Oh my word, several days of building, sanding, staining, poly-ing, nailing, sawing, spackling, painting, and caulking – oh the caulking! – later, we have a finished table and banquette! Wanna see? Wanna see?!
I was going to wait to post pictures until we figured out the chair situation. And we had it all staged and decorated perfectly. But this is real life. And Christmas time. Throw pillows and place settings can wait. Ha! Introducing: our new dining area that I couldn’t love more even if it was a human child:
You know when I was all, the hard part is done! Now just some quick painting, spackling, and caulking!? Um, no. Not quick. It was laborious. And caulking? Caulking, you are not my friend. And those beadboard panels soaked up the paint like they had lived their whole lives in a dessert.
But two coats of primer and three coats of paint later, I couldn’t be happier. All the work was worth it! Even if this project turned into one of those “if you give a mouse a cookie” moments. With this white trim gloriousness, all the unhappy wood trim in our house started calling out to me. And I may or may not have tackled a couple windows’ worth of trim in our living room. I mean, if you’re already caulking, you might as well caulk your heart out.
I’m so happy with the fabric we went with. Up close it has a lot of pattern going on, but from farther back it reads as a neutral. It’s just begging us to load it up with colorful pillows. It was my very first upholstery project. I would definitely not recommend upholstering a six foot bench on your first try! There are some wrinkles and sags, but a few pillows will cover that right up.
Ignore the floppy fabric just hanging out on the inside. The plan is to put some trim around it so it looks finished. And paint the inside of the bench. But no one has time for that. Ha! My dad being the genius he is, rigged the lid up so we only have to unscrew the seat from those two long boards near the hinge. Those two boards are connected to the piano hinge. So we don’t have to unscrew fifty billion hinge screws every time we want to recover the bench. See? He’s a genius.
I used an espresso stain and then five coats of polyurethane. I was afraid that the poly would make the table feel too glossy and would take away from the whole rustic feel, but it worked out really well. I used a semi-gloss water-based poly and put on several light coats. The table is smooth to the touch, but not glossy. Hoo to the ray!
I chose not to use wood conditioner before staining because I wanted to make sure all the imperfections of the wood came through. Oh, and a teeny tiny paint brush (like the kind you used when painting as a kid) was super helpful to get in between the planks of the table.
The legs of the table were my dad’s idea. Again with the genius. The inspiration for our table had two large solid legs at each end. My dad changed it up by using 2×6 pieces of wood and staggering them. Randomly. For the first leg he had me arrange the boards to look random. My “random” took like 10 minutes. So he took it over from there. He just randomly stuck all the boards together for the rest of the legs. Random is harder than it looks.
We also added a center support beam for the table to keep it from being wobbly.
It was hard to get great pictures of the entire table in our dining room. I would have taken pictures of the finished table outside, but we had to take it apart to get through our door. So yeah, this table is going nowhere anytime soon.
And I just had to include a detail shot of one of my favorite parts of the table. See those little cream spots? I didn’t even notice them before I started staining, but the stain made them just pop. Apparently they’re sap spots? Prettiest sap spots I ever did see. (Insert the emoji with the hearts flying out of her eyes here. And the heart with the arrow. Ha!)
So this is where we are today. (Actually, we’re a bit further along – our chairs should arrive today! Eeeeek!) The mouse with the cookie is already going wild, ready to update the rest of the area. In this space we would still like to move the sad chandelier centered over nothing. The plan is to move the chandelier into our room and then hang two pendant lights over the table. Then we need to paint the rest of the trim white, replace the cream outlets and switches with white ones, paint the grungy ceiling, paint the front door, and get rid of that divider thing by the front door. I have tried to make my peace with it, but alas, there is no peace to be had. It’s gotta go. Then of course, is accessorizing. We need lots of throw pillows, a table runner, chairs, some sort of art or garland on the banquette wall, and a rug. And while I’m listing all this, we might as well include hardwood floors. Oh, dreams they abound.
All in all, this whole banquette and table situation cost around $300. You can’t even buy a smaller table for that, let alone one that seats 8! And a wall of trim work and a bench! I’ve already had a few questions about the details of how we built the table, so if you have any questions be sure and put them in the comments. I
will answer them will ask my dad to answer them in a coming post. And let me just mention again – how awesome is my dad? This wouldn’t have been possible without him. He made my dreams come true.
*UPDATE* Our chairs came in and we are loving them! You can check out this post to see them.
Or, table and banquette progress. Or table and bench and wall treatment progress. Or the most exciting thing I’ve ever done progress. Ha!
First things first – the star of the show. The table. I feel like my whole life has been a journey toward the perfect table. In our first home, we didn’t have a table for about a year. We borrowed my Grandma’s card table. It was a good look:
If that’s not enough feasting for the eyes, just know that the table was padded. So drinks wobbled and our plates squished. It was fun.
Then for Christmas our second year of marriage, my parents bought us a table. I was stoked, as you can tell.
It was the very thing we needed for our first home, but didn’t really fit the space in our new one. (Check out this post for more info on that!)
I was dreaming of a long farmhouse table. Well, less farmy and more sleek. But still worn and imperfect looking. So when
the boys I babysit Timothy breaks things and scratches the table, it will be all good.
