cheesy, chipped target coffee table made beautiful

Friday, December 19, 2014

Embarrassingly enough, this project has been eight months in the making. But with Winter beginning to settle in now, Jason and I have had more ambition to tackle some of the projects in our garage. The before pictures in this post were taken in  April...and the after pictures were taken in December... (:

Jason gets most of the credit for this project because he's the one who put the most effort into it. (: I was the one to originally think of the idea and how I wanted it to look when it was done, but after that he did most of the work! So this was kind of his first furniture project of Winter and we both think it turned out great!

Here's some back story: before I moved away from California, I had been working at a thrift store for a year. Around the same time, I was also moving out of my parents' house so I was constantly keeping an eye out  at work for furniture and decorations that I wanted to have in my new little abode. (: I had spotted a coffee table one day that I thought looked nice and bought it. (Upon disassembling it later, I noticed it was by a brand that Target carries.) It was a round, mostly solid-wood coffee table that had a very dark brown, almost black finish on it. It looked nice and it worked well.

...Until the "finish" that was actually very thin paint began chipping.

*Sorry in advance for how blurry the before pictures are! I have no idea why they all ended up so blurry. I mean, I'm not that bad at taking pictures and yet I really have no idea what happened here.
I'm thinking I had just drank my pre-workout when I took these photos... hahaha

This is how the coffee table was supposed to look. (Minus the dust and minus being completely disassembled.) This is actually the "shelf" beneath the table top. It didn't get as much wear and tear  as the table top and therefore still kind of looked okay.

 Ladies and gentlemen, my husband, the one who says I'm weird.

This is what the table top looked like.

I was tired of the coffee table always looking dirty like it had a ton of crumbs on it since the paint was endlessly chipping, leaving tiny little unstained wood spots in its wake. It got so bad (as you can see) that it was starting to look ridiculous just leaving it like that. So we set out to do something about it. I found a tutorial online for oxidizing wood with iron acetate. (Which you can make at home - just click that link if you want to learn how!) It's supposed to give wood a really gray, weathered look.
For whatever reason it didn't turn gray for us, but it still came out great! (I'm thinking it has to do with the type of tea we used and/or the fact that some of the wood was veneer as opposed to being solid wood through and through.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Back to sanding!

We sanded. And sanded some more.

We sanded until our hands turned blue. 

Next came the tea...

And the iron acetate...

Here is where our concern began to grow. The wood was supposed to be turning a light shade of gray and here it was, turning...purple? We thought, "Maybe it just has to dry more." Thing is, it was already almost dry in that picture. And no, time did not make it look any better. We had thought for a while that we had totally destroyed our coffee table by trying this.
But then again, it's not like it looked all that great before, either. 


Fast forward eight months and add in some cold weather, a dash of good old fashioned ambition and some sandpaper, and Jason began to work on this long neglected, lonely project. He found that with a light sanding, the "purple" (which had since turned a very orange-y red) evened itself out and revealed a nice warm shade of brown. 

The little table legs hanging by wires made it look like we were working in a butcher shop.
...A furniture butcher shop...

He sanded all the pieces and then began the process of coating the pieces in polyurethane. 
-He did all the top coats - being pregnant, I didn't want to be around the fumes-

Once the polyurethane was dry there was only one thing left to do...bring our "new" gorgeous coffee table inside. (I also swapped out the drawer pull for something that matched a little better. The original hardware was too modern looking for what was now more of a rustic looking piece.)

Okay, cat. I know what you're thinking. 
But decorative moss would not make a fun toy for you to play with. 
Despite what you may think.

Let's just gaze at the beauty of this table top. Can I get a collective, "Ahhh..." from the audience?

I just love how it turned out! This was definitely a project that at the beginning was on its way to becoming a dud, but after some elbow grease and hard work, this near diy-fail was turned around into a beautiful "brand new" piece of furniture! When we brought it inside, we both couldn't believe it was the same ugly, chipped, banged up coffee table that we had sitting in our living room before. Now here it was, free of cheap paint (and the chips that came with it), and the beautiful wood grain was now exposed and stained in a beautiful color. I'm so proud of Jason for all the hard work he put into it and for making it look beautiful when we both had kind of thought all hope was lost on this one. (:


And because neither my life nor my home are perfect, I'd like to show you what's going on in the background of these photos. As a blogger, I understand first hand how a bunch of pictures of a house with zero clutter in the background can make me feel. So here it is in all its realness.

 Welcome to our living room.

As you can see in this photo, it's pretty...bare. That's because I went from living at home in my room at my parents house, to living in an apartment, to living in a full sized house in a matter of six months. I really should put pictures on the walls or something - it's not like I don't have a ton of picture frames laying around - but I guess I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Also, see our IKEA Expedit entertainment center? It's one of six Expedit bookcases we own. Yes, six. The epitome of every apartment style living is the Expedit bookcase. haha. Don't forget to take note of the bright blue storage cubbies! While you're here, notice all of the brown in this picture. Brown couch (also IKEA from the apartment days), brown couch pillows (pictured below - one of them is now used to prop my legs up at night!), brown curtains, brown entertainment center, brown chair, tan walls, tan carpet, and the coffee table that was once dark brown... Yeah, I really have no idea what I was thinking when I was "designing" my apartment with all these lovely shades of brown.

This is also where I work out now that it's Winter. Last year I worked out in our garage gym, but it takes several hours to heat up (not to mention the energy cost!) and being pregnant, I don't need all the heavier equipment right now anyway. So I have my dumbbells out here in the living room and I follow cardio and weight training videos on YouTube for about an hour a day four times a week. 

So let's just say this area is a work in progress. (: ...A very brown work in progress.

Let's not forget the dining table. Remember when I did a post on our dining room when we had first built our dining table and I said, quote,
"To be honest, we still haven't used the dining table much and it almost feels unorthodox to sit at it because I know I'll just find a way to mess it up or make it the next "mail, junk, and everything else you can think of" landing spot if I use it too much."
Remember that? I said that. Look at the dining table. Clearly that phase is over now. The dining table has been tidied up a little since this picture was taken, but true to form, it has become the next "mail, junk, and everything else you can think of" landing spot. But I am on a mission to remove all clutter and unnecessary things from our home.

When I clean, I think of this quote,

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

And all of God's people said Amen.

Aaaaand one last look at the before and after of this project before you go.
See you next time!

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