Dining room help please.
Ann
May 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
The top of my dining table needs to be refinished. The table, chairs, and wall shelves are old Ethan Allen pieces I bought 25 years ago. I have different taste now but don't want to spend the money for a whole new set. I'm wondering how it would look to refinish the top (only) in a very dark finish (not quite black, but dark). Opinions please?
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Ann
May 7, 2013 at 12:40pm   
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Ann
Here are a couple examples (sort of) that I saw while browsing Houzz.
[houzz=
May 7, 2013 at 12:44pm     
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Dytecture
Yes, making the table top darker would give a more updated look.
May 7, 2013 at 12:47pm   
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Ann
Glad to hear that opinion Dytecture - short of starting over altogether, I would love a bit more updated look!
May 7, 2013 at 12:49pm   
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Ed
Hi Ann, here's paint, not stain, but just to get an idea -- Sherwin-Williams SW 2838 Polished Mahogany --
May 7, 2013 at 12:52pm     
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OnePlan
you could paint the legs and skirt in an ivory colour too perhaps ?!
May 7, 2013 at 12:53pm     
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Ed
Hi Ann, here's a darker color, like in your first Houzz reference photo -- Sherwin-Williams SW 6006 Black Bean --
May 7, 2013 at 12:55pm     
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Ed
Hi Ann, is this too dark? -- Sherwin-Williams SW 6258 Tricom Black --
May 7, 2013 at 12:57pm     
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Ann
Thanks Ed, that's useful. I was thinking maybe even darker. Thoughts?
OnePlan - that would be even better, but I think I'd have to do the chairs too and there are 8 of them. Also, then maybe I'd have to do the shelves dark. I'll probably have a refinisher do the work, so I'm worried about cost. That's why I'm wondering if I could just get away with the table top.
May 7, 2013 at 1:01pm   
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Ann
Oh thanks Ed :) - we overlapped. I'm thinking more like your second example - do you like it?
May 7, 2013 at 1:02pm   
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Ed
Hi Ann, do you mean even darker than the Tricom Black ? :)
Here's a lighter one, just for fun :) Sherwin-Williams SW 2801 Rookwood Dark Red --
May 7, 2013 at 1:03pm     
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OnePlan
it's quite quick to paint chairs - I too have eight. I just did two a day ! over a long weekend ! will match in with your lamp !!
May 7, 2013 at 1:04pm     
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Ed
Hi Ann -- yea, overlapping happens, that's OK. I actually think your current, original light maple look is quite nice. Otherwise, I like a warmer color, like this Rookwood Dark Red. :) So you like the Black Bean look, or even darker? :) Is the Tricom Black too dark or just about right for you ?
May 7, 2013 at 1:05pm   
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
It would be pretty easy to refinish this tablet, top only. The least expensive option is to take it to a place where a finisher can do it at his/her shop. You can either paint it, strip and refinish it (stain/finish) or shade it with a stain over the top. So basically you can get almost any look you want. You'll save probably a couple hundred taking the top to someone. That is more work for you.

Otherwise, see who will come out and do it on site. It definitely can be done! I'm assuming the top is a solid piece of wood and not a veneer? If it is a veneer, the finisher just has to be careful when sanding.

Here is a before/after we did in our shop awhile ago (this was a veneer...not solid wood. Didn't take long, maybe an hour!
http://www.chismbrothers.com/images/made/images/photos/BeforeTable_667_500_s.jpg http://www.chismbrothers.com/images/made/images/photos/AfterTable2_667_500_s.jpg
May 7, 2013 at 1:05pm     
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Ann
A stain similar to the black bean was approximately what I was thinking.
May 7, 2013 at 1:06pm   
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Ed
Hi Chism, that's very pretty -- so you sanded that veneer table top a little bit, then stained it ? :)
May 7, 2013 at 1:09pm     
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Ann
Wow, that's amazing Chism Brothers. I am planning on having a pro do it - I just don't have the experience and I don't want to ruin it. It is wood - just pine. Ethan Allen uses mostly veneers now but not way back when I bought it.
May 7, 2013 at 1:11pm     
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Ed
Hi Ann, if you can find a nice stain, stain it. I like to see the natural pretty grains. (Unless you've decided you want to paint. :)
May 7, 2013 at 1:14pm     
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Ramona
Do you have the nerve to make the chairs and/or bottom of the table a color?
May 7, 2013 at 1:15pm     
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Margaret B
Ann, what a beautiful room. Have you considered a stain similar to your wine rack? Maybe a few shades darker? I think a java stain would be too much contrast.
May 7, 2013 at 1:17pm     
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
Yes. we used a palm sander and quickly ran it over the top only. Then sprayed probably five coats of pre-cat. lacquer. It is very durable. The hardness is probably an 8 out of 10. Or a conversion varnish would best. More expensive but a 10 out of 10 hardness. It is similar to a wood bar counter top. You can do a low sheen, satin, gloss or high-gloss. It does not take long to do a tabletop. Takes longer to do a sample and get the color the way you want it.