I made a Pinterest board and pinned 3876.4 tables. I made it a secret board so I wouldn’t look like a weirdo. I pinned plans from Ana White’s blog, tables from World Market, tables from Anthro (dreamer much?), and any table-related thing that caught my eye. Then my Dad came over and analyzed the pictures to help me pick out exactly what I wanted.
You may be asking, where is Timothy in all this? Well, he told me I could do whatever I wanted. Design it however I wanted. Have whatever I wanted. (Within reason – side eye Anthropologie table.) Yeah, best husband of the year award goes to that boy.
So, we quickly narrowed it down to these tables:
This amazing, gigantic outdoor table by Decor and the Dog. I loved the modern lines and the legs!
This is a bench by Sawdust Girl, and I really liked these legs. I thought they would be great adapted into table legs.
This table by Shanty 2 Chic made my jaw drop. It’s inspired by a table I even pinned from Restoration Hardware!
And finally, I really liked the top of this table by Ana White.
The banquette seating and wall treatment was a little harder to find inspiration pictures for. Most of the ideas I saw online featured the banquette seating in a corner. So I started looking at restaurants to see if I could get any ideas. One cute little coffee shop in our area kind of had what I was going for:
This is more like it! Sadly, the pin is no good and leads no where. But I adore the trim work on the banquette wall.
So much goodness, right? I spent forever thinking about these tables and what I wanted in our space. I thought that the fancy table from Shanty 2 Chic was what I would end up going with, but the more I looked at it, it just didn’t feel like our home. It was a little too complicated and busy looking. And while Timothy may think I’m complicated sometimes (hello, emotions!), I don’t want our house to feel complicated. The first table by Decor and the Dog seemed more our style. But I wanted to change the top of the table to look like the one by Ana White. And then my Dad had a genius idea for the table legs to jazz them up a bit. So with big plans, we got started.
Of course we would start on the day that it was 18 degrees outside. Literally. I came to my Dad’s garage all bundled up, but he said I was missing something.
A trip inside for one of his old belts, some new holes cut, and a snap on tool thing later, I had my own tool belt. He’s a good dad, isn’t he?!
So, looking awesome and official, we got to work. I had to wear my warmest clothes that could get ruined, so that’s my excuse for my appearance. And the day I wore these fake Ugg boots I saw that horrible clip that’s going around Facebook about how sheep are brutally killed to make these things. Have you guys seen that? My eyes!! I felt like a horrible human being in my ugly shoes all day long. But moving on … believe it or not, I actually helped! My Dad was the brains of the operation and I was the sander. And the clamper. And the holder. And the brusher of the sawdust away-er.
A few days later, we had a table and a banquette!!! Want to see a little peek?
Oh mylanta, I’m in love. I’m currently spackling and painting and caulking, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to share the finished product! Eeeeeeeeek!!!!
Our dining area. That poor area has struggled. It was struggling when we bought the house.
Wall of mirrors? Thanks, but no thanks.
We ripped all the mirrors out, filled in twenty billion holes in the drywall, and plopped our dining table in the space. We centered the table under the light because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do? It’s just too bad that the light isn’t centered on anything.
I adore this long room, especially since we opened it up to the kitchen. But our round table is just not working in the space. It looks like we have a super long living room and decided to plop a table in it.
But I had visions. And dreams. And plans. And guys, they’re coming true!
I’ve mentioned before that I think this dining area needs more focus. More oomph. Something that makes the narrow shape seem more intentional. Something like banquette seating. And a long, showstopper of a table.
Enter: my dad. He is one of the most crafty men I know. As in saws and nails and sanders crafty. Not as in pom pom trim and hot glue crafty. But I’m sure you knew that.
Last week he came over and this happened:
Plans for our new dining area! WE’RE BUILDING IT! Aaaah, I just couldn’t take it. I mean, how exciting?! Building my own table and built-in banquette seating is the stuff that dreams are made of for this DIY-lovin’ girl. Not only can we customize it to fit our space, but we could never buy ready made furniture at the price it will take for us to build everything.
Ha! “Us.” You like how I insert myself as if I actually have a clue about this whole process?
One of my favorite moments so far was after my Dad and I loaded up the supplies in his truck and he told me that he had to run back inside Menard’s to pick up something. He came out with these and said I would need them:
My very own work gloves. I’m so official I don’t know what to do with myself.
Working with my dad has been the absolute best. I’ve been saving pictures and table plans for months. I showed him all my ideas and in five minutes he was able to narrow everything down to get to the core of what I wanted. Plus add some features that will be just amazing. He’s gooooood.
What about you guys? Have any of you built anything? Or even built your own table? Does anyone else have an irrational fear that the saw is going to come flying off and whack you in your eye? Does anyone else have a super sweet pair of work gloves as awesome and official as mine? I’m doubtful. Ha!
You know, there’s not many more things on this earth that are more fun than party planning, amiright? Especially when it’s for some of your favorite people. I hosted a little party for my mom’s birthday and had so much fun getting it together.
