Every time the Dearest and small men go off to an Indian Guides overnight trip, I get some much-needed mommy time. I know a lot of mommies would go shopping or to the spa. What do I do?
I make tables! We have had a small round coffee table in our living room for many years, but I was getting tired of how rickety it was. Plus kids had a tendency to lean on the edges of the table, which usually meant everything got dumped on the floor and someone would be crying over the spilt food/drinks/legos (sometimes it was even the kid who knocked the table over).
So I've had it in mind to either buy or build a new coffee table, and when I found these plans over at Ana White's Knock Off Wood site, I knew it would be a perfect project to try out while the guys were all gone to Big Bear.
I took my printed out plans to the local big box store late on a Friday afternoon, hoping it wouldn't be too crowded so I could get most of the pieces cut there. Lucky for me there was a big storm blowing in because Lowes was DEAD. The workers were so bored that I eventually had six guys working with me- two to make the cuts, a couple to pick out the best wood, and two more to give me tons of tips and notes.
Once I got all the wood home, I put a tarp down in the middle of the living room floor, turned on HGTV for inspiration and got down to work. Ana's plans are GREAT. She gives you step-by-step instructions which makes building the table much easier.
I have never built anything this complicated from scratch before, but after about six hours (four on Friday night and two more Saturday morning) I had this:
Can you believe that I did it myself??? I can't!!!! I think the Dearest was a bit shocked when he got home and saw what I'd made. It's not perfect (ignore the screw that broke off and the gaps in the wood trim) but after a lot of wood putty, caulk, and sanding, it looks pretty good.
There was quite a bit of discussion over what color to paint it. I got comments 50/50 between red and espresso. We have a red wall on the staircase and some red accents in the living/kitchen so I decided to try red. What do you think?
I might spray paint these baskets to match a little better....or just get new baskets. But for now these work.
I learned A LOT building this piece. The first lesson: building it was the easy part...finishing (sanding/priming/painting) was by far the hardest thing for me. I'm a bit impatient when it comes to finishing projects and I'm so NOT a perfectionist...but some things do need to be as close to perfect as possible. Like prepping furniture for painting! Let's just say this piece looks best from far away..!
Another lesson: brush painting furniture sucks. I used a foam mini roller for the flat parts of the piece, and a foam brush for the tricky bits. I had a really hard time making sure the finish was nice and smooth. The paint was "Black Currant" from Lowes. I got a quart in a flat finish since that was supposed to help with the brush marks, and I knew I was cover the whole thing with polyacrylic for protection anyways. Using the roller and brush took a long time and was super finagle-y. I think I might try spraypainting the whole piece in the future....
Lesson #3- go with tinted primer if you are painting your furniture a dark color. I originally used white primer, but switched to a brownish Valspar spraypaint primer that Lowes sells. It made a huge difference when I started painting- the darker primer made a much better base for the red paint.
Lesson #4- Dont' forget to paint the inside of your piece! I did and was bummed when I realized that I still needed to finish the cubbys under the lids. I ended up cheating and just spray painting them with the leftover primer.
I had a lot of fun creating this little coffee table and now I'm on a huge home-improvement kick! Next project: making over a Craigslist buffet find!
Thanks for visiting!