Refinishing Kitchen Table with Chalk Paint and Stain - Farmhouse Table Video Tutorial

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Hi friends! A lot has happened since I last posted on here. First things firsts, the Muscaris are now Tennesseans! We sold our house in Illinois in June and moved to Franklin, Tenn. Needless to say, things have been a bit crazy for me unpacking and settling into a new home. 

I finally had a little down time and was able to wrap up a video tutorial of the last project I did in our old house. My husband scored this amazing dumpster dive find back in April, a Pottery Barn table! I gave it a farmhouse spin, and it's now our new kitchen table.

I'll give you a few details down below, but check out the my video to see how to create this look for yourself.

I did a new finish for me on this table top using Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain.

in the color Sunbleached. It's a beautiful finish that gives you that driftwood look that is gray but also lets some of that natural wood goodness shine through. I've worked with this stain before, but this was a new color for me. It is super pigmented, so I only had to do one coat, and it dries fast too. I used my new go to topcoat to seal it, General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Flat.

For the apron, I used the same technique I did on my last kitchen table makeover. I painted it with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and distressed the whole surface with a 400 grit sandpaper. I love this paint so much because there is no need to sand or strip your furniture. I didn't seal it with wax or topcoat because I love the chalky finish the paint has, and the apron doesn't get the wear that the table top does. I did the same finish on my last kitchen table, and it held up pretty well with my kids who are some of the messiest people alive. I just use warm water to wipe it up.

All these shots were taken in our old home in Illinois. It looks even better in our new house in Tennessee!

More projects are on the way! I can't wait to share them with you and some shots of our new home. And don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don't miss any of my tutorials and reviews.

Pauly D Foundation Auction Winner

Hi friends! It's been awhile since I have blogged about it, but I have been busy painting this spring. Today, I've popped in to share a reveal with you from earlier this year. This table is one of the most dramatic makeovers I've done in a while, and it was my first time working with the much raved about General Finishes Java Gel Stain.

Last fall, I donated a service to a fundraiser for our dear friends' foundation, the Pauly D Foundation. After tragically losing their son in an accidental drowning, the Pauly D Foundation was established to advocate for water safety and drowning prevention. Their vision is to make a difference by raising the bar on water safety education and awareness. I was happy to donate to such a wonderful cause. The lucky winner contacted me early in 2017, and we went right to work bringing life back to her much used dining table.


The top was in rough shape from years of use and the grandkids had given it their own special touch by carving their names in the apron with a pencil. It was definitely time to show this table some love. My client settled on a two tone look with a dark espresso top and white distressed apron. I have been intrigued by General Finishes Gel Stain for a while now. The way it works is that you can stain right over an existing finish, but this top had a lot of peeling and cracking. I decided to sand down the entire top and work with staining the raw wood for an even, clean finish.

I used my trusty Dewalt Random Orbit Sander that I always talk up on here. I started with a 60 Grit pad to knock off the existing finish and followed with a 150 grit pad to smooth it out before staining.

General Finishes has some great videos on how to work with their gel stain on YouTube. After watching them, I went to work. This is a picture after I put on the first coat of gel stain in Java. I found the whole process really easy.

I did two coats of stain and finished it off with General Finishes Gel Top Coat. I did three coats of top coat. And again, you can see the whole process by watching General Finish's video on gel stain on raw wood.

Once I completed the top, and gave it a few days to cure. I taped off the top and painted the apron and legs with Annie Sloan Old White. I used a 400 grit sand paper to smooth down the entire surface which let some of the original finish peek through. Then I finished the painted portions with Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear.






It turned out just beautiful, and General Finishes now has a new fan!

The Pauly D Foundation is such a great cause, and I'm sure I will help out next year. If you have a service in the Chicagoland area or goods that you would like to donate to this fall's fundraiser, use my Contact tab to shoot me an email. I'll get you in touch with them!

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The Making of a Farmhouse Table

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I have wanted to make over my kitchen table into a farmhouse table for a while now, but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it. Then when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Blue Egg Brown Nest, I fell in love with her kitchen table transformation. I knew I wanted something very similar, so I set to work.
My inspiration courtesy of Christen Bensten at Blue Egg Brown Nest.

Here is what I was starting with. We bought this table from the previous owners of our home in Indiana. They were downsizing, so we were able to purchase a lot of their furniture at a great price. This table was in really good shape, but I was never a fan of the table top's finish. It was too orange for my taste, and the varnish was very dull which means it did not wipe up well. The chairs were pretty oversized and looked a little out of place in our small dining space. 

And here she is now- light and bright. I just love the worn, farmhouse look of the table with the white metal chairs. It totally fits with my white kitchen, and I love the contrast it creates with my dark stained island.
white farmhouse table

I would love to tell you how easy this project was, but I am into telling the truth on this blog and not whitewashing (pun intended) the details. I decided I wanted to try to strip off the black paint on the apron and legs of the table, stain it a weathered oak color, and then do a coat of white paint on top. I wanted natural wood coming through versus the black. This turned into a big mess that I will save for another post where I will talk about using chemical paint stripper. To be honest, I am still scarred from this process, and it is just too soon to talk about it without getting red in the face or breaking out in tears.