I was barely able to finish her gift in time, but I couldn’t resist making some decorations. I considered buying ready made decorations, but that’s just not me. No, staying up until three in the morning for days on end hand lettering menus is. Ha!
My mom’s favorite season is fall. Now, I know it’s super trendy to love fall. But she loved fall before it was a trend. She loved fall before pumpkin spice lattes were even a thing. Fall runs through her blood. Fall is her signature col-uhh.
So I bought a yard each of five different fall-colored fabrics and just went to town.
I made a couple of happy garlands (tutorial coming soon!) and hung them on our mirrored wall of yore.
Then I headed out to our back yard and pulled some limbs off our dying evergreen tree.
I cut little strips of fabric with regular scissors and some with pinking shears, and then tied them randomly on the branches. These cute little white beans made a great vase filler to keep the branches upright, and a strip of fabric dressed up the mason jar.
I used a handful of the fabric strips to make a little cake bunting. It looks so festive!
I’m pretty sure I’ll never make a cake again without a bunting. It may have just been my imagination, but this bunting made this cake one of the tastiest I’ve ever had. Magical cake bunting for the win!
I wrote out a menu for the evening and then photocopied it on card stock to sit on each plate.
Oh, and no event ever happens at our house without being celebrated with a little chalkboard action.
This little fall party was so much fun to put together. One of the biggest positives to making your own decorations is that you can customize them to work for more than just one night. Now I finally have some fall decorations to spruce up our house!
What about you all? Do you like to DIY your parties? Or do you like to raid the party store instead and then spend most of your time whipping up homemade cakes? I’ve tried the homemade cake route and quickly went back to box mixes. More time crafting, less time mixing is what works for me. Ha!
Do you have a huge, floor to ceiling, wall of mirrors in your house that causes you stress? Do you feel like you need to do a pirouette every time you pass by said wall? Then this post is for you.
What? None of you can relate. What a shocker.
When we first walked through our house, we were tickled to find this bad boy in our dining room. And not tickled in a pleased way. Tickled in a what-is-this?! way.
We absolutely ADORED everything in the house, except this mirrored wall. With matching mirrored outlet covers. Fancy shmancy.
I just don’t get it. You know those mirrors that distort your shape as you move around? These were the grown up version of those. Not attractive. Not classy. And visions of wiping little toddler fingerprints and tongue licks off an entire mirrored wall someday did not a happy Whitney make.
Just in case anyone out in the blog world has ever dealt with these (and please speak up, because it would be nice to know we’re not alone in the world), here’s how we brought the mirrors down.
First step: put on your classiest “I <3 NY” shirt. Then look at the pictures later and realize it makes you look 14 months pregnant. Nice.
Then you go out and buy plastic self-adhering protective covering for carpet. That’s a pretty fancy description for glorified sticky saran wrap. I think the pack we bought was this kind. It’s made to cover your carpet when you move, but it is just the thing for destroying mirror walls of torture. My mom saw this tip while watching HGTV. See, HGTV really does make the world a better place.
Next step? Grab a hammer and attack. I thought that I would just smash it with a hammer, obliterate it into a thousand pieces, and be done with it. But not so. I wasn’t strong enough to even crack the mirrors with the hammer. Ouch. I’m just gonna make myself believe that those mirrors of doom were made of some invincible alien alloy. And not that I don’t have any muscles.
Thankfully my dad was rewiring that mess of wires you see in the above picture. So he hit each mirror piece in the middle until it broke in two. Then I scored the fancy saran wrap along the edges of the broken piece and pried it off the wall.
This is where the fancy saran wrap came in. It clung to all the broken mirror pieces, so we weren’t left with flying shards of glass everywhere.
And yes, those would be craters left on that swiss cheese wall. Some of them were half an inch deep. What kind of glue did these people use?!
I thought the whole thing would take two hours at the max. But it took more like five. Someone with muscles probably could have done it sooner, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. I was trying to surprise Timothy with the gift of a mirror-free wall when he got home from work that day. He was so happy that he volunteered to do all the spackling. Or something like that.
After six – SIX!!! – rounds of spackling that wall, my beloved husband told me he would never spackle again. That is until I bat my eyelashes at him again. I’m not against using feminine wiles to get some spackling done. Ha!
Several people have asked me if we kept the mirrors. Um, no. That would be like going on an all out lawn war to get the moles out of your yard. And then you decide to keep a mole as a pet. We’re done with the mole.
But the mirrors didn’t go to waste. My dad has big plans of making another art piece kind of like this one he made for my mom, and he’s going to use the mirror pieces. My dad’s a rock star.
We also have big plans for this wall. We’re wanting to build a banquette and dining table situation kind of like this one from Cape 27:Seriously, be sure and check out this post about the banquette, as well as the rest of the blog. I pretty much love Jessie’s whole house!
Since our living and dining room are really just one big room, I think a banquette dining area will really help define the space. And no mirrors are coming anywhere near this wall ever again! Ha!
I'm honored that you took time to stop by my blog! My name is Whitney, and I'm a diy loving, piano playing, sewing obsessed, thrifty, non-house cleaning, crafty newlywed. I love God, my husband, and life as a wife. If you'd like to know more, just check out my About Me page. Much love!
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