Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

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.


Table Base from the 1920s-Walnut/Sweet Gum

1920s table top

1920s Table Top-Walnut Veneer

1920s chair

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.


Table Base from the 1940s-Walnut


1940s Walnut Chair


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.


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.


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


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!


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.



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).


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



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.

chair leg.jpg

Here is the set in the room.

table chairs.png

table chairs2.png

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

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Tub Chair Makeover

When I buy pieces, I don’t buy for any one particular room. Rather, I found what I think I will need eventually. That’s kind of the problem (or the benefit depending on how you look at it) of DIY home projects. Most of you will know that I’m in the process of changing out almost every room of my house with thrifted, vintage or antique pieces so when I spotted a pair of tub chairs for $8 a piece, I knew I had to have them for my family room.

This room is nowhere near being the way I want it yet, but with these 2 pieces now acquired, it’ll get there someday! I only photographed one of them but they are identical. I’ve got one done so far and I”m in the process of painting the second one now. Hubby was fabulous while I was away on business last week and stripped all the upholstery off chair #2. What a welcome surprise for me!

Here’s what it looked like when I got it.

???????????????????????????????It reminds me of something you’d find in a hotel room but I thought these would do to replace a loveseat. We plan on making our own ottomans for both chairs. They are not the best wood and one of them was already partially covered in paint so I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Coco.

Got some fabulous chenille that was regular $40/metre for $15 on clearance and there was JUST enough. What luck! I forgot to calculate for pattern repeat. I knew I wouldn’t be able to match the pattern perfectly due to the chair’s curves but I’m happy with it like this. The cushion looks a little wonky right now. I wanted it to be snug. I learned my lesson from the sofa project I just finished a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t posted about that yet because it was a nightmare to do the box cushions and they’re not fitted enough. My solution will be to add my batting to really make them snug. On this chair, however, I had the opposite problem! I’ve got to take some batting out on this one but I’m so happy with it because I find box cushions incredibly challenging. Either that or I just don’t have the patience.

Here’s the sofa with the cushion problem. This sofa originally had bull nose cushions, not box. I had no pattern to work with and I’m terrible at measuring in inches. Absolutely terrible. I am a perfectionist though and I know I can completely make this work when I get around to it. This sofa is another story all together. Coming soon (hopefully).


Here’s the chair all done.




tub chair


Not So Pretty in Pink

I have been on quite a thrifting/repurposing/refinishing furniture frenzy over the last few months. I find it extremely difficult to shop at retail stores these days! Most of the furniture in my house has been here since the early days of my marriage over 20 years ago and it’s high time to redo, redecorate and restyle.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting all of my great finds and how I’m slowly transforming the 90s look of my home. Having been a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years left no money in the budget for luxuries such as new furniture. Even now that I’ve been working full time for almost 10 years, with 3 teenagers in the house (one in university) we simply can’t keep up. I’ve learned my lesson over the years. Back in 2005 we purchased brand new family room sofas and after about 5 years they were ready for the dump. They just don’t make ’em like they used to, so I’m done with that. Unless you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on new sofas, loveseats and chairs, you need to find a better way. We live in such a disposable world. Almost everything that’s sold in the big box stores is made to last only a few years. This really ticks me off.

I started with this pink (what was I thinking? Remember the days of the hunter green/dusty rose colour scheme?) wingback chair. This is actually a good quality chair and I didn’t want to throw it away but I absolutely can’t stand pink and I knew I didn’t want to go through the trouble of reupholstering it. I’d read a lot about chalk paint and how it can be used to paint fabric. I watched Annie Sloan videos on Youtube and just went for it.

Mr. Restyle thought I was crazy. I did too, to be honest. Here’s the chair before.


Complete with baby milk stains and dirt.

I decided on Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Coco for my chair. There’s tons of information on chalk paint on the web. I particularly read a lot of blogs about using the paint on fabric before I attempted this.


I thought Coco would match my decor. Here’s a swatch of the colour:


To begin, I decided not to paint the legs because I like real wood. It’s important when using this to thoroughly spray your fabric with water first so that the material absorbs the paint otherwise it will be VERY stiff and crusty. Use a spray bottle. This paint thickens when the can is open so you have to keep mixing it. I’ve read that when used on furniture, a little goes a long way. This is NOT the case with fabric. I used more than 1 quart of this paint for the chair. It’s expensive. $42 a quart here in Canada and you have to look for a retailer that sells it. It’s not available at your local Home Depot, for example. I got mine at a place called The Painted Bench on Ottawa Street in Hamilton.

I poured some paint into another container and found that I had to keep squirting water into the container to keep it from thickening too much. Spray the surface with water but don’t over saturate, then you can just use a regular brush to start painting. You can buy special Annie Sloan brushes but honestly, you don’t need to. This is the scary part – the first touch of paint on the fabric but while I started this process, I thought if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just reupholster.

The chair after 1 coat of paint.


Not looking much different. This is when I started to worry but I let it dry overnight and repeated the process the next day. Believe it or not, you can sand the surface between coats. I didn’t do this as I was so afraid the sandpaper would rip the fabric. I actually only sanded between the 2nd and final coat to get the bumps off and to smooth it out. If I ever do this again, I’ll sand between coats. FOR SURE.

Even with chalk paint, the fabric will be stiff. I’ve read that you can use regular latex paint mixed with fabric medium to paint fabric too, so this is another option I might try next time.

I gave this chair 3 coats of the chalk paint. I painted the cushion in stages-top and sides one day, then the other side and kept repeating this until everything was covered. I have to say, I’m not really that crazy about the colour. I was hoping for more of a taupe/brown and I think this ended up being more on the grey side.

After everything was done, I applied Annie Sloan Soft Wax. The wax is used as a protective finish and helps soften up the fabric and give it more of a leathery feel as opposed to the stiff canvas touch. Apparently, it softens up over time. I have yet to see. I think the chair is still a bit stiff for my liking. As most people who’ve used this method have suggested, it’s not really a chair to cuddle up in. Apply the wax in small sections with a soft cloth then buff with a clean cloth. It will start to shine up and become softer. Once everything’s done you’ll notice that spills will just roll right off. This is the good part! One word of caution-after applying the wax, I noticed a few spots my paint brush missed so I went over them with the paint and it ended up looking lighter than the rest of the chair. I simply sanded the wax off with sandpaper and reapplied the paint then sealed it with the wax.

Here she is all done.








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