Last summer we opened up the wall between our living room and what’s now kind of like a sub-living-room, or a den. Our 90-year-old Craftsmen bungalow feels much more airy and open now, and I’ve enjoyed the excuse to redecorate these two front rooms (and no, I don’t mean to imply that we’ve actually done anything with the “new” room yet).
The living room is the room you enter when you come into the house through the front door, and I’ve always wanted to put a small table near the entrance so we’d have a convenient place to keep our keys and change. I knew exactly how I wanted it all to look: I wanted to hang the owl plate Greg’s great-aunt made in the ’70s, below that I wanted to put a very meta key-shaped key holder, and beneath that I wanted a table. A high-ish table that wouldn’t block the heating vent it would sit in front of. We hung the plate and the key holder months ago. Poor keyless key holder sat for ages in wait of a table.
One day I stumbled upon a photo of a table a British student made, and I fell in love with the concept. I sent the photo to Greg, and we decided we’d eventually make something like it.
Now, there’s barely a sliver at the centre of the Venn diagram representing my taste and Greg’s. So we decided this project would marry his love of wood and rustic decor with my love of clean lines and modern styling – but not exactly like the model in the photo, which he found boring and I found lacking personality (yes, that’s similar to boring, but it’s not the same to me). It was the utility and simplicity of the box and the cleverness of its legs we liked.
Saturday we went down to Greg’s workshop and started figuring out what we wanted to do. He’d suggested we create a lip around the outside of the tabletop to prevent things from rolling off it, and as we were discussing ways to do that, I saw the old doors we’ve been saving. “Hey, why don’t we use the routed panels from one of the doors to make the table top? Voilà, a lip around the edges!” And so we did. The centre panel of the door just happened to be the perfect width for our table, including the border around the edges.
After we stripped decades’ of paint off the door, Greg carefully cut a routed piece from another section of it to fill in the side of the table top that was left open after he cut it from the door. Then he glued it into place and left it in the vice for a while.
He created the sides of the box by piecing together two panels from the sides of the door, with one solid piece serving as the bottom. The back of the box is made from part of the thinner centre panel of the door. He used a scrap spare two-by-four cut down to match the thickness of the door to make the legs.
We used a clear varnish on the box and four coats of eco-friendly yellow paint on the legs (it’s from Benjamin Moore and the colour is, appropriately given the first nice weather we’ve had all season, Sunshine). Greg put some felt on the back of the box so it won’t scratch the wall, and he also attached it to the wall in a way that makes it easy to remove, just in case the dog (or, ahem, an ungraceful human) bumps into it. And thus rustic meets modern, and we’re both very happy!