The Never Ending Table Project!

Hi Everyone.  It is the middle of the week.  We are getting 6 more inches of snow today.  Yeah!!! I think the totals for this winter so far are over 50 inches for the Chicagoland area.
Nuts Just Nuts!!!!

Hope you are warm and cozy where ever you are.

This table in my dining room is becoming the never ending project.  I just can't seem to get it right.  I did the redo on my whole kitchen in less than a week and this table is taking forever!

Most of the problem is I have red oak planks and they want to take on an orange tone to almost all the light stains I have tried.  Then I went to darker stains and some of them were too dark.

So here is where I am at and need some opinions.

As you can see I tried several colors of stain.  The only natural one I liked was not a stain but butcher block oil on the natural wood.  You can see that sample upper right corner of picture.

The lighter stains were coming out too much like the floor and taking on an orange color.  Then I tried darker stains and they were too red and dark for me.

Then I painted this area with white flat paint and then put a glaze over the top.  It came out kind of grey.  I was not liking that too much.

Then out of frustration I just painted the whole thing with one coat of white flat paint.

It looked a little chippy with only one thin coat on the surface.

Then I thought before giving up and giving it a second coat of white and calling it a day.  I would try the glaze one more time.  This is one coat going on.  You brush it on and then wipe it off with a cloth.

It came out really light as you can see in this picture and uneven with just one coat of glaze so..........

I added one more coat of glaze and wiped it down and let it sit over night to really soak in and dry.

This is where I am at now.  HELP!  It definitely is a contrast to the floors that I wanted and it is more brown than orange but I have not put poly on it yet because I am still not convinced this is what I want.  It is now looking like a traditional farmhouse table.
Just not sure if I should just poly it and leave it for awhile or paint over it white and then maybe distress it to look a little more like all the other distressed pieces in the room.  It just seems flat and boring to me now.  Maybe the poly will give it a little something not sure.
Opinions welcome.


  1. What about putting some type of white wash stenciling on it. Also, it may seem boring to you now, but once you put a lovely centerpiece and maybe some place settings too, it will be beautiful. Hope you find a solution that is pleasing to you!

  2. Kris, I liked it white. That seems like the easiest fix to me. Then whatever you decide to put on your table will pop against the white. At least you're making an attempt at changing your orange table. I threw a tablecloth on mine.

  3. I like it! Maybe a runner on it and your things will make it perfect. You can always paint later. Either way it is going to look wonderful in your home. You always have the perfect touch!

  4. I like the last color, but then it needs something under the table. I also like the idea of stenciling in white.

    I also liked the white too.

  5. Oh, Kris, I really love the last picture! That color of wood looks so pretty and a nice contrast to everything else. But like I said before, I'm sure whatever you choose will look great! :)

  6. Kris,
    You pour thing, i havé done just that with a piece a time of two. Maybe rethink your plan, or idea.
    Take a 60 grit sand paper to a palm sander with the grain and sand it off some, then perhaps give it a soft grey satin paint finish and again sanding it down, this will give the red oak a weathered oak look and this is a real farmhouse look.
    I have done just that to my red oak curtain rods and they look rustic farmhouse and I love them.
    I feel perhaps you would be happy with the table if it blends in rather then standout in the wrong way.

    Or just sand down the surface it will take minutes with a palm sander and 60-80 grit paper. To then take a damp wet
    Wash cloth filled with zinger water base white primer rubbing a transparent coat back and forth white washing it with full coverage, that takes about 10 minutes to dry when applying it like this. Them repeat the same technique with a wet cloth of white paint that is tinted with what ever shade of white, perhaps a bit more off white in an egg shell/satin finish to then let dry and take a piece of 220 sand paper in your hand or sanding block and sand wearing spots where plates rest and hands and arms rub giving it a bit of wear and rubbing off. Buff the whole surface of table giving it a hand rubbed finish.
    It will look old yet white washed charm, nothing to bold but, full of cottage farmhouse charm.

    Perfectly imperfect here.
    Love all the whites, and it feels like a cottage full of dreams.


  7. I like it, but I'm not thinking of "Kris" when I see it. : ) I would try what Dore suggested above, but if you still aren't feeling it, I might just go with the full white and then maybe distress it so it looks chippy like your other pieces.

  8. I literally laughed out loud at the first picture, Kris (you can smack me if when you meet me). I've got nothing else to offer you - except maybe a match - that would take care of the table, the snow, and probably the entire house. Just kidding - you've got waaay more patience than I have! I do like the idea of Dore's second idea of the faded white wash primer/paint - maybe that would give you tone of white you're wanting. If you stencil it as it is, you'd be hiding your work with a centerpiece or runner (unless you stencil edges, and that's where it's likely to wear). But I actually kind of liked the first coat of white paint and the chippy appearance it gave. That, to me, is you and your style. Can't wait to see how you end up on this.

  9. I actually like all the different tones through out your room and I think the contrast in the table is just perfect and that's coming from a girl who like to paint EVERYTHING white. I say keep it!

  10. Kris, Dang girl, I am wore out reading all the different things you have tried. Wow, you have been really working at it. I like when you can see the wood grain of a nice long table. I am seriously thinking of painting our table top black lacquer. I do like the brown tone in the last photo. What ever you do I know you will make it nice. Be sure to show us. xoxo,Susie

  11. Kris I agree with the second suggestion Dore gave you. If you don't want to do that then I would go with the all white, I think placing some pitchers with greenery in them would really pop as a centerpiece against an all white table. You're one determined girl and I know when you hit on the right combination you will know instantly so don't give up!

