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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Kitchen Sink Shelf Refresh

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Have you ever started a one-hour project 
that turned into four times that? 

Over time ceramic pots holding plants marred 
the painted wooden shelf behind the sink in several places,  
and the shelf needed the paint refreshed.  

Just a quick sanding, then repainting with the leftover 
white paint from the bathroom vanity project should have 
made this a quick and easy project. 

On a nice sunny day, not a scorcher, the hand sanding began. 
Just a little sanding to create a surface ready for new paint. 

The paint peeled off in long strips. 
With each curl my spirits sank a little lower, 
dreading the work I knew it was going to take 
to refinish the shelf.  

A quick sanding of the top surface that should have taken only a few minutes 
was turning into a sanding of the entire shelf to remove the peeling old paint. 

Two hours later, the shelf was less than half sanded by hand. 
Perhaps the shelf would look good with a white-washed finish? 

Tired and hungry, I decided a break was needed 
before resuming the arduous hand sanding that 
was causing blisters on my thumbs. 

The carpenter who was replacing the cedar siding on the house 
stopped to look over what I was doing as he was leaving for his lunch break. 
We talked about the options I was considering, 
white washing, repainting, or leaving the shelf natural 
with just a clear sealer. 

He left, and I went inside to have lunch and to rest. 

When I went back outside a couple of hours later 
I found the carpenter had power sanded the shelf down to 
its natural finish and had applied a coat of clear sealer. 

My thumbs thanked him 
for saving them from the forming blisters. 
For now, the little shelf is natural with a sealer. 

But, I think another sanding and some white paint to match 
the cabinets are in the little shelf's future. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. To white-wash, to stain, that is the question! We are installing exposed beams in our great room and back office and I wanted white-wash, he wanted gray, so we came to an agreement that we'd stain the simple pine beams a weathered gray. Now I can live with that! Oh Judith, your shelf looks great, and thank goodness you had a handyman near by! I was sawing small strips of wood yesterday for a small art project, and I was TIRED! Looks great. Have a super day! Anita

  2. Good morning, Judith ~
    I have an older palm sander to take on the big jobs, but still do an incredible amount of sanding by hand. It's not my favorite task. It was so sweet of him to surprise you!
    Hope you have a lovely one today.

  3. Power sander - what a great idea! Looks very nice. Men and tools. :-)

  4. Oh how sweet! And the shelf looks wonderful :) Happy Thursday to you

  5. What a sweetie! It looks great :)

  6. That's a sweet little spot! I love little places like that...they add character. You have a nice carpenter.

    Hoping we get a little more of that cool weather very soon. The 7 day forecast is daunting!

  7. It looks beautiful. Send that Man over here. Too many times I thought a job would only take alittle time only to last forever it seemed.

  8. What a kind thing the carpenter did! Hand sanding is the pits. I have a little hand sized power sander that I absolutely LOVE because I do not like to sand by hand!

  9. Judith, it is amazing how much energy a project like this takes. Glad you had someone to come to the rescue. ;-) Your shelf looks great!

  10. The natural wood color looks nice with the plants. And I love the pretty blue of my favs! Hugs, Diane

  11. How thoughtful of the carpenter but a part of me thinks men always want wood left natural! Either way will look great.

  12. Don't you just love people that go the extra mile? They find a special place in my heart. Your carpenter definitely fits the profile of "that other person"!
    Natural or's perfect in your beautiful kitchen, Judith!
    I am having my morning coffee and catching up with all that is lovely here!


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