16 April 2014

How To Build a Mid Century Modern Style Table

 A couple days ago I revealed our updated breakfast nook and the table that Rob and I built for it. 

Here's a quick refresher of how the room looked before: 

This whole makeover really started with the bench. Rob and I built a new one that would fit under the table since the old leaf-printed one was too big. I loved the clean, simple style of the new bench so much that it sparked a refresher of the rest of the room. 

I'd been tired of the table style for a long time anyway since it just wasn't my style any more. So I decided to sell it and build a new table. I knew I wanted a really simple, mid century modern look with metal hairpin legs. And I didn't want to spend much- we spent a good chunk of money building our dining room table {which was worth every single penny!} so since we now have one super nice, high-quality table, I was fine with this one being made with less expensive materials (namely the wood for the top). 

So here is how we did it:

I ordered these metal hairpin dining table legs from Tablelegs.com, a company that I seriously can't recommend enough. We've now used their products to build two tables and a bench, and I have no doubt that we'll use them again for future projects. 

For the table top we got one sheet of plywood, cut to 40 x 60 inches. The kind we got is the "nice" plywood, meaning the one that's smooth on top as opposed to covered in those giant splinters like the cheaper stuff. But it's still plywood so it's way less expensive than buying a high-quality wood. 

But it's pretty thin, and I wanted the table top to be much thicker than one sheet of plywood. 

So we saved the excess pieces that were cut off when this sheet was resized, and had them cut to 6 inch wide stripes. 

These we used to thicken the sides of the tabletop by attaching them to what would be the underside of the table, one piece on each side like this:

Of course by layering two pieces of wood like that, it was obvious on the sides that it wasn't all one thick piece of wood. Plus plywood has a really rough, layered-looking edge anyway. 

So we fixed that with this stuff:

It's iron-on wood veneer and we got it from a site called Edgebanding.com.

It was very easy to use: 
We started by measuring out and then cutting a strip for a side (which was super easy since it cuts with scissors).

Then one of us would hold it in place on the side of the table while the other one ran the iron back and forth across it till it bonded to the side of the table. 

We always had some overhang of excess veneer at either end of the table since for us it was easier to cut it a little longer than we needed and then trim it afterwards rather than trying to be super precise before getting it on the table. 

So after attaching a side Rob would just go back with a razor knife and cut the extra banding. 

He ended up having to trim some of the wood veneer banding from the underside of the table too because even though we'd planned our measurements so that the table was an inch and a half thick- the same thickness as the wood veneer- the thickness of the plywood wasn't completely consistent. So Rob did some trimming up afterward so there wasn't an overhang of veneer under the table. 

It was amazing the difference the wood veneer made to the edges. 

The idea for the table top design and using the wood veneer on the sides came several weeks ago when I was babysitting my sister's baby for the weekend. All that time spent sitting around bottle feeding meant that I had tons of time for watching tv during the day- something I don't do normally. It was during my 12th episode of Property Brothers that weekend that they showed a table top built similar to this and a lightbulb went off in my head. 
That's why I need another baby. I always get my best ideas when I'm spending a ton of time with HGTV. 

So anyways I can't take all the credit for this idea- thanks for the inspiration Jonathan & Drew! 

Attaching the legs to the tabletop could not have been easier. 

Rob used a trim gauge to determine their placement and make sure each leg would be the same distance from the sides. 

Then he just attached them using screws provided by Tablelegs.com

The last steps for finishing the table were just giving the top a quick sand and staining/sealing it. 

I had perused stain options for days but couldn't find the shade I was wanting. Since our dining room table is super dark, I wanted this table to be a light shade of wood. But I couldn't find any light-hued stain options that weren't either too yellowy or too orangey. (I hate Fall colors in wood.) 

So I ended up mixing up my own custom shade by purchasing a small can of Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain and mixing that with small amounts of the left over stain from the dining room table- Minwax American Walnut. I just kept adding in small splashes of the walnut stain to the white wash and testing it out on a scrap piece of wood till the whitewash affect disappeared and it turned the wood a light caramelish color. 

Then I did just one coat of stain on the tabletop, with Rob following close behind and wiping it off within seconds of my applying it. 
I wanted the table top to be super durable since we'll eat most of our meals here, so I did three coats of poly-crylic sealer on it, sanding between coats. 

I'm obsessed with the table top color. I love that even though the finishes on our dining room and kitchen tables are very different, they both are based on the same stain color. 

Because of the heavy coating of sealer that I gave it, plus the fact that it's made of pretty cheap wood, the tabletop almost looks plastic in a way. But I actually like it. It kind of adds to the retro look. And I can't stop looking at those legs. LOVE them. 

I'm so happy to have another successful table build under our belts! 
I am just as madly in love with this one as I am with our dining room table

You can see more photos of this table and read about the rest of the changes I made in this room here

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  1. Your table looks great!!! You make it look so simple I almost want to try....maybe eventually! I love the whole room even the big succulent print! Beautiful.

  2. oh my gosh, that looks awesome. i love those new legs!

  3. This is amazing!! I've heard of tablelegs.com a couple times now and I think it might be time to make a purchase from them :) Awesome job!