Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kitchen Table

I've been on the lookout for the perfect kitchen table since we moved.  Our kitchen has a small space where the bay window pops out that creates a little breakfast nook, but "little" is the operative word.  I needed a bistro table, and it couldn't be more than 30" in diameter.

First, I fell in love with this beauty from West Elm (I found this image online but it is no longer available on their website):

formerly available here
I still think it's gorgeous.  For a while, I thought it was the only table in this world I'd ever love.  But then I met this one from Anthropologie:

available here
It's got a crank!  That adjusts the height!  Isn't it cute?  It's name is Kendall!

I pretended that I was trying to decide between these two tables, but the truth is that they each cost $500 PLUS shipping, and with shipping costing at least $75, that was significantly more than I wanted to spend.  So after a flirtatious online relationship that consisted of me looking at them everyday just in case they went on sale for 50% off, I broke up with both of them.  You see, I'd fallen in love with something else:

formerly available here
This was PERFECT!  It was my dream table!  It was everything I've ever wanted in a kitchen table and more!

The only problem?  It was available on One Kings Lane (a member's-only shopping site) back in November.  As far as I could tell, the table no longer existed.

But there was no going back at this point.  My heart was set on a white marble bistro table.  I could not let this dream die.  So I resorted to desperately googling "white marble bistro table" on a daily basis.

And one day, I thought that I had found my happy-ever-after at Crate & Barrel:

available here
Then I saw that it was 36" in diameter (too big) and cost $899 (way too much).

Then I pouted.

Then I returned to Craigslist for the umpteenth time to see if, possibly, someone happened to be selling their darling French bistro table with a white marble top.  For, like, $200 or less.

It wasn't happening.

A lot of people were selling marble-top tables, but they were coffee tables or side tables, not bistro tables.

Then I started thinking...  maybe I could get a side table that had a marble top in the right shape and size, and I could just put that top on a different base?

The stars aligned and, lo and behold, I found this gem on Craigslist:

It was round.  It had a marble top that was 30" in diameter.  Best of all?  The seller wanted $40 for it.  Totally in my price range!

I e-mailed the seller:  "I love this table!  Can I come pick it up tonight?"

She called me to let me know that she had someone coming to look at it already.  But if they didn't want it, she'd let me know.

I cursed Craigslist and my broken kitchen table dreams.

The next evening, I had just finished feeding Zuzu dinner and cleaning up her post-bean-burrito mess when I saw I had a missed call and voicemail.  The guy who had said he wanted to come look at the table was a no-show.  It was mine if I wanted it!

I called the lady back, all breathless and worried that since I hadn't answered my phone she'd moved on to the next person on the list.  Fortunately the table was still available.  After she told me her location, I said I'd have my husband come by after he got off work the next day (it was on his way home).  She was suspicious:  "Is he really going to show up?"  I assured her that he is very reliable and mentioned that he's an elementary school principal and therefore by definition not a criminal or a pervert.

I was super excited!  I was getting my marble table!  Well...  I was getting a marble side table.  That wasn't super attractive except for the slab on top.  And I wasn't sure how I was going to magically transform it into a kitchen table.

I started having second thoughts.

Where would I find a base?  What if I couldn't easily get the marble top off?  What if the thing is in totally crap condition?  What if it's fake marble?  How could I tell?  What is faux marble made of, anyway?  Is it going to look stupid?  Should I just keep looking for a bistro table already put together rather than trying to build my own?  Did I just waste $40 when I could have saved it toward a table I love?

I e-mailed Crafty Cousin Amanda and my friend K to get their thoughts.  They are both unafraid of DIY projects, and I admire their decorating styles, so I trusted them to tell me if I was going off the deep end.

But they both said that, for $40, the table was a good deal.  CCA told me I might as well get it and if I changed my mind, I could always sell it on Craigslist later.  And K assured me that I wouldn't have too much trouble finding a table base.

So David brought the table home.  It's not in perfect condition by any means--there is a small chip on the edge and a hairline crack that's a few inches long--but it's still a very pretty marble top.

 And it had this on the underside:

So now it is my VERY FANCY ITALIAN MARBLE table.  Number 6399.

I called a local restaurant supply store to ask about table bases but they had the very basic table bases, which, based on the guy's unenthusiastic description of an extra table base he thought was floating around their warehouse, I pictured looking something like this:

The price was right (the guy actually said, "If I can find it, I'll sell it to you for twenty-five bucks") but it wasn't quite what I had pictured.  I wanted to put my Very Fancy Italian Marble on a Very Fancy French Bistro Base, you know?

So I began extensively researching table bases.  By which I mean, I googled "table bases" and went to the very first site:

And I found a bistro table base that was exactly what I was looking for.  Black cast iron, and reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk cafe (or possibly a Midwestern ice cream shop--whatever, I like both Paris and ice cream).  It was $115, plus $15 for shipping, which I thought was quite reasonable, considering that we needed something very sturdy to ensure that the heavy marble top wouldn't be at risk of tipping over (especially if a certain little someone decided to give it a good yank).  It still put my total investment at $170, which is considerably less than the $899 table I was drooling over at C&B.  So basically I just saved us $719 plus sales tax.  WINNER!

The base arrived yesterday and David assembled it first thing this morning.  Isn't it lovely?:

Then came the fun part:  disassembling the side table:

We decided to go ahead and re-use the wood top because it was sturdy and already the perfect size.  We found this scrawled across the top of it:

Well, it's upside down, but it reads "Associated St. Louis MO"
I don't know exactly what it means, but I like to think it was assembled locally.  From responsibly harvested wood.  (Just let me live my eco-friendly dream here with my repurposed second-hand furniture.)

So David popped the wooden top off the table.  It came apart easily and wasn't damaged in the process, but it was a little uneven where it had been attached to the side-thingies, so he sanded down the bottom of it so there wouldn't be any splinters or rough spots.  Then it was just a matter of drilling a few holes and attaching the base with thick, heavy-duty screws.

Once it was secure, we added the marble slab on top.  Ta-DA!

Not too bad for a Craigslist side table, huh?


  1. Excellent score! Your cute little bistro style table looks perfect.

  2. People might start calling YOU crafty blogger Brooke!

    Love it, super cute!

  3. you are living my DIY dream life

    Love the table, and LOVE the play by play

  4. Totally adorable and a steal at that price. Great find!

  5. Score. We have obviously been blessed recently by the marble gods.

  6. I LOVE it!! I'm so jealous of your repurposing and decorating skills!

  7. This is fabulous on like 10 different levels. I hope to have some of your craigslist juju as I decorate my new house!

  8. Can I come eat ice cream on your table and speak while speaking in French?

    (I'll only be able to say a few things, but that's neither here nor there)

    Looks awesome. Way to go, crafty blogger Brooke.

  9. I am ridiculously impressed! It looks fantastic!

  10. You are my hero fourteen times over. This is awesome!

  11. WOW that looks incredible! Great job!

  12. Hi I too am thinking about a DIY table after falling in love with C&B's. I'm wondering.. how did you get the marble slab separated from the wooden base? Thank you!

    1. The marble slab was just resting on the wooden base, so there was no need to separate it. We just lifted it off!