Dining Series – End Result

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours of labor went into this project. Mostly because I am too scared to add them all up. It was not easy! And I’m starting to see why people simply gave these chairs away, and sold the table for peanuts. So before you decide to dive into a project of your own, here are a few things to consider:

  • Where do you plan on doing this? If you are sanding and stripping a full table in your garage, be prepared to lose it as a parking space. Are you willing to give that space up for days? How about weeks? And what about the sanding? That produces so much dust. Can you set that up outside? Do you have the area to do that?
  • How confident are you in the project? It’s great to want to take something like this on but be sure you have your expectations adjusted. Is it just surface damage and a new color you’re after? How is the structure of the item? There is nothing worse than finishing a project only to find its not what you want! Especially a project that requires this much work.
  • Do you have everything you need? Sawhorse? Sander? Wood conditioners, stains, top coats, etc? It can be extremely frustrating to start a project only to run into a speed bump down the road when you need to stop everything because you don’t have what you need.

Those points are not there to discourage by any means. As I mentioned, it is a lot of work. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you could have results like these for about $100. (Furniture = $40, stain, paint and wood conditioner = $60).

We have a wall in our eating area that we were never really sure what to do with. We had a corner cabinet when we first moved it, but it was never used and seemed to close off the space. When we upgraded our table we had a large decorative shelf in its place. But that also seemed to take up a lot of room for something that was only decorative.

So with all the money we saved on our table and chairs we decided to buy (yes buy.. full price too!) an IKEA bench to place against the wall. The thought process was that when we had company, a bench would fit (probably) four kids, and four adults could comfortably take the dining chairs. It also gave me an excuse to have more throw pillows.


The pillows can easily be changed out with the decor over the years if need be. The bench itself is a medium grey (similar to the chairs). And in true IKEA style, the cover comes off fully so it can be washed or replaced with a new one! Perfect for a kitchen and kid friendly. We all know that no matter how careful we are, and kids SAY they are, messes still seem to happen.

Oh, and I forgot one of the best parts… the bench actually opens right up for added storage! When company comes, I can simply lift the top and store my pillows away before eating. You could also store place mats and other table settings that maybe don’t get used on a regular basis.

We have been living with our table and chairs now for a couple months so at this point I can give you a pretty accurate review. The bench has gotten spills and have been so easy to simply wipe clean with a damp dish cloth. The kids did pile onto it for not only one, but two, birthday parties. The table and chairs clean easily with the added top coat. And we have gotten tons of compliments on the finish itself.



Harvest Table: Refinish

When we moved into the Dream Home, our kitchen table was something we struggled with. The one we had was nice but not our style. We upgraded to a more “contemporary” style with a pretty good find on Kijiji. But it still wasn’t the look we were going for.

We kept the contemporary table and 4 leather chairs until we could make up our minds with that we wanted to replace it with. And with all the other projects we had on the go, it just wasn’t a priority to switch it all around. So we kept our eyes open and waited for a hidden gem.

As you all know, I’m big on Kijiji! I love that site. I watch for great finds all the time. There is a lot of junk and things that are not my taste, but if you keep up with it, there is always some great deals. Someone moving out of town and can’t take their barely used furniture with them, maybe someone who can’t store their treasures anymore. Or, in our case, someone who just doesn’t see the potential.

We picked up this harvest table on Kijiji for $40! It was a terrible orange color, and it was not properly taken care of. There were crayon markings all over it, crumbs and sticky foods. It was a disaster. But a quick trip to Home Depot for some wood stripping supplies and all those flaws quickly vanished. The orange varnish and stain peeled away to reveal some gorgeous wood grain patterns underneath.

Next came a good sanding. This step was pretty much all Dave. Mostly because I didn’t have the patience to get down to the good part. And my arm felt like it was going to fall off from the vibrations of the sander. Look how beautiful she is! No more terrible orange color, all the dents and scratches have vanished. Now, the fun part, picking a color!

