Restyle4Life

Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

A Dear Friend’s Dining Room Revival

Dear friends, it has been so, so long since I’ve posted anything…ugh! I’m so disappointed in myself but believe me when I say tons of stuff has been happening around here. We’ve done major renos to our master bedroom. I will have lots around that project. I’ve also been dealing with annoying health issues that have slowed me down a bit. I have not even logged onto WordPress to read blogs that I follow! Let’s see, what else? Oh, I had a lovely trip to Croatia in August to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary and I adopted a senior siberian husky. Our resident dog (Shayla), also a siberian, is 11 years old and is taking some time to adjust to having a “new guy” around. My youngest has gone off to university and left Mr. and I with an empty nest. Life has been crazy but wonderful.

This is the story of a tired oak dining room set. My old high school friend Connie posted a pic on Facebook asking if anyone knew someone that would be able to stain her dining room a darker colour. I suggested she could DIY this and I’d help her but I ended up taking on the project. I am so happy that I was able to transform this set. Older pieces are so worth saving. You simply cannot buy this quality today in any of the big box stores. High end? Maybe, but who wants to spend tons of money on furniture. A nice vacation sounds better to me.

Connie is just as funny as I remember her from all those years ago. I am so glad we connected again. Who knew that a DIY project could bring people together this way. She would not let me include a picture of her in this post but believe me, she is just as pretty and fun and funny as I remember. You know that one friend who is a little bit wild and and crazy (in a good way)? That’s her.

Here’s the set before.

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I started by giving everything a light sanding to rough it up a bit so that the General Finishes Java Gel Stain would adhere properly.

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As well as some filling in where the veneer on the sides was starting to peel. Incidentally, finding veneer on vintage or antique pieces is very common and not an indicator of poor craftsmanship.

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After one coat, looking pretty splotchy. This is quite normal.

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I was done. Four coats in total and then I noticed something.

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I hadn’t seen them when I was looking straight on but there were what appeared to be “bubbles” on the surface of the table. Argh! My level of frustration! I felt sooooo bad. I knew there was no way I could leave it like this. What was the cause? I’ve done countless projects with stain before. I couldn’t really “feel” anything with my fingers but it didn’t look right. It could only be from previously water damage.

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I had two choices. Leave as is or sand down to bare wood and redo the whole table. Option 1 was a definite no. There was no way I could hand this back to her in this condition. I asked myself would I use this table the way it looked in my own home? Absolutely not…so I sanded. And sanded. And sanded. I was afraid that the top layer was actually veneer and worried I might strip off too much. Here it is during the sanding process.

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Looking much better. The spots are disappearing.

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Went on to apply about 4 or 5 coats of stain and top coat. Here’s the finished project.

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I love how it turned out and absolutely adore the new chairs she picked out. Check out her flooring too! It’s pretty cool. On a side note, I worked on this in October and while it had been fairly warm, I was applying the top coat on the table during a bit of a cold spell. I noticed a bit of a cloudy appearance in some spots from the top coat. I know that this is from temperature change so if it’s not looking the best, I’ll go back in the spring and touch that part up if necessary.

For now I look forward to enjoying a few drinks and some laughs with an old friend. Thank you Connie for putting your faith in me. I like wine. Red wine. 😉

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How to Embellish Plain Sheets

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time. Let me tell you what’s been going on. I’ve been dealing with some health issues the past few months and recently discovered through biopsy that I have Celiac Disease. 😦 I needed to hit pause and really focus on dealing with this change in lifestyle, my symptoms and just adjusting overall to the change in my diet and what it all means. Not to go into too much detail but for the last several months I’ve been dealing with nausea and vomiting in the mornings and major migraine headaches. I thought these were all symptoms of getting older and so was completely shocked when I received the diagnosis of celiac AND gastritis. Oh joy! Anyway, I’m dealing with it and it’s all good. On the upside, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I’m eating so much healthier now. Yay!

There have been a few projects completed around here so I’ll post those to catch up. We are just starting our master bedroom reno and one thing I wanted to do was fancy up some plain old white sheets. I LOVE vintage sheet sets with lace or any type of embroidery so here’s what I did.

Simply purchased some trim and sewed it onto the top sheet and pillowcases. Really makes a huge difference!

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Super quick and easy!

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Here’s a close up.

