Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a pickle of a table

The trend of whitened, brightened finishes for wood has resurfaced. While espresso toned wood is still very "hip and now", I am really enjoying this recent lightening up. This month's House Beautiful breaks down the subtle differences in these reemerging whitening techniques. I was particularly interested in this feature because I need to refinish my dining room table, and I like the aged, beachy look that results from whitewashing, bleaching, liming, cerusing or pickling wood surfaces.

Here is a look at what results from using these finishes. All of the quoted text is taken from Jennifer Dwyer's article for House Beautiful.

Pottery Barn's Shelton table series is a good example of the beauty of a limed finish.
Liming is: "An "aging" technique with pigment left in the corners and around the edges."

Their Sunburst mirror exemplifies the ocean side allure of bleached wood.
In bleaching, " A solution removes color from the wood." has a quick and dirty "how to" of the liming process, and makes it sound pretty easy. This is a photo of a chair they did.

Jayson Home and Garden,(however pricey it is) has several pieces with the same vibe.
The Kieran dining table in a cerused oak finish.
Cerused wood is, "Rubbed with white pigment to highlight the grain."

The Mandara side table in whitewashed Himalayan pine.
In the whitewashing process, "A thin coating of white pigment that evens out the wood's natural finish" is applied.

Minwax has a water based whitewash pickling stain, which seems like the product I would end up using. Pickling is similar to whitewashing but its intent is to "accentuate the physical texture of the wood. "

This is my dining table and bench. Don't you think it is a prime candidate for one of these treatments?

I think that the expressive wood grain would soak in the whitewash nicely.

Of course, this project will most likely be harder than it seems. For starters, I know I will have to strip the table of its old finish to start fresh. It would be best to do this while the weather is still warm and the air is dry. I'll shoot for September, and keep you updated on the progress of it all!

Monday, August 18, 2008

kim's decorating chronicles: ch. 3

The new arrangement accentuates the room's length and invites guests to sit and chat.

The No Longer Lonely Living Room.
Here we have the final chapter in Kim's decorating chronicles (for now).

Kim's living room is the first thing you see when you step into the house. Before we redecorated it, the room functioned more as a hallway to the kitchen and family room at the back of the house, than anything else. Kim and her husband never spent any time in the space, although they had spent plenty of money on great furniture for it. The room looked seldom used and not quite finished.

We reconfigured the pieces so that it felt more inviting and added new pieces so it could function better and serve a surprising new purpose. Here are LOTS of photos showing what we did.

Before when entering the room, the sofa acted as a visual barrier, making the space seem cramped.

Now, with the sofa facing the fireplace, a cozy seating area is created.

Looking towards the door before from behind the sofa, there was nothing to see.

Now the eye glides along the sofa and over to the writing nook.

Kim had nowhere to set a glass of wine. We found this end table at an antique mall for $13 and painted it with red paint left over from the kitchen.

The fireplace used to be cluttered with too many unrelated pieces, and did not feel like a focal point.

We found a simple second hand mirror for $12 and painted it red like the table. A couple of candle sconces that Kim had never opened went up, along with one personal photo and little bird print we found at TJ Maxx added style. The antlers are from one of her husband's hunting trips provided the finishing touch.

The chairs that Kim bought to coordinate with her sofa felt so lonely in the far off nook at the end of the room.

Placing them on either side of the fireplace gave them a context and made the fireplace feel more prominent. The floor lamp from TJ Maxx provides much needed mood and task lighting for reading by the fire.

This used to be an awkward space. No one sat here.

The nook is now home to a desk and turquoise file cabinet from World Market, and a lamp and chair from Pier 1 Imports (all incredible deals). Kim really needed a space to do scrap booking, and now she's got it!
Kim's favorite part about this redo is the fact that she is finally utilizing this room! She has been working on her scrapbooks and also envisions cozy nights in front of the fire with her husband come winter. Now that the downstairs feels done, Kim has started thinking about what do with the bedrooms upstairs! I feel another chapter coming on real soon...