However, aside from my lucrative ad money, there are some genuinely cool opportunities that crop up as a result of this little blog, which is what to lead to today's post / me fulfilling a dream of getting paid to work on furniture for other people. So when local reader Rebecca approached me for help with updating a flea market find, I jumped at the opportunity.
The table was adorable, just in need of some TLC. The stamping underneath indicated that it was Lane, but I was not able to find a year or style. At about 28" high, its a perfect little side table, and I die at the little metal heart trim:
I suspect the varnish was to help even out the top, which was made of a very knotty wood, inexplicably laid in like pizza slices? I too love original wood, but the texture of this particular piece just didn't strike a chord with me.
So, to get to work. First, I wanted to start with that heart trim. It was adorable, but seemed to have lost its luster over the years. It was so covered in grime that I couldn't tell exactly what kind of metal it was, so I decide to whip up a very gentle cleaner to try and restore some luster. I mixed together baking soda and water to make a paste, then added just a splash of vinegar (this added just enough of a foamy texture that could let the mixture sit on the metal directly for a minute before scrubbing away. Don't add too much, we all have made enough grade school volcanoes to know how that ends.)
Once I saw that it was holding up to the abuse of the mixture/toothbrush pretty well, I brought out the big guns- magic erasers. They didn't seem to be tarnishing at all, or taking off any kind of finish, but were making a huge difference in restoring the trim. About 4 or 5 Magic Erasers and three ramekins of my special cleaning concoction later, the original charm was shining through.
Okay, onto the painting. Rebecca wanted something to coordinate with her current space, work in her love of Rifle Paper Co, and a particular fondness for the pattern of her favorite phone case:
But before any of that could happen, this baby needed a serious sanding. I started hand-sanding, just to get into all the nooks and crannies, but no level of elbow grease was getting through the layer of gloss.
Time to bust out the big guns. My brother had an extra power sander and gave me his old one, which I am forever grateful for (thanks, Toph!). Even still, it took two sheets of sandpaper to not only get through the varnish, but to level out the very knotty table top. Totally worth it though, because once sanded, the table took paint so smoothly and in just two very light coats.
I used Benjamin Moore's Witching Hour, which is a very dark, dusty grey. It appears a bit navy in this photo, but it actually doesn't have any blue to it, and is the perfect dark grey. Look how sexy that metal trim looks, all polished and gleaming, next to the sleek matte grey legs. Mmm baby, save some for dessert. Let's get an in-progress side by side?
And then it came time to paint the top. I used Martha Stewart Satin Acrylics, and this picture gives you a little better idea of the colors, since in some of these pictures, the light blue reads as white.
There aren't a lot of in-progress pictures of this step, because it was just a matter of sitting down and painting and continuing to add leaves and shit until the tabletop looked complete without being too crowded or busy, leaving us here -
And one overhead shot for you, because this post needs more pictures...
Okay, and one last side-by-side, because I love those.
So the verdict is in, and working on furniture for other people is just as much fun as I thought it would be. Thank you to Rebecca for being a great client! If anyone in Chicago is looking to update flea market finds (or if you are not-so-local and would like consultation!), contact me at email@example.com. I'd love to work with you.