Check out these French porcelain beauties: on the left, a pierced basket to keep the others company on the sideboard in our dining room and on the right, one of eight salad plates in a cheery hue reminiscent of Pantone's color of the year. They were just the inspiration I needed for a pretty-in-pink makeover with double-duty appeal.
Keep the table closed, and it's great next to a bed or in a front hall. Swivel and open it completely, and it’s a card table with storage.
As much as I loved the table's shape, that dingy wood veneer would have to go. Paint is the easiest way to freshen up old furniture, but it’s the prep work beforehand that ensures a smooth and lasting finish. After removing the claw feet, I filled and sanded chipped corners, holes and scratches with an epoxy wood filler from Minwax. It's the perfect material to use on old furniture. You mix it like cookie dough, mold it like clay and when it hardens, you sand it like wood. To make it even easier, I used a Dremel tool fit with a sanding bit, then ran a coarse grit sanding block over the entire piece until smooth.
Beginning with the table open, I primed the top, pedestal and legs first with a good, shellac-based primer to lock in the stain. Once dry, I folded the table over, then primed the underside of the top and drawer. After a second coat of primer, I was finally ready the paint.
Two coats of white later, applied in the same way as the primer, and that dingy wood veneer was a thing of the past.
For the magazine, editor Jen Kopf and I imagined two scenarios showing the transformation: one would be shot in the library of our house with the tabletop open for playing cards; the other, with it closed in our foyer. For the first scenario, I picked up these dining chairs at one of my favorite junk shops—$40 for six—but they, too, would need a little love.
Inspired by the cheery hue of a set of French porcelain plates, I painted the underside of the table and four of the chairs two tones of pink from Valspar through Lowe's. The fabric is a pretty floral from Calico Corners.
Now for the top of the table, I wanted to do something a little different, so to mimic the look of a classic awning, I added stripes. Simply measure and tape off the widths (sides, too), then apply two coats of glossy pink paint. Be sure to use 3M Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape to prevent any bleeds.
To go a step further, I lined the table's flip-top drawer with pink scrapbook paper for a sweet and stylish surprise. Measure the interior drawer and cut paper to size with scissors. Apply spray adhesive to the back of the paper, and smooth in place. Using a glue gun, outline the drawer with grosgrain ribbon.
Three days from the shoot, and the transformations were complete! The pair of club chairs in our library had been easy enough to move, but after only two months in the new house, our windows had still been bare! For a quick fix, I hung linen panels on cafe rods to soften the room for the shoot.
Flash forward, and here's the image photographer Miki Duisterhof captured on yet another snowy day in January. For the most part, we were all very pleased. This story, however, was slated for May, and so greenery of some sort would have to be added in post-production. The other issue revealed itself later when the editors were reviewing the images and chose this perspective as their favorite—minus me! For the article, they preferred my picture with the beat-up table at the flea market, and so that part of the image, too, would have to be retouched.
Here's the photograph as it appeared in the magazine. It's the same one only enhanced, quite skillfully, with foliage and with my presence magically erased! The pierced French basket from the flea market I planted with a bird's nest fern and moss, while the pink porcelain plates flank a vintage brass candle sconce with a petal pink taper from Creative Candles.
Here are the big, beautiful detail shots of the tabletop and drawer that Miki captured, only without the size constraints of print. If I were to do it over again, I'd definitely add to this image perfectly manicured hands to give it life!
For the second scenario, we moved to the foyer. When folded up, the table now doubles as a catchall for keys and mail. In the mirror, you'll notice the cord to the wall sconce, the glass coffee table in our living room, and a leg of the tripod. Now you see them…
Now you don't!
Here's another of Miki's lovely detail shots of the tabletop with a simple arrangement of hydrangeas and roses in a vintage ginger jar.
Huge thanks again to photographer Miki Duisterhof, her assistant Tiffany and editor Jen Kopf, along with the entire team at Southern Living for all their talent and hard work.
And of course, thank you again to editor in chief Lindsay Bierman for the incredible opportunity to contribute. It's an honor to be a part of the Southern Living family, and I can't wait to share all the dazzling transformations to come!