Guest Post: Vintage Tables in Vibrant Yellow

Hi there! I'm pleased as punch that Melody invited me to post in her beautiful piece of blogland (even though I'm so jealous that she couldn't sneak any of us stuck here in perpetual winter along with her to escape)! I blog at Anne Thompson Designs, which is something I started after leaving a career in television news to spend more time with my two kids. It's been such a blessing - more than I ever could have imagined. And no small part of those blessings has been the incredible women I've met who share the passions for home and DIY that I do.

I met Melody last summer at the Haven Conference, which is like mecca for home/DIY bloggers. It was the first time either of us had attended, and we both came knowing very few people. It was, for me, an exciting but also nerve-wracking time. Being among such awesome creatives, but being alone much of the time was kind of stressful, even though it was so completely fantastic.
I went to a painting class led by Shaunna of Perfectly Imperfect, and Marian of Miss Mustard Seed (holy cow, by the way, they rocked)!
And it was there I had the good fortune to sit at a table with Melody.  Man, did we have a good time!  We love furniture. And paints. And we have sons who are the same age. It was like we'd known each other for years. I've kept in touch with so many bloggers via social media, and now Melody and I get to be roommates at this year's Haven. It'll be like a reunion this time!

But for now, I'm very happy to be here with Melody's awesome readers!

I'm sharing today about a pair of vintage end tables I recently painted... I'll be honest. I was a little unsure when a woman I knew from high school said she wanted two vintage end tables/nightstands painted bright yellow.  The success of the way they turned out, I think, lies in the specific shade of yellow we ended up using.  Ironically, it's Sherwin Williams' "Overjoy." Coincidence? I think not!
 These two tables came to my friend via a yard sale.  Their simple shape and relatively good condition were well worth the $10 price tag.
 The polyurethane on top, however, was cracked and flaking off - it couldn't be painted over in that condition.
  They also came with a red-based stain on them that didn't want to quit.
 And they were basically filthy.
After sanding them with my RYOBI Corner Cat sander (LOVE that tool. And I'm not getting paid to say it. I asked for it for Christmas, and my husband obliged. I bought him clothes. #tablesturned) it was clear that a good primer was going to be needed. The table on the right is sanded below.
A quick swipe with a water based primer showed in no time that the red stain would laugh in the face of that. The table on the right has the water based primer. The other got the oil-based. Wow.
I'd have to turn to my trusty oil-based Zinsser Cover Stain. Man, I love that stuff. Again, not being paid to say that. It has proven itself over and over again. Zinsser better never stop making it or they'll have a revolt on their hands from furniture painters the world over.
Two coats of Cover Stain later, (I had to take advantage of the only 40 degree day this side of Christmas) we were ready to rock some yellow.

Yellows and greens, I think, can be tricky. You don't want neon (usually). You don't want sickly looking colors, or otherwise murky shades that may remind you of not-so-nice things that are green and yellow in the world. It can be hard to get them right. This time, we hit the jackpot. It was sunny and cheerful and just gorgeous. The paint went on like a dream.  Covered and leveled really nicely. The owner didn't want anything distressed on these pieces, and I completely agree with her call on that.
I will say, I had a devil of a time getting the topcoat right on these pieces. I tried a glossy finish Minwax Polycrylic, a brand I've used for a while now, with pretty good results.  It's not the easiest thing to get a streak-free finish with, but using the Satin finish I've taught myself how to manage it pretty well. (It just dries really fast, which makes it very hard not to over brush it, which effectively ruins the entire coat.) I kept getting streaks. I was about to lose my mind. I reached out to other bloggers. I read message boards on polycrylic. I even ended up posting (nicely) on Minwax's Facebook page, begging for an actual expert who has used the product to weigh in on what I might be doing wrong. Mercifully, they did. And their advice saved my sanity.
I was working in my finished, heated basement. But it has been a very long, cold winter and the heat naturally rises in homes. So the expert suggested the temperature may be chilly enough that it was causing the finish not to dry properly. I got out a radiator-style portable heater, sat it close to the pieces, and prayed. #notkidding. It helped. I ended up using some additional coats of the Sherwin Williams paint, as well, because it is an enamel paint that dries to a hard finish. In all, there are probably 4-5 coats of paint on the tabletops and 3-4 coats of poly. That stuff's not going anywhere! So thank you to the Minwax people for being so responsive. Much appreciated. I also cleaned up the original hardware with some Brasso.

