17 November 2011

Before & After: A Table Makeover

One afternoon when we’d first moved in, my husband and I were unpacking when I stumbled across him trying to tape his hometown flag to the wall...After gently reminding him that we aren’t living in dorms anymore :) I suggested framing it and giving it a proper place of honour in our home. Framing it felt somewhat counter-intuitive to his down home east-coast roots, but he eventually agreed it was a reasonable compromise :) 

The flag is huge so custom framing was out of the question, but I found a beautiful large country-ish frame at IKEA.

Not quite as big as the whole flag, but it would work.We wanted to hang it in the hallway to our bedroom but for the life of us we couldn’t drill through that wall, so the flag ended up in our front entrance.

What started as an idea purely to please my husband (and reassure him that I wasn’t taking over our new place with my decorating obsession!) ended up being a great piece of art that I really love! It may or may not be a bit crooked in the frame..but..well I'm learning to cope. It definitely brings interest to the front hall, and most importantly it’s something really meaningful for him and me. 

Well...I should also admit that putting it up gave me an excuse to search for a console table to use underneath it :)

I saw some I loved at Homesense, but I figured an entry table wasn't a necessity (depending on how you define necessity) so I didn't want to spend much on one at this point. After a month or two of keeping my eye out I finally found something on Kijiji! A gorgeous wood console in need of some tender loving care and a new home : )

It was an amazing deal at only 15 bucks!!! (yes, that warrants three exclamation marks!) Although it was in pretty rough shape when we bought it, and I'll be honest - it did not smell great. The seller was really nice, but my husband and I are just not used to pet odours. The owner’s dog had chewed away at all the edges pretty badly. I forgot to take a pic before sanding but here is some similar damage on a coffee table we bought from the same place.

I had to purify the table according to our Islamic tradition – any Shafis out there can appreciate that task! : )
Then we sanded the whole thing down...as best we could being first time sanders! I borrowed an electric sander from my best friend’s Dad, but I don't think I used it properly because it was leaving scratches on the surface. So I did the rest by hand, although my arms almost fell off in the process...almost, it was a pretty close call, but praise to God they made it through.

I had no idea how to salvage the corners so I just rounded them out with the electric sander.

They're not all perfectly even, but I'm trying to convince myself that perfection is overrated :)

I used some wood filler on the biggest dents.

How come spackling always looks so easy on TV? I'm just hoping it gets easier with practice. A tip for anyone else who tries this for the first time: don’t use too much, and try to get it as smooth as you can while it is still wet. After sanding the whole table, the last thing I wanted to do was a lot more sanding! 
Also, while the filler does take stain, the tone will be slightly off from the real wood.

After prepping the table I applied a wood conditioner.

It's supposed to help with an even stain application. I’m not sure if it helped because I still see some patchiness, but I’ll have to try a project without it someday to see the difference. 

Then I applied a water-based stain & polyurethane combo using a sponge brush.

Anyone know if it’s better to stain and poly separately? And is an oil-based or water-based stain better for an even application?

I liked the colour of the table after one coat, but the top was a bit too patchy so I applied a second coat to the top only. (Plus I ran out of time since I had guests coming over!) At first it was a bit redder than I wanted, but now I actually love the rich warmth of the stain.

I also changed out the handles for something a bit sleeker, but still in keeping with the look of the table. (Ignore the dust! I've been working on another project and there is sanding dust everywhere!)

And voila, a new console table!

It was my first big project and we are really happy with it. The detail in the legs is my favourite thing :)
And I loved the process, it was sooo much fun that I couldn't wait to get started on my next furniture makeover - more on that to come!
In addition to the $15 for the table, I probably spent about $25-30 on the supplies (sandpaper, wood filler, conditioner, stain, brushes, etc), but I did have a ton of everything leftover.

Another before:

And after:

Let me know what you think!

Linking up at:
Coffee and Conversation Thursday  
Twice Owned Tuesday 
The DIY Project Parade
Show & Share 
Transformation Thursday 


  1. Wow! Awesome makeover!! Great job! Thanks so much for linking up!

  2. That looks pretty;)
    Great makeover!
    Driftwood Milkpaint is the best I ever had...:)
    Thank you for your lovely comment!

    Lovely greetings...


  3. Wow that is an amazing transformation. Thank you for sharing and for linking up to last weeks show and share party. Please come back this week and share your latest project with us.

    A mommy's life...with a touch of yellow

  4. Beautiful makeover! You did such a great job fixing the damaged corners! Visiting from Kirsten's blog!

  5. Ooh lala. Good job at fixing that damaged corner! Love the new look

  6. Love how the table turned out. I would never have guessed a dogged literally ate it. Nice work! And love the flag...I'm a Caper too! :)

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment Laurena! I really appreciate it :) My husband is going to be so excited that I met another Caper! Are you still living in Cape Breton? He misses it so much..he talks about the island all the time, but we haven't had the chance to visit since getting married. Although I have learned to understand the slang he speaks with his brothers :)

  7. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! Newest follower :)