I built this coffee/toy-storage table from scratch, yay me!
Words cannot express the sense of accomplishment and excitement I am feeling right now! Yes, I actually built this gorgeous coffee table (which secretly stores toys!) from scratch. I actually drove my minivan to Menards, had all my wood cut (this helped A LOT!) came home, built and stained this table. From scratch. Wow.
How did this happen? Well, it all started when I discovered the genius that is Ana White. This woman is nothing short of amazing. Seeing how expensive beautiful sturdy furniture is, she decided to take a shot at designing and building furniture inspired by the likes of Pottery Barn, West Elm and Design Within Reach. And you know what, she was beyond wildly successful at it. What’s even more amazing? She puts up her furniture plans, with instructions FOR FREE on her very popular site: Ana-White.com.
Ever since finding her site about 2 weeks ago, I’ve been itching to build something. I had thought my first build would be the fabulous picture ledges. I got the wood and everything. Then I wanted to build the farmhouse bed ASAP, but realized that would have to wait. Then last saturday I took one look at my disheveled family room with toys strewn about everywhere and realized it had to be the lego/train table.
I have had a lifelong love affair with carpentry, but I’ve always lacked the space and tools (or so I thought). I’ve built a few things over the year, but never actual usable heirloom quality furniture. She has simplified the plans to where anyone with the desire can build the pieces. There were no complicated joints, skills or tools required. I built the table using a corner clamp and my cordless drill. I had all my cutting done by the good folks at Menards.
The table took me about 5 days from start to finish. Had it been summer, it could’ve been just 2 or 3. I did all the work in my front room (my studio) since I don’t have a garage. I built while the kids were at school, which meant I only had about 4 hours between the time my oldest kids went to school and when I had to pick up the preschooler. My 9yr old daughter was dying to help, so I let her put in a few screws with my help.
I built my table mostly to her specs, but I made some minor adjustments. I used the dimensions for the train table so my Thomas-obsessed preschooler could build his train set on top of it. I also cut the table top in half so one side could slide back and forth when the other side is open, and they could put their toys on that half. That was part of the original Lego table plan, but I’m not sure it was part of the train table plan. I also cut three finger holes on either half of the top in order to lift out the table easier.
I must say the part I enjoy the most, and the fastest part is the build. It is so rewarding taking a pile of wood and turning it into something new that’s never existed before! The finishing is a bit tedious, but necessary. Here are couple of things I learned:
- Use corner clamps when building a box. You think you will line up the box square, but you won’t. One bad corner and your whole box will be thrown off.
- Take your time and do it right. The beauty is in the details. I am terribly impatient and want instant gratification. Plus I had my middle son hounding me about how when I’d have it finished. He was dying to have his lego table! I hate sanding, and I hate waiting between coats of stain, but, I know I worked to hard on the piece to ruin it at the end by not having the stain look good.
- Ventilation is your friend. Since I have no garage, I was building in my studio (inside my house!) This means dust and fumes. I had my front door open with the fan going (did I mention that it was about 20 degrees outside?) Yes, I hated hearing my central heat run continuously during the staining portion of the build, but it’s nothing compared to lung problems in the future.
I am amazed at the difference this table has made in my family room. The room looks cozier and more organized, and I was able to fit all their toys in it using plastic bins!
So, that’s my first Ana-White furniture build. I urge you to go check her out, and if you’re even just a little bit interested, pick up your drill and build something!
Now, onto my picture ledges, my walls look bare…oh, and my bed too, oh my!