49. Made From Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table (UPDATED!)

Remember our DIY dining table?  I showed it to you in August of last year.  I’ve realized that the instructions I gave could use some improvement…especially after I realized our table was sagging a bit on one side.  The good news is that I fixed it with my AWESOME new drill, and you reap the benefits by getting an improved building plan.

DIY Rustic Dining Table

Materials:

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
2- 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
1-5/8″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
prestain
stain and/or Danish oil
wood sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

Directions:

1.  Cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.  Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

diy rustic dining table

2.  Flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

diy rustic dining table instructions

3.  While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 boards into 6 pieces, each 32″ long (you’ll only use 5 of the pieces).  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, one at each end, about 3″ from the edge of the table, and space the last two boards evenly between the end and middle boards.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 1-5/8″ wood screws.

diy rustic dining table instructions

4.  Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  Don’t forget about the ends of the table, too!  You should also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

5.  After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

diy rustic dining table instructions

6. When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

7.  Apply a coat of pre-stain using a clean rag.  The pre-stain is optional, but it really helps with an even coat of stain and prevents blotches.  Allow to set for about five minutes, and wipe off excess stain with another clean rag.

8.  Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

diy rustic dining table instructions

9. After the stain has dried completely, flip the table top over and attach the legs.  I ordered legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).

IMPORTANT: Raw steel will rust, even indoors!  I had to learn this the hard way…I’m passing on my knowledge to you so the same does not occur.  In order to prevent rusting, just cover your legs with a few coats of matte acrylic spray.

diy rustic dining table instructions

10.  Finally, it’s time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.  Make sure to follow that manufacturer’s instructions for whatever topcoat you choose, but with wax, you just rub on/off with cheesecloth and buff it out.

Voilà, you have your very own rustic dining table…and you made it all by yourself!

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

diy rustic dining table instructions

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

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36. Yet another glorious Craigslist find!

I rearranged our living room furniture a while back and, in the process, moved in a large bookshelf from our dining room.  The real estate formerly taken up by the bookshelf was now quite bare, and I was considering two options.  First, I thought a buffet might be nice, but…what would I put in it?  It would basically just sit there and look nice, but I wasn’t sure what stuff I would actually cram in the thing.  Option 2: a desk.  Yes!  However, it has to look awesome and cost not a lot of money.  Guess where I’ve been looking?  (If you didn’t say Craigslist, you obviously don’t know me that well.  Alternatively, you live under a rock.)

I was taking a gander at CL this morning, when I stumbled upon the perfect candidate…for only $35!  I rubbed my eyes and pinched myself, but it really was a beautiful, antique desk for 35 smackaroos.

It’s seriously perfect for the space.

Here it is!

It’s missing hardware, but the wood is in fantastic condition.  The photo above is BEFORE I even wiped it down and polished it up!  I’ve been on a painting kick with furniture lately, but this desk is in such nice condition, I’ve decided to leave the finish “as-is”.  Are you shocked, or what?

I’m thinking of ordering some cup pulls in an antique brass finish, and the drawers will get a nice wipe out (they are gah-ROSS right now) followed by a lining of pretty patterned contact paper.  I’ll make sure to update you on the final product!

So, have you found any goodies on the cheap lately?

Oh, Craigslist…how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

XO,
Gabriella

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19. I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 2)

If you missed the first installment of this four-part series, you can catch up here.

Last time, I talked all about my plans for the living room.  It’s time to turn the corner (literally) and take a peek into our dining room.

Here’s how it looked right before we moved in:

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I love the built-ins…like, a lot.  (There are actually two, one on either side of the window.)  There is no longer a door to the kitchen, it’s just an open entryway now.  I’m not sure at what point the door went byebye, but it wasn’t there when we moved in.  Again, the color on the walls is staying the way it is…it’s the same color that’s in the living room, and also the same pain in the booty textured walls.  I’m not mentally prepared to deal with something like that.  Nuh uh.

Here’s the progress we’ve made so far:

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I am seriously so frickin’ proud of that table!  I love being able to tell people we built it ourselves, especially when they give the compliment before they know.  It’s like a ton of pats on the back.  All at once.  I’m really proud of the deal I got on those chairs, too…I know they were still a pretty significant chunk of money, but I totally did my research and got the very best price I could find ANYWHERE.

Our Expedit bookcase from IKEA is currently housed here as well (it’s out of frame to the left), but that will get a makeover and find a new home in the living room.  Other than that, there are only three things I’d like to add to this room to finish it off.

1. A bench or settee.  I’d love to put it along the right-hand side of the table (i.e. the side next to the window).  It will hopefully be something antique, and it just so happens I found the PERFECT bench on…you guessed it…Craigslist.

081613_2Oh. My. Gawd.  It’s chippy.  And old.  And did I mention it’s exactly the right length and width?  And the EXACT same height as our current chairs?!  I seriously wouldn’t change anything about it, I’d just park it right next to the table and be done with it.  Well, I’d probably sew up a nice cushion to make it more comfy for its patrons, but that’s it.  I am trying not to jump the gun and buy it, but I’m so afraid it will be gone right away!  And I’m not sure I would find something that perfect again.  If you read Victoria’s blog, you know about the raccoon in her head that tells her to buy things (especially awesome things from Craigslist).  I’m pretty sure I suffer from the same affliction.  We should start a support group.  Actually, it would be better to call it an encouragement group.  Anyway, I digress.  Next!