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I’ve also taken up a new hobby-crochet! I’m loving it. Years ago I took a stab at knitting and just couldn’t get it right. I find this a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours in the evenings. I’ve also purchased some embroidery floss and plan to embellish more bedding with embroidery. I used to do needlepoint and cross stitch a long time ago so we’ll see how that goes.

There are other projects we’ve wrapped up recently and so much more to come so check back as I’m feeling better and ready to go!

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DIY Upcycled Bathroom Storage

This quick upcycle is a fantastic example of what you can do with a little bit of creativity and a couple of old pieces. I am so excited to share this with you as this project was completed by my DB (darling brother!) Talk about keeping it in the family…

DB needed some more storage in the bathroom and had one of those over the toilet storage shelves. I don’t have a before picture but it was similar to this one. The one he had was worn and old.

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These do work well in small spaces but space wasn’t really an issue anymore so he wanted to build something a little nicer with just a little more space for toiletries. Using an old night table, he joined the two pieces together with some screws.

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The entire new piece got a fresh coat of white paint. Here is the result.

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It looks fantastic and provides a nice new storage solution. Thanks little bro for the inspiration and allowing me to share your fantastic idea!

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Celebrating 25 Years…

Of marriage! Mr. Restyle and I tied the know back in August 1991. 25 years and 3 kids later we decided to take a break from all of our renovation and home improvement projects and get a way for a while.

The original plan was to visit a place like Israel or Ireland or Alaska and then reality set in. 😦 These destinations were WAY too expensive and after all these years it didn’t seem all that important to whoop it up. We survived many trials and rough patches as have many couples who’ve been together a long time, I’m sure.

Plan B was a drive out to the Canadian east coast (we live in southern Ontario). We had arranged to take off this week actually but with out daughter still away in Vancouver and our oldest son going back to university (he lives away from home) we just couldn’t leave our youngest home alone.

On to Plan C! Although a beach vacation is not at all what we really wanted to do originally, it somehow turned out to be EXACTLY what we both needed. Sharing a few pics of our 2 weeks down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. All of the outfits you see in the pics are put together from thrifted items (on both of us) with the exception of the white dress, which I’ve had for a few years.

I hope your summer is winding down nicely. To all those who’ve been in a relationship for as long as we have (or close to it), I congratulate you. These really could be the best years, I think. BTW, I haven’t posted a picture of myself on here in quite a while. I dyed my hair red last fall and haven’t tired of it yet.

Mr. is off on a business trip this week but I’m back at it. I’m prepping the staircase for stain and paint while he’s gone and trying to catch up reading blogs that I follow.

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In front of our building. Sandals are Clark’s Artisan and they are SO comfy!

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Special dinner the hotel arranged for us for our anniversary.

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Peacocks, pheasants, ducks and other animals roam freely. The resort is on a nature reserve. Me wearing a wild animal print halter dress. I’m a little more daring in my outfits when I’m on vacation. Nobody knows me!

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The beach is absolute perfection!

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Thrifted Home Decor

Some of my favourite recent thrifted home decor goodies today. This mantle clock. I’m not sure the age but it’s a wind up! We kept it on the fireplace mantle but the tick-tock became a little annoying for some people. It now occupies a space on our dining room sideboard.

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These glass goodies-candy dishes and wine decanter. Notice the candy in the smaller bowl is all gone. Hmmm..wonder who that was! Gosh, candy dishes remind me of my youth. There were certain people our family would visit and you always knew they had candy in a bowl that you could dip your hand in if you asked politely first.

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A couple of glass candle holders for the hallway.

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This caged basket of fruits and nuts adds a pop of colour.

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A glass and chrome lamp for the dining room.

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The pig bank is a thrifted find too. I don’t know why I picked it up. Maybe because it reminds me of the delftware vase we purchased up during our honeymoon in Aruba almost 25 years ago! You can read more about delftware right here.

And finally, this print entitled “An April Storm.” I don’t know much about art at all nor do I care what’s in, what’s popular or how famous the artist is. I just really gravitated toward this. The artist is an American named Robert Duncan. You can find more of his work right here. The frame was in rough shape but a coat of paint quickly fixed that.

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Pretty Little Thrifted Storage Box

I’m making a commitment to try and post more. Hopefully I can stick with it! Just a quick post on a few little thrifted items I picked up recently.

This storage box. It was originally a dark red wood. All I did was apply a couple of coats of chalk paint and clear wax.

