Restore and After

I've made it no secret that I've been bored lately. Bored mixed with anxious. On a normal day, I can't sit still for 20 minutes, but lately? Three is pushing it. I need an outlet for my energy and projects to help pass the time.
I found out about a project called "Restore and After" it's an auction benefitting Habitat for Humanity. The way it works is people in the community volunteer to buy and rehab something purchased at a Habitat Restore location then donate it to HFH. These items are then auctioned off and the proceeds go to help build houses. The event takes place September 29 from 6-9 p.m., the tickets are $25 each. (so, you know, think about going!)
I've purchased items from the Restore before and here, the North Little Rock location has a much better selection than the one in Benton. But, Benton is closer so I've gone there more frequently. There were several great pieces I would have loved to rehab, but seeing as I'm not working, I could only afford to buy a small one.
I bought this table:

Hanging out in the back of the Cube.
It's large enough to either be a coffee table for a smaller room, an end table or even a night stand. Initially I couldn't decide if I wanted to do a practical rehab or a more fun/artistic one. Practicality got the best of me, I decided to go with a shabby white paint paired with a dark stained top.

I started by sanding it all down. Since the top was going to be stained, I had to get all the poly and stain off of it. Not going to lie, that took a while.

But isn't it so pretty? Better already.
Since the side boards were veneer and not solid, I didn't want to try to get all the stain off, so I just scuffed it up enough for the primer to take hold. I knew I would eventually be scuffing off the white paint on the feet, so I sanded it down well so that it would take the stain.
 After I sanded, I put down a layer of wood conditioner. THIS IS A CRUCIAL STEP. Seriously, it will make your piece look so much better. Otherwise the stain might not absorb evenly and your beautiful new piece will have splotches. If you don't have wood conditioner, just wipe it down with a layer of water (not a ton, just enough to dampen the wood. Wait for it to dry a bit then stain.) After that, layer on the stain. I used two layers on the top. Long even brush strokes work best. A sponge brush works best, no bristle marks. I've found, if you have a spot that's too dark, brush on more stain and then immediately wipe off. You might have to work it a bit to get it even, but it helps.
Stain: Minwax American Walnut
Since the bottom was going to be painted, I didn't bother with poly on it, but the top? It has the potential to hold cups with water rings or ink pen marks or little kids, so I topped it with four coats of clear gloss polyurethane. It shines so beautifully.
Next came the primer; two layers followed by three layers of paint.

Paint: Valspar Antique white off the shelf at Lowe's.
 Then the scuffing. I almost felt bad messing up the perfect paint job.

  But then I decided it looked better like this. In addition to the paint and stain, I replaced the hardware, with two new sleeker knobs from Home Depot as well as added new magnets to keep the doors closed.

Overall, I think it was a success. Hopefully someone will be excited to take this home.

If you have some time [and you're local] and want to rehab a piece, follow them @Restoreandafter on twitter or, let me know and I can get you in touch with someone. Or, just head out to your local Habitat Restore and buy something for yourself. It's a great organization that helps the community, plus you have the added bonus of keeping something out of a landfill and saving yourself some money on a nice piece of furniture, not some particle board junk. (seriously? This table is HEAVY.)

The Lettered Cottage