July 30, 2010

The Kitchen Table

Well, here it is. My first domestic* project: our kitchen nook table. Preparing it may have taken me a good part of the week, but it's finally ready to be used. I really had no idea what I was getting into, but this week I learned how to strip paint, clean, sand, stain and paint wood. Like I said, I didn't know what I was getting into. Here is what the table looked like before:
*in a recent convo with katie d, I was encouraged to blog about my first project as a married woman. I'm working on being domestic ;)

A few weeks ago, I saw a post for a "small vintage table" on Craigslist. The couple selling the table noted in their post that they had shared many special meals at it when they were first married. When I went out to Edmonds to pick it up, the husband was outside in the yard, and after a warm welcome, he helped me load the table into my car. While he was helping me, he continued to tell me how special the table was to him and his wife. They hadn't been able to part with it, even after 18 years of marriage. When I told him that I had been married only weeks ago, he beamed. He told me that this table would be a blessing to us ("a table?" I thought, but I guess only time will tell).

When I brought the table home, the size felt perfect, but the cream and blue colors didn't seem quite right. So I turned to the internet for inspiration, and found posts on Design Sponge that gave me the guts to strip the paint and start fresh.

What I didn't know: a) stripping paint is messy! b) stripping paint can be toxic and c) there were coats and coats of mustard yellow paint underneath the top layers. I'll skip all of the messy details, but removing the paint took days, and that yellow just would not go away.

I turned to sanding next, and finally got down to the wood. I probably could have saved hours by leaving the paint on the table's legs (I just painted over the chairs), but I painted the stripped legs with a pale blue-grey color. For the table top, I chose a walnut color stain. I've already started to wish that the paint was a darker, almost slate, grey. Maybe I'll paint over the legs and chairs. Or, then again, maybe not.

And there you have it. A fresh, new table. With a bright green vase and fresh flowers from the Phinney farmer's market, I think she cleans up pretty nice. :)

I'm excited to see if this table will become a special place for Steve and me. Who knows, maybe it'll be around for another 18 years. :)


  1. Great work Rachel, refinishing that thing was your first labor of love with that table...seems like the start of a beautiful relationship ;)

    Can't wait to see it in person! Can Wes and I come over next week?

  2. wow it turned out so beautiful and I just love that it has a sweet story behind it!

  3. Andrew & TessaJuly 31, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Whoa...nice work with the paint stripping and repainting. Last time I did something like that...well its still not done. You can ask us about it sometime...

  4. I love that you found a table with a history and eased that couple's mind about the table having a good home. I'm impressed with your project. Great work!

  5. So glad you posted this project, Rachel! It's inspiring! I LOVE before & afters :)