Craigslist Table turned Pottery Barn Dining Set

Want to know how to turn that “Craigslist find” into a Pottery Barn inspired piece??
Paint it, add some new fabric, put in a little elbow grease and walaa!

So that’s exactly what my customer did! She purchased this dining table on Craigslist,
but she brought it to me and said “work your magic!”


So check out the process of this table refinish . . .
This one was a little bit trickier than expected and I will tell you why along the way.

First things first . . .  here are a couple of before shots.
So the wood on the bottom was a different color than the top and chairs.
Not a big deal when you are painting,
definitely a big deal when you are distressing,  especially heavy distressing!
With a heavily distressed finish, you’re going to notice the table base color & table top color are not the same.

So the customer brought me the chairs with the seats removed (thank you Amy!)
and I got it all set up to prime . . . easy peasy!
Priming is a piece of cake with my Graco Magnum paint sprayer!

(sorry don’t have a picture of the table primed!)

So I got the table and chairs primed and now I’m ready for paint . . . or so I thought!
Let me back track a little . . .
For this project I was using a Benjamin Moore Advance specialty paint in Berber White
I chose this paint because the customer had already used it on her kitchen island
and it’s ideal for high traffic, heavy-duty kitchen use.
(Now this post may seem a little negative about this paint, but PLEASE make sure you read to the end,
because I assure you it’s not! I would highly recommend this paint and will use it again!
Just not for this type of application and I’ll explain why. . . keep reading! ) 

So my thoughts were, I’ll buy the same paint, same color and I’ll have it done in a jiffy!
Uh no. . . that’s not how it went down at all.

Problem #1
This paint is a specialty paint and therefore must be used in good weather conditions.
In other words,  if you’re painting outside . . .
you can’t use it on a rainy or cloudy/expecting rain day and temps must be above 55 degrees.

So guess what the weather was like that whole week???
Yep. Cloudy with a chance of rain. Some days rainy. Oh and 53 degrees.
There’s nothing I hate more than being at a standstill with a project!
Thank goodness for the amazing weather we got the next week, right back into the 60’s and not a cloud in sight!
Back to work!
I get the table and chairs painted and absolutely LOVE the way paint goes on!
It levels out beautifully and is just amazing! I actually wanted to leave the pieces alone at this point!

Another side note on this paint. . .
You don’t have to top coat with a poly! No sealer required… IT’S THAT GOOD!
The paint actually has an acrylic shine to it. I can only assume these are the sealing properties in the paint!

So now time to start the distressing. . .

Problem #2
This paint is not meant for distressing! This paint is intended to BOND to whatever its applied to!
So lets just say my arm got the workout of its life!
Just this little bit of distressing you see above took me over an hour. Normally, that’s a 10 -15 min job!
I hadn’t even touched the chairs yet. UGHHH!
Additionally, the customer wanted the table and chairs heavily distressed.
Time to get the sander out.

Problem #3
Sander was barely able to accomplish the task and worse yet . . .
It was taking off the beautiful shiny acrylic finish in the areas that it couldn’t take the paint off.
UGHH. This means I’m going to have to seal with a Polycrylic anyway once I’m all done.
Kinda defeats the purpose of using high end ($$$) paint that doesn’t require a poly top coat.

If you are going to paint a piece of furniture with a heavily distressed finish, use regular latex paint.
Do not buy high-end cabinet grade paint or else you’ll be sanding for hours.
You’re better off using something that can be easily sanded (latex, chalk paint, etc.) and then topcoat with a poly finish.

Here are the table & chairs painted with the heavy distressing.
They are ready for the final satiny smooth Polycrylic finish!
Ready to see it all done? Even after ALL the little tedious bumps in the road . . .
I ALWAYS ALWAYS get to sit back and look at a completed project with a SMILE. 🙂
I absolutely LOVE my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

Here she is at her new home!
Beautiful new custom fabric, and now look at this set perfectly matching her kitchen island! IMG_0062
Notice the nice brilliant shine on the table top & clawfoot base 🙂
The heavily distressed top really ties in with the dark cabinetry in the backdrop~
Thank you Amy for assigning me this project! It looks beautiful in your home!

Please feel free to SHARE on Facebook or Pin on Pinterest!
Thanks for the LOVE!!


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  • Maria Thompson - I know that table!!! It came out great!!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie Halliwell - I have a kitchen table set aside for this very purpose! I bought it a few years ago (on CL) and haven’t been able to part with it as it’s a solid piece of furniture. It got all scratched up during our cross-country move, and I’ve been hanging on to it because I know it could look like this!! Let’s talk when you have time – this looks great!!ReplyCancel