  12. I like the contrast of woods and like to add many different patinas in my own home. You can always add a white or cream runner down the middle and once you add stuff to the middle, you won't notice the top as much or I guess you can always paint it white again...since if your husband is like mine, he probably won't want to sand it all!

    Good luck:-)


  13. I hate it when a project doesn't turn out the way I envision....and trust me we have all been there at some point. I would walk away from it for a few days and take a break. Maybe then you will be able to decide what step is next? Good luck!!!!

  14. I think you might be happiest with it suggest all white or a white wash. Your home is mostly all white now so I don't think you could go wrong with it being white or whitewashed.

  15. I like Dore's idea! Sounds like it will look so pretty!

  16. Lovely light gray paint would be a great color and contrast. No distressing! Just paint! I am sure Annie Sloan makes a lovely light gray. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  17. I would go a tad bit darker than the last picture only because the table should be the piece of furniture that stands out the most in a dinning room in my opinion and with all the white and cream colors you have it may just fade into the room which I'm sure you don't want to happen...I'm sure you will come up with the best solution and what fits your taste :) You got this!!

  18. I like the color of it right now. It is a good contrast to the other pieces and like other people said with a runner and center pieces it will be perfect!

  19. I like this color the best of that you've done but I think you need to go darker like the color of your french bakery sign in the back. You have little bits of that dark color in the room now....drawer pulls, sign...etc... It will look very pretty with a white runner and dishes on it. Or...just paint it can't go wrong with that.

  20. Oh...and put a rug under the table...that will get the orange color of the floor away from the table.

  21. OMG!*!*! Just put it outside for the rest of the winter & let S*N*O*W, I*C*E, & C*O*L*D shabby it right up!!! -OR- go to Grayslake Flea this weekend and buy a New ViNtaGe Table to replace it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hugs - Jeanine Burkhardt

  22. I'm as confused as you are.........I would walk away for a few days and re-charge. Roxie

  23. Sneak out tonight and take down a section of your neighbor's fence (if they have one) and replace the top with chippy fence boards. Easy and free!

    Make sure you cover your tracks in the snow.

    All kidding aside, I feel your pain. I went through the same thing with the Ikea butcher block countertop I used for my kitchen tabletop. I ended up using a dark walnut stain and high gloss finish because it's also a work station. I know you'll figure out a solution after a few hundred hours on Pinterest. Have you ever tried the vinegar aging technique that produces a grey toned weathered wood finish? I've never tried it, but it makes wood look old in a good way. I wish you luck and I know you'll get it figured out and it'll look like a million bucks!

  24. Hello Kris,
    I too, love Dore's idea.


  25. What about rubbing it with a wax instead of using the poly! I like to color better than the light or even the white!! If I painted it white I would definitely distress it with some touches of red :)

  26. Hi Kris, I can imagine that it's difficult to decide what to do with the table. When you're not convinced how it looks now, that probably won't change if you leave it for a while. Vickie's idea with the vinegar and steel wool technique came into my mind as well. I had great results with that but I'm not sure if you get a nice gray when you have wood with a reddish untertone. Maybe you can try on the bottom side first. If that won't work, I think I would paint it a medium gray first, then a coat of white and sand down some spots to show the gray. Then maybe stencil something like "Bon Appétit" or some numbers on it in the same gray. I'm sure you'll find a way to get a look you really love.

  27. Well I am going to be the odd ball out I guess and say I like it painted white. I just like white because it goes well with everything and doesn't compete with the floors or the rest of the room. But as always, anything you do I just love! So have fun and I can't wait to see what it'll look like next!

  28. Paint it gray and put a rug under it

  29. Well...i'd paint white but also the colour in last photo is great. Remember...whatever you do is just adorable!!

  30. Hi, I turn a lot of older maple tables into a farm look, and seem to have fixed the organey color by mixing my stains.
    When I need a dark stained farmhouse top, I always use Minwax stains - and usually their Dark Walnut directly on the wood surface. It really cuts the orange or off-color hues of the base wood. I do one or multiple coats to get the orange business gone, then look to see how dark I want it. If not so dark, I then mix Dark Walnut with another one, most often Provincial. If you want the wood to take the stain uniformly before any stain, put a coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner (comes in oil and water based) .
    Another trick I use before staining is to "wash" an ASCP color under some parts of the stain (or sometimes all over) -
    to"hint" that it might have been a painted table now reloved. A wash with Country Gray, Paris Gray or similar would also cut the orange tones prior to staining and help keep the Dark Walnut from being so dark.
    For a top coat, I still prefer the old standard Tung Oil to keep the finish looking vintage. I rub on a lot of coats for a table top - the last table I did took 8 or 9. I steel wool the finish every 3 coats or so, to get rid of dust particles and keep it from looking glossy. When on the top coat, I steel wool til the finish looks soft and just barely has gloss
    Its the closest I can get to a waxed look, but with more durability.
    I know this sounds like a lot of steps but the result is a gorgeous and vintage-looking table. The Tung Oil finish can be "refreshed" with a new top coat every few years without having to restain, or sand anywhere. I've had Tung Oil sealed dining table for years and like the way they wear best because it appears as natural aging.
    Sorry to ramble so long, its my first cup of coffee!
    Good luck!

  31. It looks great Kris, if you want to neutralize red you have to add green. So a stain that has a green cast will be perfect for the table because the red will neutralize it.

  32. It's a perfect background piece for runners and tablescapes. I think the photo over-accentuates the color because it's what you see rather than the room as a whole. Does every piece in the room need to have a distressed look?

  33. I think it looked great white,solid white with no distressing. A natural fiber rug to put under the table would look great too.

  34. Wow, this reads like a meeting of the Decorating Goddesses! What wonderful, helpful, support-ful inspriation...good luck Kris, your home always looks beautious.