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the old, new dining room table


I’m reading the book Five Love Languages right now (which is a really awesome book, by the way) and I just finished a chapter on the phenomenon of being “in love.”  As I was reading it, I actually thought of how that same phenomenon happens in decorating.  Or, at least, it happens to me.  I make a change or buy a new piece and I get flutters and I walk in the room just to look at it.  I want to show it off in my pictures and I feel so warm and fuzzy and happy about it.  Then after a time reality sets in.  Sometimes reality proves that it was a good move.  Sometimes it reveals all of the things I didn’t notice when I was all googly-eyed over it.  I see that it’s impractical, it’s wobbly, it doesn’t fit the style of my home, it needs more work than I thought, or, in the case of my most recent dining room table, it was the wrong color.

So, I found a local buyer for the pine farm table…

…and brought up the one from the basement.

This is the table that didn’t sell at Lucketts.  When I was all tingly and giddy over my Aunt’s pine table, this one was sent to the basement to be a work table.  With the pine table now sold, I brought it back upstairs to the dining room.  Yes, you can, and probably should, pity my husband.  He’s a real trooper with me on this sort of thing, though.  Anyway, a funny thing happened.  This table that had been right under my nose has recaptured my affection in a new way.  Like it’s Fanny Price and I’m Edmund Bertram.  (Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park reference there, for those who weren’t aware.)

In the picture above, the set wasn’t working, obviously.  We had the greenish base, the burgundy chairs against the bamboo rug with the blue end chairs that were all wrong.  It was all a bit of a mess and I think I was missing the potential in how perfect the table could be for this space.

I know the paint color on the base was so pretty, but it didn’t work for me, so I painted it in two coats of MMSMP Ironstone.  (I still need to finish it.)  I also had the chairs stripped, then stained and painted them.  Now, it’s looking more like a cohesive, yet not matchy-matchy set.

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The end chairs still aren’t right.  I’m looking for something Gustavian or perhaps upholstered wing chairs that are petite in scale.

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The table is the base of an antique potting bench married with a barn door.  The top sort of does look like a door, so we might do some work to it or I may have my husband make a new top out of reclaimed wood.  We’ll see.

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The finish had one layer of Tung Oil on it that just soaked straight in, so it was looking a bit too rustic.

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I applied a layer of Hemp Oil to hydrate it more and bring out the details of the wood.

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I love old wood and how oil makes dings, dents and gouges look awesome.

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And my new ironstone platter, plus the ironstone punch bowl with a boxwood topiary in it makes the perfect centerpiece.  The white pops off the wood and ties in the white base and chairs.

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Now the upholstered cream leather seats are looking a little out of place.

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So, I’m going to make slipcovers for each one out of grain sack and some thinner hemp for the piping, a little ruffle and ties…

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I feel like I’m hitting the nail on the head with this one, but time will tell…

Does anyone want to place any bets?

We’ll also be saying goodbye to an MMS staple – the tattoo bamboo mat.  I still love it, but I’m going to trade it out for a seagrass rug, which will be more neutral and less yellow.  I’m just ready for a change, which should be no surprise to anyone.  And so it goes…

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  1. Bernice says:

    Love the table! Love the …I will change whatever…attitude . That’s me. 5 Love languages has been such a help to hubs and me for years. Also my grown son! Helps us to understand OURSELVES, and our love. I love knowing how to get my needs met, instead of whining. Because now I know what makes me feel loved and can verbalize it. Him too!

  2. Love the new table and the patina of the top is gorgeous after you applied the hemp oil…i love your idea of covering the chairs with the grain sack..such a beautiful dining room Marian.

  3. Patti says:

    I just saw a table like yours at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and they wanted $9500.00 for it. Keep it, it’s beautiful!!!

  4. I am totally amazed. The table looks new. You are the best seller for your paint!! Now when your aunt sent you the table we rejoiced. And you equally parted ways. I think its a good attitude. I’m so overly sentimental!!!!
    But you know what? Each look you’ve done is a new look. I like your idea of the seat covers but well…with my kids and even adults, it seemed the ties popped off, or when sewn all around, it would then leave a tear in fabric. I’m not bossing you as you have ideas beyond my imaginations, but on bottom of chair pad, attach a non-skid piece (like some I’d gotten at Pier1 years ago sans ties and stayed in place). That way the ties do help anchor the pad but the gripper to chair helps keep pad from sliding so much thus ripping the ties. Just a thought from one who got tired of ripped ties. And without the grippers they just slid around sans ties!!!
    Just a bit of older mom FYI for I really like the chair pad idea you have!!! And you can wash them!!
    Just keep painting stuff so we too get excited to try. And you used clear wax???

    • Ginger Marshall says:

      Gripper pads for the chair pads!?! That’s the best idea since sewing with drop cloths!!

  5. Barbara Hoffer says:

    I love, love, love the bamboo rug. Is this something you made? Where can it be purchased?
    Thank you!

    • Nicole says:


      Since no one answered you yet, I’ll tell you where she got this rug. :) There is an online shop called and they have is every once in awhile for a great price. Sometimes their sister site ( will have it too.