We chose MinWax “Dark Walnut” for the stain. Make sure you use a wood conditioner prior to applying your stain, this will keep the stain absorption even. (So no streaks or blotches of any kind). Once you apply the stain and reach your desired color let your surface set for several days to ensure it’s thoroughly dried. Next will be a clear protective coat, especially for surfaces that will see a lot of traffic (like this one).


Kitchen Organizing

There’s only so much that can be done in a newer kitchen. It’s not beneficial to replace new cabinets, or new countertops. Sure, you can paint, but there’s very little wall visible due to cabinets and appliances. 

But today I want to share something that I think is crucial to any kitchen. And again, I’m no expert. These are things I have tried and liked and I’m always continuing to look for ways to improve on kitchen organization. Order behind the cupboard doors is just as important as the cupboard door itself. 

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. And I believe that. It is used by young and old, company, short term guests, etc. It needs to be functional and organized for everyone. 

Did you know that they make drawer organizers for things other than utensils? Most people don’t. I picked up a large compartment organizer for a top drawer of ours that houses our scissors, measuring cups, can openers, etc. This drawer used to be up recognizable. Finding anything was a nightmare. And although the compartments store multiple items it is much easier to locate things. Everything is visible (not on top of each other and pushed to the back). 

I trimmed the edges of this one and used it to create a long, skinny spare compartment on the side where I store the barbecue tools and my dry erase markers for my calendar on the fridge. You could easily use the side panel for dish clothes, or sandwich bags. 

The other part of my kitchen that drove me crazy was my baking cupboard. I had all my supplies (flour, sugar, corn starch, baking soda, icing sugars) but they were all thrown in there and every time i needed something I felt like I had to empty the entire cabinet to find that one thing. 

I took a trip to my local Walmart and picked up some large containers commonly used for cereals and crackers. I grabbed my label maker and got to work.

I struck out with small containers for my other items. However a few days later I went to the Dollarama and hit a goldmine. 

They are plastic with pop up tops, and were dirt cheap! I organized what I had left and labeled them. Take a look. 

Everything fit perfectly. And was clearly visible. No more open bags and oversized boxes. I loved them for my cupcake/cake items as well. 

I stored all my cupcake liners in a container and my sprinkles, candles, toothpicks, food colouring, etc in its own “decorating” container. 

This is my baking cabinet now that it’s all organized. It has been a few months since I’ve done this and it still looks exactly like this. It’s easy to store new items/bags in behind my tall containers at the top (as spares and refills). Handles are all pointed out, and labeled for easy view. 

Kitchen Stools

After my indigo secretary desk I was determined to paint ALL my furniture. But since I was still getting the hang of it I decided to go with something I had debated getting rid of. We have two maple colour bar stools that are mismatched (one is about an inch taller). And we rarely use them. However, since we have been making a few changes to our kitchen area (which you’ll get to see soon), I decided to make room for them and attempt some further chalk paint.

There is really nothing special about these. Just a plain wooden stool. I decided for this project I’d like to try distressing and scuffing up. But when you do so with chalk paint you bring out the colour underneath. And these are not really an attractive colour to begin with.



I purchased a $5 can of satin espresso spray paint and decided to simply change the base colour. This way when I scuff it up it’ll show the nice espresso colour instead of the yellowish maple. I wasn’t super thorough with it, after all I was planning on covering it up.

Next step is the Fat paint! I chose “Apple” as my colour for these because I have a green theme going in there.


The first picture shows the difference between one coat and two. They say between two and three coats work best. But I kept it at two for these. Since I was distressing them I felt like it would be a waste for crazy coverage. The purpose is for them to look old, and rough.

Next I distressed. I tried to keep it realistic. The places feet would have been sitting, the corners when they were bumped against, etc. The espresso makes its appearance!

Now for the wax, I used the patina Fat wax again (same as my secretary desk) as it gives it an old, rustic look. In this photo you can see the difference between no wax and the patina wax. I left quite a bit of the wax on as I liked how it looked dirty.  



Here they are! Apple green stools done in Fat paint. Now they are a feature piece instead of something I want to hide or throw in the garbage. I’m pleased with the results and I think you’ll be seeing a lot more chalk paint from me in the near future.