Transformation Tuesday – A Trip to Paris and Rome

Oh boy, I am so excited for today’s transformation!  So excited.  But it’s not from me.  It’s not my work.  Nope!  I asked the host of Nellie’s Barn Sale to come by and guest post for you today and she agreed.  Ann, is the super talented, fun, gracious and hilarious host and marketer extraordinaire of the sale I did in May, and will take part in again in a couple of weeks.  It’s all her fault that I have paint in my hair, under my fingernails and all over my arms these days.  She invited me to be a part of her fantastic sale and it’s opened so many doors for B & B’s Nest since then.  I’m grateful to her for the opportunity she provided and for every drop of that paint in my hair.

But she is quite the talent herself at transforming unwanted, worn out, antique pieces of furniture.  In fact, when I saw this table that she got her hands on, I knew it had to be shared with you.  So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s Ann to tell you all about it:

“Last week my vintage vixen friend Laura asked me to “guest” post on her blog about a table I have for sale at my upcoming Nellie’s Barn Sale.  So I will do just that—but first—let me give you some background on how Laura and I met.

I had a large stepback cabinet for sale on Craigslist and Laura responded to my ad.  The piece wasn’t in her price range at the time, but I told her that I had other pieces in my summer barn sale and maybe she’d like to attend.  Well—that must have raised the hairs on the back of her neck when she read the words “b-a-r-n-s-a-l-e”.  “What barn sale?”, she asked.  “The one in my backyard—the one that I have four other vintage vendors setting up at with me”!  Her next words were something like “We were meant to know each other…”  I have to tell you she sounded so darling in her emails that I just had to invite her to set up at my sale.  So I did—and she said yes.  In fact, if you remember, she was super excited about it being her first ever sale to set up at, she blogged about it weekly, she was fretting to beat the band, scavenged, repaired, glued, sanded, painted and created several car loads of furniture and home décor, then drug it all down, set it all up, fluffed it all, and then……..proceeded to sell every single piece of furniture she brought to the sale!  Needless to say, I think I created a monster!  She has since set up at an antique flea market, started her own estate sale business, does home staging and hits every darn sale within a 20 miles radius of her house!

Okay—but enough about that.  The real reason she really asked me to guest blog is because of a dining table I painted and plan to sell at the sale.

Mr. Nellie’s Barn Sale is a great sport about picking items up off the curb and dragging home furniture that he either finds or gets for free from someone he knows.  That was the case with this table.  You know how the story goes…man buys table at sale with intention of stripping and refinishing it…time drags on…the table gets covered with tools and junk in the garage…wife starts to complain…the table is in the way…so man decides to just chuck it…sound familiar?  Yep, that’s what happened.  Enter Mr. Nellie’s Barn Sale.  He brings it home to my garage—in pieces.  I don’t have a photo of it in pieces, but here it is after my 10 year old son and I put it back together… ”Wow, cool table” I say to my son, “I’ve never seen one like this”.

Not only is it built like a trestle table, and it weighs a ton, but the leaves are self-storing, permanently attached underneath by a rod that runs through them, so all you have to do is pull up and the leaf just flips up and open…voila!  Whoever designed it was genius…one person can slide open the table, pull out the leaves, and push the table together!  No more asking Uncle Harry to help you pull the table open at Thanksgiving!
Now, the bad news—someone had begun to peel all the veneer off the table surface, but they didn’t finish the job on one of the leaves!  Isn’t that just like a man?
Anyway, now I had to really give some serious thought on what to do with the table.  Of course I tried to scrape off the rest of the veneer, but that wasn’t happening.  This veneer was glued down for life!  Okay—move on to plan B: leave it on and cover it up with something.  But what?  Maybe scrapbook paper…no, too small.  Maybe hand paint some sort of design on the leaves?  Oh Ann, I thought, quit wasting time and just start painting the table!  I decide on my old standby—Rustoleum American Accents Heirloom White, satin finish—from Menards.

First I use spray primer in white, my favorite is Rustoleum Painters Touch, Ultra Cover 2X, then two or three coats of paint.  Keep in mind it’s June, and the humidity is creeping up.  I had to give each coat of paint at least 48 hours to dry before the next coat.  My fear is that when the leaves are folded and put away, the painted surfaces will stick to each other when I open it back up!  I actually left the table opened up, in my garage, for at least two weeks.  So when I’m fairly certain they’re completely cured, I fold them, but play it safe by putting wax paper between the wood before closing her up!  So far, so good.  Next, I get out the mouse sander and do some heavy distressing on the high spots and a good distressing on the table surface.

Now, that’s better.  But it still needs something.  So, off to Hobby Lobby I go.  I’m up and down all the aisles at least twice looking at stencils, stamps, transfers, or anything that could be adhered to the table but nothing trips my trigger.  Shoot.  What am I going to do!  I need to get this table done and out of my hair.  Over to the art and poster department I go.  Aha!  These will do just fine and I think they’re the perfect size. Home I go with a poster of Paris and a matching poster of Rome.  But before I leave, I pick up a roll of harlequin black and crème wrapping paper and a variety of crème, black and brown scrapbook paper, just in case.

I love it when a plan comes together!  The posters are the perfect size to float inside the edges of each leaf.  But, still, just not enough pizzazz.  I’m so confused at this point on what to do, I call my niece over to help me decide!  We try all the different scrapbook papers underneath the posters, and finally decide on using the harlequin wrapping paper.