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The box sits on a dresser in our front hallway. The top is meant for a portrait of some sort. I don’t know what I’ll put in there just yet so I printed off this little quote for now.

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It’s great for keys, workplace security passes and just odds and ends. Out of sight! Literally.

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Vintage Consoles Make The Best TV Stands

I have a pet peeve about flat screen televisions mounted above fireplaces. Ick. I just can’t STAND that look and I don’t know why. It just BUGS me for no reason at all. I don’t watch television all that much but when I do, I just don’t want to be straining my neck upwards toward the screen. Maybe because I suffer from arthritis in my neck. It just doesn’t seem natural to me.

I picked up this vintage mid-century console last Christmas and I’m finally writing about its awesomeness. It was a steal of a deal that I couldn’t pass up. They slapped the SOLD sign on it while we went to retrieve our vehicle for the pick up and right away there were people bummed out that it had been sold. The early bird catches the worm, I guess. I knew immediately that I wanted to use it as a t.v. stand. Have you shopped for t.v. stands lately? They’re ridiculously expensive and most of them are made of cheap plywood.

 

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These old sideboards make the best t.v. stands and here’s why.

  1. They’re incredibly sturdy because they’re made of real wood. Solidly built to house the biggest flat screen.
  2. They’re stylish. If you like mid-century or a sleek, minimal look, this will definitely work for you.
  3. They’re roomy enough to house all you gear and keep everything neatly hidden.
  4. They can be restained or painted to suit your decor. I chose to keep mine as is since it blends in well with the colour scheme of the room.
  5. They can be repurposed and used somewhere else in your home when/if you decide you don’t want it as a stand anymore.

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Yes, we still have vinyl. Kids have been on a kick the last couple of years buying these up. I must admit it’s been fun getting stuff I used to have but threw away many years ago when CDs became all the rage!

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All of the cords are hidden inside.

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3 spacious top drawers house small books, magazines, coasters, etc.

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If you’re on the lookout for a new stand for your t.v. I hope you’ll consider repurposing a piece like this!

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DIY Wooden Sign Window Valance

I was looking for a way to hide the top of my roller blinds on my kitchen window. I have seen hand painted wooden signs all over the place lately and I LOVE them. I knew this would be the perfect solution.

I don’t have any curtains on the window and I don’t plan on installing any. Here’s what I did with a piece of wood from a pallet.

After giving it a light sanding and painting a coat of chalk paint, I took some sand paper and lightly distressed it.

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I wanted to use a couple of different fonts. I work in Word but didn’t like any of the standard fonts. You can download any kind of font from the internet (for free). It’s amazing what you can find with a little help from Google. All you have to do is download the font and it will appear in your fonts list in Word. Like this:

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You’ll have to choose the size for your font and here’s how you do that. Most fonts that you use for standard typing are around 10-12 point. You’ll need something WAY bigger than that.

My pallet was 5″ wide, so I chose to print my words out so that they would be 3″ tall. In order to do that, you’ll have to figure out which font size equals 3 inches. 1 inch is equal to 72 point, so for my 3″ tall words, I used 216 point. Now I don’t think it’s an exact science because all fonts are slightly different. For example 12 point Arial may look different than 12 point Calibri.In the picture below, each of these fonts are 12 point but you can see that one looks a lot bigger than the other. I’m not on expert on these things though so if anyone knows how this really works or what the science is behind it, please share.

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You’ll want to print your words out. Black and white is fine. I used landscape orientation as some of the words I chose were longer than others. If it doesn’t all fit on one line, don’t worry. Just print them out and you can always and cut and position in place.

What you choose for your sign it totally up to you. I wanted a biblical verse that would remind me to be grateful every day but it can be anything you like!

Mine is “In everything give thanks.” which is from 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

After you’ve got the words printed out, lay them out on your board and play around a bit until you find the placement that looks best.

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Next, you’ll need to transfer the letters onto your wooden sign. I searched and found several different methods for doing this. Some covered the entire back of the paper in either chalk, charcoal or pencil before tracing the letters. Others even printed the words out backwards-there are so many methods you’ll find if you’re researching this. However, the best method that I could come up with was to use carbon paper. Since I didn’t have any of that, I figured I’d use something I DID have-pattern tracing paper! Of course!

