Before: Orange-y 80's oak finish.
After: Farmhouse Style Walnut and White
But I seriously questioned how to get those gray undertones. I didn't just want brown. But I didn't want gray either.
After stripping the table top (thank you Citrasolve -- and sandpaper), hate stripping furniture. But anyway, after the table top was devoid of it's original finish, I applied a wash of gray paint. That is, one part Annie Sloan Graphite to one part water, mix and apply loosely with a brush, wait a couple minutes (but not long enough for any paint to dry!) and wipe off with a soft clean cloth.
Work in small-ish sections so the paint doesn't get away from you and begin to dry. What you want is for the gray to begin to seep into the pores of the wood grain, not dry on the surface. If it's not gray enough for your liking, you can always go over it again.
Now at this point, you could go with the weathered gray look by adding a wax finish. You could also add a spot of white paint to some wax which creates a gorgeous soft weathered look. I thought about doing this, but it just didn't seem to suit this table.
Once I was done with the gray wash, I let the wood dry for several hours and then applied one layer of Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Again working in small-ish sections, going with the grain of the wood. The stain needs to sit for eight hours before applying a protective finish, so early this morning I did the first of three coats of Minwax Matte Finish Polymer. Three coats, cuz its a kitchen table and it's going to get used--heavily. It did turn out pretty, I think. Hard to notice the gray undertones in my crappy photos, but they are there.
Since I couldn't work on the table top anymore last night, I painted the base. At first thought I was going to go with solid white---both on kitchen cabinets, chairs and table base. (The white on the cabinets is Annie Sloan Pure White, the white on the chairs and table base is Valspar's Chalk Finish Paint in a white color called Her Dainties (um yeah, who made up that name?). But having lived with the pantry cabinets for several weeks now, I believe I will apply the Annie Sloan Dark Wax, which will soften the white a bit and antique the edges, creases and corners lightly.
Why antique it? I like the solid white, but a little antiquing hides a lot. It's a kitchen, stuff gets dirty. I live in the country, stuff gets dirty. I have a husband, stuff gets dirty. You get the theme here.
Next, another trip to the specialty store to get me some Annie Sloan Dark Wax....