This little telephone table is an antique piece that belonged to my husband’s great-grandmother. My in-laws have it in their house, and use it to hold their well-loved CD player and music collection. Several weeks ago my mother-in-law, Michelle, had asked if I would consider refinishing it for them. Of course I wanted to, as I love refinishing furniture but am running out of places for pieces of my own! I had them drop it off and said I would work on it when I had time.
Well, Christmas was approaching and I got a hare-brained idea that I could potentially refinish the table in time for a surprise Christmas gift…just a few days prior to Christmas! As you can see, it needs a fair bit of work so I was a little worried I had taken on a bigger task than I could accomplish. The plan was to sand down the top and the shelf to stain them, and paint the rest. Finally, I planned to go over the entire piece with a stain & finishing oil to act as a glaze and another top coat. I really wanted to make a fun surprise for Christmas, especially as we couldn’t actually spend it together this year due to the current restrictions. Follow along to see how it went over, and ANOTHER super-sentimental surprise I pulled off as well!
Luckily the book-holder attachments on the sides were removable, which made this process much easier.
I first used 60 grit sandpaper to remove the finish, and then I used 120 and then 220 to finish it nicely. I used an orbital sander for the flat areas, and hand sanded the detailed edges and any small places the orbital couldn’t reach. As you can see, I didn't worry about perfection. I planned to use dark stain so I knew any original finish remaining on the table would just deepen the character of the final product.
After sanding, I went through and reinforced several joints with wood glue and clamps overnight, to restore structural stability to the table. That also helped make it less wobbly.
Staining did throw me a bit of a curveball on this piece, I did not expect the top and the shelf to be two different woods. I first used regular Dark Walnut stain, then Weathered Oak to try to tone down the redness, and finally I went over it again with Dark Walnut gel stain. The gel stain definitely did the best job in terms of making the two woods look more similar and should have just used that from the start. I also planned to go over the stain with my stain & finishing oil so I knew that would also add more pigment then.
I gave the entire piece two coats of Algonquin by Fusion Mineral Paint (FMP). This is a beautiful neutral colour that I believe is highly underrated! I know I said I’m running out of room for my own pieces, but this is a gorgeous neutral & now I want something this colour in my house!
However, we weren't done yet. My in-laws’ home is coastal inspired, so I was trying to create a cottage-style piece that would still tie in with their darker cabinets and dinner table. To do this, I wanted to add a glaze with Cappuccino Stain & Finishing Oil (SFO). FMP has a built-in top coat and does not need to be sealed, but the top and the shelf still needed to be sealed. SFO is an advantageous product to use in this case because I could use it as a glaze over the paint AND seal the top and shelf with it at the same time. I love using this product any time I need to stain because it is a one-step stain & finish! I loooove the time saving, and not having to chase drips of polycrylic! You can also add additional coats to darken the pigment if you desire.
You can see that by using the Cappuccino SFO, it deepened the colour of the table and added dimension to all of the detailed areas of this table. I also oiled the exterior & interior of the drawer to liven it up again. It is so simple to apply, you simply wipe it on and then wipe it off right away. I put old socks on over plastic gloves, and use one hand to apply the oil and one hand to wipe away the excess. I also used a chip brush to make sure the oil got right into the grooves and corners, but did not use anything to wipe away from the areas my fingers couldn’t reach. That creates the depth by leaving oil in the details.
I applied the oil after the second coat of paint had dried for about two hours, and then let the oil cure overnight. We planned to drop off gifts at my in-laws on Christmas Eve (current restrictions prevented us from gathering) and I finished this table on Dec. 23!!! Cutting it close but I got it done!
We draped a moving blanket over the table & surprised them with it on Christmas Eve, my MIL was so shocked! They couldn’t believe I had finished it so quickly. I was so happy to have been able to finish this makeover in time for a special Christmas surprise. I gave them the instructions to let it finish curing for another couple days, and they have now set it up and are able to enjoy it.
A closer view of how the SFO adds interest and depth to the details.
It’s safe to say that they absolutely LOVE the refinished table, and I hope it will be a useful piece in the family for at least another 90 years. It’s so wonderful being able to breathe new life into old furniture, and keep a piece’s story within a family as well.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned I pulled off ANOTHER super-sentimental surprise as well… You’ll notice that I switched the drawer pull from the original wooden handle to this new cup pull. I still had the wooden handle, and it looked pretty cool, so I was trying to figure out what I could make from it…
Well my MIL absolutely LOVES Christmas, Christmas decor, and Christmas ornaments. So, I made her a brand new ornament from the old wooden handle. I screwed eye hooks into the top to run a ribbon bow through, and cut out the simple phrase in vinyl on my Cameo. I wrote a sweet note on the back to her and I think it just about brought her to tears!
I love being able to re-use every part of an old piece, and by creating an ornament out of this handle it became extra special to us both.
This is the first time I used the colour Algonquin on a furniture piece (I used it as a wash on my stairs as well) and the first time I had used SFO as a glaze… Safe to say it sure won’t be the last time for either!
Thanks for following along with this furniture flip project, let me know what you think! As always, I’m happy to answer any questions.