Just slip the tracing paper underneath the word to trace. It helps to secure the print outs with tape where you can. Using a sharp pencil or pen, trace the outline of the letters. You don’t have to press super hard. Just make sure to peek underneath to see if everything is transferring.

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Looking pretty good so far.

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Everything’s traced and ready for paint. I used a fine artist brush-just something I had lying around and some leftover paint that we used for my son’s room and carefully painted the letters in. I am not the steadiest or most patient person for doing this but I got through it.

After I was done and everything was dry, I gave it a quick coat of clear wax and Mr. Restyle added brackets to the back for hanging.

I then noticed that the word “THANKS” was crooked! Argh! And maybe my words were a little too spaced apart from each other. Oh well. I debated redoing it and then I thought, what the heck. It’s not supposed to look perfect. It’s a handpainted sign!

Here it is all hung up. He hasn’t put the blinds back up yet and the pictures were taken at night but I really like it. I plan to do another one for the family room. It’s a much bigger window and will require about 3 or 4 pallet boards.

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A Lot of Sadness and a Bit of Catching Up to Do

Hello friends,

Just to catch you up on things. The day after my last post on this blog, I lost my beloved grandmother. She was my last remaining grandparent. Aged 94, she lived a wonderful life. There are so many things that bring back memories of special times I spent with her. Although we were geographically very far away, we are a close family and I shall miss her so much. Cherish your loved ones every day!

Almost immediately after her passing, I developed quite a nasty cold that completely knocked me out. Just as I recovered, Miss Restyle informed me that her boyfriend’s mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Although I had only met the woman once and very briefly, it was time to rally round and I shifted into supportive parent mode.

Needless to say, I’ve had very little time to think about this blog and for that I do apologize. I have so much reading to do on the blogs that I follow as well as posts on what I’ve been working on.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few things that remind me of my grandmother and of my Croatian heritage.

That’s it for now. I do have plenty of things to share with you in the coming weeks. I even set up an Instagram account, although I’ve yet to add a profile picture or share anything. My goal with this blog was really a way to casually share and to learn from others. I simply cannot commit to the many different social media sites out there and still have time to do my renovations and thrifting and all the things I enjoy. I never intended this blog to be about all of that or about making money or anything. I do it because I enjoy it. Plain and simple. Truth be told, I often lose interest in blogs that at first appear to be written by regular folk and just for fun but veer so off course from the original intent or the attitude shifts to focus more and more on the business aspects of blog writing. Not that there’s anything wrong with blog writing as a business. All I’m saying is that it’s not for me.  Anyway, I’m rambling!

So, an ode to my grandmother. From a very young age, I would draw pictures of laundry hanging on a line. My parents emigrated to Canada when I was 2 years old, but for some reason, I have these images in my mind a lot-even now. There is something about fresh laundry that I enjoy still. I absolutely love hanging wash to dry and I don’t know why! My grandma had a “bread house” where she would bake bread and the aroma coming from that little building would drive you crazy it was so good! And crocheted doilies! Some people laugh at doilies but I think they are rather beautiful. I am thinking of doing a refashion with some of the ones I have. Here are a few pictures I found on the internet of things that remind me of my culture and my grandmother. Until next time, take care of yourselves.

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Typical Dalmatian window shutters

Photo source: https://www.airbnb.ca/s/Zmijavci–Croatia?locale=en&type=house&s_tag=ZVQ3_s3n

 

 

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Hanging Laundry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo source: http://www.danheller.com/croatia-split-town.html

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Crocheted Doilies

Photo source: https://www.rubylane.com/item/446248-1321/Pair-Small-Round-Hand-Crocheted-Doilies

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Yummy Bread

Photo source: http://triciaannemitchell.com/2014/04/13/krka-national-park-skradin-primosten-croatia/

 

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Kitchen Makeover Part 1:1920s Table Base +1940s Table Top

I first wrote about our recent DIY Kitchen Makeover and now it’s time to show you how we put it all together. This is the first in a multi-part series (no particular order to the posts in this series but it will all come together, you’ll see).

This part’s a little confusing. We had a 1920s table and chairs in our dining room but we found a 1940s set where the chairs were in much better condition (I’ll do a post on how we transformed the ’40s dining room at a later date). By the way, the cost of the 40s set=$50. That’s table + 6 chairs! The cost of the 20s set=$100 for table + 6 chairs. Bear with me on the following pictures…The first 3 pictures are all from the same Jacobean style dining set, manufactured by Hanover Cabinet Makers in Pennsylvania. Originally, this would have all been a dark walnut colour.

