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Memories of large family gatherings transform a dining table into more than just a slab of wood on four legs. Close your eyes and picture the father of the family standing at the head of the table carving knife in hand ready to slice the Thanksgiving turkey. The sound of laughter fills the air. And you are surrounded by the feelings of love and companionship that a close-knit family can bring.
A table may be where the family dines nightly telling one another what happened during their day or it could be reserved just for special family occasions where many gather around it. Either way, the dining table can turn into a symbol of joyful times spent together.
Unfortunately, I was born a few years too late and missed out on holiday dinners with the entire family in attendance. But I've seen pictures and heard stories of the meals that took place at this very table I'm sharing with you today. (One such story even explains why there are now only five of the six chairs left to this dining set and how my father was "to blame.")
The antique table and chairs were given to my grandparents many years ago by someone who was purchasing a new set and needed to get rid of the old. And years later, my grandma passed it onto my mom when another donated set was coming her way.
Back in the early days of my blog, I had mentioned that one of my upcoming projects was going to be repainting this antique dining table. The wood had been stained very dark and was in drastic need of some updating and cleaning. The chairs were upholstered in a vinyl fabric, which I'm sure was practical at the time but not exactly my choice for farmhouse decor. This is the only before picture that I have.....
Fixing up the table turned into a project that literally took decades to finish. Stripping wood down to it's natural state is not a fun job and actually completing the table for use kept getting pushed aside. After being in our basement for years with a semi-stripped tabletop, I made the decision to forget stripping it all and paint the base and chairs instead with my DIY chalk paint. Everything had been refinished before, so I wasn't damaging a priceless, untouched antique.
Painting the table, by the way, was the best decision ever and not just because I didn't want to do anymore sanding and removing the stain! I love the contrast of the wood tabletop with the painted and distressed legs. An entirely stained table and chairs would have been way too much wood for this tiny space.
Because of the painted finish, you notice the beautiful turned legs even more now.
The detail pops out of the chunky trim underneath the tabletop.
And I'm totally smitten with the little wood wheels at the bottom of each of leg.
It was pure luck that beautiful wood was hiding out under all the grime and stain on the tabletop. Once it was completely stripped and sanded a bit, all the wood needed was about 10 coats of polyurethane for protection. No staining required, thank goodness....that is a process for me that ranks up there with stripping wood! The table top is old and split in a few places, but in my opinion that just adds amazing character. All I see here is beauty.
After a couple coats of a creamy white chalk paint and some distressing, the base and chairs were protected with Miss Mustard Seed's clear furniture wax applied with a rag. I love this product, but it is especially great for white painted wood because it doesn't leave a yellow tint like some waxes or polyurethane. I love the smell of it, too, but that's just me.
The chairs still need to be reupholstered in padding and some gray floral fabric my mom picked up at Hobby Lobby. For now the bare wood seats are working just fine.
There is another leaf to the table that needs to be stripped and have the coats of polyurethane applied. And chair number five needs to be painted, waxed, and upholstered. But after close to 20 years in various stages of completeness, the table is finally in the dining room and being used again.
I love that it can be fully enjoyed and maybe once again hold at least a few family members for a special dinner......complete with the laughing and turkey.
I'd love to know....Do you have any fond remembrances of being gathered around the dinner table with your family? And what memories are you creating now?
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