Dining Room Makeover

By  |  9 Comments



I was fortunate enough several years ago to be gifted with a dining room suite from my grandmother. This furniture actually belonged to her mother (my great-grandmother) and was passed directly from my great-grandmother to me. She lived in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. She lived a very modest life and treasured her dining room furniture. I can actually remember going to her home when I was very small and eating dinner in these chairs. She prepared fried chicken and biscuits and my father said that was her specialty.

This set is originally from the early 40’s, so I am guessing it’s seventy-some years old. When I received it, the chairs still had the plastic on them. She never removed it in all of those years! With a guilty conscience, I did remove the plastic, but did nothing else to it for years.


photo 1(18)photo 2(16)

I have moved this furniture from West Virginia to Virginia Beach, VA to Atlanta, Georgia, to Chicago, IL to and finally to Roanoke, VA. I have had it in all of my dining rooms but really did not do much to the rooms it was in. To be completely honest, the style was much too “old fashioned” for my taste. It was also very worn, chipped and dusty. But, then I thought of all of the children, grandchildren, memories, history, etc. associated with this furniture and my family. I did not have the heart (or desire) to trade it in for an updated version. Especially when you look at the dining room furniture being sold for ridiculous prices and the quality the could not compare to my vintage set.

So, finally after all these years, I decided to make this set mine. I have put enough work hours into other furniture projects, that I felt confident that I would be preserving this furniture and not destroying it. I decided to “reward” myself with this project after I finished all of the orders, projects, recipes, etc. for other people. My goal was to relax and enjoy the holidays “order free.” The minute I finished my last order, I started disassembling the chairs.

First, I removed all of the cushions by flipping the chairs over and unscrewing the cushions. I set aside all of the hardware and cushions.

photo 4(13)


I filled a bucket with hot, soapy water and thoroughly cleaned all of the furniture, inside and out. You really do not need any special cleaning agents. I have learned that regular dish soap and warm water do the trick. Of course, you typically do not clean wood furniture with water except before a project like this. Water will ruin the wood over time…as we all know.


Next, I removed all of the tarnished brass.  I cleaned all of the brass with “Brasso.”




This is great stuff! The brass was so black, I actually put the pulls and knobs in a plastic bowl and poured the “Brasso” on top. I let it sit for a few minutes. I then scrubbed it off with a wire brush and some serious elbow grease. Totally worth it.

photo 2(19)


photo 3(13)


The next thing I tackled was the cushions. My grandmother told me the seats were hand stitched and to preserve them. I was going to remove the fabric and store it. However, it was not coming off.


photo 5(13)


So instead, I just kind of beat the dust out of them and then covered them with this amazing fabric I ordered from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores by  Waverly Fabrics called “Santa Maria Desert Flower.” I could not have created a pattern design more suited for me. I love the design and the colors are perfect!

Waverly Santa Maria Desert Flower

Waverly Santa Maria Desert Flower

I tightly covered the old cushions with the new fabric and used an upholstery stapler to secure it.


photo 2(17)


chair top 1


The difference is incredible!

Finally, I started painting the furniture. I used the Graphite chalk paint by Annie Sloan and a clear wax. It was definitely a lot of work. Fortunately, my good buddy Carissa came over and offered her strong painting arm to help. That’s right…she offered. One of the many qualities I love about that gal.


After it was all painted and waxed, I excitedly put everything back together.

before chairphoto 3

I am so happy with the outcome! I keep walking in this room and sitting down and taking it all in. The colors I chose allowed me to appropriately incorporate some artwork my husband and I bought in India after our wedding and some of my personal artwork.


This room is now “ours.” We have history from both families, both cultures and it’s blended harmoniously.

photo 4(11)Library Table

Believe it or not, I finished this project at 2 am and then hosted a party that night. I guess having a house full of people coming over sure motivates you to finish!

photo 3(12)photo 5(15)Dining room 1 photo 2




Thank you HGTV magazine for sharing my project in the June, 2014 issue.


