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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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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