Want to talk furniture again?
This whole table thing is actually ending up easier than I’d expected. But there’s a real ongoing theme of not knowing what we’re doing slash not bothering to plan anything ahead of time. It’s a blast. Don’t do it that way. In case you were like, “Hm. I too would like a trendy reclaimed wood table” but weren’t sure about what to do after purchasing said reclaimed wood, well, I’m here to help.
At the lumber yard, they were able to scrape down the wood to get most of the major gunk off. That helped a lot. The guy recommended that we don’t do too much sanding lest we strip the patina right off. Once we got it home, we gave it a good scrub. First, we mixed some Mrs. Meyers dish soap (I like lavender) with warm water. After that, and probably more importantly, we washed it again with a cup or two of borax in warm water. The borax was really difficult to find for some reason but I found it at Target. This second wash kills any bugs and other gross things that I don’t want to think about living in my kitchen table.
After the table was dry, we decided we really needed to do a light sanding. Things were kind of treacherous without. I was going to rent a sander but did you know that they sell little sanders for $30? I have a sander now but not that many things to sand. Anyway, Jon removed the gigantic rusty nails that were sticking out using lots of elbow grease while I got to use the power tools. I went over once with 160 grit and once with 280. Did the trick perfectly.
Next was sealing. Staining was something we toyed with briefly (after we went to the hardware store and bought everything but stain) but we thought that it was best to leave the wood as close to the way we got it. A lot of people in my brief research suggested not sealing the table at all and letting all of the spills and dings and scratches become part of the weathered look. That sounds lovely but I’d really rather keep the wood stuff in the table and everything else out. I’ve had butcher block tables before and this just isn’t quite the same since it’s a bit bumpy and everything. We used a polyacrylic sealer (instead of polyurethane) with a satin finish. It dried super fast and really kind of woke up the wood and made it look fresh and happy.
So that’s just about where we’re at. It’s not very exciting to look at but one day, this little door will grow up to be a real table! Next step is the legs and, well, maybe that’s it!
How much patina is just right for you?
In my ongoing efforts to live my life by the Gospel of Martha Stewart, praised be!, I’m going to build some furniture and it’s going to be adorable.
I don’t really talk about interior decorating because it’s not really something that I have time and money to invest in. But I have big plans. The last apartment that Jon and I lived in remained largely unfinished for the entirety of our stay there (13 months). We painted a few walls but we didn’t hang any pictures or shelves or even the mezuzah which literally required five minutes and a slice of velcro. We moved to the south side of Williamsburg back in February and, while the apartment itself is beautiful and new, we’ve taken a terribly long time to get everything the way we want it. We are about 25% there* which is disappointing but things are finally happening.
First of all, we framed and hung all of the artwork that was sitting in boxes for the past two years. Yay! I’m still in desperate need for more pieces but I’m at a place now where at least it looks like we’re trying. Second, we bought a new grown up person couch. Our last place was only big enough for a little loveseat from IKEA which is not so good for entertaining** and looks odd now that we have room for real furniture. Between you and me, I can go crazy in the IKEA marketplace but I’m way over their furniture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Oh, you just have to treat their stuff right and it’ll last a while.” I was lying to myself. And I think it’s time to invest in some furniture that’s not going to fall apart. The couch isn’t here yet because it’s being custom made by hand which is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to tell you more about that!
So since we’re being grown ups that will soon have a fancy couch, it’s time to we get our act together with a real table so we don’t ruin this thing. We’re building a dining table (I typed dining room table but that would require another room which does not exist). We checked out some vintage tables and the like on Etsy but I somehow convinced Jon that it would be way more fun and cool to build one from reclaimed wood. Groovy. But there are basically only three places within 50 miles that sell reclaimed wood and only one of which is open on the weekends. Which is how we ended up at Real Antique Wood.
There was so much lumber there, it was kind of incredible. Pieces of all kinds of buildings just outside of the city. They showed us to a room full of doors. It was incredible. Doors from inside and outside houses new and old with all kind of great fixtures and knobs and hinges. It was fun. The door idea was actually pretty smart because not only is it super cool to use doors as tables but it also means that you don’t have to actually put anything together besides the legs.
