From the moment I saw our kitchen for the first time, I noticed the empty space in the corner. My first initial thought was why didn’t the flippers continue the cabinets all the way down? I somehow had to fill the space. The previous owners had place a small breakfast table with a few chairs there, but the walls had so many scuffs from the chairs hitting. I’ve always loved the idea of having a built-in booth in the kitchen or dining space, and I instantly thought that would be the perfect solution to one: fill the empty corner, and two: having seating without banging up the walls! I starting looking for a round table that was about 3 ft wide, that could be butted up to an L-shaped seating area. After I searching for several months, everywhere from Wayfair to thrift shops, I had finally found a table on Craig’s List for $50. The only draw back was that it was about 60 miles away in Davie. I was up for an adventure, but I just had to see if Ryan was too.
I work at about the midway point between our home and Davie. Ryan and I came to an agreement that he would meet me at my office and we would drive down together to get the table after work. So that’s what we did. Once we met up the seller, we we’re very pleased with the quality and sturdiness of the piece. He said that the table had belonged to his mother, and that she had had it for as long as he could remember. He was happy to see it go to a good home and that a newly married couple that would get some use out of it. From the moment I saw the listing, I knew that I wanted to refinish it but after knowing how much this table meant to this this sweet man, I was even more excited to breathe some new life into it. We got home pretty late that night, but it was definitely worth it.
Now to fixing her up! As you can see in the photos, the table had a very orange finish all over. Since the table was going filling the empty corner in our kitchen, I wanted the table top to match the color of our cabinets. I started with sanding the top down to the natural wood, which took FOREVER. I had not done enough research on the different types of sand paper grit. I think I started with 180 or 220 which is much too fine for removing a varnish. I it took me a good two hours which is just ridiculous. I can say that my sanding these days has become much more time efficient! I should have used 80 than smoothed it out with 220. Once that was done, my father in-law came over to show me how to stain the top. This was the first time I had ever used a stain. I chose to use Minwax in Dark Walnut. I recommend using a high quality brush that is meant for staining, and one that will not have the bristles fall out. It’s a total pain trying to pick them off the wet table before it dries. I let the table dry until the next day (you can typically wait 4-6 hours).
Next, I used Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Semi-Gloss Base to seal it. Again, use a nice brush with bristle that won’t fall out. You’re not going to want to pick them off. I wish I knew this before working on this project, I can’t stress this enough!! I covered the table top with one coat and let it dry for 6 hours. Then I sanded it down with 220 grit. HUGE MISTAKE. Learn from me, don’t use anything lower than 380 in-between poly coats. The stain started coming off, and I basically had to start ALL over. I stripped the top back down, re-stained, and added the new poly coat (not all in one day obviously). I was so bummed, but this is how you learn if you don’t do enough research before hand. I lightly sanded in between coats and added one more. I thought I was done. Great! Yay! Breakfast nook is complete!… Not so fast!…
Fast forward 6 months(ish). A friend of ours had built an amazing bar in their house from scratch. I couldn’t get over how smooth the wood surfaces was! I had to ask him what his secret was because compared to this, our table was still a pretty gritty. This bar was beautiful! He told me that he had used Varathane Polyurethane Semi-Gloss Base, and he actually let me borrow what had left over!. He said I would probably be fine to do 3 more coats since I had already done two before. So that night that’s what I did! Ryan helped me move the table into our back patio so I could finally finish this table right. I used 400 grit sand paper on the table top, wiped it down with a wet paper towel and then dried it. I had bought a really nice brush for this type of application from Lowe’s. I used my new brush and neatly coated the table top and let it dry. I was amazed at how FAST this poly coat dried! After waiting only 2 hours (opposed to 6) I was about to sand again between coats and add another. Make sure when applying the poly coat you’re going with the grain of the wood (VERY important). The next day I sanded one more top and added my last coat. Let me tell you, the table top feels SO much better than the first time I had tried using the sealer. I was finally happy.
Now to the pedestal, when I had originally finished the table top, I had also painted the pedestal with one coat of ASCP in French Linen, which in my opinion is the perfect greige. It’s such a pretty neutral! This time around, I added a second coat of the chalk paint and after it dried I used Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax to seal it. When I first started looking into chalk paint and the wax’s I assumed that the wax would make the furniture sticky. I was SO wrong! After doing much more research (and watching Miss Mustard Seed’s videos on YouTube) if you use the right amount, it doesn’t make it sticky at all! The wax is meant to help preserve furniture. Once I applied the wax, I buffed it out with my microfiber cloth. Milk and chalk paint both have very flat finish. The wax provides a beautiful satin-like shine. Once I let that sit for about five minutes I then applied the antique wax (see link above for furniture wax). I only added this to the detailed areas of the pedestal and the edges of the legs. I tried to really get it into all the crevices I could. Again, buff it out and let it sit. As mentioned before in the previous post, the wax takes about 30 days to fully cure so one must be delicate with the piece until then.
I’m so glad I went back to fix this piece up from the first time I had worked on it. The second time around has made a world of difference in the appearance. It looks so much smoother and richer!
So back to my wanting to have an L-shaped booth. That project is definitely on the to-do list when both Ryan and I have time; but for now, we’re just using the extra chairs from our dining table (when the leaf isn’t used). That is a project that I’m very excited about and I’ll keep you all posted on when that finally makes its’ way into the works.
Thank you for reading!