2. A desk/dresser/buffet.  The space currently taken up by the Expedit will be quite bare after it travels to the living room, so it will need to be filled with something else.  I currently don’t have a “desk”, so it might be nice to find something small…just a nice area to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while I write my blog…and do my science thinking, of course.  I know I can just do this at the dining room table, but that means constantly moving my laptop and other stuff to keep the clutter contained, and I’d rather have a designated spot where I can just plop those sort of things down and not move them.

3. Wall art.  I should just go ahead and say that hanging things on the walls is an area of complete naivety to me.  In all of the places we’ve rented (and there have been many), we’ve never bothered to hang anything.  I never had anything hanging in my room growing up either, save a poster of a baby seal on the back of my bedroom door.  I’ve never really known how to hang stuff to make it look good, but I’d LOVE to have some sort of gallery wall.  I think this room would be a great place for it.  I’m thinking above the new desk.

That’s it!  Not a ton of work, really…as long as I can find a bench that’s already perfectly shabby and a desk/dresser/buffet that only needs a new coat of paint.

Make sure to check back soon for the next installment, the master bedroom!

XO,
Gabriella

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17. Ah, finally the story of the dining room chairs!

Did you ever find that one thing you were looking for, only to be disappointed by the price tag?  I love finding exactly what I want within my price range!  It’s such a rush finding a great deal, and I get an insane amount of satisfaction from telling other people about my finds…especially if it helps them save money, too!  Case in point: my search for the perfect set of metal dining chairs.

I am in love with metal dining chairs, specifically the Tolix A chair.  If you haven’t heard of this chair, you don’t know what you are missing!  Here it is, in all of it’s wondrous glory:

Ch-a-rouge_3quart

Source: tolix.com

These chairs were designed by Xavier Pauchard in 1934.  Definitely a timeless classic.  The popularity of this model has only increased with the revival of the Tolix company in 2004, so one can imagine that I would not be so in love with the price tag that comes along with this popularity.  Getting your hands on an authentic Tolix chair will not require you to ship them over from France, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Pottery Barn sells the Tolix A in black, white, red, and bare metal for $269 each.  Yikes!  We wanted 6 of these chairs for our handmade rustic dining table, but with the $60 surcharge ($10 per chair) plus $168 shipping and handling (10% of the order), the total would be over $1800.  None of the available choices were even close to the color we wanted! Um, no.

After perusing the interwebs for another source, I discovered Industry West.  They sell the Marais A Side Chair for $145 each in a TON of different colors.  Better price, but the cost of 6 chairs plus shipping would still cost almost $1000.  I’m the queen of deals, people; there is ALWAYS a cheaper price!

At last we come to Restoration Hardware’s Remy Side Chair.  These normally sell for $129 each, but I happened to catch them on sale…for $89 a piece!  Also, as if the heavens parted and showered me with extra special rays of money-saving goodness, shipping was FREE.  Yes, that’s right.  F-R-E-E, free.  And no surcharges for being an oversized item!  Although I had stumbled upon a great deal, I was hesitant to order from RH after reading page after page of horror stories.  Items being back-ordered for months without notice, delayed shipments, extraneous credit charges, and damaged furniture…needless to say, not a pretty picture.  However, after inspecting said claims, it seemed that most of these issues stemmed from custom items and large pieces of furniture which were shipped via “white glove delivery” (i.e. a crappy third party delivery company).  Luckily, these chairs did not require the special delivery service, so I pulled the trigger.  I ordered them on a Wednesday, they shipped the following day, and I received them via UPS less than a week later.  No back-orders.  Quick shipment.  Perfect condition.  No suspicious credit card charges.  Pretty hassle-free, no?  I suppose this may be another case of “don’t always believe what you read”, but then again, maybe I just got lucky.  I guess we’ll never know!

I’m so glad I found these chairs.  Look at how GORGEOUS they look in our dining room!

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The best part?  A set of 6 chairs plus tax came out to less than $570.  Are they the “real deal”?  No.  However, these are such a close match that I’m still in love.  Maybe one day we can get some authentic Tolix chairs, but I’m totally okay with using these in the meantime.

XO,
Gabriella

P.S. If you also love the dining room table, we built it ourselves!  Check out this post for the tutorial. 🙂

 

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14. Made from Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table

IMPORTANT: I have updated these building plans!  To see the new and improved version of this post, click here.

 

 

Jason and I…er, I wanted a rustic looking dining table for our apartment now that we actually live somewhere with a dining room.  We originally narrowed it down to the Garner Extension Dining Table, $599 at World Market.

We planned to wait for the annual furniture sale for 25% off the price, but $450 is still a big chunk of money to drop on a table (even if it is real wood).  Obviously, this lead me to scour the internet for some DIY goodness.  I found quite a few options, but ultimately came up with my own design.  Jason thankfully helped me to execute the table; it was our first project together, and I think it came out pretty darn good!

