Monday, November 9, 2009

Decoranza I: Dine and Dish

The whole purpose of a dining room is to have an intimate place where you can get together with your friends, family, or neighbors to eat, drink, chat, play games, etc. I would venture to say that these activities could be quite difficult with out a dining room table.

We were lucky enough to have a table on loan from my parents for a few years. Then, when my mom said she wanted to give it to my grandparents to replace their old one, who was I to say no? Justin and I occasionally used it, but we aren't the type to be throwing dinner parties a la Bree from Desperate Housewives. That's how we found ourselves with an empty dining room. Here's a photo of the room with the loaner.

From February on, this room was empty and it didn't matter that much to us, since we didn't use it all the time. However, I still kept my eyes peeled for a new table. Luckily, I found one shortly after and fell in love with it, but the budget didn't allow it at that time, so I made a mental note to keep checking back in the future to make sure it was still there. Unfortunately, not more than two months later, on one of my visits to the store, I noticed that it was gone. I begged the sales woman to find me one at another store and she regrettably told me that it had been discontinued and there were none left in the system. Not only did I leave the store in sadness, but I was also mad at myself for not checking back sooner because I probably could have scored it on sale.

The next table that I found is the new Stockholm table at Ikea.

I love the shape, tapered legs, and especially the chairs that go with it, BUT I do not like the color, at all. I figured that if we were going to spend over $1,000 on furniture, it should be perfect. So I asked the sales assistant if it came in another color (please, dark brown or black!) and she told me no. So I asked if it was going to be available in another color in the future and she said no. So, that was a no go. Here's the table and chairs.

But, I did not give up hope and I wasn't actively looking...though, I still checked out the tables at nearly every store I entered. And up until a turning point, I had yet to find the perfect one at the right price. So, when I was strolling through my local Goodwill one day, I felt like I was struck with lightning when I turned to see this beauty.

The table is nearly identical to the Ikea table, but a much older model. I too love its shape and chairs, but the color would have to be corrected. I circled it, rapped it with my knuckles, sat in the chairs, almost cried when I found out it came with a leaf, tested out the mechanics of removing and inserting the leaf, inspected each and every angle, and decided this was the one. I grabbed the tickets and walked right up to the register, not stopping to look at anything else. Must. Buy. Immediately.

Hopefully by now, you know that I am one to score major deals and this was no exception. The table was $14.99 and each chair (5) was $4.99, I also used my frequent Goodwill shopper card (saving an additional 10%), AND I had a 15% birthday coupon from the month of May still setting up a campfire in my purse. The total for the entire set was--drumroll, please--$32.85. Not too shabby. Now, the hard part, breaking the news to my unsuspecting husband.


Whew! That talk went much easier than I thought, and thanks to my awesome friend Mike, from Cutting Crew (remember I talked about the amazing job he did installing our patio), I had it home the next day where it was time to get down and dirty.

First order of business, remove the seat cushions, in five minutes flat. We flipped each chair over, unscrewed the bolts, and removed the seat cushions so that I could reupholster them in something more up-to-date and less blue.

Then we stripped the dirt, grime, and finish off all wood surfaces with Zinsser Strip Fast Furniture Refinisher and some metal wool scrubbers. Making sure no residue was left from the refinisher, we wiped everything down with a wet rag.

Then we gave her an all-over light sanding, wiped her down again, and she was ready for paint. We applied three thin coats of semi-gloss Behr paint in Bitter Chocolate to make sure all surfaces were evenly covered. The spindles on the chair backs were quite challenging, but we pushed through and in about a week everything was ready for a top coat.

For the clear sealant (to protect against water damage) I picked up spray and liquid versions of semi-gloss Varathane outdoor Spar Urethane. I wanted to make sure all surfaces were completely sealed so I used the spray on the chairs and table legs, and rolled the liquid on the table. I made a small error when putting the last coat on the top and rolled on too much, so I grabbed a clean paint brush and in long strokes, in the direction with the wood grain, brushed a little bit off. This resulted in a slightly textured looking finish that I am very happy with. Some people may call it a happy accident!

Here's the lil' lady resting in her permanent spot in our before-the-decoranza dining room.

This project was a blast and kept my weekends occupied for weeks. It may look hard, but anyone can do it with patience and a DIY attitude. If you have more detailed questions about how we did something, shoot us an email or post a comment below, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next dining room decoranza post!

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