I’m Table Crazy


Last night I officially packed up my studio. Until I get my studio set up at our new place, I’ll be posting mostly thrifty finds & ideas. If you’re interested in guest posting here, please email submissions (photos at least 500px wide) to melissa at melissaesplin dot com.

I’ve never posted a picture of our kitchen. Most of that is because I’m not a fan of the ’90s oak cabinets with brass fixtures (not my style), but the other part is because of the kitchen table. I’ve not been satisfied with any of our kitchen tables from day one. The first table we ever had was one that Chris & I refinished just before we got married. It was okay, but not worth moving to California after we finished college. We ditched the first table & upgraded to a pub-style black rubberwood table with stools. I believe we spent something like $250 for the table & 4 stools.

The second table was fine, but I wasn’t a fan of the boston finish or the random “drain” notches on the table top. It wasn’t very kid-friendly, either. It was then that we moved back to Salt Lake. We settled in our place & I absolutely didn’t like how the table was always competing with the counter tops in the kitchen/dining area. I got rid of it. I think I sold it for something like $150.

To replace the black pub table, I found a cool little vintage table for $25. Chris didn’t like it from the very beginning. It was a laminate top, so it was easier to clean up & I didn’t care so much if Penelope smacked abused the table. I bought orange chairs from Annie for $20. I’ve always liked the chairs & I think Chris likes them just fine. Finally, just before Felix was born, we got rid of the table. Sold it for $25.

We used a Lifetime folding table while we decided what we wanted to do. I found a simple & fairly cheap DIY project over at Stylizmo for making a farmhouse-style modern table. We went for it. Fail. We bought cedar planks; but turns out they hadn’t dried out so by the time we assembled, sanded & painted, the slats shrunk leaving uneven breaks between the planks & some really gross cracks in the paint. The wood was too lightweight, so the table always wobbled & it was the absolute wrong size for our dining space. Much too wide & too long. I ended up making Chris take it apart. I started sanding the top to fix it all, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. I repurposed the purchased Ikea legs for my studio desk & the wood is just sitting in our garage. I’m sure I’ll find a great purpose for it somewhere.

Now we’re using a table that we found on the side of the road back in our California days. I was originally using it as a desk in my studio, but now it’s our dining table. It’s got tons of scratches & nicks. You can see a chunk taken out of the bottom left corner. I’m tempted to rehab it, but it’s a bit small for having family over.

So there you go. Table fail. We’ve now decided that we’re going to invest in a grown up table. Sometimes the saying “You get what you paid for” is so true. So what are our plans? I’m still not entirely sure, but I know this much – I’m planning on powdercoating the chair legs. I painted them white a while back & they’re looking really ratty. I’m thinking orange or yellow would look fantastic. I just have to figure out how to remove the legs (they’re attached by rivets). It’s looking like that will cost somewhere around the ballpark of $200. It’s more than I’m wanting to spend, but I know that getting them powder coated will make the color last longer & look infinitely better.

As for our future table, I’m on the fence on whether I should DIY it or not. I’ve been madly pinning potential tables to Pinterest. Angela suggested I look into For Me, For You’s DIY table with hairpin legs. It’s pretty brilliant. If we were to go that route, I’d invest money into a nice, thick piece of solid walnut or something similar. Maybe find some reclaimed wood. Chris & I have talked a lot about what we want in a table & basically we’d like the same table my in-laws have. I’ll have to take pictures sometime. It’s absolutely a stunning teak modern table surrounded by 8 white tulip chairs. Gorgeous.

I’m sort of in love with this Fresno Modern Walnut table. Aren’t those lines just spectacular? It’s out of our budget, but pretty close to what we’re looking for. Ahem, I mean I am looking for. I’m looking for a table with unique angles. Have you seen what’s at Ikea recently? Great, but BORING. Check out my tables pin board for all of my favorites.

What do you look for in a table? Do you have any suggestions on where I should go for one?

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    1. Emily says:

      I really want to build one like this http://pinterest.com/pin/209628557624849924/ when our house is big enough! I like the angular table and the walnut table that you pinned. :)

    2. Melissa says:

      we used knock on wood for our plans for our entertainment console! that site makes me wish i had a carpentry shop & knew more about wood working.

