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An Old Farm Table

Driving with no regards to time or any idea of where to go is a one of our favorite things to do. We did it in college—finding ourselves having lunch in Glen Rose, TX (we ended up hiring that restaurant to cater our wedding) or out on the country roads of Erath County. Once we moved to Illinois, we didn’t know anyone or have much to do, so we’d find ourselves driving through random towns and random country roads, with corn and soybeans everywhere you looked.

During one of those weekend drives in Illinois we stumbled across the town of Sandwich. We stopped at a coffee shop off of Highway 34/Church St, which was in this old house. Cute little town. When we drove a couple blocks further, we stumbled upon The Red Geranium General Store.

Some pictures my Dad took, back when my parents visited us in 2007, heading into the store:


On one of our early trips to the store, we came across an old farm table. It was $250 and for whatever reason, I didn’t get it. It was on my mind for the next few weeks/months but I had anticipated that it would already be sold when I went back. At Cody’s urging (he knows when I really want something) we went to Sandwich again to see if it was still available.

I cannot explain how excited I was to see the table not only still there, but 50% off—only $125. We bought it immediately, loaded it into our 2004 Nissan Xterra and headed home.

These initial pics are from April 2006 when we first brought the table home (notice our furniture-less formal living room and dining room):



Now this is crazy. Notice how long the table extends out.

I would love to somehow get similar leafs made so we can extend it more than it is.


In Illinois we ended up using it as our “eat-in” dining room table. These pictures are from August 2006:

The table runner and wire basket is from The Red Geranium General Store as well.

Now let’s talk about the chairs . . .

I bought the chairs at IKEA very soon after we purchased the table. I’d actually wanted the INGOLF chair over the OLLE chair, but at the time the INGOLF chair was $30 more per chair. At $29.99 (it’s now gone up to $34.99) the OLLE chair was a steal. I bought the “natural” color (no longer available) and started the time-consuming task of sanding off the shiny finish, painting the chairs navy blue, distressing and then re-glazing them.

It was a total pain in the butt. I confined myself to the garage on most days (I’m always cold and it’s always cold in Chicagoland) and it took weeks to complete (a little work here, a little work there).

Some things I would do differently:

  1. I did not sand the chairs enough from the get-go. I knew that I needed to “rough” the chairs up, so the paint would have something to stick to, but I did not get into all the cracks and crevices like I should have
  2. I would have purchased a better quality paint. I went to Wal-Mart and got the cheapest paint, which was really stupid. I really think I had to put around 4-5 coats on to make it as dark as it needed to be. The cheap paint as also very thin, so on some parts of the chair you can see paint drips
  3. I would have spray painted it, not brushed it on. This is an obvious thing to do, right? No idea why it did not cross my mind at the time
  4. I would have done my homework on the clear coating. I don’t remember what I used, but in some places it caused the paint to crackle. The combination of the paint and clear coating was obviously wrong
  5. I would not have overdone my distressing. I pretty much fixed all my mistakes by painting over them (thanks to Cody pointing out that I had sanded where paint wouldn’t naturally wear) but what a pain to do. Surely there was a YouTube video on distressing that could have helped out

Overall, I’m happy with the result. I still have the same setup that we had in Illinois here in our Texas house:

As we discuss redoing the kitchen, I’m seriously contemplating replacing the chairs (when we’d replace the barstools as well) but this old+new set has held up very well over the past four years. I haven’t grown tired of the runner or basket either (and I added the salt and pepper shakers in December 2007—found them at one of my favorite stores in Stephenville, TX). You can’t beat a $125 table that you just fall in love with. And with $29.99 chairs that challenge you to get resourceful.


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