Thursday, January 9, 2014

French Provincial Chalk Painting Re-do

As I have mentioned in previous posts, like when I redid some IKEA pieces to look a little more rustic, I am slowly but surely purchasing real-wood furniture to replace our cheapy "put it together yourself" furniture that was totally acceptable in my early twenties... not so much as I creep toward 30. (I'm only 27, but still!

Since buying our house, I knew I wanted to replace our dining room table. We had been using a simple 4 chair square target table made out of particle board with a dark finish. It worked just fine in our condo, but looked itty-bitty in our very open floor plan. I decided to keep an eye out for a nice 6-8 seat solid wood dining room set with good bones and I didn't want to settle for anything less.
That was almost a year ago.
While visiting my sister in Atlanta for Christmas, she took me to several stores that I absolutely fell in love with. I was amazed to see how many adorable shops had beautifull handpainted shabby chic furniture/decor and accessories that you simply cannot find in the heart of the SW. I mean, they are a dime a dozen there. I was beyond jealous. Maybe I belong in the South, I don't know, all I know is that when I want to put together a natural/shabby chic room together, it's more of a project because I can't just go to a rent-a-booth store and pick those items up like she can. (Although I've been toying with starting such a business here in the future.)
Having seen my sister's gorgeous new dining room she had painted and refinished, it reignited my inspiration to find the table of my dreams and redo it myself ASAP.
Once I returned home (while I was slowly recovering from bronchitis that was dangerously close to pneumonia) which I had picked up in ATL, I went to a local consignment sect that I frequent when on the hunt for quality items that need a little update. I've found several cool pieces, and always for an unbeatable price.
So, I saw this table and knew it was "the one."

Solid pine, unfinished (from what I could tell), cool hardware and legs, completely sturdy and for the grand price of $300 (delivered!), I was SOLD.
As the woman was showing me the chairs, she pointed out the Aztec/Santa Fe/SW fabric. I immediately said "Oh those are getting covered immediately..." Unbenounced to me, she had her husband recently recover them... Oops!! Typical Sierra. But seriously:
No. Just no.

Here is the table in my garage (the lighting is a little weird but you get the idea).
Check out those stems.
I loved the top, and knew immediately that I wanted to paint the chairs/legs of the table a nice rich cream and stain the top as dark as I could to match my kitchen cabinets.
-Flat paint of desired shade (mine: Irish Cream Signature Valspar from Lowe's)
-Non-Sanded Grout
-Paint Brush
-Mixing Sticks
-Minwax "Natural" Finishing Wax
-Sandpaper (and sander, worth it's weight in gold if you ask me!)
-Wood Stain (I used "KONA" by Rustoleum at Lowe's)
-Sock/Bag (for staining)
-Staples/Staple Gun (For reupholstering chairs)
-Fabric (for reupholstering seat cushions, I got mine at Hobby Lobby's interior design fabric on Clearance, $13/yard, for reference, 2 1/4 yards was just enough for 6 cushions)
GRAND TOTAL OF TABLE + $75 in supplies put me right at $375 for the EXACT TABLE I had pictured in my head since I began my quest to get this table.
You just cannot beat that.
The Process:
1. I started with the chairs. I unscrewed each cushion and glued anything that looked like it needed it (which was probably a waste of time, they were all completely sturdy, but for my own peace of mind, I thought, why not?)
2. I laid a cushion on the interior design fabric (soil/stain resistant!) and cut out enough to cover atleast 5" on each side. (6 times).
Absolutely love this print.
3. I got to work stapling the fabric to the cushion, pulling taughtly each time I stapled. The easiest way to do this is to go clockwise adding 2 staples to each side before turning until you reach the corners. Then make "hospital corners" and staple flat (just like the aztec print is shown).

4. Next, I took on the task of staining the table top. But first, I sanded it evenly with a 120 grade grit sand paper and my Ryobi sander (INVEST IN THIS.)

5. After coming home from my second trip to Lowe's (since I had forgotten to get the stain the first time, d'oh!) I realized I had forgotten to get heavy duty gloves. My solution? Mini trash bag under the hubby's old sock. Worked like a charm!
Mini trash bag + Old Sock =Stain applicator

Looks silly, but worked SO well!

6. I continued to add stain every few hours as it dried. Don't get discouraged if your stain looks super light the first few coats, just be sure to add it evenly and be patient while it dries. Keep adding stain and eventually you'll get the shade you want. I used just that tiny can and it was just enough to reach the Kona dark shade I wanted.
7. Between staining, I started chalk paining the chairs, then the table legs. I used the recipe I also used on THIS PROJECT.
For every 1 Cup add 1 Tbsp. Non-Sanded Grout and mix well. Then start painting away.
I did 2 coats and it was perfect, super thick and creamy.
8. I let it thoroughly dry overnight then used my sander to distress the painted chairs and table legs. I just went around it all, anything that looked too perfect I attacked. It was quite liberating.
9. Finally, I used the sleeves cut off an old white t shirts to apply the finishing wax, which really brought out the distress marks and soaked into the wood. I applied 2 coats of it, especially to the table top.
(Not pictured: My husband screwed the seat cushions back on the chairs, thanks Jerrod!)
And this is how I set it up in my dining room:

I absolutely love how it turned out. In fact, I'd venture to say this is probably my proudest accomplishment in all my creative endeavors. I think the reason I am most proud of it is that it had been in my mind for so long, and finally came to fruition. I really couldn't be happier with it.

I rearranged my furniture to better suit the space so my next order of business is to find a buffet that will go in the dining room behind the table on the long wall, I already have the paint for it, so stay tuned for that!
I hope you enjoyed this how-to!