Our family recently spent eight sunny days in southern Ontario, visiting my dad and stepmom. While it was a vacation away from my writing, I apparently couldn’t last eight days without getting paint all over myself.
I hadn’t planned on DIYing on vacation, but my stepmom said she wanted my opinion about buying a new coffee table and end tables for their family room. She mentioned maybe getting some build-it-yourself ones from a certain popular big-box store, and I squawked in protest.
Their current tables were solid oak with glass panels, and all three pieces were in great condition. They’d had them since I was six, and they were secondhand finds back then — making the tables at least 30, but probably closer to 40 years old.
Since my stepmom was sick of them and wanted a change, I insisted we could paint the tables to modernize them. She was on board right away, but we knew the challenge would be convincing my dad to take a chance on a little paint.
“Dad, we have a proposition,” I started diplomatically, later that day. “What would you say if we could get a brand-new coffee table and two end tables for the family room ... all for the low price of about $27?”
“Ah, sure. Where are they?”
“Right here!” I gestured grandly to the tables. “We’d paint these ones!”
I’d been prepared to defend the idea of painting the oak and go on about the quality of the paint — not to mention my stellar record of painting furniture — but Dad agreed immediately. He’d been bothered by a slight discolouration on the coffee table, and thought they would look nice painted. Yesssss!
We hit up a cute shop called Next Time Around in the nearby city of Cambridge, and grabbed a pint of creamy paint (“Champlain” by Fusion Mineral Paint). It’s described as the perfect warm white, and I knew it would be the perfect way to brighten up the family room’s dark floors and brown leather furniture.
I got straight to work painting the coffee table and end tables out in the backyard, and the paint dried quickly in the hot sun. Because the oak was 40+ years old, it soaked up the paint greedily and we ended up needing part of a second pint. (Dad zipped out on his motorcycle to buy me another, and tucked it into his “motorcycle purse” a.k.a. saddlebag.)
Just 48 hours after getting the go-ahead to paint the furniture, it was back in place — looking amazing and brightening up the once-dark family room. The coffee table now looks very similar to a $326 one we found on Wayfair, except we were all about to update all three pieces for about $35 worth of paint.
Nothing like a good before-and-after to make me smile, even on vacation. I’m just sorry we had to fly home before their two new Wayfair rugs arrived! I wonder what decorating fun I’ll get to have there next summer?