nest: hacking it {dining room table}

the final table

the final table

We have a fondness for spending ages looking for exactly what we want then giving up and pulling together out own version, often using parts from Ikea. Some people fear trips to ikea, all 6 of us look for excuses to go. Even my 3 year old says we go to Ikea today multiple times a week. Everything from our paper towel holder to our "entertainment center" for lack of a better phrase is repurposed ikea bits and bobs. I'm going to try to run through them all. Here's nunber one: our dining room table. 

We've previously destroyed 2 very lovely near-antique tables. When I say we I mean they- the hord who lives amongst our walls. We are civilized, they are not. They, being 3,4,5 and 7 are not the best friends for a 90 or so year old solid cherry pedestal table. They are better suited to something solid that can fight back. We looked at so many tables from everywhere we could think of and nothing that we really liked was even close to being in our budget or was really well suited to daily life with small children 4 little children who were just as likely to lick the table as eat off of it, so we decided to make a table. After considering a whole slew of options including zinc wrapping a table ourselves, we decided on a simple wood top and a fabulous sturdy pair of legs. We originally planned on using hairpin legs, but the maker wasn't sure if he could vouch for their integrity if all 4 children decided to climb on the table which they often do. We really wanted the look of reclaimed wood, but we weren't sure how safe it would be for said table lickers.  I also considered a nice big slab of black walnut butcher block, but it would have been way too expensive for a table I wan't absolutely sure was going to work in the end. So, we pulled together all of our ideas and again ended up at Ikea. 

The final table is made from 2 main Ikea parts. The base is super sturdy white powder coated steel. It's part of the Melltorp table and luckily for us, is sold separately, so we didn't even need to figure out what to do with the huge top we wouldn't have had any use for, but would have hated to toss. The top is an island sized piece of Ikea butcher block from the freestanding kitchen line. We wanted oak because it darkens more effectively, but only beech was in stock, so we took it. To obtain the darker look we wanted we used a dark tung oil instead of regular tung oil and it did the trick. It contains walnut to add a darker kick to the tung oil and its fabulous. It also safe for food and babies. We applied 6 coats to get he shade its at now. It also helps protect the table from abuse, spills and crayon mishaps which occur daily at the hands of the hord. The best part of the butcher block is that whatever they do to it improves the look and if it doesn't we sand s but and rub on some tung oil. The Melltorp base does come with spacers to add between the base and top which I like the look of,  but we omitted because I just knew the space would end up filled with cheese or play dough. I can't even begin to tell you how much yuckity whatnot I'd pull out of the crevices of the 2 previous tables. This one is pretty much stuff proof.   


The result is a sturdy, safe table that will survive life with 4 children and come out at the other end better for the experience. And we love it. It really does stand up to anything and just looks better. I did also take the chairs form the previous cherry table and recover them in a (BPA free) laminated cotton to make them a bit more child impervious as well. We took a vote on the final fabric choice and, as usual, I lost. The fabric, Erin McMorris Apple Chevron, does not photograph well, but it is pretty cute in person (even if it's probably not what I would have chosen myself). I wanted to paint them, as well as maybe painting part of the base, but I kinda ran out of time, steam and interest, so cherry they are. You can see the final chairs in the last photo in the gallery below. I've still got eventual replacements on my list, say a few Eames, Bertoia &/or Tolix chairs to make me really happy.