Summer break & Falling behind

I love working on furniture but I love to enjoy the summer weather more!  And boy, did we have a great summer in Nova Scotia!!    I spent the summertime in Cape Breton, Mahone Bay and around Halifax.  Great beach weather and family time!  If you haven’t been to Nova Scotia, the South Shore and Cape Breton are worth a visit!

I haven’t worked on much furniture since July, so I have quite a bit of work to catch up on.  I still have so many pieces of furniture that I’d like to get finished in the next couple months.  I started a few projects the past week and will be posting them soon.

Now that Fall is here, I will get to work on more furniture.  I have a small pine chest and two side tables to redo for a client.  The transformations will be simple but will make such a huge difference once they are done!  A little paint and stain does wonders!

Now, I must plan a visit to a winery and apple picking!  I love Fall!


Boxwood antique desk

I picked up this flip top desk a few weeks ago.  I loved the shape of it and how versatile it could be.  It’d be a perfect for an entry way, hiding things away or for use as a desk in a living room.

Right away I knew I wanted to paint it Boxwood MMS milk paint.  I love that colour and have only used it on my shutters I painted last fall.  It’s such a beautiful green.  And I’ve been itching to paint with milk paint lately.  I’ve been doing a lot of things with AS Chalk Paint.  I love that paint but it doesn’t give the same look as milk paint does.

Here’s some hints with mixing milk paint.

I grabbed all the supplies needed: milk paint, extra bond, water, plastic jar, whisk, and a measuring cup.  Side note, I don’t have running water at my work shop so I bring water in jugs and hot water in a thermos.

I measured out the milk paint powder with the measuring cup.  Before adding water I used the whisk to break up the chunks in the powder.  It will make it easier to mix with the water and have less clumps.

Now the powder is finer…

I added the same amount of water as milk paint powder.  And stirred with a whisk until well mixed and no clumps.  If it’s too watery add a little more milk paint .  If it’s too thick, add water.  It should be similar to milk.

I then added the extra bond, (same amount as water) and stirred well.  I allowed the milk paint to sit before painting.  It allows the paint to thicken up and make sure all of the colour to be absorbed.

While the paint sat, I prepped the desk for painting.   I lightly sanded and scuffed up the piece, just to give the paint something to hold onto.  Then cleaned up the sand dust and allowed the desk to dry.

After one coat of paint, the piece may look a little ‘wonky’ and imperfect.  But after two coats, it looks beautiful!  Trust me, don’t let the first coat of milk paint scare you away.    Adding the extra bond allowed the milk paint to bond well to the desk .  There wasn’t much chipping.  If you want chipping and more of a surprise in the result, skip using the extra bond.

After the paint dried, I lightly distressed and waxed it.  Here it is…

flip top desk after 29flip top desk after 3flip top desk after 6flip top desk after 8flip top desk after 26

I love this colour. It turned out slightly different than when I used it on my wooden shutters.  But it’s lovely all the same!

Hope the quick tips on milk paint helped.  Milk paint has scared me before but I love using it now.  Such a fun process. And so many beautiful colours to choose from or create yourself.


Coastal Blue Desk

I received another furniture donation!  My lovely cousin was getting rid of a couple items from her house and she sent me a message asking if I wanted them.  There was a desk that had great potential, so of course I couldn’t refuse!   Luckily they live just a stone’s throw from my workshop so her husband dropped it off.   Side note: I can’t wait to trade in my Corolla for a hatchback car. Sigh.  Next year for sure!

The desk needed a little bit of repair.  There was some veneer missing on the bottom and I had to fix up the joints to make it more stable.  After a bit of wood filling and sanding the table was ready to paint!

I knew I wanted to use General Finishes Milk Paint, but what colour?  I hadn’t used Lamp Black or Costal Blue in awhile, so I hummed and hawed over the choices.  I chose Coastal Blue.  Love this colour.   One coat of general finishes milk paint does amazing things.  I only needed to do a quick second coat and it was looking good.

I painted two coats of the blue and painted inside the drawers.  I stopped there.  Something was missing.   I loved the navy colour,  but the desk needed something else.  Maybe I’m used to doing two toned style with a wood top.  The desk needed something to make it pop.  I looked for inspiration on Pinterest.   Looked around for stencils I could use.  And finally thought, painting a union jack on the top would be perfect.  Penny and I painted a coffee table long ago and it turned out lovely!

Since I had the paint colours on hand, I was going with the traditional union jack colours.   Red, white and blue.   After looking at a picture of the union jack flag on my phone, I planned what stripe width would work on the desk top.  Using a measuring tape and ruler square I found the center of the desk, and I taped out the middle and diagonal stripes.  I painted the inside of the tape white (after removing some of the tape).   Once dry, I taped out the areas for the red stripes and painted those.

3 drawer desk ip 43 drawer desk ip 53 drawer desk ip 83 drawer desk ip 93 drawer desk ip 10

Once everything was painted and dry, I distressed the desk to make it look more of a weathered flag.  Then sealed with varathane.

3 drawer desk ip 14

3 drawer desk ip 15

The knob choice was difficult.  I didn’t have many matching knobs (lots of pairs but not 3 of them). I chose three knobs that were creamy white, similar to the Antique white used in the stripes.  Love how they look against the navy blue.

Here is the final product!

3 drawer desk after 23 drawer desk after 33 drawer desk after 11

I love how it looks now!   I decided to go with the imperfections of the desk by distressing it. The desk is perfectly imperfect now! 😉

Hopefully it will find a new home soon.


