"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Friday, June 14, 2013

the perfect plant stand

For awhile, I had been wanting a plant stand for my plants in the living room. I have a big hibiscus plus another plant that I don't know what it is. (When I was in college, my dad bought me an assortment of small plants in a basket, and this is one that has thrived since then). The hibiscus tends to make a bit of a mess. It makes flowers, which then die and fall off, and it has lately been plagued with white flies, which make the leaves sticky, and then they die and fall off too. Also, I don't really know what, but the floor around the pot tended to get pretty dirty and sticky. I didn't really want my relatively new hardwood floor getting all gross, so I thought a plant stand would be a good solution. However, plant stands tend to be expensive and not terribly big. So I stalked craigslist for weeks, searching for the perfect thing at a reasonable price. 

Then, one weekend I was coming home from running errands and saw a sign for a yard sale, so I went to check it out. I mostly do drive-by yard sale shopping (where I just slowly drive past the yard to see if there seems to be anything other than old clothes and junky toys). I rarely actually get out of my car and peruse yard sale merchandise. This time, however, I spotted a bright yellow round table, so I pulled over to check it out close up. My first impression was, "this is perfect!" It was big enough for the hibiscus to sit on top, and it was round, like I wanted. The paint was pretty scuffed up, but I knew I could easily fix that. I was so enamored with it that I barely noticed how messed up the top was. I paid $3 and took it home. It was there, sitting in the entryway, that I really saw the top of the table.

Even in this picture, it's a little hard to tell just how bad it is. There was some pretty serious water damage that had bubbled up large portions of the top and one chunk was just gone. As I surveyed my purchase, hoping Zach would not ridicule me for it, I thought of ways I could salvage it. I came up with two ideas: use some wood filler to fix the missing section or peel/chisel off the top layer. Since there was a lot of bubbling besides the super bad spot, I decided to try to take off the whole top layer of wood. At first, this was super easy. The areas around the bubbled spots pried up easily with a flat screwdriver. Eventually, though, the wood became less damaged and didn't really want to detach from the layers below. I continued the effort for awhile with a variety of chisels/screwdrivers/knives/rubber mallet, but I finally had to give up and bust out the power sander. When I was done, my arms continued to vibrate and our garage was covered with a fine yellow dust, but the top layer of table was completely gone. Some of the water damage had even made it through into the next layer, but I decided it was good enough.

Then it was on to sanding down the rest of the table to get rid of all that bright yellow paint.

While reading various blogs and other things on the Internet, I came across the idea of covering a table top with cork to avoid water damage to the wood. This sounded like the perfect thing for this table, so I headed to Hobby Lobby and got myself a roll of cork. I used wood glue to glue it onto the top of the table and lots of heavy books to hold it down for the recommended drying time.

Once the glue was dry and the cork was well-adhered to the table, I used a utility knife to cut around the edge of the table. I did a rough pass first, then went back and cleaned up a few areas where I hadn't gotten as close as possible to the wood.

Oliver had been crying inside, so I let him come out in the garage for a bit to help me. He really liked rolling around on the drop-cloth.

Then I banished him back into the house, so I could spray paint the primer on without my little orange cat becoming my little white cat! I used the same Kilz spray primer I used on the guest bedroom furniture because I had a can left over. Now that I had gotten my spraying technique improved, this went pretty easily. 

I had agonized a bit over what color to paint the table. At first I thought blue, but it would be going in the living room, which has blue walls, so that would be too matchy-matchy. Then I thought maybe I'd use some of the left-over paint from the kitchen and hall, which is a light brown, but I thought that was kind of boring. I thought about using left-over dark red paint from the dining room, but I knew that would take a lot of coats, and I didn't really want to spend that much time on it. So finally I decided on using the left-over yellow paint from my side tables, which has seemed to cover well. The plant stand would be in a different room from the side tables, but I thought it might help tie the whole floor together, plus the painting in the living room has some yellows in it, so I decided it would go OK in there. So in the end, the color wasn't THAT much different from how it started out, but a little less bright and not peeling! The paint did cover well here, and I just did one, fairly thick, coat and completely used up my paint. 

After I let that dry a good long while, I covered the table with polyacrylic to protect it. I did two coats on the table tops and just one coat everywhere else. After that dried, I brought it in the house and put my plants on it! It has really helped the room look cleaner. I'm still debating the height; sometimes I think it seems a bit too tall, and I consider trying to saw off the legs a bit. We'll see. For now, though, I think it's pretty close to everything I was looking for.

1 comment:

  1. looks great! I like the idea of using cork.