Yesterday was a harrowing day around our house. We had to take poor Ted to the vet for an undisclosed aggressive something that was causing him to chew his feet to ribbons. Poor Ted! Turns out that it is most likely an allergic reaction (what we all narrowed it down to without having to give him expensive skin testing). The worst part of the whole thing was having to stuff him in the crate and drive him the 10 minutes to the vet. He and I both cried the whole way there, it was not pretty. The ride home, though, only he was crying. Well, him and the credit card, that is.
And on the ride home, I saw a coffee table with a sign on it that said ‘Free.’ The magic word! I just had to get the cat home and comfortable, and beg the universe to keep that table there for me to go back to inspect. Lo, it worked. After some inspection as to structural soundness (yes, that was me standing on top of a coffee table on the side of the road) and funky stains or smells, into the hatchback it went. It was really heavy, really solid oak and oak veneer. I should have called Nick to clear it first but, well, there was a suburbanite in a minivan circling the perimeter, and there was just no time. I could dumpsterize it if need be.
I’ve been in the market for a new coffee table for a couple months now. I got one when we first moved in to our new place; it’s of the ottoman persuasion. I really like it but it’s a little too small for our living room layout, and visually it’s a BRICK. I wanted something that was open underneath so the light could come through it and make the room feel more balanced. The roadside attraction was the right size, with nice mission-style lines. The only crap thing about it was it was that horrible, honey-colored blond wood. Lookee here:
So, I got out my waterproof drop cloth (an apartment painter’s best friend) and my paint pod. Have you seen these? My hardware store has them for about $3, and they’re the perfect size for small projects like this. Just enough paint to get the job done without having to invest in a whole quart. Located my brushes and my sandpaper and got to work.
I knew I wanted the legs to be dark so they’d recede into our darker rug, so I painted those first. The wood for the top and bottom shelves, though, was actually in pretty good shape, but again with the ugly color. What to do? I considered staining them a nice walnut color, but sanding is inconvenient here and I didn’t want to buy a whole quart of stain for the 4 tablespoons I needed. I considered covering them in some upholstery fabric and adding finishing nails to the sides, but didn’t like that idea either. What to do, what to do? I stopped at this point and made a call to my mom, the original furniture reformer. (Pssst… that’s the paint pod on the lower shelf.)
She told me about a paint and rag technique that she has used, but the idea scared me, even though she swore I couldn’t screw it up. Luckily she grabbed a rag and did that part for me. After a couple of tries, we both really liked a more worn and distressed look, rather than the nice light stain we originally set out to achieve. I think the result is awesome. A nice, solid table for sitting around and playing games, something that we can still put our feet on, that we don’t have to worry about using coasters with (it’s getting a clear varnish today). It lets the light through and has storage underneath for my millions of magazines and books. It came out really pretty, and looks like I paid a lot of money for it. You’d never know it was a ground score, it looks like it came from Pottery Barn. I can’t believe I knocked it off so well! See for yourself:
I have a stack of side tables that I’ve been meaning to repaint or re-SOMETHING that are of the same blonde wood, but they’re pretty hidden so they’ve survived in their original color. Not for long, though. After the paint and dry brush treatment of the new coffee table, those babies are going under the brush and will match this table. So excited!
Happy Wednesday everybody! Halfway to the weekend!