Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

And these tables, like I suspect many of our Hollywood beauties, have had a little (or a lot) of work done.  This redo could easily be classified as a comedy of errors.  Holy smokes anything that I could have screwed up on...I did.  I am an overachiever that way.

These awesometastic tables were a craigslist freebie, and while the hubs, Señor Hotness, wasn't a huge fan of them for our family room he couldn't argue with free, especially when its solid wood.  The lady said I could just have them if I came to pick them up once she found out I had five kiddos (which is proudly announced in my email signature) because her move was imminent, she needed her stuff gone, and she too was a mom of five.  Wahoo, having a bunch of kids saves the day again!  These tables weren't the only score that day.  When I got there she had a room full of stuff that was free for the taking.  So I scored these two end tables, with matching coffee table, decorative glass canisters, assorted sized wicker baskets, and two chairs with the prettiest lines covered in the most awful golden vinyl the 1970's had to offer.  Its the stuff dreams are made of my friends.  You hear of people scoring crazy awesome freebies, and turning them into the coolest stuff.  This was my shot!

Señor Hotness, didn't want them not because they weren't awesome, but because about two years ago I had acquired a few antiques that got a face lift that were currently stashed in our "formal" living area.

You can see where his concerns were coming from.  The new tables were a slightly smaller version of these.

So anyone who knows me in real life knows that I have what some could classify as an intense case of supreme laziness with an acute case of procrastination.  So because I have an unhealthy love of Pinterest I had decided that to save myself the time and labor of having to lightly sand, prime, re-sand, paint, antique and seal, that I would try chalk paint.  I have seen so many things about DIY chalk paint all over bloglandia, and I thought score, I can do this and that eliminates a few steps in my process.  Its a win/win right?

So I looked up a recipe for chalk paint made with plaster of paris.  I have been on a blue/gray streak here lately, and opted to paint them the gray we had used in a few rooms in our house.  Waste not want not right?  No...just no.  The color that looked so fabulous on our walls looked all sickly and almost white on my tables.  Not what I was going for, and it was at that time I was stumped.  I had hit a creativity wall.  A block if you will...that lasted five months.

So when I came back to them I decided to come at them from a different angle.  I decided to stop putting off the inevitable and get the tops sanded down, and ready for stain.  

I love when the old gross color comes off, and if you look carefully you will see my new sander.  This was its inaugural run.  If you look even closer at the picture you can most certainly see that kids live at my house, and are just as messy piglets outside as they can be inside.

The sanding process wasn't without it challenges.

The "challenges" were all crazy cute though.

Once the top was completely sanded I decided to try something new.  You might start seeing a pattern here.  Anytime I "try something new" its a one step forward two steps back process.  I had decide that instead of the intense brown you get from using Minwax's Dark Walnut stain I wanted a grayer more washed out brown.  Something with a more weathered look.  So I started with a light gray stain called Driftwood that is put out by Rustoleum.

It doesn't show up very well in the pictures, and it is incredibly subtle on the wood.  I have used this technique on some wooden crates I've been working with here lately.  However instead of following up the light gray with the dark walnut like I did with my crates I decided to use a different dark wood stain that we had on hand.  To save the Dark Walnut for the crates that I still had to do.  Just a heads up peeps.  Just use the colors you want from the get go, and don't try to save yourself from having to shell out an additional $5 for another container of stain.  So big mistake number two commenced when I used Minwax's Provincial stain.

It doesn't show in the picture as much, but the final color this round was a sickly color.  If I was trying to make my awesome tables look like they had been constructed out of sickly diseased wood, mission accomplished.  I was ready to pull out my hair.  I would not let this redo beat me though.  So instead of taking another five month sabbatical to regroup.  I decided to just soldier on.  

Okay so these tables have a very french provincial look about them, but I wanted them to have a little funk to them too.  So anyone with an active Pinterest account would know how incredibly hot chevrons are right now.  So that was the next step I took.  I thought if I used an off white paint on top then stained over it with the Dark Walnut it would make it look similar to the inlaid wood pattern from my other tables, but just a whole lot less subtle.

I loved the way it looked, but then it was time to address the edges.  I will say I painstakingly sanded down all the curved edges on the tables I did two years ago, and that was such a stinking pain that I opted to try a painted edge on this one.  I was going to repaint the bottom a darker gray so I thought a black around the edge would be perfect.

It was at this time that I should have been honest with myself that while the chevrons on top looked awesome, the color didn't go with the over color scheme I had gone with on the rest of the table.  Again though I'm lazy and was in denial about what the overall finished product would look like.

So I had gone back to the drawing board on the color, and came across a darker gray made by krylon. They have premixed quarts of krylon in a limited assortment of colors in walmart so I snagged one for about $5.  Then it was a round two DIY chalk paint.  This time in the darker gray.  It turned out great. 

The chalk paint dries so much faster than your standard latex so after I had finished painting one table  the other one was dry, and ready for a second coat.  After two coats it still had a very few areas where there was a slight bit of the former color peaking through.  I opted to leave this because I thought it would add more dimension to the over all finished piece, and add a little something extra when I antiqued it.  I allowed the paint to dry for several hours, and took to Facebook.  Hoping that people might help me believe that the now cream colored chevron on top matched somehow the gray and black of the rest.  Then I decided to get one antiqued to see if that might make the top look less weird.  I antiqued them using dark brown glaze.  I dry brushed it on with a super cheapo brush from walmart.  Those are the best in my opinion when dry brushing, and glazing.  

No such luck on the antiquing finish making the top match.  So I just decided to fix it rather than let it mock me from under its sealed layer.  Knowing that I would be too lazy to ever fix it later.

Ta-Da!  I loved it so much.  It finally looked exactly how I wanted it to.  I even dry brushed some dark brown glaze on the chevron to more fully match the bottom.  I went to get the drawer pulls out that I had spray painted a oil rubbed bronze to see what the overall finished product would be.  It was then that I realized that I had accidentally...painted the drawers closed.  Now before you judge to harshly, the drawers on these tables were not removable.  I have never in my life encountered that, but there you have it.  Which is why I have a picture like this...

I was panicky about this new turn of events.  Would the drawers be purely decorative forever more?  How would I get the drawer pulls attached?  Would hot glue make them stay, or would the kids pull those off trying to open the drawers I had accidentally painted shut?  Mostly I was afraid that getting them functional again would ruin my finish, and then I'd have to fix it, and I was ready to be done with this redo.  

The panicking was purely unjustified though.  Señor Hotness came home, and with a quick wack both drawers were opening and the finish was fine.  See prayers are answered.

Now I just need to put them in place, and enjoy that I was able to salvage the DIY project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

THE END (cyber brownies if you made it this far)