Category Archives: Projects

The tale of a coffee table, Part III

Finally, after two trips to Home Depot, three to Ace hardware, one to Michael’s (for the crates), and way too much time obsessing over the finish, our coffee table was assembled and ready to go!



I have to give a huge, huge thank you to Becca over at Vintage Chic for helping me out at the last minute…I had bought the wrong kind of casters at Home Depot and she steered me back in the right direction before I attempted to drill a 3/8″ hole into a 3/4″ board (Drew had also pointed out that this was probably not the best plan).  Thank you again for your help Becca!  Your project was awesome and I hope my version of it makes you proud 🙂

So now we have a coffee table we both love, although the saga doesn’t end here as we are still working on deciding what to do with the space in the middle…one of the commenters on Vintage Chic mentioned the possibility of putting a wine cooling bucket in there, and when I mentioned that to Drew he was over the moon.  So there might just be a part IV…stay tuned!

Drew loves the coffee table, but not having his picture taken.

Drew loves the coffee table, but not having his picture taken.


The tale of a coffee table, Part II

It occurred to me at some point, in the planning stages for our coffee table project, that I had not actually made anything out of wood since 8th grade shop class, when I built a wobbly CD rack out of dowels and wood glue.  My dear husband Drew had built a rather impressive bar for his apartment a few years back (he is really motivated by things involving beer).  So I trusted he would more or less know what was going on.  Plus he owns not one but two power drills, so I figured we were pretty much set.

However, we definitely don’t own much else in the way of power tools.  Drew’s dad gave him a light hacksaw for his birthday the year we got married (that does sound a little strange in print…anyways…) but we were definitely not going to be sawing down 1 x 4s with that.  So I consulted with my dad who is a wordworking guru, and he felt pretty confident that the guys at Home Depot would probably be willing to chop up some boards for us.

Can I tell you that I never realized how much fun Home Depot is before?  They have all kinds of cool stuff in there…but I digress.  The guy with the power saw was more than obliging in helping to saw down our  boards to size, although they wouldn’t do cuts under 12″, I suppose because that’s a little close to be putting your hands next to a rotating saw blade for .50 cents a cut.

The night before, we had tea-stained the crates as per Vintage Chic‘s directions, which was fun although it didn’t seem to make too much difference:

Can you tell which one is tea-stained?

Can you tell which one is tea-stained?

I had also tried a steel wool-apple cider vinegar DIY stain, also from the Vintage Chic directions, but it just turned the wood an old-weathered-barn grey.  Which was also kind of cool, but not really what I was going for. I think may have had to do with the fact that I got my “steel wool” at a dollar store in mini-Chinatown (six blocks from our apartment) and it may not have been the highest quality.  In fact, it may not have been steel at all.  So we had to forgo the DIY stain and just use Minwax, which gives me less DIY street cred.  But since I was not that great at applying the stain evenly, it ended up looking “weathered” anyway:

I really hope the landlady doesn't mind we did this in her garage.

I really hope the landlady doesn’t mind we did this in her garage.

Building the frame with dowels was really challenging with our limited (aka non-existent) shop setup, and getting that stain to look right was a challenge as well (mostly because I was obsessing over it).  By Monday night, after two trips to the hardware store to find the right size screws, we were really ready for a break (and a glass of wine…or two….).

And drumroll…continue to Part III for the big reveal!

The tale of a coffee table, Part I

Drew and I both recently got weekends.  Weekends may be something you take for granted, but since he had been working retail, and I had been working on my MA, it had been a long time since we actually both had two consecutive days off (five years, in fact).  This meant that there were a lot of projects and things that got put off for those five years.  And one of those things was getting a proper coffee table.

When we first moved to San Francisco from charming Carbondale, Illinois, one of the main things we sacrificed was our office.  This was solved (more or less) by me setting up a folding table in one corner of the living room where I staked out a kind of desk space.  Drew’s job didn’t require him to take home work much (more like never) so he just plopped his ginormous desktop computer on a bedside-dresser-thingy in front of his side of the couch in the middle of the living room.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional, and it was supposed to be temporary.

Fast-forward five years…The dresser/table is still in the middle of the living room, the computer is dying, and I have had it with this setup.  Plus, I finally have weekend time to fill!  Enter one amazing Pinterest find: a coffee table constructed out of wine crates, with room for storage and on casters so you can wheel it away. I found the original post from Vintage Chic and started plotting how to get Drew on board.  Turns out he loves the idea, hates everything else out there on Craigslist, and loves me enough to give up a Saturday (and a Sunday, and part of Tuesday night) to make the thing.

So here was our inspiration:

photo credit: Becca Creative

Read on to Part 2 to hear about our adventures in carpentry!