Nov 16, 2014

Taking The Plunge - Refinishing Dining Room Furniture

Every year around this time, as I start to plan my Thanksgiving meal and table, I'm reminded of how many special occasions have been celebrated around our beloved old dining room table and chairs, and I realized I've never shared their transformation with you and how I took the plunge to refinish them.

This sturdy maple table and chairs has been in my family for about 75 years. This is how it looked when my parents bought it shortly after they were married. My brothers and I grew up eating dinners on it, and after my mother passed away it found a place in my home where my children grew up eating their dinners on it also. Imagine all the hundreds of happy birthdays, graduations, engagements, Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and New Year Eves that we have celebrated at this table. 

Such happy memories! 

About five years ago, when I mentioned to a friend that I never really cared for the original reddish maple finish but didn't want to replace our table and chairs for sentimental reasons, she recommended that I paint them. The thought had never even occurred to me before, and at first I thought it didn't seem quite right to paint over our vintage furniture. After thinking about it for a few months, I convinced myself that living with furniture I didn't really like was just silly, for any reason. 

After searching around the internet and finding out our furniture wasn't special or rare from a collector's standpoint, I started looking for painting ideas and instructions. I discovered from a google image search that black is a traditional color for Windsor chairs. I also discovered my first home decorating blogs and that there was a whole new world of decorating fun out there in something called blog land. I found this post by Rhoda at Southern Hospitality about how she spray painted her own dining chairs with store bought black spray paint, and she made me think, hey, I can do that too!     

I was so nervous to try such a big project, though! What if I made a mistake and messed it up? I bought all the supplies, and then they sat around for weeks before I finally got up the courage to start. I worked on two of the six chairs each week throughout the summer, cleaning them thoroughly and wiping them down with liquid sandpaper. 

I used one can of Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x (the only spray paint I'll use now) for two light coats of paint on each chair, and one can for the bottom of the table. (7 cans total.) I also used one of those $4 spray can triggers for easy even coverage. It was so scary to pull that trigger the first time, but by the time I started on the second chair, I was gaining confidence and starting to feel like a pro. Other than the time and some significant elbow grease, it was way easier than I thought it would be. 

My husband and I took turns sanding the top of the drop leaf table and the four leaves down to bare wood with orbital and palm sanders. 

We left some of the deep sanding marks on the top to make it look like an old farm table, then I stained it with English Chestnut stain and finished it with many coats of satin wipe-on polyurethane. Who knew there was such beautiful grain pattern and color variation with the rustic country look we coveted hidden under that thick shiny red maple stain color? 

It was love at first sight, and such a gratifying transformation, all for around $100. 

Since we spend hours at our long family dinners talking way into the night, my husband and I picked out these big comfy wicker chairs and thick chair pads at Pier One Imports to cushion our old-timer buns at the heads of the table, and we now use the original wood chairs for side chairs. 

When the kids come over we add more chairs and leaves to the table (which seats up to ten), as needed. The black Windsor arm chairs are comfortable and useful all around the house when we don't need them for meals. We use one at the small writing table in the family room, one at my husband's desk upstairs, one in the guest room, and one in my husband's man cave. The traditional Windsor lines and neutral black color seem to go with everything in our home, and they make great extra accent chairs.  

The matching hutch to our set was painted a bit later with a brush and regular paint.  

 I just love before and after pictures. Here is our traditional dining room from the early nineties. My grandmother's Minton china filled the china cabinet, lace curtains with a poufy flowered valance lined the window, and a thick wool rug cushioned the floor. 

And here is our more eclectic dining room today, minus a wall. The china cupboard was moved to the kitchen where it holds everyday dishes, a sheer white curtain lets the sunlight shine in the window, and an easy-care indoor/outdoor rug anchors the table and chairs. We use our more casual, light, and airy dining room for every meal now.


Here are the old dining room table and chairs from the other direction, looking towards the front door. My first chore as a young child was waxing all those spindles once a week.

What a difference! The black spray paint on the chairs and the poly table top have held up well to wear, and no waxing required.

I'm so glad I have old photos of how our table and chairs used to look. They hold lots of memories of happy family times together. I'm also so glad I took the plunge to refinish and update these pieces to fit our own tastes and who we are today. The new look doesn't take away from our memories of the past, it just adds a new layer to the history of our furniture and our family. 

Thank you for stopping by today to take a walk down memory lane with me. I hope you have a wonderful week!

It's time to party!

