I have this problem with vintage furniture. If I see a piece about to leave its home, I am compelled to swoop in and adopt it. As a result, my house is filled with what my husband affectionately refers to as "old lady couches". He's not wrong...
My in-laws recently decided to replace their super cute dining room table and chairs and asked if I knew of anyone in need. But I'm selfish and greedy so I immediately begged them to let me have it. Because it's not like I've already inherited a mid century dining table o anything. Oh wait... But I'm sentimental and love heirlooms, and the set had belonged to my husbands grandmother. They warned me that the set had had a rough life and wasn't exactly in showroom condition, but I was in lust with the style of the chairs and couldn't be swayed. After much furniture shuffling (btw, moving even a small piano unassisted is a ridiculous thing to do) I was able to convince my husband that we had room for a formal dining space and soon I got to work!
Once we started taking things apart I could see what damage my in-laws were speaking of. Apparently a few over zealous pets had gnawed on the underside of, well, pretty much everything, as well as a couple of spots on the table top. I even found some parakeet feathers in the old seat cushions! But there's not too much a bit of wood putty can't take care of, and overall, they are all solid pieces.
My ultra creative sister likes to give me ambitious and adventurous projects to do so she can make sure it's not a huge mistake, and sent me a link to a tutorial on creating designs by painting with wood stain. We thought this would be a good way to camouflage the damage to the table top. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge, as the putty doesn't accept stain the same way as natural wood. But we're pretending it adds character!
The chairs and base of the table were painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, because according to what seems like the whole of the internet, it's the ONLY way to paint furniture. I used Primer Red and the clear wax. Everything I've read talks about how steep the learning curve is on the wax, and they aren't kidding. If I had it to do again, I might have sealed the paint with a couple of coats of poly just to avoid having to use the wax. But, as far as the paint goes, not having to strip or sand before application makes it well worth the $38.95/quart price tag. As does the fact that after multiple coats, I still have at least enough left for an end table project I'm planning for my living room.
I had loads of help with this project. From my father-in-law delivering and gifting it to me, to my mom stripping the varnish off the table top, my dad helping me reupholster the cushions, and my sister, husband and friend helping dismantle and paint chairs, it was a huge group effort.
Before and After:
When deciding on the paint color and imagery, we thought it would be kind of funny to make reference to my Dead Head father-in-law's favorite tune, Scarlet Begonias. I think he appreciates the in joke.
I'm undecided as to whether or not I should use the same stain technique on the table leaf or leave it natural. What do you think?