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Table Base from the 1920s-Walnut/Sweet Gum

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1920s Table Top-Walnut Veneer

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1920s Chair-Walnut Veneer/Sweet Gum

As you can see above, the chairs were in some rough shape. What you can’t see is how wobbly the base of the table is. More on that later.

Below are pieces from the 1940s set. The manufacturer escapes me at the moment. I’d have to crawl under the table to have a look.

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Table Base from the 1940s-Walnut

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1940s Walnut Chair

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1940s Walnut Table Top-This poor table was in REALLY rough shape. I don’t think it had seen a tablecloth, a placemat or a coaster in years!

We ended up donating the 1920s chairs because so much of the veer was damaged. We refinished the 1940s chairs and now they reside in the dining room.

What we did with the rest is swap out the 2 tops (or bases, depending on how you look at it). Taking the 1920s base and putting the 1940s top on it. Taking the 1940s base and putting the 1920s top on that. Confusing right? And you’re probably thinking why would they do that? Simple reason being that the 20s tabletop extends much further and we need a big table in the dining room. The other table was going in our kitchen. So far, we have 2 table tops, 2 bases, and a set of dining chairs (for the dining room) but nothing to sit on in the kitchen. Our previous table was counter height and Miss Restyle has already placed dibs on those for when she moves out. Cue, these tufted chairs we picked up from the Habitat Restore.

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Tufted Dining Chair COVERED in oily stains-yuck! How did I fix this mess? With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

So now you’re probably thinking who the heck puts such an old table into a modern looking kitchen? Well, we do, because we like the look of mixing old with new. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not everything has to look like it came from the same place. This is how you can let your creativity really shine so that you end up with a room that nobody else has and somehow, it all comes together.

Here’s what we did:

That rickety 20s table base really needed some work. Mr. Restyle had to remove all the reinforcing wood pieces from the underside as well as the legs and reinforce and reglue everything. He had a little help from our youngest son, Jacob.

That table top was completely sanded to raw wood. Something to note about tables of this age-the tops are most likely veneer. This is not a bad thing. It’s just the way they were constructed at the time. When sanding veneer, just apply a light hand so that you don’t create any gouges. You can see here how badly it was damaged when I started.

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Using an orbital sander and gradually moving from 180 to 220 grit paper, I got to work.

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Wow! What a difference! The bottom part of the picture is the sanded part. The top is just starting to get some work done on it.

I have to say this about the sanding process-it gave off a weird smell. I don’t know if it was the stain they used back then or years and years of grime and filth or possibly cigarette smoke but it was awful!

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Left: sanded, Right: unsanded

It was really looking gorgeous the more I worked on it and I seriously wanted to leave it the colour it was naturally but I knew that it wouldn’t work for the feel of the room. I love sanding as much as I love ironing clothes. Yes, I’m THAT weird!

You will know that you are finished sanding when it feels buttery smooth against your hand. Time for stain! I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Antique Walnut. I love working with this stain. It is simply amazing. I am so pleased with the result.

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I stained the table base as well. I only lightly sanded it first. This is why I love this stain. You do NOT need to strip the piece down to bare wood if you are staining a darker colour. If you would like more information on this stain and the process, I will do a tutorial as our kitchen cabinets were also done with General Finishes (Java Gel Stain). I also plan on doing the bathroom cabinets the same way and could write a tutorial on that.

After staining, I applied the General Finishes High Performance Top Coat Satin.

 

For the chairs, I tried everything to get those stains out and I mean everything from homemade concoctions to heavy duty stain removers to steam cleaning. All combined, these methods only slightly improved the situation. I finally gave up and used chalk paint in Paris Grey. For more information on how to use chalk paint, you can visit one of the very first posts I did on chalk paint called Not So Pretty in Pink or do a search (posts are under the Furniture Makeovers category).

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I love how the chairs turned out. Supple-leather smooth!

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Close up of the tufting.

The last step was to paint the chair legs in Old Ochre chalk paint. They were originally a dark brown that just didn’t work with anything in the room. Mr. Restyle is not too fond of the painted legs. I quite like them as they go with the island.

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Here is the set in the room.

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Thanks for sticking around. I know that was a LONG post. More to come…

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