Ever since I found my tulip chair and read that Eero Saarinen designed his pedestal collection as a remedy for the “slum of legs” he observed under tables and chairs, I’ve looked at my house a little differently. When I started searching for a table to place between the two chairs in our living room I knew I had to choose one that could revolt against the legginess, the slumminess, rampant in the room. The search was harder than I expected, despite the fact that I scoured thrift stores with the single-minded ferocity of a honey badger. The prolonged search did give me ample time to imagine exactly what I wanted (not always a good thing when you’re hunting among people’s cast-offs), and it looked something like this:
After months of fruitless hunting I decided to manifest my own un-slummy destiny out of a trash can from our laundry room, a rickety $5 Craigslist table, and a generous helping of Ardex Feather Finish (left over from the backsplash). But let’s back up a little bit. Here is what I started with – the ‘before,’ if you will: I unscrewed the legs from the table and removed the brackets. Cameron and I measured to the center of the table top then used a compass to mark where to affix the trash can.
After screwing the trash can into the table top, Cam cut a plywood disc that fit snugly inside the opening of the trash can. We did this to prevent the plastic from flexing and potentially shearing off the concrete. I drilled holes then screwed the sides of the trash can into the wood disc.
Once everything was attached I used the orbital sander to rough up the plastic and wood so the concrete would have something to grab on to, then I put down a tarp in our living room, mixed up some Ardex Feather Finish, and used a putty knife to coat the base of the table. Working on a rounded, vertical surface was a new challenge. I was way too heavy handed with my application of the first coat, which made the texture uneven – even after it dried and I gave it a vigorous sanding. After wiping it clean, I put a second coat on, let it dry, then sanded again (the making of this table stretched over a couple of days). Then I flipped it over and used a scraper to smooth out the chunks that were clinging to the edge. I then put a dollop of Ardex on the top and – with much more ease than with the base – gave it two coats (again, with dry time and sanding in between). Getting a clean finish on the rounded edge was challenging, but I found that smoothing it with my finger while it was still damp helped. When everything was dry I gave it a final sanding, wiped it clean, then applied a coat of Minwax Polyacrylic as a sealant. And here she is, my lovely little uniped: While it’s not exactly family heirloom quality (being made from a plastic trash can and all), I’m happy with how this table turned out. It’s sturdy, fits the space perfectly and only cost me $5. And in case you were wondering what Dean’s contribution was, here are some outtakes from photographing the table. He’s such a helper! Have a great day!
You are so very creative. Your little teacup candle is perfect for your table top. Lucky you to have greenery outside your window. I so enjoy reading Red House West throughout the week.
Thanks Netzy! I’m grateful for the green too (it makes the endless rain worth it).
Perfect project to reduce the slum of legs…Dean seems driven to add them back in. ..
He is a most contrary (and adorable) beast.
Wow, that looks great! So impressive, too, that there are no paw prints on the table top. (Although that might be cute?)
And thanks for clearing up that man hands thing, because I was wondering.
I just wanted to stave off any ‘gorilla hands’ bullying in the comments.
This little table reminds me of a toadstool – in a good way. I happen to be a fan of chair and table legs (they make great shadows to paint), but can see why you wanted just this silhouette for that particular space. Love Dean’s contribution.
It reminds me of one too!
Great looking table Katie! And so happy for you that your furry helper could lend a hand (paw).
Yeah, he was a great help Michelle! (when he wasn’t busy cleaning his nether regions in front of my camera lens). 😉
Seems like the slum of legs is a Mid-century Modern urban hazard, nicely interrupted by your well-executed organic shape!
Ol’ Eero really opened up my eyes!
so amazing! i love the texture and the color. amazing job!
Thank you! I was so mad at myself for not being patient with my first coat on the base, which made it more textured than I originally envisioned. Now I really like it – it adds an interesting dimension.
Is there a post in which you talk about that gorgeous pink chair/tasselled throw combo? What a great pairing!
Oh, thanks Emily! The tasseled throw (which I found at a thrift store) is there out of necessity. The pink chair was ravaged by cat claws and the whole side and back are in tatters. Some day I’d like to upholster it, but for now I’m liking the combination pretty well too!
Awesome project. Your cat is so precious, love!
What a great idea! I hate legs … with 2 dogs shedding all the time legs really get in the way. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thanks for your comment Maureen! Can totally relate about pet hair – I figure that with all the mammals running around there are already plenty of legs in this house 🙂
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