Find me on Homtalk.com

American wife to this Indian life. I am a right-brained, American woman married to a left-brained Indian man. I love art, design, up-cycling and multiple DIY projects at the same time. He loves simplicity and order. Follow us on this cultural collision as I combine our personalities and cultural differences through art, design, food, and raising kids. When I am not working on a craft or project, I co-host a lifestyle/entertainment show called "Daytime Blue Ridge," on our local NBC affiliate, WSLS 10. www.DaytimeBlueRidge.com


  1. Pingback: Fabulously Festive Christmas - The Lindee Tree

  2. Ashley at The Feisty Redhead

    February 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    These look so awesome! Thanks for leaving me a comment on Whimseybox and letting me know. I love the way they look with your rug, too.

  3. Pingback: Annie Sloan, Benjamin Moore & Valspar - The Lindee Tree

  4. Tim McClung

    September 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    My wife found you through your sister and saw this project and asked me to tackle it as well. I used Valspar Signature with semi gloss finish. It was well received and has since started other folks to contact us for me to paint their furniture. I have distressed multiple pieces, painted multiple pieces, etc. always using Valspar. I have finally run into a ASCP enthusiast/devotee and she is making me rethink what I use. I have at one time or another used just about anything and any brand(with the exception of oil) and all the pieces have turned out satisfactorily. But there is definitely a difference in the amount of time and effort required to get to the final product. Is there a big master “chart” somewhere that you know about that is used by folks who spend a lot of time painting furniture?

    • Lindee Katdare

      September 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm


      I don’t know about a “master chart” but have learned a lot through trial and error. I have used just about every kind of paint there is and believe you should choose different paints for different projects…of course. I love the ASCP..because it is reliable and easy to use. Even with the wax, it is minimal effort compared to other brands. You definitely need to give it a try. It would be my first choice for any distressed project. However, I don’t think it is the best for every project. For example, I used a Benjamin Moore (oil based) paint for this project I wanted that high gloss, bold color. I have joined a lot of DIY groups and it has been helpful for me to bounce ideas of of them. That might help you too. Thanks for the email…I am glad my sister sent you my way!

  5. Maggie

    January 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Lindee, I have been reading a lot of your posts this am as I venture into the chalk paint refinishing world. I wandered into a store that had old pieces painted and I was hooked!! I have a dining room set that is over a hundred years old and I am tired of it. Very dark stain that is probably original. I know the Antiquists Out there would flutter but I think I will paint it after reading your posts and seeing your work. It gives it such a new fresh look!! I also have a Victorian bedroom suite that I may do the same too!!! So if I use the Annie Sloan paint, do I need to prep the furniture at all except for washing it down?? I though I would have to strip it and sand it down to get the desired look but it appears you have not done that, which thrills me!!!! I also have some pieces that I had painted black and might want to change with the Annie Sloan chalk paint. Do I have to strip them down first or just sand the paint and then use the Annie Sloan product. Your work is amazing and you have inspired me!!thanks so much

    • Lindee Katdare

      March 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks for the email and I am so sorry for the late response. Yes, that is the beauty of this product! Minimal prep work! I would love to see a picture when you are finished.

  6. Polly

    June 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Lindee,

    I love the results of your makeover here! I just bought the Valspar “Chalky Paint” today to do a little rehab on a Craiglist piece for my daughter’s room–I’m interested to see how it turns out! I think I will ‘graduate’ to Annie Sloan to paint the buffet in my living room–I haven’t taken that financial plunge just yet, but I love everything I see that is painted w/ ASCP.

    My question is this: how has your dining set held up since you painted it with the chalk paint? I have a great dining table that I bought on Craigslist (again!) but it is very dark wood and I’m toying with the idea of painting it. I have two young children and we eat *every* meal on this table, and my children also do lots of drawing at it as well. I wonder how the ASCP would be on a high-use/high-traffic surface like a ‘used three times a day’ dining table!

    Thanks so much! 🙂 I love your website.

  7. Jackie Wells

    July 20, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    I read on another post today that there is an ASCP lacquer now available that eliminates the waxing. Are you familiar w/ this, & if so , your thoughts please.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *