Instant Family Heirloom

Even though our anniversary has come and gone, we are finally getting to enjoy our gift to each other.

We transformed this old dining room table into an instant family heirloom.

But not without a little elbow grease. It’s hard to believe it’s the same table. I’m just in love with it now! This is actually the same table we have been using in our dining room for the past three years. I just always kept a table cloth over it to hide its imperfections. And boy did it have imperfections.

I am sure this table has a story to tell about all the abuse it received, but we will never hear it. We found this little gem at a yard sale a few years ago for twenty bucks! It was like love at first sight. A Duncan Phyfe table in need of repair. Even though we already had my great grandmother’s Duncan Phyfe table, I just couldn’t pass it up. I convinced Michael Luke that it would be perfect for us when we have a bigger house someday. A table for the kitchen and one for the dining room. We are still waiting on the bigger house.

So we loaded up the table and brought it home. The previous owner even threw in two of the table’s chairs for a dollar. We combined the best of each chair to make our desk chair. And since we didn’t have room for two dining tables, one moved upstairs to the guest bedroom before we transformed it to a nursery… now it’s in storage (waiting on the bigger house). We chose to keep the yard sale table downstairs because it’s smaller than my great grandmother’s, and let’s face it, we need all the room we can get around here!

Originally, when we bought it we had plans to refinish it and stain it. But as the years went on I began to entertain the idea of painting it. Like these tables I found on Pinterest.



I had dreams of it being an informal table where family and friends could eat and play together. Up until about a month ago, it had remained covered by a tablecloth, and then one day I decided to remove the table cloth in order to motivate myself to refinish the table. It worked!

And as I began to brainstorm about what wood gift (the traditional gift for five years of marriage) to give ML for our anniversary, I thought it would be neat if I could give him some piece of wood furniture. Then it hit me… we had a wooden table that needed refinishing! So I asked him what he thought about us giving it to each other as a joint present. He loved the idea! Especially since we plan to use it for many years to come.

The other weekend we moved the table outside, and ML sanded it smooth. I was completely amazed that he was able to remove all the dings, scrapes, and nicks on the top of the table. I knew then that our purchase had been worth it.


Friday, ML took off work, so we could celebrate our anniversary and work on the table. First, we went out and bought the supplies we needed.

We splurged and bought Sherwin Williams paint and primer. Since we plan for the table to get a lot of use, we wanted a durable paint that would stand up to the abuse we know it will receive. For extra protection we chose the door and trim paint in satin finish. Once cured, this paint will become much harder and more durable than typical latex paints for walls. For the color I chose Martha Stewart Living color Popcorn.

It’s just a simple clean white.

Saturday morning, I started priming the table. I just applied one coat but looking back on it now two would have been best because I had a few spots where the stain kept wanting to show through which required extra coats of paint.

I allowed at least four hours between all coats. It ended up being more than that most of the time since I could only paint while Noah slept. So late Saturday afternoon and part of Saturday night, I painted the first coat of paint.

With the first coat of paint, I could already tell I was going to love our decision to paint the table instead of stain it. Sunday afternoon, I found time for the second coat of paint. I thought it would be all the table needed, but after it dried I felt like a third coat was needed. Plus, it would add a little extra protection.

So Monday morning, during another one of Noah’s nap times, I applied the third and final coat of paint

At that point I couldn’t wait for Michael Luke to get home from work, so we could move it back into place. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to work on it until the late that night.

And here’s the best part.

I painted the top of the table with chalk board paint! So not only do we have a beautiful dining room table, but you can draw on it too. This will be perfect when Noah grows up someday. I do suggest rubbing the entire surface with white chalk and wiping clean before using colored chalk. To remove the color chalk just wipe with a damp cloth.

Update:  Through trial and error I have discovered that side walk chalk wipes clean much easier than typical chalk board chalk.

I ended up making my own chalk paint since I couldn’t find a color I really liked. It was really simple (I used Martha Stewart’s recipe):

  • 1 cup paint
  • 2 tablespoons unsanded grout (I used white)

Combine together and stir until grout is mixed in. You end up with really thick pasty paint.

I suggest scooping some onto the actual surface you plan to paint and then using a roller brush to smooth it out.

After the entire surface has been painted and dried, use a 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

I also finally decided to invest in some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. I know it is all over the blogosphere, but I wanted to give it a try on the claw feet for the table.

You may have noticed the feet on one side of the table. We were debating whether we liked the bronze with the white or just white feet. After seeing a few photos today of other white tables with bronze feet, I am going to leave them bronze. What do you think?

We are so excited that three years ago we decided to blow $20 on a table. We have invested less than $100 in it and now have a beautiful family table that will hopefully grow old with us. We agree this was the perfect five year anniversary gift for each other!


The table really makes the dining area look so much bigger and lighter. Beforehand, every thing was dark and heavy looking. The white table helps to balance the dark colors in the wood.