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(The chairs are super awesome, too…I won’t talk much about them here, I’ll leave that for a future post!)

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to build a table identical to ours (finished measurements: approximately 38″ wide x 72″ long x 30″ high).

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
1 – 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
2″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
stain and/or Danish oil
sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

First, cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.

080513_2

Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

Next, flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 board into three pieces, each 30″ long.  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, and one at each end, about 12″ from the edge of the table.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 2″ wood screws (we did ours in a zigzag pattern across each support, about 12 screws per support).  At this point, your table should look like this:

080513_3

Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  We also filled in the gaps along the short ends of the table to keep everything looking uniform and polished.  Make sure to also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

080513_6

When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

080513_4

At this point, we were unsure what we wanted to use for the topcoat: wax or polyurethane.  We decided to think on it a bit, and attached the legs in the meantime.  I ordered our legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).  Aren’t they pretty?

We attached the legs according to the directions on the website, adding a 6″x6″ piece of scrap wood between the leg and the table (to prevent splitting…notice a pattern here?).  The legs are inset a few inches from each side (i.e. we didn’t attach them at the very edge of each corner).

Finally, it came time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.

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I’m so in love with this table!  Even my husband likes the way it turned out, and I can’t begin to tell you how many compliments we’ve received.

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

Remember to follow me to see all my latest posts, and don’t forget to share me with your friends!

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13. Before and After: Antique Dining Chairs

If you’ve read my blog at all up to this point, you know I am addicted to Craigslist.  The majority of our furnishings were purchased from the wonderful purveyors of that magical website, except for handful of things: TV stand, bookcase, dining table, dining chairs, and mattress.  Everything else is second hand, although they do NOT look that way!  We even got a beautiful pair of couches last year for $350, and they were practically brand new; they were still under warranty for the fabric treatment and seriously looked like they were never sat on.  Anyway, I digress…

The true topic of this post is a small tutorial for revamping some sad dining chairs.  I bought a set of four antique dining chairs from a lovely old couple who were moving into a retirement community.  Those sweethearts only wanted $20 for all of them!  Bless their sweet little hearts.  I’m not sure of the exact age of the chairs, but based on the design I’m guessing they date back to the 40s.  The company that manufactured the chairs, Northwest Chair Co. out of Tacoma, WA, was in business until the 1950s when they closed due to a fire, which also lead me to believe these chairs are from the 1940s.  Here are the beauties I received:

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They were in okay condition, but boy, did I know the potential hidden behind the scratches and dings.  Oh, that brown velvet fabric DID give me the shivers!

Here are the materials you’ll need if you want to transform a set of chairs:

flat-head screwdriver or pliers
staple gun (with plenty of staples)
hammer
larges scissors or utility knife
fabric (1 to 2 yards, depending on the size of your chairs)
batting
1″ foam
sandpaper
quart of paint

Let’s do this!  First things first, remove the seat bottoms from the chairs; you might need a Phillips screwdriver depending on the types of screws use to secure the seat bottom to the chair.  Next, remove the old fabric, batting, and any cushion material from the seat bottom.  I took out the old staples using a flathead screwdriver.  You can also use a pair of pliers.  Just keep your fingers out of the way!

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After removing the old fabric, batting, and padding, it’s time to prepare the new seat.  Lay the seat bottom on top of the foam and trace around the edges.

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Next, cut out the foam using a sturdy pair of scissors or a utility knife.  Again, be very careful and keep your fingers out of the way!  After cutting out the foam, you want to layer all the components as follows:  fabric, batting, foam, seat bottom.  Make sure the bottom of the seat is facing up.  Trim the batting and fabric to leave a few inches around the seat bottom.  (Extra is better…you’ll be trimming away the excess anyway!)

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Pick a side and start stapling the batting/fabric to the underside of the seat bottom, as close to the outside as possible; start in the center and work your way out, stopping an inch or two from the corner.  Repeat on the opposite side.  Finish the remaining two sides in the same fashion.

Now comes the fun part: the corners!  Ha, not really.  This is the most difficult part, and requires a bit of fabric manipulation.  I don’t have a great picture depicting this step, but luckily I found a wonderful alternative via the interwebs:

Next comes the paint!  Prep the chairs by wiping them down with a mild cleaning solvent and lightly sanding each chair with medium-fine sand paper.  Wipe down the chairs again, this time with a lint free cloth (this step is important, it’s gets rid of all the dust from the sanding).  Apply 1-3 coats of paint (depending on the type of paint and the desired coverage).  I used Behr paint and primer in one in “Elephant Skin” and got the job done properly with two coats.

After the paint has dried completely, simply reattach the seat bottoms to the chairs and you’re done!

Are you ready to see the final result?!  Here ya go! 🙂

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I think my favorite part is the fabric.  It’s a neutral linen with just the slightest hint of shimmer:

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The before and after is pretty dramatic!

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Sadly, we are going to be getting rid of these chairs. 😦  I really, really love the way they turned out, but let’s face it…I don’t have two dining room tables!  The upside: I can use the extra cash for other projects. 😉

I hope you are enjoying what little is left of your weekend!

XO,
Gabriella

 

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