    3. This is so timely! I’m trying to figure out what to do for a kitchen table too. I’m thinking about building one next semester in the evening woodworking class I take at UVU. Now that you’re in UT County you should take the class too! It’s so much fun and the shop is AMAZING.

    4. marissa says:

      the table we have is a heavy old wooden table that my mom used to own. i had to have it for the sentimental value of the many years our huge family sat around it (it seats 8 normal and has 3, yes 3, extra leaves). it is huge, which is perfect for us especially now, but it is so dated. how hard was it to refinish a table? are there websites you can recommend? i want to sand it down and paint/varnish/whatever it in a distressed black to modernize it a bit and make it my own.

      good luck on your own dining table hunt. i don’t think i was quite content with anything we had before this one and that table is a very important piece of furniture. :)

    5. erin says:

      our dining table is steel- pretty untraditional. my husband made it while he was in college in a welding class. it’s indestructible! i love it though it is getting too small for our family so some day we will upgrade and then the steel table will be used as a desk. i would love a huge thick rustic farmhouse like table surrounded with white eames shell chairs with eiffel bases.

    6. Allison says:

      We also really need a dining room table, and have been eyeing some of the tables at World Market (worldmarket dot com). Some of them have that overdone Tuscan thing going on, but a few have really pretty clean and simple lines, and they’re not too crazy expensive like a Barn that sells Pottery.

    7. bmerry says:

      I love industrial tables, but I also love hairpin legs and mid century modern shapes. I love tables. What kind of guest posts are you interested in?

    8. I saw your table pinboard last night. Lots of great options! I love the hairpin leg table and the modern walnut table!!! Walnut is my stain of choice. You and I must be kindred spirits. Our little four seater dining room table we have had for 8 years was inherited and is actually vintage -but NOT in a cool way. At all. Haha It has been the bain of my decor existence for years. I’ve desperately been trying to get rid of it. A dining table is the next big item on my “to thrift” list. I dream of white fiberglass shell chairs to go with it. And now that I found out I can strip furniture I’m feeling a little unstoppable. I’m looking for something to bathe in walnut stain. muahahaha

    9. Meghan says:

      I was looking at the following table just last night.
      I think it’s pretty great looking, but I like that Fresno Modern table more, but it’s not in my price range at all. Good luck deciding.

    10. Melanie says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I’m looking for the same kind of project in my new house. A friend of mine talk to me about http://www.ana-white.com. It’s a free furniture plans website and it look pretty simple on my side. I’m not an expert but I’m sure there’s a lot of great projects for you.

      I took the liberty to check some things for you like this one:

      or this one: http://ana-white.com/2011/02/y-leg-table.html

      I found so much plans I love! A big winter to come for my hubby ;)

      Good luck in your research,

      Mel from Quebec

      • Melissa says:


        Thanks for the suggestions! I made Chris use Ana White’s hutch plans for our entertainment console. I like how her plans are already set out, it definitely makes for easy construction & adjustment. Love that style. It looks almost identical to a table I pinned from Crate & Barrell!

    11. Anna says:

      You never know where a great dining table is going to come from.

      A little story about ours…

      We have a lovely solid wood, extendable table with 6 lovely matching chairs (shape’s lovely, the material on them a little outdated but I’ll be re-covering them when I get the time).

      We moved house on the 21st Dec last year. On the 22nd there was a knock at the door and there was one of the removal men absolutely smashed (drunk doesn’t even begin to cover it). He was going on and on about how he wanted me to come back to his place with him and was going to give me a dining set. Freaked me out a little, luckily I had a few friends round and so I got his number and told him my husband would call him later.

      So hubby called him later on and he had sobered up a little. Turns out he was leaving to go off to a job the next day and had managed to sell all his furniture except the dining suite – which he had planned on donating at the last minute, but after seeing our pitiful furniture (not his words but no doubt his thoughts) and the fact that we had a little baby he decided to give it to us instead.

      Next day he delivered it for us and we gave him all the money we could gather up ($110) as it was such a beautiful, and obviously expensive, set. He was happy to get some unexpected cash for it and to play Santa to a young family, we were ecstatic to get a wonderful dining set for $110. We’ve eaten dinner on it as a family every night since :)

    12. i’m in love with this one that’s on fab.com today….http://fab.com/sale/1795/product/31405/
      it’s from brazil, and i has amazing details.

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