Sweet French Provençal Dining Table

DSC_0068 Sorry no before picture!


So let me tell you about what it looked like before.. The table was finished in a light maple stain and it had no defects other than a few light surface scratches… so other then being outdated it was in great shape and it even had a leaf!!!

I bought the table for my oldest daughter, who will be living off campus next year as a Sophomore at Radford University, I didn’t think about the fact that most of the apartments wouldn’t have any dining rooms… Where will they eat all of those gourmet meals they will be preparing Winking smile? I was so excited about being able to contribute to her first apartment… all I had for my first apartment was my bed, a dresser and a bean bag chair.. no joke!

So the table is not a keeper… It turned out to be a custom paint job for a client who had some chairs, but no table so it all worked out in the end. My Aunt helped me out on this project and together we stripped, sanded and applied 3 coats of Special Walnut stain to the top. The base we painted with two coats of Duck Egg chalk paint, lightly distressed, waxed with Provence tinted wax and then buffed it. I decided to wax the top as well, so two coats of wax and a good buffing and the table was done. I really love the way a table top looks when it is waxed. Also, it is so easy to care for if something should happen to it… perfect for families with kids!


Just a tiny bit of distressing…


No Weimaraner’s were harmed during this photo shoot, so don’t let him tell you otherwise! He just likes to sleep in the sunshine… cutie!


Just check out her Cabriole legs!

Now this sounds like it was an easy project, but I had a ton of problems with the stripper. I used Citristrip, which I have used before, but something went wrong and I’m not sure what happened. First of all the stripper never really dried and was the consistency of mucus when I went to remove it… HUGE, nasty mess! Then when I went to wipe it down with mineral spirits I just couldn’t get everything off of the surface and every time I started to sand the top the sandpaper got all gunked up with crud that I couldn’t see on the table, but it was obviously there…. So I let the table top dry out for a couple of days and hand sanded the top for the first pass, then used the electric sander with 220 grit paper. Now this same problem occurred with two other table tops I was stripping the same day! Ugh! I would rather sand than use stripper… it’s a preference thing for me… so if you are reading my posts you will now know why I’m just sanding away at a top, it’s actually one of my favorite things to do when I’m refinishing a piece… just sayin’!

I’d love to hear what you think so why not leave a comment!
Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Hi Susan,

    That is an absolutely lovely table! Great work! Looks so smooth. . .

    I refinish and paint furniture for a living as well. I have had the CitriStrip do that on a few occasions, too, and it is one big mess! I bet it was just a hard-core varnish they used and refused to come off easily. I had a desk about the same age (with cabriole legs!) and it did the same thing. I had to strip it twice (slinging mucus each time!) and then sand and sand like you did.

    Your finished product made the work worth it! Your daughter is lucky.



  2. Hi Susan! What a beautiful table! I will be pinning this to my “Paint it Annie” inspiration board! I had the same experience you did the one time I used Citristrip…ugh! It was a mess and I almost threw in the towel! What is the deal? Anyhow, I love how your table turned out!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,


  3. I gave up on the supposedly-safe strippers years ago. Way too much waiting and too much clean up afterward, not to mention the unpredictability, to make a project worthwhile. I use a heat gun to do the majority of my stripping. I honed my skills stripping all of the molding when we were restoring our house, and I love how much control I have with my heat gun. Warm the finish, and scrape it off with a 5-in-one tool. Sometimes, when stripping varnish, I will use a carbide pull scraper. After the heat gun, there’s very little sanding to do, which is much better on the wood. (Have you ever noticed that the slightest clog on the sandpaper on your sander will sometimes make a nasty pattern of scratches on your tabletop? That’s why I sand AFTER I strip, no stripper, no water, just heat.)

    Radford? You must be close by. I’m in Fredericksburg.

    Great to visit, and your table turned out fabulous!


    1. Hey Connie! I am close, I’m in Richmond, near Short Pump Town Center… Ok, so I don’t have a heat gun, but I’m going to try it next time. What brand heat gun do you recommend? I HATE using stripper so much! It’s just a yucky, messy pain! I so appreciate you giving me this advice, wonderfully nice of you! Next week’s weather is going to be gorgeous in VA!



  4. Stripping furniture is such a pain. The problem with the citristrip could have been low humidity. I used it once on a very big project while living in Arizona (land of low humidity) and had the same issues. I found that I just really had to lay it on thick and let it turn into that funky gel. That gave it more time to soften and work into the finish you are wanting to remove.

    Lovely results, your table is gorgeous!


  5. What a lovely table! I just used Duck Egg Blue for the first time recently. Such a pretty color. I have an island I’m going to strip in the near future. I’m not going to lie, I’m very nervous….


  6. Very nice..I haven’t been brave enough to try to the blue on a table such as this one..but my chance is coming up very very soon (getting the table this week) YIPPIE..you just gave me the confidence I needed. Good job. Visiting via Crafty Crappy Happy


  7. what brand of special walnut stain?daughter has first apartment after college and she loves the french look. but mom still gets to do the work. lol did you ever find out what heat gun they were talking about and how to do. this is my first time trying this kind of paint. wish me luck.


    1. Mary, this is what Connie from Hartwood Roses had to say “It’s made by Milwaukee, and I got it in the paint department at Lowes. It’s
      the cheapest one they sell, I think. Two heat settings, does everything I need it to. The best thing about it is that it’s super lightweight …which is a consideration when using it for hours on end..” I also recommend checking out her blog where she has some great information!


  8. Visiting from Between Naps on A Porch and I just wanted to tell you how much I love this idea! Your table is beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing and for great inspiration.



  9. Great job on the table! Looks fantastic! My son is also a freshman at Radford, I’m in Richmond–Midlothian area. I’m just starting to work on some furniture and I read that you used provence wax– can I purchase that locally? The Annie Sloan is fine, but I have to order it and I hate waiting and paying shipping charges.


    1. I wish I could get the paint local too! I’m trying to convince the owners of Class & Trash to be a distributor! If you feel motivated, call them and talk to Kenny or Lisa about it… I think it would be great for them and for us! I think there is a distributor near Radford (I’ve been tempted to get my daughter to pick some up) too, but I get mine from a distributed in NJ… Ugh! Good luck and keep in touch!


  10. I have also experienced that problem but have had really good results on some pieces. Crazy I tell ya. When I got gunky results I used a fine steel wood pad wet with mineral spirits then set the piece in front of a fan for a few days (ok 2 days) then I sanded and stained. Have you tried CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint?


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