|The antiqued chair.|
|The chair before.|
Our set is a dark red mahogany group pretty typical of the 1940s. I think the style is Sheraton. It's not overly adorned; the pieces have graceful curving lines. We chose this set because its petite size fits in today's smaller dining rooms, but the sideboard and china cabinet still have roomy drawers that provide a great deal of storage. The drawers are entirely made of wood, with dovetailed joints; quality you can't buy new anymore! The table features a really neat leaf which attaches underneath the top and then unfolds with the flip of a switch beneath the table top. We can seat at least eight without storing a leaf in a closet or under a bed. My favorite thing about the set, though, are the needlepoint chair seats. As soon as I saw those I knew this was the set for me! The pattern echoes the folkloric painted pieces I grew up with. They give the set a homey Scandinavian feeling I love.
We bought the set understanding the chairs needed to be re-glued. Over the years they've gotten progressively more rickety. Besides that, years of puppy teething, children coloring, homework, and holidays have beaten up the finish even more than it was when we bought it. This was our only dining table for many years. The coup de gras, however, is a large white burn in the finish inflicted one Thanksgiving when my brother in law set a hot sweet potato casserole on the table without a trivet. After the burn, we knew the set had to be refinished. As the stain was scraped off over time we discovered the wood is actually what's called light or white mahogany. It had been stained deep red when the dark look was in style.
|The burn in the table's finish.|
I always thought the finish on the set was very pretty. The deep red looked good with the finishes in our old house and with our dishes. Here in this new house, however, the red seems heavy and garish. Everything in this house is the color of sunlight, straw, or oyster shell. I thought at first we might sand off the old stain and just put polyurethane over the light pinkish-gold wood to bring out its natural striations. After thinking more about it, though, I worried the white mark might not come off easily, and that sanding all the little grooves in the wood would be really difficult and time consuming. I decided I wanted the set to look like my grandmother's writing desk and some other pieces she "antiqued" in the 1960s.
|My grandmother's antiqued chair on the left was the inspiration.|
But first, Jerry re-glued the chairs. This is difficult because it involves taking the chairs apart at the joints and gluing the seams with wood glue. These were so fragile they also required wood screws and nails to reinforce the joints. When the chairs were sturdy again, we were able to paint them.
We started with homemade chalk paint. I used the recipe from the i heart naptime blog. The post was pinned to Pinterest: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/chalk-paint/. I followed the recipe shown in her post: 2 cups latex paint, 2 tablespoons water, 4 tablespoons Plaster of Paris. Because I wanted a slightly shimmery, opalescent look just like the old antiqued furniture, we used semigloss paint. I chose Olympic One semigloss in "Milk Paint".
|We used Rub n Buff metallic wax.|
|Either before or after painting, rub the wax on with a Q-Tip, sponge, or your fingers.|
|If you apply the wax first, cover it with Vaseline to make it easy to resist the paint.|
|Applying the wax and Vaseline first results in a very distressed finish.|
|The chair with distressed finish.|
|Applying the wax after painting gives a less distressed look.|
|Apply the stenciling with a makeup sponge.|
|The completed stencil.|
|The stencil ties in with the needlepoint.|
|We picked out the carving with the wax and then applied it more randomly over the paint.|
|More views of the finished chair.|