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Farm Table Makeover

I've had the same dining room table for 30 years.
Yep, you read that right!

30 years ago, in the fall of 1986 after my youngest daughter was born,
my husband undertook the largest furniture project he had done at that point
and built me a pine 'Shaker style' 7 foot by 4 foot dining table... and two long benches.
It was my Christmas present that year, and I loved it. 
I have loved it ever since, and I always will....

continue reading to see the 'before and after' transformation!
the back story:
This table has been in every single home I have lived in since then.
It has hosted all of our family celebrations, marathon 'Great Cookie Bake' sessions,
was where the kids did homework and I did my crafting & sewing of color guard flags,
and served as the perch for many a family photo sessions.

It is one of my treasures, one of the few things from my 'old life' that I still have,
and I am delighted to have it out of storage and back in the place I live.
I look at it every day and happy memories fill my head and heart.

It's been through a LOT of changes over the years - 
from being a 'Shaker style' table with breadboard ends to having a new squared maple edge, 
and five - count 'em - FIVE sets of legs:
tapered shaker legs, turned maple legs, rough 6X6 square fence post legs,
SAWHORSE LEGS (a temporary 'fix' when we moved in here) 
and now another set of turned maple legs.
When we moved here, I wanted the table in the new house -
but it had no legs. (I didn't haul those 6X6 posts from Seattle)
so I bought two new sawhorses at Lowes and sat the table top on them.
Not pretty, really, but functional!
TOP TIP: use flat doors on sawhorses to create extra tables for the holidays!

I also cheated and used folding metal chairs covered in Pottery Barn cotton chair slipcovers...
until we finally found the linen-upholstered button-back chairs and barstools we really wanted.
...and then I found the legs. Only.... they aren't legs. They're stair newel posts!
They originally had about 6" more on each end, which was cut off so the height would be correct.
I actually wish they were a BIT chunkier, but it's ok... 
I can always change them again later!

When this table was new, it was a very pale pine with a clear finish. Over the years, it aged.
And the aging wasn't pretty. (isn't THAT the truth about aging??!!!) 
I never liked the way it became kinda' orange-y - 
however, there's a reason that I never refinished it:
My four children and my oldest grandson all sat at this table. 
They all colored and drew and wrote with pencils at - and ON - this table.
Those marks, those indentations in the soft pine wood, are like a diary of my life.
There are SO many memories in those 'scratches'
that I could not fathom sanding the old finish off, because they would disappear.
So I left it alone.

Recently, I decided that I COULD refinish it in a way that refreshed the LOOK
but left the history intact!
Yeaaaaap. PAINT!
With a thin, dry-brushed coat of flat white paint on top, sealed with a satin clear finish, 
the scratches and marks still show up -
they're not covered over or filled in, and that makes me VERY happy!
I couldn't paint a thicker coat and then sand it off, or it would affect the markings...
so I did my best to vary the dry paint application on the planks, giving it a varied aged look.

The apron and legs got several coats of satin white paint,
and now my table looks fresh and clean and farmhouse-y, a perfect fit for our home:
It looks terrific with the medium brown wood-look ceramic tile floor.
It looks terrific surrounded by those linen chairs.
It looks terrific with the faux rust painted chandelier hanging over it.
And in a week, it's gonna' look FABulous with Holiday decor on it!
(right now, it's covered with stacks and piles of paper ornaments that I just made),

It might be a bit of a shock for my eldest daughter, who will be here at Christmas,
to see this table looking so different than it always has...
but it's still the table her Dad built. It's still the table we all 'lived' around.
It still shows the proof of our history. It's just had a little botox to freshen it up! 

So here's my thought, friends....
live with the things you love. 
Live with the things that bring back happy memories, 
that tell your story and share your history.
Just don't get stuck thinking that you can never change anything about it...
because there's almost always a way you can give an old item a new lease on life.

Makeovers as simple as this one don't take a lot of time or materials,
they just take imagination!


  1. Your table is beautiful, Deb! And I think paint highlights the imperfections you wanted to keep...making them special keepsakes!