There is little in this life that is more rewarding that sharing things that you love to do with like-minded people. When Trash to Treasure Tuesday rolls around I can’t wait to see what my gal friends have to share with us. With that in mind, my subject for this month’s makeover is this antique library table. Aren’t the lines fabulous?
I know I say it all the time, but I had no intention of coming home with this size of a table. My workshop was empty, and I was loving it. So, how did it end up with me? Well, I took my kids for a thrift store scavenger hunt – where I give them a list of things to find, and they team up to see who can find them first. With that in mind, we needed a break from our schedule and that was a last-minute option.
While they were racing to find their items, I found a few tables. Yes, I say few, because this wasn’t the only one I brought home. ahem. More on that later…after the shop manager told me the price of the other set and I picked up jaw up off the floor, he told me I could have this for the same price. I am not kidding. To tell the truth, I normally play it like poker face and be like, “Okay, cool.” However, this time…this time I said, “Really??!!” and clasped my hands in front of me excitedly.
COMING HOME WITH ME
Now, who would be the sane one to leave that antique library table made by Larkin Company sitting there? I love the story behind this line of furniture that stemmed off of a soap line. Just goes to show how interesting history can be. It did wobble, it did have ample gashes, gouges, and wear, but…it’s so beautiful! And…it didn’t stink. Bonus!
Can you blame me when I also find things like this vintage Powell globe the minute I walk in the door? This little gem will eventually find a home in my living room when we are done.
Funny thing was that when my son and I were loading it, we tipped it over to turn it upside down and dropped the drawer on the ground. It fell into pieces and the shop guy said, “Your husband can fix it for you.” I paused (stared for a long time) and replied, “I can fix it myself.” (and in my head, “thank you very much. ahem”) Some wood glue and clamps and it was good as new.
I will say that if the antique library table were staying in my home, I would leave it with wear and all. I have dark woods like that in my living room, including an upright grand over 100 years old with the same mahogany patina.
However, since I planned to sell it, I decided to give it new life. The only tools I used were my sanders to get started. First, my orbital sander took off not only the stains and blemishes but knocked out those 3-foot-long gashes in the top. Those had me worried as they were deep. Thankfully, the veneer on top was nice and thick and took my sanding well.
Then, I can’t get all the gouges out, but I am going for a rustic farmhouse look to play with the original feel of it anyway. Bring on the time-worn wear! See that beautiful mahogany peeking out? This is super fun for me to see it come to life, especially because I did all of this outside for HOURS in my garage with door open and it was a balmy 5 degrees with windchill of -20.
MAKING A MESS
Now, in all my years, I have never come across a dark stained table like this that was made of all the same woods. They always used the dark stain to hide various wood species and make it gel as one. This table was no different. However, I had hope to find a solid piece, but alas it was a mut (if you will).
First, I found the tabletop and top of the bottom shelf where mahogany veneer – the good kind, nice and thick and made of wood.
However, the bottom shelf was oak, the skirt, the tabletop, and legs were maple. That’s all fine with me since it adds to the rustic charm I was after. It reminds me of how God created us all unique and each part of us works together to make us who we are.
While my orbital knocked out most of it, I am so stoked to give my newest addition to my tool arsenal a try. It’s a Ryobi Corner Cat that my brother and sister and law gave to me for Christmas. They quoted my #toolsoverjewels motto, and they are right! Not only can this thing able to take that corner leftover my orbital couldn’t reach and knock it out, but it’s easy to use.
Not only that, but I did the table edge and the leg details too. I was so happy I didn’t have to do it by hand. AND it even uses the same batteries as all my other Ryobi cordless tools, so a total win. Hooray!
Once everything is sanded, I add a bit of dimension. Next, I took some remnant paint and watered it down to create a wash. I’ve used this technique hundreds of times, and show you how in my own dining room table redo seen HERE. As a matter of fact, it adds depth as well as creates the aged look I’m after.
