The DIY Coffee Table Reveal

I’ve been talking about it forever. It feels like I’ve been building it forever.

It’s finally finished!

Oh my goodness, it’s been a pain from start to finish. First of all I had to convert the measurements from Ana’s plan at to metric, then I arrive at the German hardware store to discover that the wood is sold in completely different sizes here so my conversions were of no use anyway.

The nice men at the store would also not cut my wood, probably because I found it difficult to explain what I wanted in my limited German (and the universal waving of arms sign language). No problem, I could cut it at home. In my apartment. I made an educated guess at the sizes I needed to buy and loaded the wood into my cart. A man in line behind me at the counter looked at me and then the pile of wood I was buying, then at me again. He asked me in German if I was building something, I replied yes a coffee table. He laughed and told me good luck. He pointed me and my pile of wood out to his friends, the woman behind the counter tutted toward him and said something to me in German that I didn’t understand.

I had to borrow a jigsaw and I had to wait until my lovely friend could watch Mikey so that I could actually cut the wood in the basement.

So the wood was eventually cut. I suitably annoyed my downstairs neighbours and made quite a mess sanding it down in my diningroom with an electric sander. Mikey helped by dancing around to the noise of the sander and organizing my scrap wood into piles.

I started to drill and screw it together, again in my diningroom, until I ran out of screws. It sat neglected for a few days until I was able to go and get some more. Once it was put together I realised I had bought the wrong kind of stain, a nice German man at the hardware store chuckled at the silly woman when I explained my mistake and had him help me translate cans to find the stain I needed. His eyes widened slightly when I told him I’d built it myself  (I showed him a picture I had on my iPod) and also needed enough stain for some other things I was planning to build.

But against all odds, I am not completely inept and it is finished. I actually totally enjoyed making my first “real” piece of furniture from scratch. The fake kitchen cabinets I built for a theatre set design about 5 years ago don’t count because they weren’t actually functional. Now I have realized that I need to buy a lighter coloured rug, this one is too dark. A sage green could be nice.

Before, free broken IKEA coffee table. Glass top not really toddler appropriate. Pain to clean. Yes, we make a lot of mess. My little helper is laying exhausted on the couch.

After, awesome handmade coffee table! And a cleaner livingroom. Before you say it, I realise the boards are wonky and that you can see the screws. It’s totally supposed to be like that 😉

I hope my husband likes it when he gets home from The Netherlands later this week. I think he’s fairly skeptical about the whole idea.

Knock-Off Wood


  1. You did a great job! I’ve been waiting (and waiting) for this post! Who cares if it isn’t perfect? It’s wonderful! Silly German man. Wouldn’t it be nice to send him this post and say, ha! And you’re right, a sage green rug would look great under it. I love how Mikey sleeps. Only kids can sleep that completely.
    .-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Meet Bob =-.

    • Thank you!

      What a nuisance getting the right sized wood out here though, urgh. I’m going to have a go at one of the media centers on knock off wood too… now that ours no longer matches 😉

      Mikey totally slept through me switching out the coffee tables, didn’t even stir!

  2. I love how your table turned out, with all the extra challenges. I’m thinking your absentee man will, too. I love your blog design, too. I see it is powered by wordpress. Could you email me about how you designed it? Does it cost extra to have your own site?

  3. Wow. That is so impressive. I would have just spend the $30 at ikea getting a new one, lol.
    I’m glad to hear that you didn’t give up on this. It’s beautiful!
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Fifty =-.

    • You know, building it was so fullfilling in some strange way that I don’t think I ever want to buy furniture again! ha!

      Honestly, ignoring the awkwardness with the wood sizing and having to cut it, putting it together isn’t a whole lot different to building a piece of IKEA furniture.

  4. i like the look, screws and all. it shows that it came from somewhere and has a story to tell. we have a saying that organic material, like wood, absorb the energies around it. if you’re perceptive (or psychic), you can feel the energy throbbing against your hand as you touch the wood. i hope you surround your home with good energy 🙂
    .-= cheri´s last blog ..the day after =-.

  5. Raquel

    Bex, The coffee table is beautiful! Great job! I saw a pile of wood pallets when I left work today and thought about you. lol..

  6. Shae

    I love it!! The German men may have thought you were just a silly girl but look at what the silly girl made!! Amazing and the best part, you can say you made it all by yourself with the help of your little man.

  7. Great job on your table! I just picked a plan out off Ana’s website and I am getting ready to build myself a kitchen table. I am slightly terrified but very excited!

    My husband is also a little skeptical and I plan to prove him wrong!

    • Good luck! I’d love t be able to build one of the kitchen tables, but I don’t have enough room in the apartment to do it! Maybe when we move…

      My husband was totally skeptical about my building furniture… now I’ve built 3 pieces and he’s making requests!
      Satakieli´s last post ..Make your own Adventure- Collecting Rocks

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