I’ve had a console table pinned on my “furniture to build” Pinterest board for a few months so I was thrilled when Ana agreed to work with me on the plans for a modified version of the one I pinned. I didn’t know what I would use the table for, but I knew that I wanted it to be heftier and bigger than the piece I’d pinned (it needed to be big enough to fill the space behind my sofa) and I wanted it to feel more rustic. Ana totally came through with a design inspired by this Pottery Barn buffet. The bulky size and feel are a great match for my big family room and chunky sofas.
The console is built from 2x6s, 2x4s, 2x2s, and 1x12s using pocket hole construction and glue. The plans were easy to follow and I finished most of the building in one day. The Xs on the ends were a bit of a challenge — they require some 60 degree cuts, but my miter saw only goes to 50 degrees. After a bit of trial and error, though, the Xs went in pretty easily. Including the lumber, hardware, and finish, the console cost about $110 to build — quite a bargain considering the price tag on the inspiration piece!
I love the mellow, silvery tones of weathered wood. I keep an oxidizing solution (steel wool dissolved in vinegar) in a jar in my garage to treat the freshly cut ends of reclaimed wood, but I’ve never tried oxidizing an entire piece made from new wood. For this piece, I treated it with black tea first to increase the concentration of tannins in the wood (pine has a naturally low concentration of tannins). I let the tea dry for about six hours, then I painted on the oxidizing solution. After letting the oxidizing solution dry overnight, I lightly sanded it and then applied a light brown wax to warm up the color just a bit. To get the exact color I wanted, I mixed a bit of dark brown Briwax with a lot of clear bowling alley wax. For a more precise tutorial, check out my oxidizing post here.
This finish has me hooked. Smooth and rustic. Not too light or too dark, not too warm or cool. Oh, and the oxidizing solution is all-natural. No headache-inducing chemicals here!
When I first started photographing the console, I wasn’t sure how to style it so I loaded it up with baskets and books. But, I quickly realized that decorative stuff wasn’t what I wanted in there. Instead, I collected some special quilts and blankets that had been hiding in random pieces of furniture all over our house.
Scott and I agree that this new console is the perfect spot for our collection of quilts and blankets. Each quilt and blanket here has meaning. Most of the quilts are antiques that my mom bought in an antique store in Oxford, Ohio while Scott and I were in college there. I used to think she was a little nuts when she would pack another one into her suitcase at the end of nearly every visit, but now I admire her for it. One of the quilts my mom picked up was on Brynn’s bed when we moved her out of her crib, and one was on my bed before Scott and I got married. One of the afghans was made by my grandmother, I think one is from my great-grandmother, and one was made by Scott’s grandmother as a gift for his high school graduation. One of them is a blanket I picked up in Salvador, Brazil while on Semester at Sea. It kept me warm in the freezing air conditioning on the ship for three months as I traveled the world. I love the feel, the texture, the weight, the colors, the smells, and the stories behind all of them.
Having those quilts and blankets in a place where I can see them every day is inspiring to me. I can walk past them and touch them and think of the hands that created them or the memories that are woven into them. They remind me of family and history and simplicity and learning and the legacies that we leave.
So, while this piece of furniture is beautiful and fulfills a basic purpose in my home, what thrills me now is not just the beauty of the piece itself, but also the beauty of what it holds.