Monday, April 9, 2012

Love's Labor

Way back in November, I had a rare weekend by myself. With the roommate and the boyfriend out of town, I went on a little "craftcation" and began what turned into the mother of all projects. Here is Photo #1:

Note the yawn-inducing factory honey oak finish.  I also had 6 chairs of the same style but different  in stains and paints, so I wanted to unify the whole set. 

After weekend # 1 I was left with a jaw dropping table. It was a sawdust and fume filled craftcation, but I really couldn't have been happier with the result.

And then the whole project sat for 3 months. I knew that refinishing chairs was an intensive process (my mom  was once quoted $100+ per chair for a refinish job), so I wanted to wait until I had reinforcements (aka boyfriend labor).

One fine February day, the stars aligned and we did this for two weeks.

I'm not kidding. We sanded six chairs for two full weekends. Three chairs had multiple layers of paint in addition to cracks and dings that had to be repaired. Fortunately, I love a good power sander and the boyfriend loves to sand by hand, so we tag teamed the whole process very smoothly.

Two more weekends of painting and staining (solo) and I have this stunning piece in my dining room:

I am so grateful to my boyfriend and roommate for enduring a grueling process, but all of the painstaking steps to do it right were highly rewarding. That being said, I don't necessarily recommend a similar project. This was difficult, I had to force myself to take breaks so I wouldn't ruin the project in my haste to just be finished already. Sanding is hard. Excruciating at points in time. And loud. And messy. And also weirdly rewarding. Labor of love? Absolutely. And that is what (to me at least) makes a house a home, the intentional touches and personal stories that surround those who are lucky enough to enter a home, to find a home, to make a home, or to share a home. 


  1. I'm blown away. That is SPECTACULAR. Wow!

  2. Beautifully done! I have to say I admire your patience. I am hoping to (someday) take on a similar project with our current kitchen set (which will also include re-covering the cushions), but I do feel pretty nervous about such a huge undertaking. Thanks for the inspiration!