Sunday, December 4, 2011

Charmingly Distressed vs. Just Plain Beat Up

Hi All!

I have finished a project that I want to share with you. A few years ago, my parent's gave us their old, well-used kitchen table. Sometimes as an object ages, and is lovingly used, it develops a patina and a charm. You can imagine families gathering around an old table having happy meals or an author working on her next book on an old desk. When this happens to an object the term we use to describe it is "distressed." Some folks love this look so much that they attempt to re-create that aged, distressed look on new furniture, like the Norfolk Table from Pottery Barn shown here:

The "charmingly distressed" Norfolk table available at Pottery Barn
Photo from Pottery Barn

a charming distress close-up
However, charmingly distressed is not a phenomenon which takes place in my house. Nope, when things get old at my house they just look beat up, like our kitchen table here:

It's outside, waiting to be sanded.
It doesn't have charming nicks and dings, it has gouges right down the middle. It doesn't have a patina from age it has paint and ink and dirt ground in. There is absolutely nothing charming about this table. To make matters worse, once an item has started to look beat up, it is so much easier to make it worse. As evidenced by my sweet children...


This is not charming. As much as I love my kid's artwork, I do not want it permanently engraved in my table with ball-point pen.

We had been planning to refinish the table for some time. What we didn't know was how much work it was going to be to get all of that crud off. Hun sanded that table-top for four hours with a palm sander! After which, I put four coats of clear-coat poly-acrylic on it. Then the top looked like this:

Now I'm pretty jazzed about how it's looking. We discussed sanding down the legs in order to finish them in the same way as the top, but that was nixed with the memory of four hours with the palm-sander. We decided to paint them instead. I chose a pretty blue-y-purple:

Ta-dah! Now I LOVE my table! Love, love, love it. We are very slowly making progress on the kitchen, but I feel like this is a huge leap forward! The table was such a colossal eye-sore that it brought the whole room down with it. 

AND, if you look back at the picture of the finished top, you'll get an idea of what the floors, which will be replacing that ugly, 70's linoleum, will look like.

There you go! A finished project. Hallelujah!

See you tomorrow!


  1. amazing! it looks so great, and the work that went into it makes it even more special. your children will never mark it up now! hooray for you!

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you like it :-)

  3. That looks so lovely and new! My kitchen table is waiting for similar treatment.

  4. Thanks Joy! Send me a pic when you do!

  5. Your table looks great! We used to joke that distressing furniture meant yelling, "Shut up $&^#%!" at it. Your end result is much, much nicer in all ways!

  6. Lauren, that's funny right there. I think it must have been very distressed while Hun spent four hours sanding the %&#@* table. ;-p

  7. Looks great heather! Such an amazing difference!

  8. This looks great! what an incredible transformation! I have a few random pieces of furniture that I would like to fix up, but don't yet quite have the confidence!

  9. Thanks Leah & Mallory! Mallory, just go for it, you'll be glad you did :-)


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