I sell houses
Amy Ranae

I sell houses
buying/selling your house should be fun, not stressful.

I am not an upholsterer

I needed a new table for the new house. My old one is white. And the whole house is white. And that is too much for me. Also, it’s just ever so slightly too large for this space and made walking around it a challenge.


A friend of mine was selling this table on FB and I KNEW it had to be mine….as long as it was smaller than my previous table, which is was! By like 8″! And still seats 4! I was VERY excited to get it home and glad they were willing to deliver since my sweet new car is not so sweet for hauling stuff.

I wasn’t planning on doing a project on the table because I like the dark, but it got pretty scuffed up in transport so I decided to just rework the tabletop and honestly, I’m SO glad I did because I LOVE IT!!! The chairs were in good shape but not my style and since our new house is super neutral it was time for some color!

I bought this fabric in the last house and was planning to starch it to the wall of my powder bath, but decided against it in favor of those crusty shelves. So I’ve had it laying around and when I saw this table I knew it was destined to become my new chairs.

I started w/ the table. I just taped off the edge underneath and spread a nice thick layer of my fave stripper on top. Then waited. Sidenote: things that I love about having a real house: I HAVE A YARD TO DO PROJECTS IN!!!!!


This stuff works like magic on paint, not as well w/ varnish. It says wait 30 mins but it was a bit windy and it started drying after about 10. You can tell it’s ready to start scraping when it gets all bubbly. Once it dries, it’s much harder to get off, so put it on thick and scrape before it dries. I use a putty knife, you’re supposed to use a plastic one so you don’t scratch  the wood but  I don’t have one so I was just careful. Plus I assumed (correctly) it would be a bit beat up anyway (which as why it had been painted in the first place potentially). IMG_5132

This is after one round w/ the citristrip. It really works great! You can see there were some areas where the black paint had really absorbed into the wood. There were a few deep scratches and some chips, along w/ two water rings. I’m not worried about it =)

10906311_10155045497990581_9197875269639158762_nI used some stripper wash (mostly because it’s entertaining for my childish mind to have that can out) which isn’t entirely necessary with this particular brand of stripper (you can just use water) but this stuff dries faster and as we all know, I am impatient. I wear gloves and use paper towels. Saturate them and then wipe it down all over, no need to scrub. Wait a few mins and it should be dry.

Then I got out my sander w/ 220 grit disks and started sanding. This took a lot of time and a lot of disks because I had to go pretty deep to get some of the deeper stains out. But it was worth it because the ones that are left look good and I got out some of the ugly ones.

Here is my completely sanded table, ready for stain.

I will tell you this friends, I had to do this WHOLE PROCESS twice. Because I do not read directions well. And because I normally buy the blue can and in this case I bought one blue and one brown. Blue and brown do not mix.


Blue is water based and you can recoat in about 30 mins and has zero odor and cleans up with water….But I grabbed one of each without noticing the different base, just the stain color. Oy. So I started w/ the cabernet, and then went to layer the cherry over at 30 mins and I had some serious oil + water do not mix happening. The surface got all bubbly and foggy and was a huge sticky mess. I’d like to say lesson learned, but let’s face it, I’ll continue to not read directions.

So. I let it dry for a few days. But then I tried to use my fave stripper on it and NO DICE. It hardly even touched it. I had to bring out the big guns (epoxy stripper) to get this stuff off and even then it took two tries and lots of elbow grease.  Maybe I will start reading directions…

All this effort with the re-do was WELL worth it though, because the second time around the surface turned out FABULOUS! I opted to just use the oil based cherry. I think I ended up doing three coats over three days with a full 24+ hour dry in between (not intentionally, just got busy). Between coats I gave it a light sanding by hand w/ 340 grit and then wiped it all down with a damp paper towel. After the last coat there were still a few pieces of dust stuck on but I’m sure that’s inevitable. I did some reading and many of the wood finishing blogs suggest using 0000 steel wool with a little furniture wax and lightly scrubbing them off. Which is what I did, and I ended up with a lovely surface which is just slightly sticky (because I didn’t get all the wax off the first time). I used a little dry steel wool and it’s all good now, but be gentle!

The table is done! Now for the chairs….you’ll have to wait to see the finished table 😉

Who knew that furniture had 8,000 staples in each piece? I did not. Until I tried to disassembled one. As I have never done any upholstery work, I decided I would just take one all the way apart and use it as a template. Which worked out very well in this case since I had 4 to do.


I asked FB which direction I should do my stripes. Majority said lined up vertical, so I went w/ perpendicular. HA! Is it bad that I ask for opinions simply to do the opposite?! 🙂 It felt less formal to me and had that I-just-tossed-a-beach-towel-over-the-chair look which I dig. Also, the pool is out that window so pretty much my plan is to color the house to match the pool from every room that looks out on it. I feel like these chairs are the birth of a palette but that is still to be seen.


I laid the disassembled pieces of the old chair on this fabric and pinned them in place, making sure that my stripes were straight. then I cut out the pieces. Using the original cover as ‘directions’ I matched up seams, stitched them, then dry-fit the new slip on the chair to make sure everything was lining up in the right places (corners, hems, etc). The bottom piece was easier than the top. There are more staples that go in the bottom and therefore more opportunities to pull it a little tighter if the fit isn’t perfect. Plus only two short seams and two tiny hems.


For the top piece, I pinned the cutout on the chairs inside-out. I still can’t figure out how the tailors do it: when you get fitted, they pin the OUTSIDE of the garment, but somehow manage to translate that to the inside. It’s amazing. But I am not a sewer. So I’m trying to make it easy. There is one seam up each side and two hems on the top piece. Then I flipped them right-side out and pulled them on. I got a pretty snug fit with this method and didn’t really need to rely on staples too much for this part. There were a few places where my hem fabric ran short, which I could have un-done and re-done but it’s not worth it to me. Next time I’ll be better at it =)

After lots and lots of stapling and stretching (make sure you do one staple in the middle of each of the four sides, then the corners, then fill in the middles as you would when you stretch a canvas (or screw on a tire) to get an even pull. Also be sure your lines are straight! The stapling can cause them to wiggle if you don’t do it evenly. I put the new slips on right over the old ones thinking this would lend to a bit sturdier chair. I had to reassemble the one I took apart before assembling the last chair but it wasn’t too big of a deal. And now the chairs were DONE! I put new felt feet on the table and chairs and set them up in my space.

et voilà!!!

After the acquisition cost of the table (less than $200), I really only have about $10 into this one since I pretty much had everything on hand. I bought stain and staples and that’s all. Had I not screwed it up and had to redo the table this would have been about a 12 hour project (For me, working off and on in spare time it took about 3 weeks but maybe only about 15-20hrs of time with the redo). All in all, not a bad investment. I think if I bought this new it would be $600 or more, easily. Totally worth my time and I’m proud of my little project every time I sit down or walk by. Plus, if I wreck it, I know how to fix it 😉

Happy upholstering friends. It’s not that hard. Don’t be scared.

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About Amy Ranae

Picture of Amy Ranae

Amy Ranae

Pro Realtor | Licensed Nutritionist


(612) 481-2520(612) 481-2520 mobile

Brick & Banister Real Estate Co.

10302 108th Ave N Maple Grove, MN 55369