It meant more time involved, but that’s okay, the other forty pieces of furniture in my garage are just going to have to wait!  The layering was a fairly simple and straight forward process.  I did some really careful measuring, cut the wrapping paper to size using a brand new razor blade and yardstick to get a clean straight line.  Then applied the wrapping paper with Mod Podge.  Let me say, if you’re planning any project with wrapping paper, you might want to check Hobby Lobby’s supply before any others.  Their paper tends to be nice and thick and coated, so it’s very sturdy and the Mod Podge doesn’t soak through it.  Other wrapping papers can be very thin and tear too easy when applying the glue.

Depending on the paper you use, you might see some stretching.  That’s okay, just leave it.  Typically the paper will shrink back as it dries.  I let the wrapping paper layer dry for a couple of days, again because it was so darn humid outside.  If you were doing a similar project and didn’t have 90 percent humidity in the air, you probably won’t need to wait so long in between coats and layers!

Now for the posters.  I just repeated the same Mod Podge process with each poster, let them dry completely, and then coated the entire poster surfaces with more Mod Podge.

Again, I waited for a few days for it to dry and cure. You’d think I’d be done, right!  Oh no, not me.  I stand back and say to myself “hmmm, it still could use something”.  Because when the leaves are folded and put away, it was just an off white table.

So, I decide to stamp the apron of the table with a harlequin diamond design.  Do I really want to run back into town to find a $10 rubber stamp?  No.  So, I improvised once again.  I rummage through the basement and found a piece of ¼” thick foam left over from some Cub Scout project.  I first cut a diamond out of cardboard, laid it on top of the foam and traced around it and cut out the diamond.  Then I glued the cardboard template to the foam using spray glue just to make it easier to hold the stamp and push down on it without the ink soaking through to my fingers!  (I never wear gloves, that would be too easy).

For imprinting, I used Staz On inkpad in Timber Brown.  This was the only stamp pad I found that specifically mentioned it was “permanent” and could be used on a painted surface.  I stamped the diamonds on all the way around the apron of the table.

Once again I ponder to myself…still needs something.  Maybe a fleur-de-lis between each diamond?  No, too busy.  How about just a dot?  No, too small.  I know!  I’ll nail in vintage tacks to give it some dimension and age.  Off to True Value—and back—and I simply hammer them in.

Then, I used Minwax dark Finishing Paste in over the entire table…two coats.  I used to always use a latex based satin poly on all my furniture.  But, with high humidity during the summer, I have found that waxing does the same job, looks better, gives it an aged finish, and is much quicker.  So, now I wax most of my pieces.  If it’s a surface that will get much abuse, like a table or desk top, I would use two to three layers of wax, otherwise only one on the sides of pieces.
So, here’s the finished table…in all it’s glory. 

Not bad for an investment of $49 (table was free, already had the paint, Mod Podge $6, spray primer $3, wax I already had, posters $24.00, wrapping paper $6, tacks $3, ink pad $7).  Now, I’d have to say my labor in this project was immeasurable—this was by far the longest time I’ve ever spent on one piece of furniture.  But, it was well worth it, don’t you think?  Some lucky customer can go home with it in a couple of weeks!  Maybe even you?!?!
By the way, the large stepback cabinet that started my relationship with Laura is still for sale.  It’s a fabulous piece, just too big for the room I have it in.  Please send Laura an e-mail me if you’d like to see it.  I know, I’m shamelessly advertising my wares, but that’s what happens when you have a garage full of furniture to sell!

Happy Junking!”

See!  I told you she was talented!

You did a fantastic job, as always, Ann.  You were so clever to use posters!  It was genius.  Pure genius!  I had one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.  What a creative way to take care of a nasty problem!

Thank you for stopping by our nest and sharing your incredible transformation story!    I have no doubt that this table will inspire someone with a fabulous project of their own!

If you live in the Midwest and you’re interested in finding out more about this amazing sale and where it will be held, please send me an email at  There will be some incredible vendors on hand with great vintage finds and some amazing holiday crafts.  It’d be wonderful to have you there!  Hope to see you!

Linking to:

Not Just a Housewife
Sassy Sites Trash to Treasure
A Bowl Full of Lemons



  1. As my son would say, “Holy Guacamole!” This is awe-some! It turned out great. Laura, that was great of you to have Ann as a guest blogger. It was very nice to meet her. I so wish I lived closer so I could attend a ‘Barn Sale’. I have just started doing some of this. Laura, you are a great inspiration!!


  2. So very nice to meet your friend! She is a very talented and creative young lady!! Good luck with the Barn Sale!

  3. Wow now this is a “vava-fabu-tastic” restyle. I love all the detail and the very nice post, you always do such a terrific job with writing and keeping it interesting. The tacks are a clever and unique idea…….I’ll be taking that idea:)

  4. Thanks for all the lovely comments. The table did turn out great…I love the new coined word “vava-fabu-tastic”…I’m taking that! See you at the sale.

  5. Oh yeah, and thanks to Laura for posting this because the black stepback cabinet is now sold! Rock on Laura!

  6. What an effort…and what results!! You did a very nice job and I was chuckling reading all you went through to finish it. Nice improvisation.

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