The day has come! Our new table is in place, and I couldn’t be more grateful! Here’s a look back at our first table! This table served us well for nearly three years. It was a moving sale find that cost us under a hundred bucks. I did (and do) love it, but there were a few reasons it wasn’t “just right” for us.
First, it was bar height. As we increasingly have little ones over at our place and look forward to children of our own someday, we realize this isn’t the most family friendly option.
Secondly, It wasn’t ideal for company (and we L-O-V-E having people in our home). The leaf was destroyed before we owned it; the previous owners’ dog had chewed right through it! To entertain, we had to use the leaf and cover it with a table cloth, plus add additional less-than-comfy counter stools.
Thirdly, it needed some TLC. The poly topcoat was failing after some less-than-careful care. If we’d kept it, I planned to sand, touch up dinged corners with a wood stain pen, and completely re-seal the thing.
After the table found a loving new home (its new owner, by the way, style it adorably and made me realize how cute it really was), we were left with four lonely chairs I wrote about here.
They’re definitely “trendy” despite their classic shape because of the wood’s finish and upholstery in linen. I know that my tastes will drift a few years down the road, so I’m glad I got a fantastic deal on these. When the time comes, I won’t feel guilty when I swap ’em out! I can already picture some lovely Windsor chairs down the road for a distinctively American feeling (don’t tell Mr. S these chairs are quite French, or I’ll have to immediately give them the axe). 😉
And here is the table my dad, brother, and I created (can you guess which one of us was the least helpful?)! I am crazy about its look, but more importantly, I love that it was made with love! It turned out better than I could have imagined. Best of all, it cost us about $200.00 in materials–the deal of the century for a solid wood piece of loveliness.
Brother and I designed it together, and enjoyed sketching out everything from leg styles (we chose a huskier size than normal to give a substantial feel, but went with a traditional look) to the Golden Ratio (we are that weird). Though we considered lots of things when designing it, our most major concern was overall size. We decided on its size because of the space we have now, and because we think our first home will probably just have a small eat-in kitchen. Anything larger may not fit! If, down the road, we also have a larger formal dining room, we’ll purchase a larger table. 🙂
The top is made of a series of boards skillfully selected, perfected, and planed by Daddy. He carefully cut away knots and imperfections that would interfere with the structure of the table while letting me keep the little dings and marks I thought were beautiful. I also learned how to align the boards with the end grain going in different directions to prevent warping over time. It is truly amazing how much wood moves over time with changes in temperature and humidity and Dad made other structural provisions with that in mind.
We chose maple ,a nice hardwood, for the top stained it in a cool tone (Dark Walnut by Minwax), and sealed it carefully with polyurethane. We wanted a surface that was durable and ready for daily use. I adore the way the stain looks with the pickled finish on the chairs. Dad carefully showed me several options for routing the edge, and I think we chose well in the end!
We chose to save money on the base by purchasing softer, more affordable poplar. I painted it with a matte shade of white (while I adore dark and gleaming antiques, I’m much too casual of a girl for all that). The boys patiently let me paint it myself, and didn’t even complain when I insisted on taking the time to apply many super thin, drip-free coats. It’s still waiting for me to slather on Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax (just what I have on hand, but any brand would do if you want to do this yourself) for extra protection.
See those deep, diagonal lines? We left ’em on purpose! Dad and Brother planed the surface by hand. It’s hard work, and they did it not once, but TWICE!
In a frustrating turn of events, after I carefully stained and sealed the top, our last coat of poly was a nightmare–it dried with bubbles you could see when light shined across the surface, and it appeared cloudy. After much strategy talk, we decided to bite the bullet and totally strip it down to bare wood. This meant hours of extra planing and sanding. A lesson in patience to be sure.
Though we could have made it perfectly smooth (we did the first time), this time I insisted on keeping the marks of their second round of hand planing to remember the hard work they put into the table, and because I love the homemade feel it gives the piece.
Momma and I enjoying a breakfast of apple-smoked sausage, fresh apples, and a strawberry-banana-mango smoothie as the first meal enjoyed at the table.
Other delights this weekend included finding an ironstone pitcher for a song while antiquing with a friend, the arrival of my new lesson planner for next school year, a glorious sunset by a loving Father, and a fun couples’ baby shower.
I look forward to sharing meals with family and friends, happily sewing, creating art, and (prayerfully) doing kids’ homework on our table in the years to come.
Hope you’ll come “sit a spell” with us, too!
I’m linking up:
DIY Showoff: That DIY Party