Laundry Room: A Character Refresh at the Table

Perhaps the greatest no-cost improvement I made in the laundry room was swapping out a heavy dated dresser for a table that was bequeathed to us by our old house.

Much, much better.

How was it bequeathed, you wonder? When I moved into my first house, that table was collecting dust, dirt, and a variety of insects in a corner of the basement. Over time, as I worked to find more work space in the kitchen of that little house, I washed the entire table, vacuumed up the network of cobwebs on the underside, and moved it up to the kitchen. It was worn, but had a drawer on one side and a leaf on the other that I used all of one time during a busy Thanksgiving cooking marathon.

When we sold that house and moved to our new one, my line of thinking was that it should stay with the old house. After all, it was there when I arrived; shouldn’t it stay there forever? My husband disagreed, loaded it into the moving truck, and tucked it into the garage – which has roughly the same square footage as that first house.

And there it languished, for the next eight years. Over the years I suggested putting it on Craigslist, or even offering it for free, because it wasn’t doing his grand garage plans any favors just sitting there. And then I got the idea of using it in the laundry room. Leading to the one time so far in our marriage that I was thankful for his selective hearing.

This table has lots of character. All over the place.

That’s age, dear readers. Not crackle paint.

But it also had legitimate wear and tear.

It’s beat up. And that drawer paper is the same stuff I used to line the cupboards in the old place. This table is now an unofficial time capsule.

Given all the years it has gone untouched, I thought a little refresh was in order. But I didn’t want to hide the character I’d grown to love in that table. First to go was the leaf on the back of the table. Like I mentioned before, I’d used it only once. And I liked how the open space under the table helps the room appear more spacious – having a dark underside of a table leave peeping out at me was noticeable, and not in a good way.

Then I recycled some leftover paint from the new color I added to our butler’s pantry off the dining room a few years ago. Sentimental story: showing my grandmother the color of the pantry, she clutched at her chest and dabbed a tear away when she recognized the color as a close cousin to the iconic Tiffany Blue. Mind you, that room had no windows. It washes out delightfully still in the natural light of the room. Better yet? I had help with the painting.

The look of concentration. The attention to detail. This kid is a natural.

Want proof that it wasn’t a staged shot? Okay, here’s one more that was snapped as we worked together on the last leg:

He was insisting on doing the final brushstroke. I’m just glad he’s so enthusiastic about the finishing trade.

Like I said, it was a nice, bright color. But I didn’t want to hide the character of the table under a fresh coat of paint. I still wanted to highlight all its blemishes, if that makes any sense.

Coat of paint is on. But we’re not done yet.

That’s where the glaze comes in. And where we get a little punny as I state that the blemishes highlighted in this piece were “faux real” – a faux finish that brings the real wear and tear back to life:

Looking more subdued.

How big is the difference? Not overly dramatic, but noticeable.

Used General Finishes EF Glazes in Van Dyke Brown to create the effect.

I’m sure there are painting purists out there who would wonder why anyone would ruin a perfectly good paint job with something like this. But when I get a gander of this:

All distressed. And after that many years of life, who wouldn’t be?

I can’t help but feel good about my decision to go faux. It was very easy to do: brush on, wipe off as much as you want. Wait for it to dry.

They’re not flaws. They’re hallmarks of character.

The tabletop was left untouched. Which was another reason to call out the character in the legs – it would have felt a bit contrived to have perfectly-coated legs with an old top like that. After the glaze had dried, it was a matter of grabbing a can of poly and giving everything a protective topcoat. The total cost for this project: $12 for the glaze, after we used a coupon at the woodworking place we bought it from.

With everything dry and back in place, I went ahead and installed a wall-mounted paper towel holder, and re-used a few mason jars that hold onto a few tools, like scissors, spare buttons, and one that I can fill with the various “pocket treasures” I find when doing laundry.

Looking comfortably at home in its new home.

It’s no longer just a table – it’s a work station with character.

Now, just a few more tweaks, and I think we’re done.


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