About a month ago I shared a lil’ peek at my living room makeover (check out the updated room here), which is currently moving slow as molasses. At the time, we were using a trunk as a coffee table, which functioned just fine, but wasn’t totally my vision for the room. I had been hitting thrift stores, flea markets and making the usual rounds, keeping an eye out for a rustic-industrial coffee table with some mid-century flavor. Almost two months, no dice. One night I went to visit my friend Lisa. As I was leaving, she said “Hey, do you want this crappy table?” I hesitated because of the ridiculous amount of junk around here waiting to be loved on (I might have picked up an entire drum set off of the side of the road yesterday. It’s problem. Or is it a future lamp and side table?!).
The table was super sturdy and perfect for some sort of upholstered ottoman situation, so I loaded it – ahem, I watched her husband load it – into the car and drove home thinking of my plans to put it in the booth at Woodstock Market.
It had a nasty shart stain in the middle of the table, which I think was actually hair dye, but that didn’t matter because I was going to upholster and sell it. So, there it sat, in the garage. Meanwhile, I’m running around town like a moron looking for a coffee table. I don’t know how your brain works, but mine is off a lot of the time and then it punches me in the back of the face with an awesome idea. I was sitting on the couch, looking at my coffee table trunk when I got the brain-punch. I jumped offa the couch, walked through the kitchen, flung open the garage door and glared at this crappy table like I was going to fight it. And I did.
I started with the shart stain. If this stain wouldn’t come out, then I was thinking it was back to plan A.
I grabbed some 220 grit and sanded it down a bit and it came off easily. So I removed the legs and put the table top on my sawhorse (another free-fiddy roadside find) and covered it in stripper.
After I got down to almost bare wood, I sanded with 150 grit to remove some of the stubborn stuff and then went back over it with 220 grit. There were a few places where I went a little hard and realized that there was particle board under the wood, which was a little surprising since this thing was so insanely heavy. After it was prepped, the fight was really on. I put a bunch of random hardware in a sock and beat the table to give it some inconsistent dents and dings, hit it with a hammer, a chain, and other random stuff within reach. I went over it again with 220 grit and then used General Finishes Gel Stain in Antique Walnut (the same stain I used on these chairs and this stool), followed by Arm-R-Seal. I quickly did the same to the legs but skipped the top coat because I knew I wanted some different hardware for the legs.
I searched all over the internet and Etsy and found exactly what I was looking for at a price that didn’t kill me. Naked Metal Studio. I wanted some 16″ hairpin legs in unfinished rebar. Naked Metal Studio had them in a set of four for seventy bucks. Done and done.
I measured about an inch an half inch from the edges to place the legs, and boom. The coffee table of my dreams.
The legs are so delicious that I almost can’t handle it.
We went with the unfinished version because it was slightly cheaper and because we don’t have any short creatures around here that lick furniture. Howard has a little more discerning taste. If needed in the future, adding a matte clear coat to these would be no problem thanks to the sweet nectar that is Rustoleum.
I put some extra throw pillows in my old dough bowl and slid it under the table. Bonus: I hide old magazines under the pillows to keep the table neat.
My grandmother’s giant conch shell found a home on the table with some vintage books…
…along with my great-grandmothers Avon tin turned marble holder, turned soy candle.
The other side of the table is now home to my Ogre Ear terrarium, a seashell fossil I found walking a creek on family land in Texas and … some super heavy vintage bathtub knobs I found at an estate sale in Atlanta. Weird, yes, but pretty.
And here’s the result of the beating on the table. You can see the dark spots are where I went a little too deep and exposed some particle board, but once the stain got in there, you can’t even tell.
My favorite part of the distressing was using a saw blade. I just took my saw (with the power disconnected), lifted the safety guard and ran the teeth across the table.
I couldn’t be happier with the result on this project and the legs from Derek at Naked Metal Studio just make it perfect.
One more look at the before and after:
If you’re in the market for some hairpin legs, I highly suggest you check out Naked Metal Studio. I was in no way compensated for this post, I just love the product and shopping small is so important. America!
Also, shout out to my friend Lisa! Thanks for coloring your hair at your coffee table!