  6. Nancy Blunck says:

    I have a Queen Anne dinner table with pull out side extensions and a parquet top and 6 chairs to match that was purchased in Belgium in 1990. I was soooo in love with it and still love it even with its nicks and scratches. I am ready for a change though. I mentioned I was ready for a new set at a family dinner and my granddaughter was so upset because in her words “we had so many wonderful family dinners around it” so i will keep it and give it to her when she is ready (she is 12), but
    I will get my new or preferably old and repainted table and store this one for my granddaughter cause this table has her love now.

  7. Patricia says:

    I am in love with your rug. Missed it on Decor Steals and found one on craigslist in Dallas but it was sold before I could make the 5 hr trip to pick it up. Still hoping to score that rug someday. Any sources you can tell us about?

  8. Siouxzie Q says:

    Just gorgeous!

  9. See…it was meant not to sell!! Beautiful XO

  10. Ginger Marshall says:

    Marian, You can, and will, of course, do whatever you want, but I just love the fact that the table top is a barn door. It’s in such beautiful shape, and gorgeous now with the hemp oil finish. I would never change out the top. The fact that it is a barn door is what makes it so unique! I love furniture like that.

  11. I saw the wonderful makeover of your chairs and think the grain sacks upholstery will look stunning. I love the table makeover, it looks beautiful with the chairs. I agree Gustavian end chairs would complete the look.

    Lee :)

  12. Ashley says:

    hee hee. It’s ok. Change is fun. I didn’t realize how bad I was until my SIL commented on a “recent” coffee table change. And I was all…that was like 4 coffee tables ago. And she reminded me it was just January. 10 months and 4 coffee tables. Well…

    I do feel like some of my pieces are finally feeling more “right” and permanent. But like you said, only time will tell. Can’t wait to see what you find for the end chairs!

  13. Sally B says:

    I wish I could get a new table and chairs, you are so fortunate to be able to switch. I’ve had mine for at least 15 yrs. and I am sick to death of them all. Paint won’t help nor stain. It’s the shape and style I am tired of. Round oak with simple spindle back fake oak (rubber wood) chairs. I need a rectangular table with a leaf for big dinners and sturdy metal farmhouse/industrial chairs…well, someday:)
    I like both tables, but I do love the way the second one turned out, and think it fits better. The massive legs of the pine table were out of scale with the more delicate chairs.
    Good job!

  14. LOVe, love your new-old table in the last Pictures, where the oil has brought out a gorgeous glow!
    (when are you going to change the curtains?No offense…..)

  15. Sally Hanselman says:

    Me, again….I have a table with a top like yours. It was too yellow and had a shiny, but chipped up poly on it that my dad applied like 40 years ago. I stripped it and stained it and used your wax on it. I wish I had done the hemp oil. I can’t apply hemp oil over the wax, now, but think the wood would have loved the moisture from it. Any thoughts? More wax? Strip again? (ugh)

  16. I have a base that I want to paint ironstone that is green also. So what exactly do I need to buy to make the base color like yours? Love it and the chairs by the way. I think the grain sack looks great for the seats too.

  17. shar y says:

    Oh, don’t get rid of the top. I love, love it! The whole table looks so wonderful!

  18. I love how you made the old table fit with just a new coat of paint and your new chairs! I think it’s beautiful there. I love the worn top.

  19. Sharon in Chicago says:

    I had to laugh when I got to the end. Starting about 1/3 of the way through the post I was thinking, hmmm, the stenciled rug isn’t working…

    And while I like your slipcover idea, have you considered dark waxing the leather seats? Give the cream leather a bit more dimension?

  20. Katie Smith says:

    Marian! I love what’s happening with the table AND chairs!!! And I love the grain sack! I had pinned this image of a dining room a month or so ago, and as soon as you showed what you were starting with your dining room it reminded me of this!

    If the link doesn’t work I’ll give you a shout out on the pin on Pinterest :) The chairs in particular on this pin are yummy (and so is the chandelier…)

    Blessings, Katie :)

  21. I love your dining room!!! I want you to know that I just finished reading and totally absorbing your book and I LOVE it! I love your style and the way you “keep it real”.
    I also enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing your talent and inspiring me!

  22. Seleen says:

    I love the ruffled slipcovers! How nice that you and your mother could work on them together.

    Your new curtains are so lovely! I have eight windows in my kitchen/office area that have been wanting to wear something blue, so if you are interested in selling your old panels I’d be interested in buying them! :)

  23. That’s so funny. Now that it’s painted white, it looks just like the one you liked at Lucketts that was too big. Yay for happy accidents?
    The Other Marian

  24. Doesn’t it make you smile, watching how the room is coming together…what needs to be kept, gotten rid of or changed? My MIL’s dining room set is what I’ve got; mahogany from the 1940’s and do like it but have decided, finally, to change the seat covers.

  25. I really love your new table! I found this post from the series How To Decorate for the DIYer!

  26. I super love the old look of this dining table.

  27. Katriina Simonson says:

    I absolutely adore this table!! I’m searching for ideas to build our dining table, and I love how you used different pieces!

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