Pine is a pretty soft wood...so it takes stain a little differently. Best to have the finisher get a similar piece of pine and do a sample. Might be better off doing a shade of stain over the top and clear coat it with conversion varnish. My guess is this would cost $200-300 range (just a rough idea)
May 7, 2013 at 1:20pm   
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Ed
Hi Ann -- Sherwin-Williams SW 6006 Black Bean --
May 7, 2013 at 1:24pm   
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Ann
Ramona - I'd certainly have the nerve to go with a neutral color for the chairs, but it would be bold for me to go with a color. I guess maybe something like a gray green would be OK. As you can see, my house is pretty "earthy". I love modern and industrial looks but I've got too much invested in all the old stuff to make a change to bold and modern. This dining set is one of my oldest things (and least favorite now), but it would cost a fortune to replace it - since I have expensive taste in my old age :)
May 7, 2013 at 1:24pm     
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Ann
Chism Brothers - I'd be delighted if I could get it done for $200-300. Is it likely the same person could stain and finish the top and paint the bottom and the chairs, or would that be two different pros? I know that would cost quite a bit more, but if it would look far better, I'd consider it.
May 7, 2013 at 1:34pm   
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decormonkey
Take a look at Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation website. No sanding required, just time between drying. There are before and after pics of people that have used it to give you an idea. Cheap, easy and totally transforms the look. Several different colors to choose from too.
May 7, 2013 at 1:35pm     
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Ann
Ed, I think the Tricom Black seems a bit too dark.
May 7, 2013 at 1:38pm   
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Ann
Thank you Margaret B. The wine rack is cherry wood, stained a bit dark. I think that color could work if I changed (maybe painted ivory) the bottom of the table. They aren't terrible together in the same room but maybe not great on the same piece - table is a bit orange and wine rack kind of red. After reading the suggestions, I'm wondering if I should get a price on staining and refinishing the top of the table and painting the chairs and bottom of the table. What about the wall shelves, which are part of the matched set? Oh, by the way, the floor is natural walnut. Lots of wood going on - maybe some paint would help :) Ed, I agree that it would be nice to have at least the table top stained and not painted.
May 7, 2013 at 1:47pm   
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Ann
decormonkey - thanks, I'll check it out right now.
May 7, 2013 at 1:48pm   
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
Ann, it depends on who you hire. Most finishes can do what you are asking, definitely. It won't cost a lot more, especially if you bring it to their shop or they come and get it.

As for the Rustoleum idea...you can do that. I just think you'll get a factory finish going to a local finishing shop. It will look brand new. What city are you in? I know a lot of good finishers/painters around the country.
May 7, 2013 at 1:58pm   
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Ramona
I am very fond of taking solid older furniture and updating it anyway we choose. I think you shouldn't think of this as a compromise but the best way to go.

