The original matching table was damaged in a fire in 1944. During that period of time, my grandparents lived above their grocery store in downtown Crestview, Florida. My mother Annette was a few years old. One night my mom woke up her mom (Grandma) to take her to the bathroom. As she entered the hallway in that upstairs apartment my mom pointed out smoke coming in under the door from the store below. Grandma hurriedly woke up Grandpa and visiting sister-in-law Effie. Grandpa ran to a window and yelled to some airmen heading to the bus station on their way back to Eglin Air Force Base. The men noticed the fire in the store below and ran to assist them. The family climbed out onto the porch roof and the servicemen helped them down to safety. The family was safe and everything else that was lost could be replaced. The dining room set survived. The table had damage to it. Grandma kept the hutch and buffet, but gave the table and chairs to her parents (my great grandparents) who repaired it and kept it for their own use.
Flash forward to 1955. My grandmother relocated to Illinois with her husband and family. The table stayed in Florida, the hutch and buffet came with them. Grandma located a Tiger Oak table to purchase. She bought it from a farmer who had it stored in a barn. Here's a picture of my grandma that year with the table. Funny story about that picture...it was staged. My grandmother wanted to send pictures of their new home in Illinois back to her relatives in Florida. So, she dressed up, pretended she was setting the table for a party and had my mom snap that picture. (The apple which is me did not fall far from that tree.)
The beautiful woodgrain on that table was covered in that same faux finish. Ugh. I know. What was she thinking? Well, at that time it was all the rage to faux finish furniture. (Sound familiar Furniture Flippers?) In the late 1990's, I paid someone to strip the table and chairs back to the beautiful wood. The hutch and buffet's time didn't come until this year. (We knew those two pieces weren't gorgeous Tiger Oak. We learned during this makeover, they were built with whatever wood the builder had on hand.) I really began the makeover on them the week of Thanksgiving 2012. I painted the hutch and didn't like how it was looking. I stopped midway through and decided to strip it and the buffet. Well, if you know me, and I think you might, you won't be surprised that I quickly became bored with it. They were pushed aside for cooler projects. Like the Pottery Barn Inspired Entertainment Center and the Dumpster Dresser. Then the Park Ridge Project. The Lion's Head buffet. The Bird Dresser. The Chair from Hell makeover. And the Triple Rocker. Plus, a myriad of home improvement projects. Patiently they waited. Finally we got to them. We had a deadline of Thanksgiving 2013. We did not meet that deadline.
While it may seem that I was purposely avoiding these two pieces, I assure you there was a reason. My grandmother had "flipped" them and that makeover lasted for 45 years. She had no way of knowing then that so many decades later her granddaughter would be "flipping" them again. I, however, imagine that in 40 years my future grandchild will be making them over again. And I wanted to make sure she (or he) didn't call into question what her (or his) grandma and grandpa was thinking when they did this flip. So, I took my time deciding how I wanted them to look. Triple H was on me the whole time, telling me we had to get them done. Finally, I decided I wanted to repurpose the beadboard that we had from our last 100+ year old cabinet. You might recall we had two of those cabinets. They originally were owned by my stepdad's aunt. We worked one of them into our kitchen makeover.
We took apart that cabinet. Discovering that the wood used for it was purchased locally. In very old fashioned handwritten penmanship is written "J.C. Ames Lumber Co." They were well known in my town beginning in 1868. They closed in 1987.
It has since been torn down. I always loved that building. This building was built in 1923. I'm not sure what the original building looked like.
We then set to work sanding and sanding and sanding and sanding.
Then repairing the repairwork on the buffet that I would guess my Uncle Larry might have performed.
Along the way we found some fingerprints that must have belonged to the original builder of the buffet. We kept those. They are still inside the buffet.
We removed the shelves so they could be sanded and stained.
Triple H was a super smartie when it came time to sand the original knobs.
I worked hard trying to match the stain to the century old finish on the beadboard. I even turned to my carpenter friends for their opinions on the finish.
We then set about prettying it all up and pulling it all together. Paint, paint, paint. Stain, stain, stain. Finish, finish, finish. Once that was done, then it was onto the beadboard.
Finally, the end of this makeover was in sight. We cut the beadboard down to size and attached it.
We also replaced the wood backing on each piece.
Then it was picture taking time...
My china pops against the old beadboard. I love that such an old cabinet was able to be incorporated into this piece. It gives it another layer of history to the hutch. As if surviving a fire and making the trek from Florida to Illinois wasn't enough of a history for it.
You should know by now that my picture taking skills are limited by my lack of a good camera thanks to a certain Robin that tried to kill me. But, you get the gist.
I really love that wood/paint combination. I like to move my furniture around from room to room, so it'll look just as nice in the kitchen as it does the dining room.
I wish I could show you a good picture of all of the pieces (the hutch, buffet and table/chairs) inside of the house. However my house with all of its windows and bad lighting just doesn't do them justice. Here is a picture of the table waiting for them to return. The poor table was without his partners for over a year.
So, there you have it. The cobbler's kids finally have shoes! I really love my dining room furniture. I look at those pieces and I see so many memories when I look at them. My grandmother had a beautiful home in a small town 12 miles from where I live now. Her dining room was my favorite room. She & I had a special relationship. She was my runnin' buddy. We'd get into all kinds of mischief together. I think that she would be proud of how we are taking care of her furniture.
That's it for today's flip. It was a long read, I know. So, if you didn't read it word for word, I won't hold it against you. It was more of a way for me to chronicle this for the next generation of my family.
I would like to add that the next time you find yourself participating in the "great paint debate", think of this flip. Think of how my grandmother applied a faux finish over beautiful Tiger Oak. Then recall that I stripped it off to reveal that woodgrain again. What is painted can be stripped. Or if you feel like painting over wood, do it. You do what you want to the furniture that you own.
This is the last flip for this year. I'm taking the rest of the year off and will return on Thursday, January 2, 2014. Thank you all so much for being a part of Furniture Flippin' this year. It has been an incredibly fun experience for me. I've met a lot of wonderful people along the way and have been inspired by all of you.
I can't wait to see what you do in 2014.