Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bringing New Life to a Family Heirloom

      We have a drop leaf table that was given to us by my in laws. It is a very study piece of furniture that had been made by my husband's grandfather, but truth be told, it had seen better days. The finish on the top of the table was worn and had some water stains. It also had a long crack that extended along most of the table top.  Although it showed damage from years of use, I was always hesitant to do anything to the finish since it was made by Dave's grandfather. I just didn't feel right about changing a family heirloom. After refinishing several other pieces of furniture however, and seeing how they could be brought back to their former beauty, I decided to give the long neglected table the attention it deserved. Here is the "before" photo of the table...

 Our first job was to fill the crack with wood filler and then sand the top. As soon as we began, all feelings of doubt I had had about doing anything to the table diminished. It is  a treasured piece that had been in Dave's family for years, and although we were going to change it's appearance, we were going to enhance it's beauty, not diminish the sentimental value. Here's a look at the table with the leaves extended, the crack repaired, and the top partially sanded...
After a much deliberation, I decided to paint it with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in a color she calls linen. Linen is another neutral color of this milk paint brand, but it is considered the cream color of the three options, whereas grain sack (which is the top color I used when refinishing the toy chest) is described as" a chameleon color that looks different depending on what is around it". The grain sack color can look white or sometimes gray, but the linen color has warm undertones and is more of a creamy white. There is also a third neutral that is called ironstone, and it is a cooler off-white that is considered the closest color to a pure white in this line. I am having fun experimenting with all of the options that are available.
      I ended up using four coats of linen on this table, because I was painting over such a dark stain color with a light colored paint. I did not use the bonding agent this time, and the paint had minimal chipping occur on the table top since it had been sanded prior to painting. However chipping did happen on the areas that I did not do any prep work to.  I liked the distressed look that occurred as I wanted to maintain the aged appearance of the table. Unfortunately, Dave wasn't crazy with the look. We were hoping to have some chipping happen, as we wanted to pay homage to the history of the piece, but in the end he wasn't thrilled with the sharp contrast between the two colors... 

To minimize the difference between the original dark stain and the light paint color, I applied a finishing coat of hemp oil over the entire table, but I  added a coat of white wax over the ares that had some chipping occur. This gave the stained base color more of a white washed effect and softened the contrast slightly.
 We really ended up liking how the finished piece turned out. We currently have it against the back of a love seat separating the living room from our dining room. For now it acts as a "sofa table" but is readily available if we need to extend the leaves and use it for extra seating when family and friends come to visit. I am really glad I decided to take the plunge and redo this heirloom piece of furniture. It still has an authentic aged appearance, but the chipped shabby chic look is much nicer than the old worn and water stained finish that it formerly had. Now I love having it an area where it can be appreciated and utilized, whereas before I felt the need to have it out of the way and the top always covered to hide the damaged area. I've changed the items I have displayed on the table a few times since I finished painting it, but the one thing that I have consistently kept on it is a tatted doily that my grandmother made. Tatting isn't a craft that I see a lot of any more, and I wish I had had my grandmother teach me how to do it. I especially love that both the doily and table can be displayed together. Although my children never got to know either of these great grandparents, having these items in our home, shows them what skilled artisans some of their ancestors were.

By the way, I am linking this project up to the Milk Paint Masterpiece Monday party at the Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Blog. I am really learning to enjoy using this line of milk paint and Marian's two blog sites are always full of inspiring ideas..
I am also linking up with Angie from Knick of Time, to join her and some of her blogging friends for their Vintage Inspiration Party...be sure to stop by. 
Please visit My Salvaged Treasures as I will be joining their link party too.
Be sure to stop by the Get Your DIY On Link Party hosted by Abby at Just A Girl And Her Blog and 4 other great bloggers, as I will be joining that party as well. Their monthly parties are always full of inspirational ideas.


1 comment:

  1. What a difference, it's so full of life now. Love your color choice! Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.