How about French grey? That is a classic French style leg which might just look smashing in French grey instead of white. Even earthy color schemes can do with a bit of color.
May 7, 2013 at 2:00pm   
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Ann
Chism Brothers - I'm in Denver. I think I do need a pro since I'm not a DIY person. Do you know of anyone?
Ramona, have you seen a picture with the French gray base? It sounds interesting.
May 7, 2013 at 2:11pm   
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Ann
Ramona - something like this table?
[houzz=
]
May 7, 2013 at 2:24pm     
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
You can check out either Gilmore Painting & Decorating (they are small...do good work) or I know Doug Imhoff pretty well...he'd do a great job: http://www.imhoffpaintingcompany.com/
May 7, 2013 at 2:27pm   
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Ann
Thank you Chism Brothers!!!! Now I just need to come up with a color plan and I'll get an estimate. Please keep the ideas coming - I'm definitely open to staining the top and painting the bottom and chairs if that makes more sense than just doing the top only. I assume I'd do the wall shelves the same as the table top??? Here are a couple more photos I found. The first one kind of shows what I originally was thinking (thinking the chair color is somewhat similar to my current table color) and I'd do the tabletop like the dark color of the tabletop in picture one. Picture two is just another idea I came across while browsing. I'm now pretty excited about this update to my old furniture, but I want to get it right.
Picture one is what I want my dining room to look like in my next life :)
[houzz=Lincoln Park Residence]
[houzz=Pasture Lane - The Farm at Banner Elk - Kitchen]
May 7, 2013 at 2:47pm     
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mpoulsom
I LOVE the idea of the gray on bottom of table! Close to the color of your light fixture metal!
May 7, 2013 at 2:59pm   
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Ramona
I like this look
http://peekingthruthesunflowers.blogspot.com/

and yes to the table pic you posted
May 7, 2013 at 3:04pm   
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Ann
mpoulsom - the metal on the light fixture is nearly black - is that what you're thinking?
ramona - do you think the really weathered look is best like the first picture in your post?
May 7, 2013 at 3:16pm   
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Ramona
It is up to you. These are all good alternatives. I love a weathered painted look myself, but you can go either way and it will work. We can't see the other pieces in your house, but even if we could, it is just a matter of taste.
May 7, 2013 at 3:20pm     
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leelee
I can tell you that Ethan Allen isn't making furniture like they used to. I'm not sure you could even refinish their furniture today because it's not really wood with a stain...it's something else.

Here's what you might consider. Remove all the fake plants especially the ones on top of the wine cabinet. Get some real plants like ficus or palms. Your dining room table would look much better if you replaced the light above it. That lighting fixture doesn't really compliment your furniture.
May 7, 2013 at 3:43pm     
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Ann
Leelee - I know what you mean. I have some more recent Ethan Allen furniture with the "something else" finish. The only fake plants are the ones on top of the wine cabinet. All the others in the pictures are real.
I think I'll start with the table since I need the top refinished. Maybe I'll address the light fixture next when money allows. Any thoughts on refinishing the table?
May 7, 2013 at 4:04pm     
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leelee
I like the suggestions to use a stain like the black bean just on the top and keep the legs as they are. Good for you on the live plants. You might look for an ivy that would trail down the side of the wine cabinet. They don't require much care...The iron light above is only about $200. Others, I'm not sure but look around...it will make a huge difference.
May 7, 2013 at 4:13pm     
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Ann
I'm thinking about mpoulsom's suggestion, but in reverse. What about a distressed gray (aged zinc) looking finish for the top and leave the chairs and bottom as is? I looked at dining room tables on the restoration hardware site and saw color combos like that.
May 7, 2013 at 4:44pm   
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Margaret B
Are you thinking of a look like the concrete topped tables at RH? I think it would be difficult to recreate the texture with pine, but you could get it to look like the gray reclaimed lumber. I think it would look incredible. The table is a classic, I think you should embrace it and google old pine farmhouse tables, they have a beautiful patina. Instead of trying to make it look like something else why not work with what it is? I see the classic pine knots in the legs, beautiful. I don't think painted legs will work with the knots. I think you can easily do rustic, but sleek modern is going to be a challenge with pine.
May 7, 2013 at 4:57pm     
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Ramona
I love metal finishes and encourage you to play around. Your table is allowed to look like no one else's and there doesn't have to be one right look for a finish.
May 7, 2013 at 7:30pm   
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Ann
Ramona, I played around with grays and even gray/greens in the Sherwin Williams site and it kind of looked weird without doing everything (including the bottom, the chairs, and the shelves) the same color. So, I'm still pondering the situation but am leaning toward kind of a dark walnut finish on the top only, a bit more distressing, and a satin finish rather than the current finish which is more of a semigloss. I think I'll save a bunch of money if I just do the top. The current finish on everything but the top is in great shape.
May 7, 2013 at 7:48pm     
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Ramona
try looking at anne sloan paints for ideas. some say her paints are too expensive, but they are beautiful colors and she seems to understand what the color palettes have been historically in France. i have trouble envisioning multiple finishes but decorators insist mixing is the way to go.
May 7, 2013 at 7:55pm     
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Ann
Ramona - those paints are great! I really like the French Linen and Country Gray colors in terms of the table base and chairs (painted so a bit of the wood shows through), maybe with a dark walnut stained tabletop. But after reading the suggestions, I'm confused about whether to try to leave the base alone (with its pine knots, etc.) or paint it.
May 7, 2013 at 8:16pm   
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mpoulsom
well if you choose to paint anything....there is a recipe for the chalk paint that supposedly is just as good as the anne sloan paint! FYI
May 8, 2013 at 9:10am     
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Ann
Well, I've contacted one of the recommendations of Chism Brothers (thank you!) for an estimate and I've sent him pictures and dimensions. I'm asking the refinisher if we can just start with the tabletop and then see how it looks. If I see it and want to go further, I might go with a chalk paint on the bottom (maybe a light French Gray) with wood showing through in spots. I've asked the refinisher if he can distress the table more to achieve more of an old farm table look - the current base is actually more distressed and has a rougher finish than the top, which is helpful. As far as the color of the top, I'm considering kind of a dark walnut or a sort of bleached weathered look - I'll see if the refinisher has thoughts on that. Thanks everyone for your great suggestions and renderings!
May 8, 2013 at 10:26am     
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
Let me know how it turns out! Hope it goes really well for you!
May 8, 2013 at 10:34am     
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Margaret B
Ann, I keep checking for updates. When will the Table be back from the refinisher? Can't wait to see the finished results!
May 20, 2013 at 6:05pm   
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Ann
Hi Margaret - it's supposed to be one more week but they're supposed to call me to approve distressing (they'll add more while I'm there if not enough) and stain color. I'll probably call tomorrow to see when I should come check it out. I ended up choosing a good refinisher and the cost will be pretty high, buy maybe I can really rejuvenate that table (and dining room) in this way. I think I'll have the wall shelves stained the same color as the table top and the vine inlay (near the top of the shelves) removed, but first I want to see how they do with the tabletop. I'm pretty excited - I hope it all works. I haven't heard from Restoration Hardware outlet about the nailhead armchairs, but that might take awhile.
May 20, 2013 at 6:29pm   
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
Love to see a photo of it all when finished!
May 20, 2013 at 7:37pm     
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Ann
I will post a photo. Hopefully this works out well - I've got my fingers crossed.
May 20, 2013 at 7:50pm     
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
I'm sure it well. If you picked a good refinished, he can work magic...and make it the way you want.
May 20, 2013 at 7:52pm     
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Ann
I just met with the refinisher and chose a stain color for the tabletop and he distressed a leaf for me. Here's a picture of the stain and then the distressing on that leaf after he stained the whole leaf. It will still be a week and half before it's done because he's on vacation next week.
May 23, 2013 at 12:16pm     
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CHISM BROTHERS PAINTING
It looks nice from the photo! Really like it. Hope you do too!
May 23, 2013 at 1:46pm   
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OnePlan
Looks lovely !!! Can't wait to see the finished table !!
May 23, 2013 at 1:46pm   
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Ann
Thanks Chism Brothers and OnePlan - I'm glad you think it will look good. I've been a little nervous about it, but now I'm very excited. I think I'll love it! After I got home and looked at the pictures I took, I called the refinisher and asked him to not be at all shy about the distressing because I really love that part. He was using chains, chisels, hammer, screws, etc. It was fun to watch!
May 23, 2013 at 2:05pm     
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Margaret B
Wow, I was just checking for an update and saw the pics. Looks fabulous, you have made some wonderful choices on the updates. I can't wait to see the finished table.
May 28, 2013 at 5:05pm   
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Ann
Thanks Margaret - I'm so excited to get that table updated!
May 28, 2013 at 6:15pm     
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Margaret B
Ann, I check everyday for the big reveal! Any updates?
June 5, 2013 at 3:45pm     
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Ann
No word yet. I plan to call the refinisher tomorrow to see when he thinks it will be done. I sort of thought I would have heard by now.
June 5, 2013 at 4:45pm     
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Ann
I guess it will be early to the middle of next week before I get it back. Twice as long as I was told, but I guess that's OK if it turns out great.
June 6, 2013 at 9:20am   
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Margaret B
Hello Ann, hope you are doing well. Just checking in, I can't wait to see your table.
June 11, 2013 at 5:26pm   
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Genevieve
I would darken the top and paint the rest including the chairs
Cornwall Extendable Table
Kitchen and Master suite, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

if you changed the colour of the walls and chair pads it will give a totally different look .

Cook's Blue Paint
Material Girl
June 11, 2013 at 5:31pm   
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Ann
Margaret B - My table gets delivered tomorrow (mid-day) - finally! I'll post pictures.
Genevieve - I'll get my table back from the refinisher tomorrow with just the top refinished in a dark walnut color (and additional distressing added). I'm thinking I'll see how it looks with the legs and chairs as they are and if it doesn't look right, I'll consider painting the legs and chairs myself with Annie Sloan French Linen or Country Gray. After spending quite a bit of money to have the top done by a pro, I'd be a little nervous tackling the painting myself, but if it doesn't look right, I just might. I think I'll just remove the chair pads and only use them when company is coming over (which isn't often). My husband suggested that because he doesn't like the pads. I removed the silk plants on top of the wine cabinets (per leelee's suggestion). The pictures in my original post show the table with one leaf and 3 chairs down each side. I'm thinking of removing the leaf, using two chairs on each side and purchasing these two end chairs from Restoration Hardware. What does everyone think of that idea?
June 11, 2013 at 8:01pm   
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Patricia Kent
The chair pads are the most dated thing in there. Remove or get some of a more fun fabric.
June 11, 2013 at 8:17pm     
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Ann
Patricia, I'm just going to remove them, thanks.
June 11, 2013 at 8:20pm   
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Ann
Oh and the only reason I'd use the chair pads for company is for comfort. They do look dated :)
Also, Genevieve, I don't think I'll paint the walls. They're the same color as the rest of the house and it's an OK color - just a medium beige. The whole house will need painting in a few years and I might go with a more popular gray, but for now, it's OK.
June 11, 2013 at 8:34pm     
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Ann
I got my table back and I have mixed emotions about it, but I think I'll grow to like it. It's darker than I expected, nearly black in some lights. I am currently not using one leaf that was in the original post, making the table shorter and moving two of the chairs to the ends. Which arrangement is better? If the shorter version is better, should I buy two of these Restoration Hardware chairs for the ends?
June 12, 2013 at 12:11pm   
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doctornancy
I confess I have not read all the threads to this discussion, so forgive me if I repeat something that has already been suggested. Have you considered staining the slats of the chairs to match the table top?
June 12, 2013 at 1:10pm     
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Ann
That's an interesting idea Nancy! Some have suggested painting the bottom of the table and the chairs with an ivory or French gray chalk paint, but you're the first to suggest the slat idea.
June 12, 2013 at 1:44pm   
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Ann
This post has gotten a little long, so I think I'll start a new one asking about the end chairs.
June 12, 2013 at 1:57pm   
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Ann
I started a new discussion about the chairs, but wanted to update you on the stain color. This morning, the refinisher stopped by to pick up the second half of his payment. Just before that, I put in a table leaf so I could take a picture for my Houzz chair discussion. The leaf I put in was the one the refinisher did while I was at his shop choosing a stain color. Look at the difference in color we saw when we put the leaf in!!! The refinisher arrived, took one look, sincerely apologized, and loaded the tabletop in his truck to start over. I'm soooo relieved. He said he'd finish it by next week. He was very reasonable about it.
June 13, 2013 at 7:50am   
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Ann
Finally got my finished (and fixed) table back. This time it's beautiful (even more so in person) and the finish is identical for the table and leaves. Now, I'll get underway with ordering the RH nailhead chairs.
June 21, 2013 at 2:11pm     
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doctornancy
Beautiful!
June 21, 2013 at 2:39pm      Thanked by Ann
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mpoulsom
YAY!!!!!! I'm glad you decided to get the end chairs! :) I know you will love it!
June 21, 2013 at 3:03pm     
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craljh
Beautiful job and beautiful color choice. I was stunned with the change !!
June 21, 2013 at 8:45pm      Thanked by Ann
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Ann
Thanks craljh - I had never used this refinisher before and when he first returned it, I was so disappointed (pictured a few posts above if you didn't read about it). But, he started all over and it is just beautiful now - I can't believe the same guy did that terrible job and then this beautiful job!! I thought the table was ruined and now it is simply fantastic with its added distressing and great color.
June 21, 2013 at 9:01pm     
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