Sep 26, 2011

A Redesigned Breakfast Nook!

Hi, Pretty Tasty Things readers! I’m super excited to show you what I did with my time off from work. If you didn’t know, I took a week off because I needed a break, plus I wanted to do a few things around the house. So, my vacation was technically a “staycation” since I did not go anywhere special and more work than relaxation since I didn’t lay on my butt all week. The biggest accomplishment I am completely thrilled about is redesigning our kitchen/breakfast nook. It took about about 4 days to complete it from start to finish, 2 days painting and 2 days re-finishing the bistro table. It probably shouldn’t have taken me that long for the table, but I was new to it! After all is said and done, I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

As a friendly reminder, here is the BEFORE of our kitchen. The paint on the walls were a yellow-greenish color. They weren’t horrible, but they were bothering me so bad. The pot holder in the breakfast nook hung very too low. The wood on the bistro table didn’t compliment anything, plus I had no seats for the bistro table. The space wasn’t decorated at all.

So here is the AFTER! Beautiful, isn’t it?! The walls are now a “turtle dove” something more calming and refreshing for the kitchen, which is a very light and pale seafoam green. The table top is newly sanded and stained with a dark walnut. The barstools were purchased from World Market. The pot holder was brought up higher. The breakfast nook was simply decorated to our taste. LOVE IT!

The first thing I wanted to do when redesigning my breakfast nook is to re-stain the bistro table I purchased through Craigslist for a mere $40. Mind you this was my first attempt to re-finish furniture and I’m proud to say it turned out great. I had some help from Young House Love. They made their own 13-foot counter! But here were my steps when refinishing wood:

1. Sanding the varnish is first and foremost. Most furniture you purchase comes with pre-stained wood. There are two ways to remove it. One, you can use chemicals to remove the finish. Since I’m not that familiar with doing so that way, I decided to do it the second way — manually with my inexpensive Black and Decker sander equipped with an 80-grit sandpaper. It’s important to use a low number grit paper in order to remove all the varnish or else the stain won’t set in. Test a small area to make sure you’ve sanded enough. If so, use a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the top over. Afterwards, remove all the dust with a damp paper towel. Let dry.

2. Pre-condition the wood. I purchased a can of “pre-stain” conditioner by Minwax. This supposedly helps create an even stain and prevents blotchiness. Using a bristle brush, just apply an even layer. Let it dry completely. *Read the directions though for thorough instructions.

3. Staining the wood. Once the wood has dried, use a bristle brush to stain the wood. Let the stain sit for a minute and remove any excess stain with a cloth towel or T-shirt. I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain and needed only one coat. I didn’t want it too dark. Let it dry completely overnight.

4. Polyurethane the wood. Last step is to create a seal and finish of the stain. Apply a layer of the polyurethane with a bristle brush. You can apply a second later if you want. I choose not to since I didn’t want it too shiny. Be sure to let it dry completely in a non-damp location, preferably not in a basement. It won’t dry! Trust me.

Look at this beauty. Took about a day and a half to finish it completely, but it was well-worth the trouble. This table would have cost well over $200, but it set me back only $80 with materials and table.

I added my cute salt + pepper paper bird shakers from Anthropologie given to us as a wedding gift from Gretchen. Perfect for the table!

I painted the entire kitchen myself! I taped off all the trim and painted the walls as if I was truly professionally. I decided to go with Behr’s Turtle Dove paint color in a semi-gloss. Yes, you can say it’s a little light, but it’s absolutely perfect for us. It actually makes the kitchen feel larger. The dark wood and the metal details compliments the wall paint so well. I’m in love with it!

As a temporary fix, we left the pot hanger there. We plan on moving it over the stove, but we just don’t know how to move it and ensure it won’t fall! So, we just moved the hooks higher up so that the rack is closer to the ceiling creating more headroom. It works for the time being.

Our nook came with a ledge, so I decorated the space with things I already had laying around in boxes. I printed out some of my favorite photos that we’ve taken for Pretty Tasty Things and placed them in 99 cent photo frames from IKEA. The chalkboards were actually from our wedding. I had made a menu board for the bar and kept it in storage since the wedding. We took it apart and use it in our nook. Not only was it nostalgic for us, it brought a vintage aspect to the décor. I also had placed two white vases I found at a thrift store a while back and vintage wooden letterpresses from our wedding.

Lastly, as you recall, I did a blog post requesting for help on choosing the right pair of barstools. As you can guess, we decided to go with the rustic, backless barstools from World Market. I don’t think they sell them anymore, so I’m glad we bought them when we did. They’re absolutely beautiful. The stools definitely reflect the style of the breakfast nook and are, no joke, pretty comfy. Plus, they’re the perfect height!

Thanks for visiting our redesigned breakfast nook! I hope this brings you some inspiration if you’re thinking about re-finishing a piece of furniture or wanting to redo your kitchen with some inexpensive touches. It took some time, but it was well worth it. I just love my new kitchen!!

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  • You did a wonderful job with our breakfast nook! I’m writing this post on the table and sipping coffee as I type!

    • Isabel

      Thank you, boo! I’m glad you love it as much I do!

  • looks great lady! i can’t wait to sample some raspberry mojitos in that little nook and see the color in person :)

    • Isabel

      thank you, Mo! oh most definitely. I’ll have those raspberry mojitos ready for you as soon as you walk in the door!

  • Your nook turned out wonderful! I was researching Behr’s Turtle Dove and it looks lovely in your home. (I might paint my bedroom with it, not sure yet.) But your stained pedestal table is wonderful! I love the walnut top with the white base.

    Take care!

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