Refreshed set of tables

I recently was asked to redo a set of tables, a coffee table and two side tables.  A fellow furniture refinisher had passed along my name to one of her clients and I am grateful for that!  I knew the tables would be a fun project.  I just loved the shape and details on the legs.  They definitely had potential to be pretty again!



 I was a little bit nervous whether the wood top on the coffee table could be refinished.  But I sanded the top down, the wood grain was beautiful!


After one coat of paint on the base and the coffee table was starting to shape up!   The raw wood looked nice with the painted base.  Since the plan was to stain the wood, I was inspired to search for a piece of furniture that I could redo in the future and leave the top bare wood.  That style is beachy and fresh.  And something I haven’t done yet.  I just love the look!


Anyway, back to the coffee table… on this table the wood grain wasn’t shining without stain, so I was excited to see how it would look once stained.  After a coat of Provincial, it looked pretty good!  I just love that wood grain.



Even the side tables were looking better with just one coat of Old white!

 Love all the curves!


I did a couple coats of Provincial minwax stain on the coffee table top, leaving the stain on for 20 mins each time.   I painted a few coats of Old White ASCP on the table base and end tables.

I love the look of white furniture, but painting them white is a little painful.  No matter how light the wood is, it seems there’s always a little peaking through the paint.  I made sure to do 3 coats of paint and a touch up coat.  I also had some bleed through on the coffee table, but I used Shellac on those spots and painted over with the Old White.   Shellac works like a charm!

After lightly sanding the chalk paint so it was smooth like buttah and antiique the edges, I applied a coat of wax.  On the wood top I did 3 coats of Varathane in satin finish to make sure it was durable.

Here’s the sneak peak after the two coats of stain and paint.  It’s amazing how the curves were highlighted!  Loved it already.


And here are the tables in their home!  I just love how they turned out.  And even better, the client was pretty happy with them!




The tables were a lot of work but its worth it for me to make someone happy with their home.  That’s one big part of furniture refinishing that I love!

I’m taking a break this week, but hoping to tackle a couple desks next week.

Laurena 🙂

Painting with the essentials.

As a self-taught furniture refinisher, I’m always trying to improve  my work.  There are plenty of great tools and products out there to make things go more smoothly.  Finding the right ones among the millions of options is the hard part!

Over time, I’ve discovered spending a little extra on better quality products is worth it.   I bought a really great sander that makes prep work a wee bit painless. There are a few paint lines that I love and are easier to work with, AS chalk paint, Fusion Mineral Paint, MMS milk paint and General Finishes milk paint.    Latex is good too, lots of colour options, but using paint designed for use on furniture (like those listed above) is my first choice.  Using good paint makes prep work almost non-existent and the paint goes on easier.


In the past, I’ve just bought cheap paint brushes, cleaned them until they were yucky and falling apart, then tossed them in the trash.  Over time the $$ add up!   My thought process was, I had good quality paint, the brush doesn’t matter….but I was wrong!

Last week I bought a good quality brush at my local ASCP retailer, Rusty Hinges.  I tried it out the next day and had a “where have you been all my life!” moment.  The paint brush made the paint go on better, into all the nooks and crannies.  And I used less paint.  Love this brush!


So I learned something new this week.  Buy good paint brushes!  It’s worth it in the end.  I probably won’t use as much paint and it will be faster to paint a piece of furniture.  Win, win!

Have you learned any tips and tricks this week?  Share away!  Would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping in!


Refinished coffee table

I am so lucky to have friends who give me furniture!  I’ve received some treasures and am forever grateful for the freebies.  When a friend gave me these round tables, she also gave a beautiful coffee table.   Queen Anne style table legs and solid wood. Lots of potential.  I was excited to work on it!


The table before was a reddish brown stain.  I couldn’t wait to get the top sanded down and restain it.  Especially after I started to sand and saw the wood grain.   The old finish hid the beauty beneath.



Here’s the top with the first coat of stain.   I used Provincial by Minwax.   The same stain on my antique commode and the dining table I recently worked on.  It’s fun to see the difference between each piece, all made of different wood.  With the commode, the stained wood took a warm red brown and with the other pieces, it was a slightly yellow brown.


The base colour was a hard decision.   I didn’t want to paint it white or black….and that’s as far as I planned.   I went back and forth between possibilities: French linen,Boxwood, a teal or a custom colour.   Finally I chose Fusion mineral paint Renfrew Blue. Its a beautiful teal.


After some light distressing with a wet sponge, I applied clear  wax, buffing with a soft cloth.


The teal with the stained top is a great combo.  They boost each other’s confidence and make the table just beautiful!

I think my goal this week will be to finish up the little projects I’ve put off for awhile.  Mirrors, chalkboards and half finished chairs.  Fun!

Laurena 🙂

French Linen dining table

Another hand-me-down piece, this time a dining table.  I had this table for awhile and wanted to refinish the top, but never had the chance to sand it.

It’s a basic dining table from the ’70s, great wood, turned legs.


Once sanded, the top looked like new!


I used Provincial stain (the same as the commode and coffee table).  Of course, on all pieces I used wood conditioner first.  It helps the stain absorb into the wood evenly and prevents blotchiness.


I chose to paint the legs and apron French Linen ASCP.  Love that colour.  A beautiful warm grey.  I loved the colour when I used it on a console table I had redone in the fall.  Slight distressing to highlight the shape of the legs and satin finish on the whole piece.


l love refinishing wood tops. The beauty of wood grain makes me happy!  Especially after an update.  This table is one of my favourites.

I’ll be back with one more redo.  I guess I’m making up for some lost time!