A Little Table


This little green table belonged to my grandmother on my mother’s side. I don’t know how or why it ended up green. Growing up, visiting older relatives, I saw many tables in this style and they were always stained, not painted. My mother gave me this table about eight years ago and I thought for a long time that I would strip it and stain it. I wanted to use it as my nightstand. This never seemed to come about, and eventually the table ended up on the porch at Stringtown Rising.

I decided it was finally going to become my nightstand when I moved to Sassafras Farm, but I had a change of heart about stripping and staining it.

Working with what was there–the green–seemed like a more intriguing idea.

First, I sanded the table thoroughly,

There were some places where the paint was peeling or chipping. I just knocked the bits off and sanded it down. I wasn’t going for perfect here, so I didn’t worry about it other than smoothing it down.

After sanding, I cleaned off the sanding dust then wiped on some white paint in a deliberately uneven application.

Then I sanded it again, cleaned it again, and applied a light coat of polyurethane.

And put it in my bedroom.

The idea I was going for here was as if the table had been painted white at one time, and green at another time, and the paint had worn through to where you couldn’t even tell which layer was first. The table was already naturally distressed, so I just went with it.

I promise to show you more inside soon. I’m working on paint in the living room and dining room now. I’m having so much fun nesting in my cute little house.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 3, 2011  

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21 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 12-3

    OMGosh you are SUCH a tease!! I think I’ve come here 50 times today to see if you’ve posted your bedroom but what do we get? Your bedside table! If I didn’t luv ya so much, I might just hate ya;) (Just a tiny bit;)

  2. 12-3

    I forgot to mention, I LOVE what you did to the table!

  3. 12-3

    Look at those exquisitely turned legs…the lower shelf swags to match the top. A positively lovely table no matter what color, no matter what location. BTW the mention of your mother leads me to ask, “Do you know where yours and Morgan’s Christmas stockings are?”

  4. 12-3

    I think everyone had one of those tables. Makes me wonder what happened to Mom’s?

    I like what you did with it. I recently re-introduced a tall blue painted sideboard type of thing into our living room and I just sanded it off…didn’t do anything else but should. I am using mine as a plant stand.

  5. 12-3

    I like the whitewash on the table. Sometimes the wood is not pretty on some pieces and looks better painted. You could always strip it sometime if you wish to see what is under there. Frankly, I think I like painted best. Glad you are happy! :happyflower:

  6. 12-3

    I have a table like this too! You inspire me to do something with it. Hey, by the way, it is a nightstand by my bed also.

  7. 12-3

    I have a very similar table I got from my grandmother. It is painted black and in pretty good condition, so I haven’t done anything with it. I’ve been using it as my bedside table for years. I love how you’re “nesting”……it’s so fun to decorate for yourself, not someone else!

  8. 12-3

    There was a movement afoot during the early 60’s to paint everything green! Or harvest gold. And “antique” them. And that looks like the green of the day.

    Nice job of reclaiming it for practical use!

  9. 12-3

    Suzanne, I love what you are doing with your home. There is nothing like having it your way when you have paid the price.
    I really enjoy seeing what you are doing with the things at Sassafras. Lovely place God has BLESSED you with.
    Looking forward to seeing more.

  10. 12-3

    Clever girl, I love the distressed green/white paint. I have two identical tables (no kidding)that I painted a distressed white and are also used as nightstands. The wood used to make this style and type of table typically was a medium to low grade oak and they were predominantly manufactured anywhere from the very late 1800’s up to the 1920’s. I paid $25.00 each for my two from a local antique shop, but you got yours for FREE…fabulous!

  11. 12-3

    The house is really darling. I wish I had the money to pay for a total kitchen redo for you. Wouldn’t that be fun? Sigh!

    The little green table is from the Victorian era and it is called a “fern stand”. Victorians were really big on nature and so they brought ferns into the house. This was the perfect table to display them on in their livingrooms. They also had those little terrariums for plants, too. Victorians would go on nature walks and collect butterflies and fern specimens or they vacationed at the seashore and collected shells. The Victorian period was from 1837-1901.

    My grandmother kept a big bowl of sea shells on her fern stand. As far as I know, she never left Indiana so who knows where she got them. One shell was a large spiral conch shell and we loved to hold it up to our ears so we could hear the ocean.

    I found this cool website for Victorian Nature Walks in Connecticut. It is too late for this paarticular walk but there might be future walks. If you are interested in checking them out go to The Victorian Naturalist: A 19th Century Nature Walk
    Where: James L Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center
    When: Sunday, October 16, 2011 – 10:00am – 12:00pm
    Event Info: This is the second in a a series of Nature Walks that revisit the “Country outings” which were so popular during Victorian times. We may even bring along and refer to Nature guide books from the 19th century. It was a time when ladies and gentlemen studied orchids, birds and wild flowers (which were often collected and pressed). Participants may wish to wear their tweeds, skirts and hobnail boots (optional of course).
    Enjoy the age of innocents-Bring a picnic lunch and a walking stick. Each session will end with a short picnic lunch—if you remember to pack one. And don’t forget to bring a parasol, if you can find one!
    Pre-registration is required by October 13; call 860-455-9534 or e-mail [email protected]

    My grandmother kept a big bowl of sea shells on her fern stand. As far as I know she never left Indiana so who knows where she got them. One shell was a large spiral conch shell and we loved to hold it up to our ears so we could hear the ocean.

  12. 12-3

    What a lovley table, and such a treasure :o) Love the paint treatment, though I’m dying to see your bedroom :happyfeet:

  13. 12-3

    ah, I love what you’ve done with the table. I think it really revives it nicely for current use plus looks fabulous! I’m looking forward to more inside tours! :yes:

  14. 12-3

    I LOVE the table. My first thought when I saw the picture of the table (before I read further) was that I would love to have a table like that to use as a night stand in my bedroom.

    I’m happy to hear that you are nesting and enjoying your new home

    I’m LOVING following along and getting to see all the interesting and pretty things you are doing to make your new home so cozy and welcoming.

    Are BP and Glory Bee, Clover, and all the rest of your family snuggling in as well as you are?

    Can’t wait to see the color of that bedroom. I’m thinking maybe a very soft mauve ?????

  15. 12-3

    Now your table is’shabby chic”. That trend has been around for awhile and still going strong. If you google ‘shabby chic’ for decor or furniture you should find a lot and there are some great blogs devouted to it. You probably have a gold mine of pieces to utilize. The house has all the elements to make a perfect statement. Must feel a little like having a adult size doll house to play with and love. Loving all the good things coming your way.

  16. 12-3

    I think we are all having as much fun as you are…:)

  17. 12-3

    I love what you did to the table!

  18. 12-3

    That is an awesome table! Love it!

  19. 12-3

    I loved the table either way. I hope you take lots of before and after pictures of your projects, including your bedroom redo. I like seeing the transformations. Can’t wait!

  20. 12-4

    i’m the fly in the ointment, i guess. i’d like it better sanded and stained. now it’s all about mixed color instead of curves and spindles, the way it was intended to be. even when it was painted, it was one color that didn’t detract from the shape of that charming table. you’re lucky to get something so nice. i only get junk from my family. :).

  21. 12-4

    I really love what you did with that table!

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