Looking back at my last few posts, it seems the only things on my brain are eating, cooking, eating, playing, eating. We really have been doing more than just those fun things! We’ve also been doing a lot of organizing, since we’re done with all the unpacking and cleaning and bossing, now we’re down to rearranging and tweaking rooms, and looking on craigslist for storage and chairs and benches and other things! Orientation starts tomorrow, so prepare yourselves, this is going to be a long post.
Our first project started almost as soon as we unpacked in Noe Valley. Now that we have a dining room, we realized we were completely under prepared. Our kitchen table only seats two, and we need
to have dinner parties! Roommate and I agree, our dream table would be old metal- a long rectangle table with a stainless steel top, maybe something from a industrial kitchen supply company, maybe some old science lab table. Maybe it would be on casters. We scouted around, and realized our dream is going to take a whole lot more money that we’re equipped with. Yeah, like thousands and thousands. Funny, right? Instead our little brains started thinking other ideas… ideas that were a little more attainable, and less steel-y. We set a budget for ourselves of $300 after doing some table research. We found a table on craigslist that seemed pretty reasonable…actually, it was dirt cheap, so we took off to Mountainview to take a look, and ultimately bring our new table home.
Yes, isn’t that finish lovely? We had our first dinner party on our new table, and then promptly said goodbye to that shiny wood finish, right after we made a craigslist ad, asking for the kind help of a friendly neighbor. The roommate laughed heartily as I typed out my ad, thinking I was a little crazy, but it worked. Here is the original ad:
We are looking to borrow an electric sander for a few short hours, so we can sand a table we purchased on craigslist. We plan to sand this varnished dining room table, then prime and paint the table top with chalkboard paint, so we can throw interactive dinner parties, where everyone can contribute a drawing, recipe, idea or mathematical equation. We are trying to finish this table without buying anything new (except for just a little primer, and paint)
the project: local up-cycle recycle old table without buying anything we don’t need! timeline: this weekend, please! We need: Your sander for 2 hours You want: A bunch of delicious meyer lemons from our tree? Photos of our project, from start to finish? A mention on our design blog, where we sing YOUR praises? A friendly neighborhood dog walker once in a while? we’ll pick up some Seattle coffee for you next time we go home to Seattle to visit?
Well, believe it or not, by morning we had TWO responses, both in our neighborhood. We met our lovely new neighbor Nancy a few blocks away, and gave her a bag full of Meyer lemons from our tree in exchange for the use of her electric sander for the day. Nancy seemed intrigued by our ad, and our idea of neighborhood sharing, and told us it was her first time with an arrangement like ours. I’m happy to say, our experiment was a great success, and took a lot less time with the use of the sander, plus it was very satisfying way to finish the project. We got to meet a neighbor in our quest for the perfect dining table, and we experimented with a new community sharing experience. Ok, so back to the project!
The Intern sanding down the tabletop, while I worked on the legs.
Priming the table with two coats of primer.
After a few hours, we started painting the tabletop with gray chalkboard paint. We waited 40 minutes, and gave it a second coat.
If you haven’t used chalkboard paint before, you’ll find that it is much thinner than regular paint, but it has a fine grit sand mixed in the paint. Chalkboard paint comes in two colors, green or black, but we’ve read recipes online for making your own paint, in any color you want, with the addition of powder tile grout and glazing medium in acrylic paint. We went to our neighborhood hardware store, and talked with a nice employee, who offered to add two ounces of white paint to our black pre-mixed chalkboard paint, to make the slate-gray color we were after. He was so nice and helpful and didn’t charge us for the custom color! In total, our table project cost a little over $100, so we’re saving the rest of our $300 budget for more seating, like a long wood bench to tuck under the table, or some cool end chairs to mix and match.
The hardest part of our project (besides battling the SF wind that came up right towards the end of our painting project) was waiting three days before we tested out our new chalkboard tabletop. We had to wait to let it cure fully, so there wouldn’t be any scratches or dents in the surface.
The night of my mom’s birthday was the first time we were able to try out the chalk.
And subsequently, we’ve been using it every night since!