Painting A Duncan Phyfe Dining Room Table

Monday, September 28, 2015

Last week I shared some inspiration photos for how I might paint my Duncan Phyfe style dining room table that a friend gave me. And this week I painted it. It's like a Christmas miracle.

How to Paint a Duncan Phyfe Dining table

Probably around 18 years ago Marc and I were antiquing in Arlington, Virginia and we came across this ah-mazing French country table and chair set. The table was a humongous, rustic wood farmhouse table and the chairs were these beautiful fancy white chairs with an upholstered hoop back, like this:

The set also came with a super fancy humongous price tag, something like twenty thousand dollars-because it was antiques and all (and maybe had gold bullions in the seat cushions or something) -so clearly, we did not purchase it. But it stole my heart, and I have been trying to figure a way to get that juxtaposition of rustic and elegant going in my dining room ever since.

When my friend gave me this table I initially thought I'd paint it and sell it; but the more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with those legs.

  Nice stems, right? I had to give it a try in my own dining room. What do you think? Of course, none of my chairs are in the photos because I am busy making a massive mess trying to reupholster them. Which begs the question, why when I decide to try and teach myself to reupholster do I choose eight fancy chairs as my first project? I think it's like a sickness...the same one that makes me decide to make slipcovers for an entire sectional sofa as my first slipcover project.

I need to read up on designing tablescapes; it's harder than it looks.

Here is a quick rundown on my process for painting this table. Its' original finish was a dark cherry. Here it is taken apart in my garage/studio:
I started by wiping it down with simple green to get any grease off, then I lightly sanded the top with a sanding sponge. I didn't sand the legs.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in "Old Ocher," because it has a little more of an aged look than old white to me. It's like there's a touch of brown in it. Here's the first coat.

I sanded lightly, wiped off the sanding dust, and put a second coat on everything. The legs looked great after that but I decided to do a third coat on the table top for durability. At that point I wasn't planing to distress the piece, but the details on the legs weren't standing out the way I wanted them to so I decided to try distressing them and I liked it better.

 It looked good so I did the table top to match. 
The final step was to wax. I thought about using poly since it is a table top, but these days I'm really liking the look and feel of wax, and after it fully cures it's supposed to be pretty durable. Also, we mostly eat at our kitchen table (or on the couch) so this table won't get a ton of wear and tear. Bottom line, I decided to risk it.

Even though I used Annie Sloan paint, my favorite wax is the Sweet Pickins soft wax. I love the way it rubs into the paint, the soft sheen it gives, and the way it feels when you run your hand over the furniture. I didn't really like waxing furniture until I used this product but now I am a fan. As usual, I have no affiliate links or anything, I just like the product.
You can kind of see the slight sheen it creates in this photo, and the way it adds depth to the paint color. Love.

Duncan Phyfe dining table painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
We have family coming this week, but I am determined to get those darn chairs finished up soon. I'll share as soon as I do. Happy projects to you!

It certainly took me longer than I expected it to, but here is a link to Part 1 and Part 2 of reupholstering the dining room chairs.

6 Responses to “Painting A Duncan Phyfe Dining Room Table”

  1. I love it so much! And tables scaping is very elusive.

  2. I love it! Thanks for the tip on the wax. I'm looking forward to seeing the chairs.

  3. I love it! Thanks for the tip on the wax. I'm looking forward to seeing the chairs.

  4. Brilliant, darlin'. Love the tablescape too.

  5. I have this same table from the early 1940's. Everything in my house is light and coastal looking. I so need to paint. Dread doing the shield back chairs. Can't wait to see your chairs.

    1. Yeah, the chairs are a bit of a pain. I think it was worth it thought. I'm adding a link in the post to them :-)


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