tall tales

from the gallagher five.

a homecoming… of sorts. January 6, 2011

Filed under: Anne — gallyfam @ 9:26 am

sooo, we found this set of a dining table and benches that fit perfectly in our kitchen at a sketchy garage sale many years ago:


the boys and their cousins at the original table.

it was exactly what we were looking for… except for the fact that the varnish was thick and sticky.  to the point where it was embarrassing to have company over for dinner because we always found ourselves apologizing to our guests when they’d have to peel themselves off the bench to get up from the table.  that, and paper plates and tablecloths would stick to the table top as well…  we always said we’d re-finish it someday.  this year we felt challenged to practice the art of hospitality more and more, but the sticky table and benches was a major obstacle standing in our way.  can you really have some friends or another family over for dinner and kindly avoid asking them to take a seat for dinner???  we didn’t think so either.

i asked an experienced friend of ours if we could bring the set over to their garage and if she wouldn’t mind instructing me on how to re-finish it.  she said yes!… back in the beginning of NOVEMBER.  i’m embarrassed to admit that i naively thought two months ago that this whole project of sanding, staining/painting, and upholstering (kind of) the seat backs would take me only 3-4 days!!!  yeah, right.  i did finish the easier half of the project after a couple weeks (the table and the smaller bench) and brought them home:


all three boys, excited to not have to "picnic" on the floor for every meal anymore...


but the L-shaped bench, that i had also dreamed of adding fabric seat backs to (from fabric that i had bought from IKEA several years ago for this very project)???  well, let’s just say that i finally brought the finished bench home YESTERDAY.  two months later!  yikes!  i’m sooo excited that the project is finally done, but definitely embarrassed that it was sitting in our friends’ garage for so much longer than i thought…

lessons learned:

1. i’m not the kind of person that can survive for long surrounded by major, unfinished projects.  it drives me crazy!  i have vowed not to do anything similar until we have our own garage out back, our own space that i can retreat to during nap times and complete such projects much, MUCH faster.  it was hard to find time to go over to our friends’ home without kids, or to pack them all up and get them napping or playing over there so i could work for a couple hours.  what a pain!

2. when trying something new for the first time, start small!  it turned out fine, but this table and bench set was too complex for my first try…  it would have been less frustrating to start with a smaller piece of furniture that would have allowed a more timely sense of success and closure…

3. as a perfectionist, i am a slooooow worker.  not only do i check and double-check that every step is done well, but i’m picky about the way it looks.  which means we stained everything three times instead of the expected two.  i sanded everything excruciatingly well and i had a difficult time NOT staining parts of the bench that would never been seen…  ugh!

4. my husband is incredibly full of grace for me.  which is blatantly obvious when he is willing to come and help me with the project and be bossed around in the garage.  my 1-ness (think enneagram) shines through loud and clear when i’m working on some type of house-project like this; and it’s not particularly endearing, let me tell you.  phil is a champ for putting up with me.

5. i am discovering more and more who i am and what i like and what my style is.  when it comes to home decorating, it seems my style is “modern organic,” which my friend, melissa, kindly pointed out for me.

well, are you ready for the pictures??  here goes:

so, there you have it!  i’m so relieved to finally be finished and to have everything out of my friend’s garage!  It is fun to have a black dining set now that ties together the other black pieces in our kitchen and living room and the orange walls.  i love it!  one of the best parts (that i forgot to photograph) is that the two sides of the L-shaped bench lift up and there are storages areas inside of them, which i lined with leftover wallpaper from our bedroom makeover this past summer!  it’s like a beautiful surprise every time you lift the seat.  we will store our tablecloths and place mats and napkins inside…

so, now we’re ready for dinner guests!  the first of which will have to be our friends who helped me so much with this crazy project.  THANK YOU, Dinah & Ken, for putting up with our crap in your garage and for ALL the help and instruction you gave!  You guys are the best.


8 Responses to “a homecoming… of sorts.”

  1. Sarah Says:

    wow, anne it’s just amazing!! yes, i think mel hits the hammer on the head with “modern organic”. 🙂 very anne. and very cool.

  2. lizzie Says:

    i looked AWESOME! funny that i never helped you do that when i lived with you, even with all of our high hopes. looking forward to the non-stickiness in a day! 🙂

  3. sarahjane Says:

    Woah! That looks great, Anne! I love the style of the table, as well.

  4. rachele martin Says:

    absolutely beautiful!!! i love your style and your perfectionism paid off… you could not have found anything mroe beautiful in a store 🙂 What will you “tackle” next? i have projects, but i am not so brave as you!!

  5. gallyfam Says:

    thanks, ladies! i appreciate all the compliments and encouragement. i really do love it… next?! probably sewing a new bag for myself, with some fun fabrics i’ve had waiting around for several months… : ) or maybe some quick knitted dishcloths. : )

  6. Lyric Says:

    Absolutely GORGEOUS. Truly stunning. We’re moving to a new house in a couple of months with predom. black cabinetry and I’m settling in for the prospect of refinishing all our stuff. I consider myself fairly warned. I must say, that Ikea fabric is out-of-this-world awesome!

  7. Devon Says:

    wonderful! it looks awesome! i would love to be sitting at it sharing a meal with you.

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