Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DIY: strip and stain some tables!

Okay so I REALLY wanted a coffee and end table to go in my new apartment in Chicago, the only problem was that I wasn't too excited about spending around $170 on fake particle board tables that needed assembly and would fall apart SUPER quick.  So, my solution?  Craigslist.  The only problem with this was that I wanted them to be a darker wood an everything that I continued to find were too light.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I purchased 2 solid wood tables (manufactured by Broyhill) from a really sweet lady in Lexington for $90 total.

As you can see, they are great tables, only I hate the really light "blonde" look of them - I wanted something more "espresso".  So, I had a brief brain lapse and decided, "HEY!  I should just refinish them!"  Ay yi yi, what a job!  BUT, I love the way they turned out and would consider doing it again!  So here's the skinny:  you need A LOT of time and patience, as well as the following items:
A good staining brush; a stain picked out in your shade; a paint can opener; a stir stick (not pictured) to stir your stain; a drop-cloth; gloves (I recommend ones specifically for stripping as the strip will eat away at other gloves); A LOT of fine steel wool (I went through 3 bags); a stripping solution of some kind (I used Minwax stripping and loved it); sand paper; and mineral spirits (not pictured) to clean your brush.

Okay, first things first, you have to strip the old stain off the tables.  This was quite the job!  The only 2 things not pictured here that you need are gloves (get ones specifically for stripping) and a metal bowl to pour the refinisher in (it will eat away at plastic -- YIKES!).  So how do you strip off stain?  Put on your gloves and pour some refinisher in a metal bowl.  Dip a piece of steel wool into the refinisher and wring it out.  With a lot of elbow grease, work the steel wool in a circular motion on your surface and watch as the stain begins to lift (it's stubborn and will take some time and A LOT of strength). 
You can see inside the middle of the table where the stain has been removed, and then the outer perimeter where I have not yet stripped.

Once the entire stain has been seemingly removed, I used sand paper to really try and sand down the table back to the original wood.

Okay, next up, it's time to start staining!  I purchased a stain by minwax that already had polyurethane in it.  If I were to do this project again, I would seriously consider buying stain without it and then putting a polyurethane coat on at the end.  I felt like the stain with the poly in it didn't go on as smooth as ones I've seen without it and as a result, it's not as even of a stain job as I would like.  Here's what you need to stain:

Again, you can see my stain says "PolyShades" because it came with the polyurethane in it.  So what you'll need is a brush, a can opener, your stain, a stirring stick and a drop cloth.  NOTE ABOUT THE STAIN: you really control the shade - I wanted it to be darker so I bought a darker stain (Antique Walnut) although it took me 6 COATS of stain to get it anywhere near where I wanted it.  So don't be afraid of it being too dark - you'll have complete control over that based on how many coats you want to put on. 
I believe this table is the result of 1-2 coats of stain.  You have to wait 4-6 hours for your stain to dry before you can put a new coat on.  After it has dried for 6 hours, you take a steel wool pad and rub it along the entire surface.  You proceed to wipe down the surface to remove any dust and debris before you add your next coat.  You must do this in between every coat of stain that you apply.
For contrast purposes you can see the difference between 1 coat on the end table and nothing on the coffee table.
1 coat makes it onto the coffee table!
6 coats later....

Cost in the end?  Tables: $90; Knob for end table: $5; Supplies: (roughly) $45; TOTAL: $140 and WELL WORTH IT!  I can't wait for you to see them in the new apartment!

Visit thecsiproject.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Apartment...BEFORE

Please forgive the fact that these pictures were taken while the old tenants were still there...basically you get a feel for how they lived...nastily.

The hutch in the dining room
Dining room (from the view of the door leading in/out of the apt)

You can't see these things, but the dining room is on your left, the master bedroom door is on your right, straight ahead is the bathroom and straight ahead and to the right is the guest bedroom and straight ahead and to your left is the kitchen

The kitchen - we've finished the paint job that the old tenants were not willing to finish

Kitchen, from the view of the door leading out onto the deck

Outdoor deck, off the kitchen

Nasty snot green bathroom (it's now a calm and pretty tan)

Guest bedroom

Closet (will be used as pantry)

Master bedroom  (this room is now an olive green)

The door leading in/out of the apt is to the left (see the doorknob?) and the coat closet is what you're looking at - the sitting room is to your right

A view of the "sitting room" which is an extension of the family room (in between the family room and the dining room) (this room is now an amber color

Standing in front of the dining room, looking into the family room (this room is now a copper color)

Standing in front of the fireplace in the family room, looking into the front bedroom/office

Front bedroom/office

The built-in cabinet/bookshelf in the front bedroom/office

Standing in front of the front bedroom/office, looking into the family room

Standing in the family room (in front of the picture window) looking onto the rest of the apt.

Our building - we are on the 3rd floor :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And so it begins....

Well this past weekend proved to be one for the record books.  It was a weekend of moving, cleaning and painting to my new apartment in Chicago.  In preparation of this move, I rented a 14' U-Haul to try and accommodate all the furniture, presents, and stuff that has been accumulated in my life over the past couple of years.  Here's the skinny on the weekend:
Wednesday -  My mom and I go to pick up the U-Haul; I drove it home, scared the whole way.  We went and picked up our new mattresses .
Thursday - I spent the majority of the day filling that 14' U-Haul AND my mom's van.  Plan?  Leave Louisville by 4:30...what time did we leave?  6:30.  Plan?  Stephen would have a group of guys from Bible Study lined up to help unload the U-Haul.  Reality?  We arrived at 11:30 so there was only 1 guy remaining (I'm surprised he even stayed - what a great friend!) only to discover a FILTHY apartment.  We did not finish unloading the truck and van until 2:30 (3:30 KY time) in the a.m.  Stephen I proceeding to drive around Lincoln Park in search of the closest U-Haul lot where we could dump the truck - UNSUCCESSFUL.
Friday -  Plan?  Clean part of the day and paint the rest.  Reality?  We spent the ENTIRE day cleaning...2+ hours in the kitchen, 2 hours in the bathroom, 1 hour on the TUB...DISGUSTING!
Saturday - My mom proceeded to clean the ENTIRE weekend while my sister and I began to paint....we continued to work up until we left on Monday (which was supposed to be 11 am, and turned into 1:15pm...notice a trend here?).

Am I happy with the apartment?  Well, I'm MUCH happier about it now than I was when we arrived to find it in shambles...however, there are a lot of damages that I did not notice when we first saw it - I guess I was just excited by its size.  I cannot wait for ALL of you to come and stay with us and enjoy our new home in Lincoln Park.  I NEED you to come and help it feel more like my home.  

Here is a picture of the colors we painted:

The Amber and Copper colors at the top are in the Family/Sitting Room; the Olive Green is in our bedroom; the dark tan (Mocha Syrup if you will) was an accident...it may eventually go in the dining room; the tan is the bathroom.  
I can't wait for you guys to see it with everything else :).