I have spent the last few days helping daughter Kathleen with a project. She and her husband, Patrick, are building a new home and she desperately wanted a sofa table…not a normal size sofa table, but a re-e-e-eally long one. We both priced them at the stores and they were just too expensive. If a table costs more than my first car, then I think that it is too expensive!
While at a business meeting in Virginia, she came across an antique shop that was selling boards from a 1910 school house. They were nine feet long with pale blue paint that was chipped and weathered and just the way she imagined that the top of her sofa table should look. So she bought the board. “I’ll find some way to use it on my table,” she proclaimed. She wanted a table that was French in design and looked like it had come out of a French chateau a hundred years ago. It needed to have a weathered finish, possibly gray and a weathered turquoise.
She was driving down South Boulevard one day last week and she had just enough time to go to the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. Don’t you just love that name? She saw this table:
It had the carving that she craved and the ball and claw legs but it was too short and the top was too wide. Since the table was very inexpensive she bought it.
Here is another photo of the table followed by a photograph of it when it received the new board top:
Kathleen and Patrick had a friend visiting and he was a master carpenter. He took off the old top and cut down the side rails to accommodate the width of the board. Next, he took the back apron off and butted it up to the front apron to make the table twice as long. A plain board was put on the back to take the place of the relocated apron. Since it will be against a sofa or a wall, no carving is necessary!
Now, it was time to paint the bottom a soft gray using chalk paint. I had never used chalk paint before and was very skeptical when it said that you did not need to sand or prime before painting. I sanded anyway because it is hard for an old dog to learn new tricks. After working with the chalk paint, I learned that what they say is true. You definitley do not need to sand or prime. The directions say that you can paint right over a shiny finish, on top of leather couches, vinyl chairs, refrigerators, and exterior surfaces like doors and shutters. It is a water soluble! The paint is expensive, but it spreads 50% farther than regular paint.
It is a wonderful product and I am now planning multiple projects in my own home in order to play with it some more.
After painting the table gray, we did a dry brush effect on the carving with white paint. Next, came a coat of clear wax and we painted clear acrylic on the top board since the paint was still flaking off. Some people may have sanded and repainted the top board, but we liked the weathered look and the history that it proudly showed.
The last step will be to put dark wax in the crevices on the carving and around the carved designs. When their house is finished in March or April, I will show you the table in the new room. It will probably be holding two lamps and mercury glass. If it is too long for the space, then we will take out a few screws, saw off the unwanted part of the apron, and put it back together.
If you see an inexpensive table at a flea market or garage sale, why not buy it and experiment with chalk paint. I don’t think that you will be sorry. Create and be happy!