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Farmhouse Table Make-over

With Christmas just around the corner, I decided it was time to revert some attention to a couple of my own interiors projects that have been on my 'to-do' list for quite some time, but just never had the time to do.

When we moved into our beautiful Cornish barn conversion, we inherited a few pieces of furniture that I decided to keep as they felt like part of the old farmhouse (or working diary, as it once was).

One piece was this lovely pine table that came with about 8 or 10 farmhouse chairs.

As much as I love real wood, I'm not a great fan of varnished pine, so had the idea that I would sand down the table and chairs, removing as much of the varnish as possible, and then paint them, possibly leaving the table top in a raw wood state (albeit a little hemp oil or wax for protection).

So on one very sunny, mild Cornish December day, I moved the whole lot outside and got to work.

The varnish came off pretty easily with my industrial grade hand sander, but you have to be careful not to use a heavy grade sandpaper or you are liable to damage the soft wood with machine impressions. Although it can take much longer to remove a heavily varnished surface using a fine grit sandpaper, it’s always the best way to go.

Once sanded, I dusted her down and started to paint the base.

The floor tiles in my kitchen are slate grey and that coupled with the lightly oiled original beamed ceiling, meant the kitchen can appear a little dark at certain times of the day.

As much as I wanted to keep the table top in a natural raw wood state, my gut instinct was that this wouldn't provide enough of a reflective surface to bounce light around the room and counteract the dark slate tiles and beamed ceiling.

So Plan B came into play. Having painted the base of the table in Autentico Pebble White, I decided I would paint the table top in Autentico Gris.

Already the table looked so much brighter and more appealing, but a little bare.

It needed a little something else. Something to add interest.

I pondered all sorts of design ideas - stripes, checks or maybe just some subtle motifs on each corner. In the end, I decided to pull out one of my favourite stencils and apply it as a rectangular board around the edge of the table.

I wanted the design to appear little faded and worn, so I used the same pebble colour paint for the design work, but very lightly sanded it with a 150 grit paper once dry.

With a little distressing around the table edges and legs and with eight of the farmhouse chairs painted in a mixture of Autentico French Grey, Gris and Dolphin, my old shiny pine farmhouse table now looked like it was purchased from a boutique store.

Dressing the table for Christmas Day lunch was great fun and everyone that came commented how much bigger and lighter our kitchen looked, but couldn't work out why. Had we decorated or moved a wall?

It just goes to show that remodelling or renovating doesn't have to be a costly exercise. It just needs a little creativity and a pinch of flare.

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