My sons have got their own apartment and are in desperate need for real furniture.
Currently giant amplifiers double as side tables. Mattresses lie directly on the floor. Office chairs serve as general seating. They're making do with what they have. It's admirable really.
But as their mother, I want them to be more comfortable.
Luckily structurally sound, affordable, essential furnishings can be found at consignment and charity shops, the same ones I frequent during my junking outings.
Yesterday I wandered into the charity shop just up the road.
I headed straight to the back to see if they had any affordable furniture pieces that could work for my sons' apartment. As luck would have it, this potentially lovely five-piece oak dining set was waiting for me.
Three of the four chairs were in excellent shape; the fourth was lightly splattered with paint and the varnish had been worn thin on the seat. The table top was decent with just a few water stains, but it was sturdy. After the miraculous results using Annie Sloan paint on an antique piano, I figured a table would be a walk in the park!
Because of the ornate and rustic styling of the chairs, I wanted to give the table a more masculine and modern look, so I decided to go with the Annie Sloan Graphite. The charcoal gray matte paint finish looks a bit like dull metal, and I thought the juxtaposition of the two styles would be interesting.
I gave the table top a good sanding and then wiped it a few times to remove all the sawdust.
To start, I painted only the table top, but I loved the way the chairs looked up against the dark gray. The contrast seemed to accentuate the details of both the table base and the chairs, so I went ahead and painted the whole thing. I achieved the look I was hoping for after just a couple coats of paint.
After allowing the paint to dry overnight, I awoke this morning and applied a clear wax.
After alternately applying wax and buffing it off, the table shone with a soft luster.
Because three of the four chairs were in such good shape I really wanted to keep them as is. I decided to see if I could remove the splattered paint from the one chair. With some determination and a bit of soft steel wool, most of the paint splatters surrendered. A few passes with clear acrylic on the chair seat and the chair was good as new!
Though their apartment will still be primarily furnished with make-shift pieces, I feel good knowing that they at least have a lovely dining table to share a good bottle of wine and a great meal with a couple of friends.
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.