Monday, August 1, 2011

From Crappy to Clean, Crisp & Cottage: A Coffee Table Story

It's been a while since I've had a good Before and After project that entails more elbow grease than re-accessorizing or hanging curtains.
But it's been HOT, people!
And I'm not so much a fan of....sweating, really.
But, in the name of checking things off my "to do" list,
(because you KNOW I love myself a good list!)
I give you a craigslist gem that was on its last leg, and now has a little more life left in her.  :)

She started out like this:
Laquered, orange-y pine that had seen far better days.
For $8 from my friend Craig and his list, I thought there was definite potential.
What the picture doesn't do justice to, however, is the insane amount of scratching and scarring on that tabletop.
If I wanted to get the surface entirely smooth, I would have sanded a hole all the way through, like the Seaver kids trying to sand down the spot where Ben sat in superglue on the coffee table.
Remember that episode?
I love you, '80s t.v.
[What?  Who doesn't need a little Growing Pains to start their day? :)]

Since a topless table (that sounds naughty!) wouldn't really suit my needs, I decided to embrace the imperfections and work with them, rather than against.
I did give the top a good general sanding to smooth things out as much as I could, while still maintaining a level surface.

Next I painted the base a semi-gloss white (which I'm only about 75% sold on right now.  Can't decide if the bright white is too stark). 
For the top, I applied 2 coats of Minwax's Dark Walnut stain.
Then, I waited approximately 2.5 weeks for the stain to totally dry, thanks to the 98% humidity we've been "enjoying" for the past month.  OY.

Once it dried, I flexed my muscles and distressed the bejeezus out of the top:

My goal was to give the top the illusion of weathered barn wood, without having to add anything to the piece. 
I know I could have removed the top and added planks of my own to create something more realistic--but really?  That totally sounds like WORK.
I only had $8 invested in this thing and that was fine by me.
I actually really like how she turned out.

I replaced the original wood knob with this bronze one I had on hand.
Eventually I'll probably switch it out for something in more of an antique pewter, but this works fine for now.

This table will make its home in the basement, where it will serve as home base for a super cool dollhouse (that once was mine) that The Redhead will soon be inheriting (see why I wasn't going to go ripping and planking my own wood tabletop? ;) )


Linking to: Coastal Charm



  2. I super heart love it! You sanding the bejeezus out of it totally worked!

  3. Hi your blog!
    This is a beautiful makeover, so happy I stopped in!

  4. that dark top totally transforms it!!! it was so pine and country before and now it is rustic and chic!

  5. So So pretty!! I love how you sanded the top after staining!!

  6. I have a coffee table just waiting to be treated like this - thanks for the inspiration!
    visiting from skip to my lou

  7. I love your coffee table make over!! I have been scouring the Craigslist as well as thrift shops in our area for a table like yours to re-do!! :o)
    Sincerely, Trish

  8. Wow, that looks fantastic! I want to do something like that with our tables too but I'm too scared it's going to end up looking awful.

  9. That looks fantastic!!!!! I've been trying to find the perfect coffee table for my small space.. my sofa has a chaise so I have to keep the table on the smaller scale. I think something in the theme of yours would look perfect here.
    I am off to the goodwill on a mission!!!!
    thanks for sharing.

    Have a great thursday

  10. the wood finish on the top looks so good! I want to do this to my dining table (which is an orangish woody tone), I love the dark walnut color.

  11. I like! Found you thru thrifty decor chick! I like!

  12. I laughed through this entire post! Too funny! Your table turned out great. We are adding onto our house and when we are done I have a piece that I got for free that I want to refinish. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Oooh, it's beautiful! Your distressing is a wonderful touch! Love it.

  14. Love the table top.

    Saw your link on 'Coastal Charm'. I am hosting my first Link-up party - Tea Time Thursdays. Would be glad to see some of your awesome posts there. Hope to see ya at the party :)

  15. You crack me up! (I'm not a fan of sweating, either.)
    Your table turned out great! It not the orangey outdated thing it used to be, that's for sure! Well done!

  16. I hear ya about the heat! I've only been doing crafts indoors! so ready for summer to go bye bye!
    You did a great job on this table. I'm always a fan of dark stain and paint!

  17. This is fabulous! It looks like something you would see in Pottery Barn. Great before and after! I'd love it if you would stop by my blog and check out the giveaway I'm having for a Dremel Trio!