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!