Thursday, July 15, 2010

60 HOUR MAKEOVER...

I used to think my aunt and uncle's house was weird. It was built in the sixties and was completely different to any other houses I knew in my childhood. The ground floor living area was open plan with a wooden floor and a huge white modular shelving unit on wheels dissecting the middle of it. (Obviously "modular shelving unit" wasn't in my vocabulary back then.) All the furniture was straight and angular. The windows were huge and looked out onto a pretty little wood. I remember thinking that their kitchen looked like a spaceship. They had a huge terrarium and their bath was bright yellow. Now that I'm a grown up, I can see that their house wasn't weird; it was completely fucking amazing and they were way cooler than I ever gave them credit for when I was nine.*

When the house was sold, I came into possession of their Danish midcentury dining table, which I swiftly proceeded to destroy by spilling various beverages all over it. The varnish had also gone orange (cannot.stand.orange.toned.wood.) over time. I felt a bit bad about ruining the table, so I covered it with a tablecloth and forgot about it - once every few years getting quotes for refinishing it, which were more expensive than the cost of a new table. I put the tablecloth back on and my aunt and uncle continued to convey slight disapproval from the afterlife.

{The offending article}
Until yesterday the day before yesterday last Monday last week when I got a very strong friend to help me drag it outside. (In the pictures the leaves which make it roughly double the size are tucked in.) After many, many hours days of stripping off all the old varnish, then sanding the stains out, covering it with bin liners weighted with laundry pegs every time it rained, then oiling, then oiling again, then oiling again (had lost the will to live, never mind the instructions) and buffing, I completed my first only ever table restoration project. Then I had to get it back inside. Then sand it where a few drops of rain fell on it, then oil it again. Twice. And then it looked too perfect so I sanded it a bit here and there to fuck it up a bit.

{Ta da}
I kind of sort of know in my heart that I liked how it looked much better before I oiled it, when it was all stripped and raw, but I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and going LALALA so I can't hear those thoughts because I'm never doing that again.
{*In the interests of honesty when I was 9 I thought they were cool already because their cats were called Tabitha and Jessica and I had only met cats called things like Lucky and Sooty before. Tabitha was a boy.}

**Overuse of strikethroughs = what happens when you write a post in draft about something you haven't finished doing yet.

13 comments:

Toni Marie said...

The table looks great! But I must agree with your repressed opinion that the stripped and raw table looked flipping gorgeous. Re-strip it!

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...(I know.) Maybe I'll have regained the feeling in my arms enough to re-strip it in a few years time...the thing is you can't really leave it completely stripped and have a usable table.

Bombay Beauty said...

Minority opinion... I think the restoration looks great. Modernist tables have to look crisp. There are other kinds of tables that look great with all kinds of wear and tear... Great job. I have had to make a similar reassessment of some of family... bb

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

BB - so true - ha I also totally misread your comment about reassessing family and thought you were still talking about tables and were referring to your furniture as family!

Anyway, yes unfortunately when we're very young we don't have the reference points to appreciate these things...

charlotte said...

at the risk of repeating myself, um, impressed.
totally and utterly.

anna said...

it looks amazing...plus anything Danish is automatically and efortlessly cool and elegant...just look at Anna Karina. You've got the equivalent in the form of a table there! Yes..I am a bit of a ridiculous person.

If Jane said...

oh your aunt and uncle's place sounded immediately like it could have been a flat in an antonioni film!
i have to agree with BB...looks fab...(although i understand why it probably looked great stripped et al...) love the ceramic piece you put on top...

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

charlotte - repeat away!

anna - this table will henceforth be known as the anna karina table.

If Jane - ha, I'm torn now. Maybe in 5 years I'll re-strip it and it will be like another new table. And the bowl was my granny's...

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

That was worth every arm-aching second , it looks magnificent !

Anonymous said...

no, you don't have to re-strip it, I bet that in 5 years time it will look slightly battered and will look even more amazing! Plus, I agree with BB...
xxx
Mia

ephemerette said...

God that is one fabulous table - well done although I can imagine what a pain in the arse it must have been to restore it! Re: cat names, seriously considerd calling my newish kitten Graham for a while, but it doesn't really suit him, currently referring to him as pony cos he's already huge at 4 months, and likes to gallop.

Fleurette said...

I loved the result! I've been looking for a similar table for my room too.. ooh, so jealous now :p