Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rotating "Coffee" Tables

I've yet to buy a real, grown-up coffee table. I've just never seen the perfect one. So... I tend to rotate random things from throughout my house to use in the living room... ever searching for the perfect "coffee table."

For a while I used an old coffee table that I found at Mile High Thrift Store (a good one if you live in Denver!). I bought it for $6 because I liked the turned wood legs. The top had some sort of fake wood, so I painted it antique white and free-handed some zebra stripes in big strokes across the top! It was a sort of homage to our recent Kenyan travels, and it tied in with some of our African decor pieces. It got a lot of comments from visitors to our home, but I always sort of wondered if they felt compelled to say something because it was so bizarre, whether they really liked it or not! And there were some stripes that bugged me. Rather than repaint them, I found myself constantly repositioning our magazines & books to hide the wonky bits! You can sort of see the table in this picture of our old house.

So eventually I talked my husband into helping me turn it into an ottoman! I put 2-inch pieces of foam over the table top and covered it with an outdoor fabric, to withstand our toddler's sticky hands. I learned a lot in that process, and will do things a little differently if I ever decide to make an ottoman again. Here you can see the corner coming loose!

When we inherited a red recliner, something red had to leave the living room... the ottoman was banished, and these black and woven cubes hung out for a few months (you might remember seeing these in my outdoor room).

Most recently, I moved my son's IKEA table & chair set in front of the couch. The scale isn't perfect, but I love the way the white lightens the room and the two-shelf storage is pretty handy. Not to mention that my son loves having it here!

By the way, I gave up coffee (and chocolate, and anything with cocoa) this week. I'm feeling rather sorry for myself, but my 3 month old son is allergic to caffeine! So to keep my mind off coffee, maybe I should call this the "juice" table, or the "water bottle" table. I'm taking name suggestions for my anti-coffee table.

Real life moment: Apparently dry-erase marker wipes off a painted surface if you clean it right away, but if you leave it for a few weeks (say, the first 2 months of your baby's life...), it is stuck on there for good! Does anyone have a suggestion for getting this off? I've tried every cleaning solution out there, and a good amount of elbow grease! Sigh.

My husband always says, "Once you have kids, you can't have nice things anymore." Please say he isn't right!

Update: alcohol-based hand sanitizer cleaned this dry-erase marker right off! Thank you, Gretchen! I thought it was rather ironic, since a bottle of hand sanitizer has been sitting on top of this table most of the time for the last few months!


  1. Alcohol based hand sanitizer... Works like a charm on glass, white boards, plastic and even some metal. Not sure about wood, but it's worth a shot... AND it even takes off permanent marker!

  2. I don't know if it would damage a wood surface, but I've found it to take stains out of countertops, tile...Soft Scrub. It's surprisingly gentle and has taken away stains that I couldn't remove with other "designer" cleaners.

  3. Again, not sure if it would damage wood, but I use nail polish remover to get permanent marker off of things in my classroom when kids "accidentally" use one!

  4. I'm going to try these and report back! Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. and the winner is... hand sanitizer! I actually didn't even try any of the other suggestions, because this was the first thing I tried, and it worked! Thanks G!