Crafty Me: From broken desk to coffee table -- DIY #fail and #recover

My sun room, aka "the back porch."
I'm slightly addicted to rearranging my living space. Occasionally, I get it right. Once I do, I am (generally) a happy camper (for a while), but getting to that happy place often requires several iterations. Even then, there are no guarantees.

Because, you know, furniture happens. Buy one new piece, add a new accessory, and suddenly the entire house needs to shift. Right?

It's not an uncommon thing. A quick poll of friends showed the majority of them like to rearrange and change up their spaces. Some do it when they are bored. Others rearrange when they are stressed. One does it when she feels the need to purge. Others just like to redecorate!

I recently came across this article, where the author gives five reasons why she loves to move her things around: lack of money (you can change things up for free), stress relief, control, novelty, and behaviors of others. Some say, as in this article, that moving things around just makes them feel better.

I admit there is something satisfying about pulling out a piece of furniture and collecting up the dust bunnies lodged behind. Cathartic a little, perhaps?

I like to rearrange because I'm a very visual person and I need a sense of flow, balance, and purpose in my living space. I am a creature of habit and routine, and my space needs to reflect that. Fitting together the furniture is more than a geometry lesson, it's downright art! The entire room also has to be visually aesthetic and appealing to me. I keep rearranging until I get things the way I need them and like them. Sometimes you just don't know what that is, until you keep working at it.

I'm a collector, and that includes furniture. I don't like to get rid of anything. I've collected a lot of early attic and family hand-me-downs, over the years. I actually love those more than the "store-bought" items I own. This was a bit of a challenge when I moved back to Ohio and into a smaller house--it's taken me nearly two years to put the puzzle together.

The desk sans legs....
I'm still working on it.

That's why, when I was recently moving some pieces in my living room, and broke two legs on a desk I've had for a number of years, I knew I had to figure out a way to repurpose the piece, so here's what I did.

Well, after I had already dragged said desk top to the garage, stood back and looked at the thing, and kept wondering what in the world to do with it, that is....

Then it hit me--coffee table?


New legs, er, feet.
I did some measuring. The height was right if I remove all of the bottom wood. (See circle with arrow.) So I removed all of the extra wood at the bottom and did a little sanding. Not much. Now I needed legs.

After a little investigation and measuring how much wood I had to work with to attach legs underneath, I hit up Amazon. I had a little difficulty finding the right wood but felt that a bun foot might go well with the piece. My other furniture in the room all had bun feet, so I chose that for continuity. I worried that the color wasn't right (mahogany) but felt it was still in keeping with reddish tones, and was a little concerned about the size--but I went ahead and ordered these bun feet.  

Starting to feel uneasy here....

I had a little landscape to work with underneath to drill a hole for the screw on the foot (see picture) and started screwing in the feet. Easy peasy, right? Sure. So far so good.

Then I started to get a little worried about the size of the feet. 😒 But I was in it this far now, let's finish the thing.

So that's what I did. With all eight feet attached, I carefully and slowly (the piece is really quite heavy and the drawers will not come out!) flipped the piece over again and stood back to admire the almost finished product (I still needed to do a little stain retouch where I scuffed the side getting the thing into and out of the garage.).

That's when the niggles of doubt began to creep in. The feet were too big. They stick out. They don't compliment the mission style of the piece. What was I thinking? And the color is totally wrong, even though my other furniture pieces are mahogany.

Of course, then you play tricks with yourself. It's fine! I'd say out loud. It's the piece that ties all the woods in the room together. It's funky! And it's okay that it's a little quirky and different. Enjoy it. You've made lemonade out of broken lemons. Let it go. It's all good. Niggles be gone!

Viola! New coffee table. #fail ?
Boyfriend stopped by. "Wow, that looks nice."

"Are the feet too big?" I ask.

"Naw. It's fine babe."

I'm feeling good about my accomplishment now.

Then my dad came over. "The legs are too big. Hell, you'll trip over those things."

A couple of days later, my daughter visited. "Mom, that looks terrible. Can you move those legs in a bit? They stick out. Plus the color is wrong."

Ugh. And, they were so right. I should have listened to my niggles.

So I went back to Amazon and deepened my search. I found these. The color was much closer to the wood on the desk, and the straight lines would complement the mission style--I hoped.

#recover ?
I set out to work, changing out the legs. Fortunately, the holes I'd drilled still worked fine and I didn't have to add any extra hardware. They screwed into place and I flipped the piece back over again and everyone was pleased.

My dad thought it looked great.

My daughter was very happy with the results.

Much better!
And Boyfriend? He's happy with whatever I do, anytime, but he thought these worked much better too.

Moral of the story: if it niggles, it's probably not quite right or not finished yet. Take the extra effort, one more step perhaps, and get it right.

All told, I'm happy. I had intentionally set out to remove a piece of furniture from the space (the desk), and even though it's still there in a different form, the room was transformed.

All is well in my environment now--until the next time.

Oh, and the original bun feet? I decided to keep them rather than returning to Amazon. I have this idea....