End Table Chalk Paint Makeover

3 Materials
1 Day

One of the many perks of being a furniture flipper is that there comes a point where you become the go-to for most of your friends’ and family’s unwanted furniture! In this particular case, it was my grandparents who gifted me this adorable end table while emptying their house in preparation for their move.

Even before I knew exactly what I planned on doing to flip this piece, there was one particular aspect that struck me right off the bat: the exquisite detailing of the door panels! They reminded me of a window or archway that one would see in an old Mediterranean villa.

(By the way, sorry for the crappy quality of this photo-I forgot to take a proper BEFORE photo.

Hopefully you get the idea.)

The structure of the panels combined with the subtle bronze of the hardware led me to run with the Mediterranean motif, but the challenge lay in selecting the color and style that would best express that.

Well, I’m something of a photo collector, especially travel photography, and there are three particular pictures that came to mind while searching for inspiration for this piece: three landscape shots of the gondolas in Venice, Italy (a city on a constant climb to the top of my bucket list). I bought them all as a set because I thought that each of them, with their distinct angles, backgrounds and striking color, complimented each other so perfectly.

The color of the gondolas was what inspired me to buy them (a brilliant royal blue that could catch your eye from a mile away) and, as it turns out, would one year later be the color I chose for my end table. In each of the three photos, the distinct pop of the blue juxtaposes the warm, earthy colors of the Venetian buildings in such a stunningly organic way. It’s a funny thing to see the new mesh so seamlessly with the old (ancient in Venice’s case), and that was what I wanted for the table-a marriage of the new and the classic. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s a theme that runs through most of my work.

So now I had a clear muse, a motif, and a color! I drove the forty five minutes to Poppy and Chalk in Culpepper, VA to buy a pint of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (the nearest stockist to Charlottesville) because I was way too excited to get started to have to arrange for overnight shipping. I went with Napoleonic Blue, which, for any of you Annie fans out there, should immediately ring a bell-it’s an incredibly bold shade of blue that keeps its luminescence well after it dries. In the right light, it can seem just short of neon, but never approaches gaudy.

so I typically do projects in my workspace but given the brightness of the color I chose, I knew I couldn’t get shots in the workspace with lighting good enough to do it justice. So instead I (with considerable effort) lugged it into the main room so I could actually get some good shots (when you do projects like this enough, posterity is everything and without good lighting, forget it).

I started by removing all of the hardware and then giving the table a good vinegar wash; vinegar definitely doesn’t smell pretty but it’s still preferable to smelling golden retriever (which I am sorry to say, this table was rank with). It, ironically enough, is great for removing odors from furniture.

I took distilled white vinegar and mixed it with lukewarm water, diluting it just enough to reduce the acidity but not too much so as to render it useless in odor removal.

Then came the fun part! Using Annie Sloan’s chalk paint brushes, I applied the first coat of the Napoleonic Blue. You can see just how beautiful it is when applied. So bright and cheerful! It was the perfect color to channel the spirit of the gondolas.

I could instantly feel the table beginning to transform and take on the Mediterranean look that I had wanted to bring out. It really is amazing how the right color can pull so much personality into a piece.

Here’s where it got a tad bit tricky: part of the hardware was attached to the piece (i’m not sure if it was glued or screwed in but I’m betting on the former as there were no screw holes to be found). Anyway, it was crucial not to get stray brush strokes on the hardware so, for this part, I went in with detailing brushes.

After a few coats around the hardware (tinier brushes tend to leave thinner coats), I switched back to the Annie brush and painted in the doors. I loooovveed how the blue looked with the paneling! So exotic and fun!

After two all-over coats of paint, I sealed the piece with Annie Sloan’s clear wax. I wanted to age the piece slightly (like I said, a mix of old and new), so I went in along the edges, corners, base and paneling with dark wax. If you’ve read my July 4th tray post, you know how fervent I am on applying clear wax before the dark (same goes for the black and white) as it prevents the wax from permeating the paint too deeply and thereby making the blending process a nightmare. I applied a second coat of clear wax to blend away any dark excess. And just like that: voila! Transformed!

Featuring the pics that served as inspiration

It’s amazing how a project with so much prep and story behind it could be completed so quickly, but ultimately, that felt just right. The strength of this piece was its simple, intrinsic beauty. It didn’t need frills or statements. It was enough of a statement in and of itself.

Allows for plenty of storage

Post Script: I was so in love with this piece once it was finished, I knew I couldn’t stop there. I have a dresser that we are in the process of replacing and I think it would be a great piece to pair with the table; same hardware, similar structure. Once I finish it, i plan on selling them as a bedroom set. Keep a lookout for PART 2 where I’ll detail the dresser’s transformation.

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