Sunday, August 30, 2009

Distressed

Whenever I get a catalog in the mail for Pottery Barn, I have to laugh. I do love their furniture, don't get me wrong. It's fantastic stuff. Pricey, but generally worth it. It's good, solid and sturdy. I am always amused though by the distressed furniture, the finishes that people pay extra for. Really, they could just send the new stuff to my house and we'd distress it for them. We are pretty good at it. There aren't many pieces of furniture in my house that are not distressed. And there are some that would raise the white flag of surrender if they could.

We have had the same kitchen table for years. We bought it right after we bought our first house, which would be about 7 1/2 years ago. It's a modest table, nothing fancy. It was from IKEA, and though it was cheap, it is made of solid wood. Initially, we bought the four matching cross backed chairs to go with it. Over the years, two of the chairs have been broken. The first of them fell victim to Ashley. She got her legs stuck in it, and despite my best efforts to grease her up, I couldn't get her out. I had to get the saw out of the garage, and the chair lost the fight. The other chair broke after being tipped over with Aidan still in it, he went right through the back framing of it. Of the two remaining chairs, only one is fully intact, and it is up in Aidan's room. The other, partially broken chair is in the kitchen for the desk area.

Needless to say, we got new chairs, one of which has already succumbed to the dangers of living in this house. In a cost saving effort, I decided that rather than look for a new table, I would sand, strip and refinish the table. Great in theory, but not so much in practice. I'm not really sure what went wrong, but something did not work as intended. The lacquer I used never fully cured, and the table has a sticky feel to it. It's only gotten worse and worse, to the point where anything and everything now sticks to the table. You can't read a newspaper without losing a few pages. The kids can't do homework there without peeling the papers off the table carefully when they are done.

When people started asking what I wanted for Christmas last year, my answers were amusing to say the least. I wanted two things: a vacuum that actually sucked, and a kitchen table. My, how lists change as we age. I was so happy to have a new vacuum Christmas morning that I actually took it out of the box and used it right away. Really! Santa didn't bring me a table, but I was just fine with that. I had a vacuum that actually picked things up again.

The truth is that the table really is in fine condition. The legs are undamaged, the joints are good. The finish on it is just so gross that it's hardly worth the effort involved in trying to clean it. Messes, like everything anymore, just stick to it. It needs a little TLC, and it needs it from someone who knows what they are doing. Obviously, I didn't.

The table fairy arrived yesterday morning, whisking it away. Off to a wood shop not too far away. To be stripped and sanded and stained again. And, I hope, to be finished right this time around. I hope, I hope, I hope. It will be nice to sit at the table without my elbows adhering to the surface. To be able to get a napkin out from under my plate without negotiating a hostage release. To be able to wipe it clean without the paper towel sticking to it. Who needs Santa when you have a table fairy?

Thanks, Papa. :)

1 comment:

  1. Still have our 4 IKEA chairs...pretty sure one of the kids will end up breaking them. They were the cheap $20 ones. Nice blue color. Like you, my wish list is a new table & chairs...I'm combing Craigslist till something strikes my fancy. Got the vacuum fot Mother's day...the other one broke.

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