Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Metamorphosis OR Talented table artists and the deadbeats who love them

As many of you noticed in my apartment photos, the kitchen of my new place is quite large. It is even of the much coveted (well, in New York anyway) eat-in variety. However, it is not so large that my beloved yellow dining room table could fit there comfortably. Luckily, as one of the many advantages of cohabitation, my boyfriend provided a table that was the perfect size.

Naturally, I'm not the sort of person who would let my cat sit on a surface where I eat. But she does make a fetching model, doesn't she? We're talking Price Is Right quality.

While I'd seen this table many times at his apartment, I'd never really gotten a close look at the top because it was always adorned with a lacy, doily/tablecloth thing. I never questioned why an adult man living alone would make "grandma chic" part of his bachelor pad home decor. He's cute, so I just left it at that. However, when this table made it's way to the new apartment, I wasn't too unhappy to see the tablecloth had not survived the journey. The only downside is that I discovered the dirty secret the tablecloth had hidden.

Scratches!!!!! Okay, so it doesn't look that bad here. But trust me, Dinah is the only attractive thing about the surface of this table. Note her carefully honed expression of ennui. You can't teach that.

I'd been wanting to paint a table ever since I saw some really creative ones on etsy, so this discovery was actually a blessing in disguise. After a trip to the art store, we decided to paint the table a base black with some gold stenciling. It all sounded easy enough. I was looking forward to the prospect of turning a run down table into a beautiful accent piece using nothing but a little sand paper, paint, and elbow grease (and, as it would later turn out, a wee bit of krazy glu). Below you can see the transformation:As you can probably gather, Tony has not given me sculpted forearms, nor has p90x spontaneously given me butch arm hair. As well, those of you who read about my foray into pumpkin art probably already had a pretty good idea of who would really end up spearheading the hard labor for my hare-brained scheme. After watching the intense labor required to sand down the surface of the table (in what may or may not have been an entirely necessary first step), we ( I use this pronoun a little freely, but here I actually did provide some facile brush work) painted that bad boy black with enamel paint, giving it a nice shiny finish.

Isn't it beautiful? Even without a cat atop it, this table really sings.

Satisfied with the ebony perfection we'd created, next we opened up our gold letting paint and chose a nice geometrically patterned stencil. What we soon discovered was that the paint was far too thin to actually stay on the table without bleeding under the stencil. Instead of crisp gold squares dancing delicately over a black canvas, we had runny, gold splotches. Undeterred, we painted the table black again, and started afresh. This would become a pattern of the next few days. After a few more failed attempts we switched to a gold dotted leaf pattern which seemed more forgiving to rough edges. This too required a couple of more black paintings. We may have elevated the thickness of the table top another quarter inch in black paint layers.

Finally, we (er, rather he) discovered a method that worked. Unfortunately, said technique required pain-staking accuracy and slow methodical work. Now is where I must truly confess my failure at commitment to this project. While with the pumpkin carving, I at least stayed through to watch the whole process, despite never lifting knife to gourd; for the table I grew frustrated and punked out entirely and went to bed. My boyfriend, however, stayed up late into the night in painstaking table painting chivalry. I woke up this morning to see this beautiful finished creation:Doesn't he do amazing work? Artistic talent and patience are two things that keep me from ever being a painter. Overall, I would say this project was a success. Which proves I do have decent ideas...I just lack stamina and follow through.

There she sits, the perfect addition to our eat-in-kitchen. Sadly, Dinah had gotten an agent at this point and refuses to do any more demonstration modeling for me until I upgrade to a higher grade kibble.


  1. It's beautiful!! I recently bought a small bookshelf to go in my front hall for TEN bucks at Goodwill, but I want to re-paint it or re-finish it too...I also am daunted by the task. I might wait until Kirk is done with tests...

    You better buy some new kibble fast. Someone else is going to snatch up Dinah for her modeling skillz!

  2. What a lovely transformation! I'll bet you're glad it's a small table.

  3. Very entertaining re-cap of the table renovation experience! What you lack in patience and artistic talent, you make up for in writing skill. Kudos to the painter. The table is spectacular.

  4. Thanks! I'll pass your compliments on to both artist and model!

    And Rachel, you should go for it! It really didn't seem that bad. Although I say this from a mostly spectating perspective. Just make sure to buy paint that isn't too runny.