Glad You Stopped By

By day I am a marketing professional for small businesses. I love to find and re-purpose forgotten objects, furniture and household items, turning them into usable stuff. I find interesting items at tag sales, flea markets and sometimes even thrown away along the side of the road. If I can find a use for something, I'll pick it up if it's the right price.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shabby Chic Cottage Coffee Table

I was looking for a new refinishing project this summer and found this coffee table at a beach association tag sale in Old Saybrook, CT. It had been hauled out of the shed and used to showcase items for the sale.  As I moved things off the top of the table to investigate further, the original owner of the cottage, a small woman in her late 80's, began chatting with me as her grandson ran the tag sale.
She shared the history of the little table, telling me that it had been crafted by her husband out of some leftover floorboards used when the cottage was built back in the 40's.  The top boards were a little loose but the base was solid as a rock.  Covered with gray chipping paint, it was hard to tell what would reveal itself when stripped, but that's half the fun.

The underside of the table showed bare wood, rusted brackets and zig-zag fasteners (brads?).  After a little haggling, I purchased the table for $10.

After applying Citristrip stripping gel and waiting a couple of hours the gray paint began to blister nicely and was easily removed, revealing a glimpse of the red paint and also a layer of creamy yellow paint.

I applied a second coat of stripper to remove the yellow paint which transformed my little table into a very red art project.  The third coat of stripper was somewhat effective, but the red paint had definitely seeped into the grain of the wood.
 The scraper was able to remove more of the paint and I began to see some of the imperfections which added character to the table top.
 I used my sander and 3M stripping paper to remove just enough of the red pain, keeping the scrapes and dings intact.
 I chose a maple stain to enhance the red paint.  I applied two coats. You can see a bit of the before and after here.
 The legs and sides were painted using a white gloss latex and I left the edge of the table kind of rustic, exposing some of each layer of paint.  This gave it the true shabby chic look I was after.

The last step was to apply two coats of Glidden polyurethane for durability as the table will most likely travel with my older daughter who will be moving into her first apartment very soon.  She loves cottage style furniture and decided this would be a great living room coffee table.

The finished project!  Sorry about the picture - don't know why it came out blurry.

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