A Farmhouse Table & Outdoor Dinner Party

A few months ago I started thinking about hosting and outdoor dinner party. Fall is my favorite time of year, and although the color in Atlanta is not what it is in my native New England, the weather can be beautiful well into November. Why not take advantage of it?  We get together often for dinner with friends and I wanted to change things up (I know…so not like me! LOL!)  We always start by hanging out in the kitchen and move to the dining room to eat because it’s the only table that can fit six or more. I started pinning photos to my Pinterest board to get ideas.

First, we needed to figure out what to use as a table. We’ve had this outdoor set for about 12 years.

It’s super heavy and durable, and it’s perfect for 4 people, but a little tight for 6 adults. (The table top also squeaks like crazy because it’s a little broken;). I also had more of a “farmhouse” theme in mind. But, what could we use?  I didn’t want to buy a new table.  Time to get creative!  We had this a 45 inch wide rectangular table in the basement that I refinished years ago, and now use to hold my painting supplies.

We knew we needed something a little bigger (to fit 6-8 people).  We decided we could use the table as a base and just make a larger table top.  Love it!  Lee found this post on my DIY Woodworking board on Pinterest to make the table.  He tweaked the plans to be the size we wanted. Here is a picture of us (aka: him) figuring things out in Home Depot.) I love this guy<3

We spent about an hour looking through boards they had in stock. They needed to be straight, not warped, and the idea girl wanted some character – knots and wood grain.

We probably went through 50 boards before we settled on the ones above. (Bless my patient husband!) We laid them out to get a sense of what it would look like.

Once we got home I spent some time laying the pieces out the way I wanted them put together for the final table top and then my hubby got to work cutting the boards and making the pocket holes with his Kreg jig. He put gorilla glue over all of the edges of the wood that would be connected with screws and then screwed the wood together.

This is the underside of the table. If I haven’t mentioned it before, my husband is an engineer. I realize there are an awful lot of pocket holes here:)…and we ran out of screws at one point…but this table top is NOT going to coming apart on ust;)

Since we were using a soft wood (pine) I decided to use a water based wood conditioner first.  It prepares the wood so that it doesn’t suck the stain in so quickly and end up being “blotchy” looking.  I did some test strips on some scrap pieces first.  Based on those tests, I was actually afraid it would resist the water based stain I selected a little too much, but it honestly didn’t. It worked out great! I would highly recommend using a wood conditioner before you stain pine, and I will absolutely use it going forward.

My husband gave the whole table top a good sanding with the orbital sander and then wiped it down really well.  This is a picture of the top of the table with the one coat of the water based wood conditioner we used in natural.

I wanted the table to have a light grayish-brown, weathered look – kind of like Restoration Hardware. Below is a picture of the table with one coat of the water based wood stain we used in Walnut.  There were two areas that didn’t come out the way I wanted, so I got the orbital sander and sanded the top of the table very lightly and very randomly. Then I wiped off the dust with a dry cloth and wiped over the whole table again with the (very) wet rag I used to wipe off the initial coat of stain.

Here is what the table looked like after it dried.

Sidebar – I’ve been painting some “whimsical chairs” when I have the time, and often drop into GoodWill or a local flea market to see if they have anything. The week of our dinner I found these 4 chairs at Goodwill for $26.92. (Can you believe I hemmed and hawed about them for about a half hour before I decided to buy them? Yeah…sometimes I think too much!) Although they are missing a few pieces, they were fairly sturdy. (I’ll figure out a way to fix them at some point in the future.) I figured I could wipe them down and sand the seat a little and we could use them for our dinner.

Here is a picture of the table with chairs I found at Goodwill to see if it would look ok for dinner. (I like it!)

The picture below provides a good view of how the new table top  sits on top of the old table. It is attached with blocks of wood and screws so it wouldn’t move if people lean on it – meaning all our dishes wouldn’t go crashing onto the deck;)  The engineer gets all the credit:)  I had one old chair and added the chairs from the GoodWill.  I just sanded the seats a bit so that they didn’t have the splotches of old paint on them like they did when I bought them.

We added a final chair from the kitchen to the other end of the table. (I am actually really liking this mismatched chair look!)

Here is the table set for company, including a few blankets to use in case it got cold. (In Atlanta that’s anything below 70 degrees:))

We had a lot of fun making the table together and we had a great night with friends whom we adore!  I hope there will be LOTS more opportunities to use this table!





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