I hope I’m not alone when I say that I love Pinterest for gathering home decorating ideas.  Because I also love to refinish furniture, I most often find myself looking at painted furniture ideas and dreaming about all of the additional rooms I will need to house the pieces I want to paint and decorate around.  One of my favorite pins is for an oak dining set (see picture below) with a pedestal table and pressed back chairs, pinned by serendipityfurnishings.com.  I so loved the look of this set, that I pinned it and determined to have one of my own. The problem was that a) these oak sets typically sell for  upwards of $900, b) I couldn’t seem to find anything used for less than $400, and c) I really didn’t want to spend more than $100.  One day while scouring Craigslist I saw an ad for “oak table with four chairs $50”, and even though there was no picture, my gut told me to ask for one.  Imagine my shock when the picture I received was exactly what I was looking for – for $50!!  The set was missing its extension leaf, but this didn’t worry me.

My Inspiration Set by Serendipity Furnishings

My Inspiration Set by Serendipity Furnishings

Needless to say, by day’s end I had the set in my garage and was revelling in the deal I had made.  It wasn’t until later that evening, upon closer inspection, that I realized the chairs were not in good condition.  Someone had attempted to repair them in many places and had used a crazy amount of glue, brackets, screws, and pin nails to do so.  I wasn’t too concerned though, because I knew that my super handy hubby could fix whatever was wrong with the chairs and make them better than new…I just had to tell this to him.

The table, which was in excellent condition, was the first thing to get finished.  Like the inspiration set, I wanted to refinish the beautiful oak top in a dark stain, but the apron in the same Olive Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I would be using for all of the chairs.  In my excitement, I once again forgot to get a before picture.  But, here is a representation of what it would have looked like new.

table before

After sanding the finish off the entire top of the table and applying one coat of MinWax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, I stained it with a beautiful Espresso stain from Rustoleum.  The result was beautiful, but I decided to make the color even richer by applying a layer of Annie Sloan Dark Wax over a protective coat of Clear Wax.  Beautiful!!

Table top

Table top stained espresso

This is when the daunting task of repairing the chairs began.  Every chair had to be disassembled, repaired, reinforced, and rebuilt.  My hubby worked for a few weekends on these chairs, meticulously fixing all of the issues and rebuilding them to be strong as new.  He truly performed a miracle with this task, and even though I had confidence in him, I have to say that truthfully there was a moment when I looked at all of those pieces and thought we may be buying all new chairs.

Every chair had to be disassembled

Every chair had to be disassembled

Another shot of the pieces

Another shot of the pieces

This seat split right up the middle and had to be completely rebuilt

This seat split right up the middle and had to be completely rebuilt

The end dowling that held the top portion of the chair to the seat was completely broken off this chair

The end doweling that held the top portion of the chair to the seat was completely broken off this chair

Once the chairs were rebuilt and all holes and scratches were filled and sanded, I got to the painting.  I applied two coats of ASCP in Olive before applying a coat of clear wax to the entire chair.  In the words of my friend, Mary Ann, who did a similar set, “Holy spindles Batman!”  Because there are so many spindles on these chairs, I wanted to have a little extra working time when I applied the dark wax in order to have all of the details highlighted.  So, I mixed-up a glaze of 50-50 dark wax and unscented mineral spirits.  I applied the glaze over the clear wax before allowing it to dry.  Then, I wiped it back, making sure to push the dark wax into all of the nooks and crannies.  The Captain’s chair was finished first, and the change is quite dramatic.


Very golden oak


With two coats of Olive ASCP paint

With paint only

With paint only

After clear and dark wax

After clear and dark wax…look at how the wax makes the beautiful oak leaf pattern pop

I am so happy with the way this set turned out!  The design on the chair backs is so beautiful and really made to stand out as a feature by the addition of the dark wax.  As an unexpected bonus, the nice lady I bought the set from emailed me last week to say that her ex-husband had brought back the 24 inch leaf and she was holding it for me.  Score!

Finished Breakfast Area

One more thing I want to mention here is the addition of the beautiful bakers rack on the wall behind the dining set.  I have been looking for a large bakers rack for this corner ever since we moved into this house four years ago.  Last month, I noticed several posts by a local woman trying to sell two bakers racks that had been stored in her barn for years.  The first, a nice bronze-colored rack, sold very quickly.  The second, a very dirty hunter green and light oak rack was not moving.  So, when she lowered the price to $10, I jumped on it.  The whole piece was in great condition, albeit very dirty and funky colored.  I brought it home, hosed it off, and spray painted all of the metal with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze.  While the metal dried, I lightly sanded the wood tabletop and added a coating of the espresso stain to match the dining table.  What a transformation – it went from drab to fab in about two hours and with an expenditure of about $12!  I absolutely love this bakers rack now.

Bakers Rack1


Tips & Tricks Learned:

  • One chair per day is an ideal way to go without causing spindle overload!
  • It is recommended that waxed surfaces be allowed to cure for 21 days.  This is especially important for a surface like a dining table that will take a great deal of wear.
  • Don’t be afraid to scour Craigslist and your local Facebook flea markets and yard sales for bargain pieces that may need a little reloving.  The result is a bargain that is very gratifying to live with.

Thanks For Reading,


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