The lovely people at Real Antique Wood actually picked out the perfect piece for us before we’d even arrived: a hayloft door from an 1800s barn that had just been dismantled in Ohio. The hinges are original and handmade by a blacksmith. I love that because I’m a total nerd for history. And they also gave us a super price.
Once we dragged the thing home (it’s solid oak and about 4×4), we realized that it’s kind of a filthy mess and it’s going to need a huge amount of work. So there is a lot to be done and hopefully we can execute it before the weather turns too cold. But we’re about 25% into the process of making our apartment into a real live grown up place to live. Hopefully we’ll never have to move because that piece of wood is heavy as all goddamn! Can’t wait to share the door-to-table process with you!
Have you worked with reclaimed wood? Have you built any furniture? Do I have any idea what I’m doing?
* The other 75% includes a lovely pipe dream of building custom bookshelves with a custom computer desk, buying a giant photograph of a sleeping woman, hanging a mirror and little key basket by the front door, making a billion kitschy embroideries for the bathroom, figuring out an attractive way to store our shoes, and buying some dining chairs.
** By entertaining I mean the pile of yarn and miscellaneous craft projects that live on the couch with me.
Oh my I have big news! I’ve dropped right off the face of the earth but it’s because I have so much fun stuff brewing. I had big plans for gift guides and I’ve got so many FOs to share but that will all have to wait. Because we are moving! Jon and I have finally found a really amazing apartment for ourselves and no more sharing! Nothing is more stressful than moving so add that to the chaos of the holidays and I’m just slightly incoherent right now.
Anyway, I’m going to have so much after the New Year. And I can’t wait to share our first grown up apartment with you all. 2012 is going to be a very exciting year!
Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more posts before the holidays but you can find me on Twitter if you want to read a live feed of me losing my mind.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Jon gave me that adorable sweater mug for Chanukah. How cozy is it with a gigantic homemade marshmallow floating in hot chocolate?!
I moved out of Williamsburg a little over a year ago (It feels so much longer than that!) but it seems like there is always something new to discover there. The neighborhood is growing and changing and I’m realizing with every visit that I never explored so much of it!
Here are some photos of my last visit to the Brooklyn Flea. We also traveled to some fun stores down Wythe looking at gorgeous vintage modern furniture and old fashioned general stores. Below is a list of all of the marvelous places we visited!
Mighty Quinn’s (Brooklyn Flea) Pulled pork sandwiches
Moon River Chattel (62 Grand St) and Brook Farm General Store (75 S6th St) both fantastically-curated home stores
Mile End (79a Hoyt St or Brooklyn Flea) delicious duck!
Two Jakes (320 Wythe Ave) and Cosmo (314 Wythe Ave) fab vintage-modern furniture stores
What will you be doing this weekend? Planning an out-of-borough adventure?
Tags: Brook Farm General Store, Brooklyn Flea, Cosmo, furniture Williamsburg, Instagram, Kent Ave, Mighty Quinn's, Mile End, Moon River Chattel, pulled pork sandwich, shopping Williamsburg, Smorgasburg, Two Jakes, vintage modern furniture, Williamsburg, Wythe Ave
Oh my I really have had interior decorating on my mind recently! After spending so much time flea-marketing and boutiquing (are those verbs? Are those even words) I haven’t been able to stop dreaming about a sunny, impeccably-curated collection of furniture and art.
We bought a lot of furniture recently. And I’m proud to say it’s real furniture, none of that Ikea business. (Don’t get me wrong, Ikea is fab and cheap and good looking but if I never see another Malm dresser, I would not miss them. What I’m trying to say is, everyone owns Ikea furniture and it makes the design aspect feel less authentic.) The pieces we bought are really unique and they were a steal.
Anyway, ever since our new stuff was delivered, I’ve been staring at Eames chairs and wood re-finishing DIYs. And this chair. I think this Bookhou chair is everything I could ever want. But, of course, it only comes in a children’s size! If this were a big person chair, think I could throw out every other piece of furniture I own and just sit on the floor looking st this chair. It’s gorgeous and simple and it’s covered in felt. I also think that Bookhou is my new favorite store.
Check it out!