Two-toned farmhouse table refinish...

Finished my final furniture refinish for the month - an 8 foot table, a 7 foot bench, and 6 chairs. I don't want to pick up another paintbrush for at least 6 months... OK, maybe 3.

In the quest to make this table, I googled the 14 following phrases:
Farmhouse table designs
Two-tone dining tables
Chalk paint over veneer
Polyshades over veneer
Chalk paint over paint
Chalk paint going on thin
Chalk paint not covering
How many coats of polyshades needed
Smoothing out polyshades
Farmhouse bench plans
DIY bench
Crossbeam bench
Chalk paint on raw wood
Using steelwool to sand polyshades

And a couple others I can't remember...

I learned a lot but also just made up some of it as I went. I don't aim for perfection in my projects - just better than where I started. So let me show you where I started.

The before:
Two-toned farmhouse table refinish before

And after:
10 person two-toned farmhouse table refinish after

I am overwhelmed with how to blog about this whole project... so I will just break it down.

Let's start with the table.
Polyshades and chalk paint dining table refinish over veneer

After I painted the dining room and made an already big room seem even bigger, I knew it was time to get the large farm table that I always dreamed that I would have. Initially, Blake thought he would make it but the prospect of my husband disappearing for about a month into the shop on Saturdays was something I was not excited about. So I had been semi-looking at my thrift store faves and Craigslist for something that might fit the bill - my only requirement was it had to be over 7 feet long and have "nice legs". After a tip from a friend (her exact words, "It's big but would need a ton of work"), I found this neglected table at the local thrift store.
Two-toned farmhouse table refinish over veneer before

It was so covered in junk that I didn't think it was big enough but once I broke out the measuring tape it came in at 7ft 8inches (with the leaf popped up). I bought it and picked it up later in the truck where it sat in our shop for a couple weeks. I knew that it was thin veneer (therefore not conducive to sanding) so I came up with the plan of Minwax Polyshades in Espresso (what I used on my banister) on top and chalk paint on bottom so that no sanding would be needed.

Here it is with one coat of Polyshades on the whole thing and a second coat freshly applied on that shiny part. 

Because it was veneer the Polyshades didn't go on the same way as it did to the banister. It went on more like a paint and I don't love the final look of the last coat. I tried 3 different types of brushes and a roller but nothing could give it the smooth finish that I was hoping for. In the end I brushed it on and then Brillo-padded it to muff it up a bit so the uneven look looks intentional. It is hard to tell from the pictures and from a distance it is gorgeous and fine and no one else will care besides me. I am curious to see how it will hold up on top of the veneer and if/when I need to re-do it in the future I am going to try the spray cans of Polyshades that they sell. But for now I will just avert my eyes from the brush marks. And besides the dark-almost-black-brown shows every crumb, dust, and smear so I doubt brush marks will be my biggest concern.
Two-toned farmhouse table refinish over old veneer table

One of my favorite features on this table is the legs. Besides some simple details, they are compact and tucked way into the center. This is nice because lots of chairs can go around because the legs do not get in the way. I painted these with DIY chalk paint in a Country White that I had sitting in the garage.
Two-toned farmhouse table refinish distressed legs

Chalk paint does adhere to veneer - you just need like 4 coats - which is a bit of a drag. Here is what it looked like after my first coat - way streaky.
Two-toned farmhouse table refinish chalk paint 1st coat

Priming and painting might have been the better route but I am in chalk paint mode so that is what I did. And I love the matte distressing - fits the style I was hoping for exactly.
DIY chalk paint multiple coats

The chairs.
Two-toned farmhouse chairs DIY

The chairs came from Craigslist and they were in a sorry state aesthetically but structurally all were very sound. I loved the simple lines and that they were somewhat smallish and lightweight so kids can maneuver them. The worst part was the dried goobers on the bottom of each one that I had to scratch off (only to be replaced by our own family's goobers).
Two-toned farmhouse chairs DIY before\

The polyshades went on like a dream to the worn seat surface and besides wiping them all down with a rag - I did zero other prep. The most annoying part of the whole project was taping those spindles but luckily that was the only thing I ever had to tape. I hate taping - I have no patience for it - I would much rather be painting.  I did two coats and here shows the difference.
Two-toned farmhouse chairs DIY

The chalk paint went on okay over the already painted surface. I wasn't trying to change the color much so that helped. I did two coats and distressed them quite a bit. I do wish that I would have went over them with a darker color before the white because the distressing on the chairs is lighter than on the table and the bench. But I did them first and wasn't about to go back and change it once they were complete. Once more - something that will only bug me.
Two-toned farmhouse chairs DIY polyshades and chalk paint

The bench.
DIY Farmhouse bench with two crossbeams

Blake designed and made the bench as my Valentine's Day present. I am quite in love with it and him for doing it. We were looking at plans online but none really matched the style of the table. So he came up with his own. Hopefully, he can find a minute and sit down and write a more detailed tutorial on how to build this style but until then here is his chicken scratches if anyone can make sense of them :).
DIY Farmhouse bench with two crossbeams plans

I did two coats of polyshades on top, then spray painted the bottom with a quick coat of dark brown. That way when I did the chalk paint it was a darker wood showing threw when I distressed (this is what I wish I did on the chairs).
chalk paint and polyshades

I really love the bench and when I was texting my friend about the table (this pic) she had the genius idea that the bench needs to be seen and to move it to the other side.

Ahhhh - yes, much better!
DIY Farmhouse table with bench

 I love my new farmhouse table and can not wait until tomorrow to go to the thrift store and start the hunt for the perfect rug to go under it. (I like under-table rugs - they are good crumb hiders.)

 But I am also so happy that all these brushes are hitting the trash. Someday I will invest in some nice brushes and some mineral spirits and some patience when it comes time to clean them out. My current MO when working with stain is to just buy the cheapest sets and trash them when needed. I think I broke a record and used about a dozen on this project.
Lots of used paintbrush

And because someone will ask - I did it in 30 minute intervals over the course of 2 weeks squeezed in between naps and well-timed shows and boys throwing pig food all around the shop. Blake gave me a couple hours Saturday to hammer out the bench paint and stain without any kids and that is the only way I got it all done in time.

And now I am exhausted just from blogging all this...

Thank goodness there was an extra day this month so that I could get this put up or it wouldn't have happened in time.



Jana Weaver said...

Looks so great!

Micah Taylor said...

wow, nicely done Cydni!! My first thought -- I can't wait to play games on that table :)

Jo said...

Big Lots has rugs at fairly good prices.

And for all your far-away readers, I can attest to the fact that the table and chairs and the whole room look really nice - better in person than in pictures!

Good job, Cyndi (and Blake - the bench is well done)!

Britt said...

Bravo! It is beautiful!

HowellAZ said...

Great project...looks fantastic!