While helping a friend move, we unearthed this old, 1950’s Shaker style dining table in her basement. It was covered in about 5 layers of paint and various other unidentifiable matter, but it’s size and simple beauty caught my eye, as I had been looking for a small kitchen table to fit in my Portland kitchen. Not quite seeing what I had seen, or how I had, she was more than happy, at the time, to see it go! I was not sure at first how I would go about giving it new life, so I just cleaned it, and put it in the kitchen until it provided some inspiration.
About two weeks later, I broke my leg, and, it having been the exceptionally snowy winter of 2015, I found myself more or less homebound in my second floor apartment on Munjoy Hill.
As I awaited some sign of spring and the blossoms that follow, I found myself drawn to the idea of a year round “Garden of Blooms”. Since my thumbs are about as far from “green” as they can be, I knew that painting rather then planting, was a better choice for me. Working within my kitchen was my only option, therefore, stripping all the former paint was not an option. My first concern was smoothing out the previous dings, dents and drips, both on the legs and top. I removed the base from the table top to do so. Using various grades of sandpaper, and primarily, a block, vs. a palm sander, I was able to create a smooth, unblemished surface. Knowing that my primer choice was an important one, I went right to Ben Moore and applied 2 coats of Acrylic Fresh Start, letting it cure for a week. I then applied 2 basecoats of Ben More Latex Flat, from the “Ben” line, of a blue that I had custom mixed. I did the same in a green for the table skirt and legs. Then it was time for the
“Garden”. I am an Artist, therefore I used various tubed acrylics for the floral garland.
I usually paint in watercolor, so I wanted to use the same technique of layering color. To do this, I mixed my tubed acrylics with Ben Moore Glazing liquid which transform the usually opaque paint to transparent. Then I just went for it! No particular plan. I used various books for floral references, and, it being a VERY LONG WINTER, I just kept painting! When I decided that it was complete, (which coincidentally, was timed with the real arrival of Spring) I top coated both the table top and base with, you guessed it, Ben Moore Stays Clear in Low Luster Acrylic. I gave the top, 3 coats and the base 3 as well. As you can see, the final product is a year round burst of color! On those dreary gray days, when it seems as though Spring, or even the sun may never return, I am reminded, that color and beauty exists all around us, sometimes, we just need to look at things a bit differently! It certainly made my homebound winter more bearable, broken leg or not! ………and my friend, the one who was unable to see the “beauty” in this once abandoned basement clutter,……..well, she is still trying to get it back!