So let's jump ahead. Here is my table stripped down to bare wood (or as close as I could get it). I used my Dewalt Orbit Sander for the table top, and it worked beautifully. It only took me about 30 minutes to strip the whole top using a 60 grit sandpaper disc. After I was done, I wiped it down with a tack cloth and went over the table again with a 220 grit sandpaper disc and wiped it down one more time. My table top is a veneer which means there is a very thin layer of wood on top of a pressed board or particle board, so I had to be careful not to sand right through the veneer.


After using two different chemical paint strippers and my orbital sander on the apron and legs, this is as close to natural wood I was going to get without losing my mind and my nose hairs. Stripping paint off of wood that was raw at its application, especially black paint, is pretty impossible, but let's save that for another post. I am starting to get angry, and you wouldn't like me when I am angry.

To stain the base of the table, I used Varathane Wood Stain which is a new product for me. It is really different from Minwax stain which is what I typically use. It is thicker, almost paint like and works a lot faster. I wiped it off only a couple minutes after I applied it. I was pretty nervous at first because the Varathane Early American was very different from Minwax Special Walnut. It was super orangey, but a coat of the Varathan Weathered Gray mellowed it out quite nicely. Phew!
1st Coat - Varathane Early American Wood Stain
2nd Coat - Varathane Weathered Gray Wood Stain

While my stain dried, I tackled the table top. I used the same technique Christen from Blue Egg Brown Nest used on the inspiration table, dark wax on raw wood. She got this idea from  another princess of paint, Miss Mustard Seed. They both used Miss Mustard Seed's Antiquing Wax, but I decided to use Annie Sloan Dark Wax because I already had some. 


I took a hammer and screwdriver to the table top before I applied the wax to give it a distressed, worn look. I also left some of the spiral dents from my sander on the table. I applied the wax pretty unevenly to give it a farmhouse look and then wiped down the excess with a lint free cloth as I went. The color is just perfect! The dark wax on raw wood has such a beautiful patina.This was the most satisfying part of this project by far, and since the wax works as a sealant, I did not use a protective coat like a polyurethane or polycrylic on top of it.

After I let the stain dry for 24 hours, I did a very light coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in my go to color, Old White. Once that dried, I did some light distressing with 220 grit sandpaper to get some more of that natural wood to show through. Since I worked so hard to get that weathered oak color, I didn't want to completely cover it up. I decided not to wax the base at all and left it chalky just like the inspiration table.

I finished off the look with six white metal bistro chairs from Amazon at a great price. They wipe up so easily which is just perfect for my season in life with my three little mess makers.

chalk paint





farmhouse table



We have been using the table for about a month now and the finish is holding up which is something I was worried about. Since it takes 30 days for the wax to cure, I made sure to not keep anything on the table for an extended period of time. It wasn't that hard. We just would clean up right after we ate and did most of our projects and homework at the counter.

I am only using hot water and maybe a little soap if needed to wipe up the table. This might freak you germophobs out. I don't have raw chicken on my table, so I am okay with not wiping it down with a disinfectant or chemicals. I think it is okay to use a Clorox wipe if need be every now and then. I just don't want to over do it. 

This was a project a long time in the making, but I am really pleased with the results. Do you have a table you would like to turn into a farmhouse dream? Does this post scare you or inspire you? I hope inspiration wins out in the end!


Walmart Kitchen Table Makeover


walmart kitchen table

I am so pregnant, but I managed to sneak in one more client job before we welcome this baby to the fold. Today, we will be looking at a makeover I did for a client who just bought her first home. She is looking to make it her own without breaking the bank and wanted to start with this table and benches she got from Walmart.com. I know some of you might be skeptical about buying furniture from Walmart, but this set is really well made and all wood at an affordable price. Honestly, it is a great set as is, but she wanted to give it a little more character, so we decided to lighten and distress it up. The result is a cozy, little farmhouse table.
chalk paint kitchen table farmhouse

The top of the table had a great butcher block finish, so we decided not to touch that and just focus on the apron and legs. As with all my client pieces, I used Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. We went with one of my favorites and a classic, Old White. Followed with lots of distressing with a 150 grit sandpaper and finished off with Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear. I used a tiny amount of a 1:1 mix of Annie Sloan Soft Wax in dark and clear on the detailing of the legs of both the table and benches to make the aging and distressing look more natural. Cutting the dark wax with clear softens the look as opposed to using it at full strength. I highly recommend this when applying over Old White or your piece may become too muddy.  
annie sloan

annie sloan old white

annie sloan chalk paint farmhouse table

I love the way the detail of the legs pop once you lighten them up. The black hid those beautiful curves. What do you think? Are we crazy for painting a brand new piece? We don't think so!

Why Buy New When You Can Make Craigslist Furniture Look this Good

A while back I shared an Antique Kitchen Table makeover with you that was painted with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in the color Coco. This table was so beautiful, I was really bummed that I didn't get to do a proper photo shoot with it and the chairs I refinished to complete the set. Recently, my client was gracious enough to send some pictures of this beauty in her home, and I am super excited to share them with you.

Just as a refresher, here is what the table and chairs looked like before I started. The table was a true antique and the chairs where more modern and originally from Pier1. They were completely different colors and styles both found on Craigslist. By painting them the same color, we were able to achieve a cohesive set which is great news for you other flea market and Craigslist hunters.


Here is the completed set all styled and looking gorgeous in its home. I told you my client has amazing taste. Thank you so much to her for giving us a peek into her home!



I don't think anyone should buy brand new furniture for their house. Why should you when you can make something old look this beautiful!