 The bottom piece was how they looked when I got them. The top one is cleaned.
When I was working on these pieces, I realized they were stamped and numbered on the bottom of the drawers. I'm no expert on furniture. But I love to learn about pieces and where they come from. Mersman cranked out tables for American homes by the thousands. So, they aren't exactly collectors items, but still good examples of American made vintage furniture.
Luckily, my classmate/client was thrilled with them, and in the end, that's why I, and Melody, and so many others do this kind of work.

The hope that they are going to make her smile every time she looks at them.
And if that's not how you feel when you look at some of the things in your home, maybe it's time this spring to be asking, "why?" and then, "what can I do about it?"

 For help, I'd say keep your eyes here on my friend Melody's blog for a stream of beautiful pieces, gorgeously staged, to inspire your own space. I know I do.
Thanks for having me, Melody!
Bring on Haven, roomie!!


My Passion For Decor Has Left the Building… To ME!

Hello, My Passion For Decor-ers! I'm SO happy that Melody invited me over to her amazing space while she's grabbing a little R and R! She's set the bar pretty high so hopefully you won't be too underwhelmed by my little ol' bureau redo. Let's all take a moment, though, to throw a little side eye to Miss Melody who's probably reading this on her phone with a fruity drink and waves lapping at her toes.... Grrr, the jealousy. Chalk Paint Dresser Redo
 I'm Charlotte and when I'm not being snarky about my friends on vacation, I blog over at Ciburbanity. Before you go looking up Ciburbanity in your dictionary, it stands for CIty + suBURB + sANITY. Almost 2 years ago, I moved from the glorious urban chaos of of New York City to our current grassy digs in Connecticut. A big adjustment to say the least. My blog was born as a way for me to share the thrifty projects I started to tackle to update our 100 year old home, document the activities I did with our kids to keep everyone sane, and the occasional ramblings of a rookie stay-at-home mom. Oh, and Craigslist is my jam. I love that place.
 Coming from NYC, we had a number of random furniture pieces that were on a more miniature scale to fit all 400 square feet of our life. My dresser was one of these pieces. This was what I was dealing with. I mean it fit 4 pairs of socks, 5 t-shirts, and a few thongs on a good day. Not acceptable for any good suburban mom…


And then this beauty came across my Craigslist screen. I loved the lines, the details, the bowed front and... the size! Bigger, but not too big.


The veneer on the top was in baaaaad shape. Kinda like me these days; aye-oh. I spent a little time on the world wide web and learned how to remove the veneer by placing a damp towel directly on the wood and placing a hot iron on top for about a minute. Using a paint scraper, the veneer came off pretty easily.



Annie Sloan's Country Grey is the base coat. And then just to add a hint of 'how do you do' I gave her a pair of stripes with a sample pot of Annie Sloan's Provence.
  Annie Sloan stripes

Let me start by saying that my credit card has taken a hit thanks to this dresser. One little furniture upgrade and I have DOUBLED my clothing storage space. Afterall, if you build it, they will come, right?




Thanks for taking the time to put up with me, aka Melody 2.0. I know she misses all of you dreadfully (nope... she's on a beach reading Us Magazine) and is so excited to be back blogging asap (again, nope... there are pina coladas and swim-up bars there, people! She's never coming back).


I posted about this bureau last summer so feel free to check out the long winded version here!

 xo Charlotte