So what do you think of our gift? Have you found any yard sale or thrift store finds like this?

I am linking up for

at: Young House Love, Hi Sugarplum, Bower Power, and The Great Indoors,


Weekend Bloggy Reading

and at Thrifty Decor Chick.



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42 thoughts on “Instant Family Heirloom

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thank you! I was a little nervous of going so white but I love the clean look of it. We needed some lighter furniture to brighten our interior up.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thank you! I think it will be fun to use the table to draw place mats, flowers, or to food with. I am excited to finally have it finished.
      I will have to check yours out.

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thank you! I forgot to mention the rest of the pieces were my great grandmother’s too.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thank you! I never would have thought I would have a white table either. I am as messy as they come!

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thanks! I think it helps the other pieces stand out in al their glory!

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    1. Krystle Post author

      I am thinking about decorating it for spring! Gotta get my creative juices flowing again though.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  1. Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista

    The tabel is Ah-mazing in white, and so cute with the benches. Pinning your project now, my sister is going to do her dining room table and I think chalkboard paint is brilliant. I like the bronzed feet, but I’d also like gold, brass, teal, hot pink…

  2. Erin @ The Great Indoors

    Gorgeous! I love that you used chalkboard paint you MADE for the top of the table. You get extra points for that!

    Thanks for linking up with the Winter Pinterest Challenge!

    Erin @ The Great Indoors

  3. Trista

    I’m really impressed! It looks awesome! Even from the picture I can tell how much it brightens up the space! I had no idea you could make chalkboard paint. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thanks Trista! Originally I didn’t plan on making my own but when I found out the color choices were so limited I decided to do some research and see if I could make my own.

  4. Richella @ Imparting Grace

    I love your painted table! I’m amazed that you got that for $20 even with all the scratches. You’ve made it into a beautiful piece for your family

    Happy “Wood” Anniversary!!

    Thanks so much for joining Grace at Home!

    1. Krystle Post author

      I don’t think the family I bought it from knew what they had on their hands. Or either they just didn’t want to take the time to fix it up.

  5. Jennifer @ Spend Less, Shop More

    Just found your blog from over at the Grace At Home linky party, and I LOVE how you redid your dining room table. I recently traded in my starter dining room table that I got for free from a bookstore, and now I’m regretting that I didn’t hang on to it. Looking forward to clicking around your blog and getting some more ideas!

  6. Donna

    The table looks amazing. I love the bronze feet. You found a diamond in the rough. Congratulations on the table and the anniversary.

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  11. ValenzMom

    Krystle, I love what you did with this table! I just linked to this from Thrifty Decor Chic’s blog. I have a similar Duncan Phyfe table that was my grandmother’s, but we have it in storage because we don’t have room for it. I do like that you decided to keep the feet bronze instead of white as it keeps that original detail of the table much more noticable. A suggestion for your chalk surface – at Thanksgiving you could have your guests each write what their thankful for next to their plate, and take a picture of the table after it’s cleared with everyone’s sentiments. Then next year pull out the previous years pic and see what each guest wrote.

    1. Krystle Post author

      Thank you so much for the compliments on our dining room table. I love your idea of everyone writing what they are thankful for onto the table. We might have to do that this year!

  12. Jackie

    After googling “duncan phyfe style painted”, I came across this, and I am SO excited because we have almost the exact same table! I bought it a couple years ago with 6 chairs and 2 leaves and have been wanting to paint it and the chairs for quite a while, but was really unsure of how it would look against the dark cherry cabinets in our kitchen. Thank you for posting this – its perfect! I LOVE the chalkboard paint idea, too!! I think we’ll be doing this after the holidays!

    1. Krystle Post author

      I am so glad this post was helpful to you. I have fallen in love with ours now that it is painted and especially since I used chalkboard paint. If I did it over again I might reconsider using pure white and opt for something with a little gray in it. Sometimes the color of the chalk is hard to remove but if you don’t mind a little bit of color left over it works great! It still looks white from a distance but when you get up close you can see traces of color from the previous drawings. No big deal for me because we use this as our “family” table and I want it to be a place for the kids to hang out. I do love how painting the table a lighter color really opened our room up though.
      I hope yours turns out wonderful and that you enjoy it!

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  14. Leslie, the home maker

    Thank you for linking this at Rhoda’s place! I have the.same.exact.table. and it’s probably in worse condition than yours was.
    I have had it for 12 years! I love the pedestal legs and claw feet and leaf, but it always wears a tablecloth, poor thing!
    I have finally decided that this year, she gets a paint job–MS Popcorn!
    I am inspired (I probably won’t do the top in chalk, I have a whole chalkboard wall in my basement cafe’ that my girls write all over) to transform it from dreary to dreamy!
    Many blessings on your new year and peace to you as you make your home!
    First stop tomorrow? Sherwin Williams!!

    1. Krystle Post author

      I hope you table turns out great. We absolutely love ours and it makes the room look so much larger because of its light color.

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