Modern Farmhouse Oak Table Makeover

I love learning new things. They excite me as well as making me nervous and scared all at the same time.

My friend Nastasha sent me a picture of the table she had and the vision she had for it. While I hadn’t done anything like it before, I knew that I could figure it out – somehow!

I met with my Annie Sloan stockist, Melanie, at The Painted Bench and she shared with me this video by Michelle of Serendipity House LLC.

She calls it cerusing- a term that I had never heard before. It’s also referred to as liming or white washing. I literally watched this video 18 times before I started and by “starting” I mean, I practiced on pieces of oak before I did the actual table. I did this for a couple of reasons – both to get the right technique and to find the right colour mix.

On good advice, I did the table leaf at the same time that I did the rest of the table. I can’t even imagine the nightmare of trying to match it to the table after the fact!

When it came time to do the table top, mine didn’t look like Michelle’s when I wiped the paint layer off the actual table but once I applied the glaze, it looked amazing!

Materials used:

  • Table top:
  • To sand the top of the table:
    • 60 grit sanding disc
    • 120 grit sanding disc
    • 220 sanding disc
    • tack cloth to remove the dust
  • Base and bottom edge of table:
    • Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint
    • Annie Sloan clear wax
    • 120 grit sandpaper square (for distressing)

Tools used:

For a list of basic chalk paint supplies I typically use, click here.

How I refinished this piece:

When the piece was brought to me, I didn’t realize how big or heavy it was – and that it had wheels! I typically to the top and bottom pieces at the same time, not one then the other. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to outline the steps for the top of the table first and then outline the steps for the bottom.

Cerusing/ Liming/ Whitewashing Table Top

  1. The first step is to sand the top. I always do this outside (I made the mistake of doing this inside once. I don’t recommend!) and I’ve found it’s easier to have them put on saw horses.
  1. I start by using a 60 grit sanding disc to take the top layer off the table top and top edge. This takes some elbow grease. You don’t want to push too hard to make it uneven but you also don’t want it taking forever either. It’s a hard balance. Secondly, I use a 120 grit sanding disc to smooth it out a bit. Finally, I end by using a 220 grit sanding disc to create a smooth finish.
  1. At this point, I brought the table inside and rewatched that video again.
  2. Using a wire brush and in the direction of the grain, I pulled the brush across the table pushing down fairly hard. As long as you go in the direction of the wood, it’s unlikely that you’re going to scratch the wood. This is called “opening the grain”. Check out this process around the 3:00 mark of the video. The next step is almost like staining, so you’re going to want to essentially open the pores of the wood so that the mixture can be absorbed.
  3. Wipe off the dust using a tack cloth. I hadn’t ever used one of these before- usually I use a shop towel. I found this cloth at Lee Valley Tools and it has a resin in it that removes all the dust and lint. It worked really well.
  4. Using a plastic cup, I mixed equal portions of Annie Sloan’s Graphite, Paris Grey and water. For this table, I used three (3) tablespoons of each paint and 6 tablespoons of water.
  1. Using a brush, apply the mixture liberally to the table top. I did all three sections and then wiped off. Doing it all and then wiping allows the mixture to seap into the grain.
You can see in several spots where the grain is starting to peek through.
  1. Using a shop towel, wipe the mixture off the table. You’ll have to use several as you’ll want to get a new one once it becomes saturated. You’ll end up with a stain like appearance. Wait overnight for the table to dry.
  1. Once the table dried, I applied the General Finishes Winter White glaze. I applied it in the same way that I typically apply stain – brush on, wipe off using a shop towel.
Glaze applied
Glaze wiped off
  1. Once the glaze was applied to the whole table, I allowed it to dry for 24 hours.
  2. After the drying period, I applied two coats of General Finishes gel top coat. I waited 24 hours in between coats.
The finished top!
  1. I gave the top coat a day to harden and then started work on the bottom edge!

Refinishing Bottom Edge of Table and Base

  1. Using a mixture of water and blue Dawn, I wiped down the bottom edge of the table as well as the base.
  2. Once dry, I taped the edges to both avoid getting any paint on the area I just refinished and to have clean edges. Clean edges are SO important for any piece.
  3. Before I paint a lighter colour and especially on older wood, I always use Zinsser’s Cover stain. Two coats of this blocks any bleed through and uses less paint to achieve the desired look.

Primer coat 1

  1. Then it was time to paint! This is always where my piece comes together.

Paint coat 1

  1. Before I apply the wax on any piece, I do the distressing. This is so that if I take too much off or sand in an area that doesn’t look good, I can easily paint over. When distressing, I usually go along the edges and on any raised parts.
  2. Once I put the table right side up to properly wax it, I realized that the underside of the legs were more visible than I originally thought. So, I had to paint the visible areas. Live and learn!
You can see just above the curve the visible area.
Much better!
  1. After all the areas have been painted, I waited overnight and waxed all the painted areas. For waxing tips, click here.
  2. After removing the tape, from the bottom edge of the table, I noticed that a little of the paint got onto the table edge. I used a wet cloth and it came off really easily.
You can see a little on the edge where the paint got onto the table top.

Usually, I would assemble the table once it’s all done so I can take a picture but it was way too heavy for me to do on my own. When Natasha came to pick it up, she promised to send pictures when it was set up in her house.

She picked the perfect design for this table. It looks SO GOOD!

Sometimes I wonder how my restoring furniture really makes a difference in the grand scheme of the world. When Natasha sent me these pictures, I realized that she is going to have this table for a long time. She’s going to have meals there, dinner parties, family get together’s. I helped bring her vision for her space into reality. And that makes me so proud.

4 thoughts on “Modern Farmhouse Oak Table Makeover

  1. I like “The Reality” accomplished better than “The Vision” ideal. The base’s design is prettier too — the feet are more elegant.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an awesome blog! All the information provided by you is really very helpful for all. I agreed that we should keep our project dust-free with the piece of tack cloth and these are perfect for this and pick up basically every last piece of dust and dirt from the surface. The perfect article for beginners. Everyone should follow the tips provided by you, it will make their work easier. Keep Posting! Keep Sharing!


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