Finally, it was time to finish this antique library table. Since I wanted rustic, but also durability, I used a poly topcoat to finish.
Accordingly, I applied two coats of poly and it’s done!
Last, this, for me, was like taking a deep breath. Then, after spending countless hours sanding it down, giving it the wash, and protective coats, it sure felt good to step back and see it finished.
There are still some time-worn “wrinkles” if you will, telling the story this antique library table has. However, there is so much to love about it with the legs and unique design. Likewise, my home is small and cozy so this piece will not be staying with me. But let me tell ya, I would love to keep it!! If you are interested in it, it’s available in my online shop long with all my other creations and finds. Not only are we available anywhere, but we also ship anywhere and can ship multiple furniture pieces and smaller items for no extra cost.
Meanwhile, next time you’re in the thrift store or out fleatiquing, never underestimate what is waiting to be found. Also, I can’t wait to show you my next table set I found the same day. SEE HERE.
In addition, pin and share this antique library table makeover to inspire others to give DIY a try.
As well, to get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Even more, it’s time to head below for more fun!
Finally, it’s time to check out what these awesome ladies have created for you for Trash to Treasure Tuesday:
Absolutely gorgeous! Enough said.
You are too cute. Thanks, Debra.
It’s really beautiful.
Thank you, Rhonda.
Larissa, thanks for the interesting Larkin Company history lesson. I have seen pieces of Larkin furniture all over the South, but never realized the story behind them. Too bad we still cannot acquire furniture by purchasing soap! Love your work and your commitment in such cold weather!
I just love history. I have seen Larkin in so many styles and it always speaks to me. Thanks, Jennifer!
Larissa, what a beautiful transformation! Thanks for sharing it! Goes to show us all that not all pieces have to be painted over:)
You bet. 🙂
helen glasscoe says
Another stunning piece, Larissa. I love reading your posts, you are always so inspiring.
I’m happy to hear it, Helen. Thank you.
Marcie Lovett says
Lovely, Larissa. Very country Frenchy. Stay warm!
Thank you for getting what I was after, Marcie. You too!
This piece turned out gorgeous!!
Delightful to hear, Lynda. Thank you!
[email protected] of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says
What a beauty under all that dust and stain! You brought it back it life for sure, and funny about the guy at the thrift store telling you your hubby could fix that drawer…if he only knew, right? Not sure how you handle working in those temps all winter though…we had a tiny taste of it this weekend and I am ready for my balmy 40 degree winter days to return!! Stay warm! XO
Thanks so much, Christy. Yes, he kinda rubbed me the wrong way, but meh…hahaha. I’m so glad it’s warmer!
Debra Wise says
Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration and the Larkin history. If the guy at the thrift store only knew what you can repair/build.
I was tempted to take him a picture. hahahaha!
Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule says
Yes those lines are fabulous! And wow, check out that gorgeous wood hiding under there. Such a beauty now! xoxo
So fun to see it come alive before my eyes. Thanks so much, Nancy!
Jen @ Girl in the Garage says
She’s a beauty, Larissa! I’m so happy you saved her. xo
Thanks, Jen! Glad to have had a chance at it.
I laughed out loud when I read the comment from the guy at the thrift store. “Tools over jewels, buddy” Another stunner furniture makeover!
For real, dude! Thankfully I was bent over looking at the ground when he said it as I would have loved to have seen my face. hahahaha!!
Lourdes Ambrosio says
Love the table! You are so talented! What color did you use to do the wash? Also, question, I have no heat in my basement currently and with the firgid temps we’ve been having in NJ (in the teens and single digits) can I still paint some old wood furniture and get a good finish? I have a small space heater but not enough to warm up the entire room. What are your thoughts? Thank you 🙂
Thanks! The wash was done with Drop Cloth. You really shouldn’t paint below 50 degrees and even the humidity can be a factor. Hope that helps!
Thanks Larissa! Very helpful – now I know I need to wait a bit before I tackle painting project.