Drab to Dreamy Dining Set

This Dining Set went from Drab to Dreamy and her owners are thrilled !

I first met the owner when she attended one of my Paint Your Own Piece (PYOP) workshops … she was painting a wooden tableware box and was nervous to start, but when it was finished, she really was happy with the results !

We had briefly talked about her dining set that she was hoping to re-imagine, so when she reached out a few months later to ask if I could do it for her, I was really excited !

I love hearing the story behind each piece that I work on … this set was the first big furniture purchase this couple made after they were married (25) years ago !! SO many family dinners were spent at this table … children raised. … homework, holidays and more. Now this family was ready for a new look and new memories !!

I knew it was a large dining set, but I didn’t really understand quite how big it was .. it was SO beautiful … and heavy !!


The shape of the base and the legs were so unique, and my mind was reeling with all the ways I was planning on tackling this project.

As always, with EVERY single project that I work on, I give it a really good clean with TSP Alternative first.  This is a non-negotiable step in re-imagining furniture.

If you don’t make sure you remove all the dirt and build up, and then put paint or stain on top, you could risk the paint not bonding and end up with chipping etc … down the road !! SO not worth it after taking the time to re-imagine a piece !

Chairs are REALLY time consuming and since my clients wanted them painted, instead of sanding them, I chose to apply Ultra Grip for superior bonding !

Ultra Grip is a magical product that ‘makes the impossible possible’ … and while these chairs would have likely done well with a scuff sand and paint only, they are also in a high traffic area of my clients home and I wanted to be sure that the paint stayed where it was supposed to for them, for years to come !

I applied a thin coat of the Ultra Grip using both a foam brush and a roller.  It goes on milky white and dries clear … I leave it on overnight (min. 12 hours) and then your surface is paint ready !


The table base and chair color choice was Midnight Blue … it is an absolutely STUNNING deep, rich navy blue and I was so looking forward to using it on this project !

The coverage of Fusion Mineral Paint is exceptional and it glides on like a dream.

I almost always complete the entire first coat of paint using a brush.  It depends on the shape of the piece as to what brush I will use, but it is always a Staalmeester … they’re simply the best !


Just look at that buttery smooth finish ! This was after (2) coats … the beautiful surprise with this project is the way that the wood grain still showed through in texture !!


          (1) Coat of Midnight Blue                   (3) coats of paint and new seat cushions

I added almost (3) coats of paint to the base and chairs … when i say ‘almost 3 coats’ what I mean is that I brush painted (2) coats, and then lightly rolled over top a ‘3rd coat’ to be sure any brush strokes were gone.

So, I wasn’t really transferring a full coat of paint, more like smoothing out the finish with a lightly paint filled roller !

I wanted to be certain the paint had really started to cure, so I let it all dry for a couple of days before I added Clear Furniture Wax to all the painted parts of this project.

While Fusion Mineral Paint doesn’t require a topcoat, again, this was going to be a VERY highly used set and I wanted to be sure that it was well protected !

This sponge is one of my most fave ways to transfer wax to a project !!

PRO TIP: I keep a bin of large popsicle sticks/tongue depressors on hand, and they work brilliantly for scooping wax out of the jar and onto this sponge !!

Don’t add too much at a time, it goes a long way … and as you continue to use it and add to the sponge, you’ll find that it spreads onto your furniture like butter !

Now it was time to tackle the tabletop and leaf inserts ! After a good clean, I was ready to hit it with furniture stripper !

QCS by Stripwell is my fave and it really works SO well … I gave it a really good spray, and let it sit and work it’s magic for roughly 30 minutes.


If you have plans to strip and scrape any furniture, you MUST invest in a Carbide Scraper … it is one of my most fave workshop tools, and it earned its keep on this tabletop.

Even though the table had been well cared for and cleaned regularly, it had A LOT of build up that needed to be removed. This was no match for my Carbide Scraper !!

Once I had all the old finish off (this did take a lot of time, so have patience), I left it overnight to really dry out before heading back with my sander

By stripping as much of the old finish off a piece before sanding, you save tool costs and time. Sanding paper, and the wear and tear on the tool itself can be extensive and unnecessary.

NOW … this doesn’t meant that there wasn’t much to sand … I still had to use multiple grits and get to the baby’s bottom smooth finish that I wanted to have pre-stain !


My clients SFO pick (Stain and Finishing Oil) was Cappucino … it is the most gorgeous, rich brown and is a fabulous match with Midnight Blue !

I did a color test on the underside of the table before moving to the top … I use inexpensive dollar store foam brushes to apply my stain. I like the coverage these give best, but there are many different tools you can use for application !

This is a great example of one side sanded and ready to go, and one side with the stain applied, but not wiped back !

You can add as many layers of SFO to your piece as you want … keeping in mind that the more layers, the more sheen ! My clients wanted a high sheen combined with a deep rich brown color …

I leave the stain on for roughly 15 – 20 minutes before wiping it back with lint free cloths … and I let it soak in and really start to dry overnight, before adding an additional coat. This isn’t necessary, but I like to really see the color that I am left with after each coat before adding more. You can always add, but it is harder to take away (more sanding and who wants that LOL)


Just look at the incredible difference between sanded and no stain and then (2) coats of Cappuccino … the way the SFO brought out the woodgrain is absolutely breathtaking !

Marshall thought so too 😉 … don’t even ask how this tiny weiner dog managed to make his way on top of one of my workbenches in the shop !! He clearly wanted an up close a personal look at my work LOL !!

One of the final steps to this tabletop was to ‘paint the rim’ … this part of a table can be handled a few different ways, but you need to decide how the flow of the colors will work best.

I had considered staining it as well, but when I did a test patch the woodgrain underneath wasn’t coming out as beautifully as the top of the table, and since the base and the chairs were painted, it made sense to continue with the color to the underside of the tabletop. I am so happy with the result and so are her owners !

This is the best photo I could get of this stunner in my shop before we delivered her back home … I quite literally didn’t have the space to be able to completely set it up and stage it !

SO …  I was thrilled to get these photos from my clients once they’d put her back together in their home !


They had the seats professionally recovered as well so that they would coordinate in their space !

The light that comes in from the window in their dining area is amazing and really shows off the Midnight Blue … and that Cappucino SFO was the most beautiful choice for the newly sanded tabletop !!

Here she is in all her glory in her home … I am just so fortunate to have the chance to work on these special pieces of furniture. I truly love this part of what I do and put my heart and soul into each one as though they were going to be living in my home … so thank you to this beautiful family for welcoming me into their home through this gorgeous dining set.  I love knowing it has so many more years to help make memories !

If you would like to discuss having me create a Custom Furniture Piece for you … CLICK HERE and fill out the request form. Then we can connect and make plans !!

I hope you enjoyed this process .. thanks for taking the time !

Until Next Time … j. XOX


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