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A Joyful Cottage

Nov 14, 2014

First Snow of November!

Hello there! 

I've been taking a short blog break and am super happy to be back today. I'm one of those bloggers who blogs spontaneously whenever I feel moved to grab my camera and share something I think you might like to see. It's so wonderful to feel that creative urge, and mostly it strikes fairly often. 

Since Halloween I've been cleaning and organizing my home for the upcoming holidays, though. No creative urges going on here while cleaning and scrubbing and organizing closets. 

But today we had our first big snow here in Boise, and the first thing I did after looking out the window this morning was grab my camera.

This view is looking across the street from our front window. Isn't my neighbor's gray house so pretty covered with snow? LOVE the snow! It's been snowing all day long, and this is the most we've ever had in November. 

Here's our little garden shed wearing white. I spent Tuesday morning cutting back the daisies and lavender just in time before the temperatures dipped into the twenties the next day. No more fresh flowers now!

Tucker absolutely adores playing in the snow. His fur is so thick, I don't think he even feels the snowflakes on his back.

Tomorrow we'll take him snowshoeing with us. Snowshoeing is one of my favorite activities, and I can't wait to get out there. 

These are the red berries that grow over the gate in our side yard just outside the dining room window. Some of you have asked me what they are. Twenty-four years ago we had a cold snap of -25 degrees that killed all of the Pyracanthas in our area, so when we planted more berries I made sure to plant ones that were even hardier! I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure this one we planted is a Cotoneaster. It has little white flowers in spring and keeps its leaves and bright orange berries all winter long. 

Here's the view from my phone camera looking out my craft room window just now. I'm so glad I'm done with my housework and chores because I'm feeling another creative urge coming on!

Happy Snow Day!


Oct 27, 2014

Halloween Hutch

Hi, everyone! I hope you're having a great week so far! 

Over the weekend I decorated our hutch for Halloween. Other than the new Halloween banner I made for the back hallway last week, I kept all my decorating on the hutch this year. I definitely went kind of crazy on it, using almost everything we have!

Framed Halloween Art from The Graphics Fairy

Halloween Tags from The North End Loft

Chalkboard printable from Classy Clutter

 At night, we plug in the purple and orange lights and place candles all around the decorations to give them a ghostly glow. I love that the children who come trick-or-treating to our door on Halloween night will be able to see our hutch all lit up like this from the front porch. 

I'm off to the store now to buy some Halloween candy to eat for the trick-or-treaters this Friday. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you have a very Happy Halloween!

{For more free printable Halloween graphics and tons of inspiration for homemade Halloween decorations, visit my Halloween Pinterest Board.} 

Let's go to a party!

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Oct 23, 2014

Glowing Pumpkins Halloween Banner

Halloween is sneaking up on me this year, and I've just started making some fun new decorations for our home. 

You may have noticed I love decorating with banners for different seasons and holidays. This is our command central chalkboard in our back hallway between the kitchen and family room. 

Even when our chalkboard is covered with shopping lists and errands needing to be run, this cute banner says Happy Halloween.

And it was super easy to make.

I found these plastic pumpkins for half off at the craft store. Only $1.00 for six!

I cut a length of ribbon I already had on hand (string would work, too) to fit across my chalkboard with a little extra to wrap around to the back. Then I just tied the pumpkins onto the ribbon and taped the ends to the back of the chalkboard. Really easy, and so cute! While I was looking up at the banner after I hung it up, I thought how cool it would be if the pumpkins would light-up at night. 

Then I remembered I had these little battery-run flameless tea light candles in my candle cupboard. Luckily, they fit the openings in the top of the pumpkins perfectly, so all I had to do was turn them on and drop them in. You can find these little lights for about $6.00 at the craft store, and I know you're going to use your half-off coupon to get them for even less. So you can make your cordless glowing pumpkin banner for under $5.00!

Those little tea lights create quite a lot of glow. 

My nephew's little boys are coming for dinner Sunday, and I just know they'll love these.

So festive and cute!

They'll be perfect for hanging on our front porch to welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, too. 

And speaking of front porches, I snapped a photo this morning to show you how quickly our maple trees turned red this year. Last week, when I shared our autumn front porch, all the leaves were still green! We've never seen them change colors so quickly before. 

I love fall!

I'm so glad you stopped by to see my glowing pumpkins Halloween banner. 

Have a wonderful day!

I'd love you to join me at these fun parties!

Rooted In Thyme
Anderson & Grant

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