away from plain view.

Baby Brownie’s closet was one problem area where the clothes, boxes of wipes, diaper pail refills, etc…were starting to pile up, and you could see it all. This is an old picture from over a year ago, even before it started getting messy.

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Eventually we want to get real doors for the closet but in the meantime there are so many other projects (new insulation and siding for the house, fixing up the loft guest room…). I picked up a shower tension rod from Walmart and hung it up with some outdoor curtains I bought last year from Lowe’s on clearance (for $6 a panel!).

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The grommets allow the curtain to go all the way to the ceiling, making it look a little more natural and less “hey shower curtain!” Now my little munchkin has a new hiding spot. Which can be kind of worrisome when she’s completely quiet in there and I can’t find her. She usually comes out and says “boo” when my voice starts getting frantic.

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I asked Chris the other day when we were putting the baby to bed, “Do you think her room is too colorful?” I thought maybe there are just too many colors; perhaps it was overkill. His response, “She’s a kid, of course it can’t be too colorful”. Ah well, that’s all right then. Tee hee. I do love colors.

See the rest of the colorful nursery tour here.

DIY Dining Table is DONE!!!

I feel like the name of this blog should be “Everything takes longer than you think.” Chris started this woodworking project as a side project, and sure enough, it took several months to complete. Not that it was that hard. But after starting it and doing the bulk of the work, other work around the house needed more urgent attention. Basically, 70% of it was done within a few weeks and the remaining 30% took another 2 months to complete. But the DIY dining table is finally, finally, 100% DONE.

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And we love it.

It’s so amazing to see an awesome piece of furniture come from just a concept like this:

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To an in-progress project like this:

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To finally, this:

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We did change a few things along the way. We added the cross beams at the top of the legs, which I think give it a modern pseudo-Asian feel and also make the table feel more substantial.

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Sorry about the mess of boxes and tools. I wanted to show this to you guys and didn’t have time to make everything look perfect. I only have about 30 min before the baby wakes up!

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Chris spent so much time planing the wood (it’s construction grade lumber, so he evened it out and squared it off using a planer) and fitting it all together tightly. This really was a labor of love for him =).

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We finished it off with Minwax Special Walnut stain (my fave!) and a coat of Varathane Spar Poly on the top. I was originally trying to finish the table with Minwax fast-drying Polyurethane but I was getting some weird gray patches on the legs (probably my can of poly was too old) so I switched to Spar Poly for the top.

People disagree on whether spar poly is good for dining tables (it’s used on ships and has more give/flex than regular Poly), but it’s just what I had. I think it looks wonderful and if it dents easier than regular poly, I don’t really mind.

diy dining table 3  Dents just add “character” anyway ;p.

I can’t wait to get the living/dining room cleaned up and styled. The Goodwill chairs I found that I recovered will be living here. I also need to get some window treatments up over the sliding door that we added. MAYBE everything will be ready by Thanksgiving? No guarantees though. Everything takes longer than you think.

But it is soooo worth it when you get there.

Check out this dining table styled with an easy fall centerpiece!

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Linking up to  SavvySouthernStyle, ShabbyCreekCottage, MissMustardSeed, Remodelaholic, ThriftyDecorChick

Inspiration for the Loft / Attic Bedroom

When we bought our house, one of the selling features was a loft space above the family room that was advertised as a “fifth bedroom”. In reality, it was not a usable space. It smelled of urine from an animal that had been living in the eaves under the roof, it had hideous stained carpet, and it had two open “holes” hemmed in by pony walls that looked down into the family room. I know, I just totally grossed you out, but that’s reality when you buy a fixer, folks!

We fixed the animal problems and now it’s a matter of ripping out old drywall, re-drywalling, framing in new closets, and then putting in flooring, paint, all those things.

While trolling Pinterest, I’ve been taking note of inspiration photos of attic bedrooms. Our loft is right under the roof (although it was an addition on TOP of the original roof) so it is technically an attic space, with dormer windows and sloped ceilings. Here are a few of the ones I’m drawn to.

cottagey guest room

via Pinterest

Attics tend to be dark and lack windows because they were never meant to be bedrooms, but I love the skylights in this one above that flood the room with light. I also notice that many attics are painted white, keeping the space lighter and airier.

rustic sweet attic

via Pinterest

This room is so rustic, sweet and whimsical. I can just imagine a little girl climbing out the window, down a tree, and on to magical adventures. (Though that would be totally unsafe, says the mom in me.) I love the different shades of wood tones that bring so much texture and warmth into the room.

twin beds in dormer

via Prairie Perch

A great use of space in a dormer. How fun would this be for two little girls?

all white attic

via Pinterest

I think an all-white space is a little too stark for me. I love color and warm natural wood. But there’s no denying white makes the space seem brighter.

yellow and white attic

via Pinterest

Again, a little monochromatic for me. I like a little more warm wood and more colors. But I love the oil-rubbed bronze metal and I like the board and batten on the walls. An easy way to get a more cottage look without having to go all-out with planking the walls.

And I can’t forget the awesome attic renovation by The Natos.

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From The Nato’s

An awesome real-life attic renovation on a budget. I love the secret little mini rooms hidden in the dormers.

white attic with chandelier

via Country Living

I actually love the idea of putting a chandelier in the attic. Why not?

So after looking at all of my favorite attic pictures, a few elements seem to be consistent. White walls. Some kind of cottage wall treatment (either battens or planked walls). Warm wood floors. Layered wood tones. Oil-rubbed bronze. Small pops of color.

I’m excited.

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