When I go “home” for a visit, I literally go home to the same house I grew up in.
Anyone else sleep in their old bedroom when they go home? Thankfully, all my old posters are long gone because there are some things I just don’t want to explain to my kids.
However, I am happy to tell them
over and over until they say, “MOOOM!” about the endless amount of chores I had to do.
When I was growing up one of our home’s “design features” was a 5-foot long slab of unfinished black walnut wood sitting on top of a half wall. I’m not even sure if the wood slab was secured to that half wall, but it acted as a
catchall counter of sorts. I had the lucky chore of dusting all the nooks and crannies of the slab’s live edge. The teenager eye roll I threw in while I did this chore was just a bonus.
I never knew until this week that the wood slab has a neat history. It was given to my parents by my Uncle Mervin. He worked in the logging industry, but also competed in lumberjack sports in the 1960s. Yes, lumberjack sports are a real thing. If you’ve never heard of this sport, watch this YouTube video of one of my other relatives, Mel Lentz.
About 12 years ago my dad remodeled the house. The half wall was removed and that gorgeous wood slab I had spent my entire childhood dusting went into storage.
That’s where the wood slab sat until now.
When I came home this last time for a visit, I walked into the living room and was greeted by this beauty: a DIY coffee table from that wood slab.
It’s pretty fantastic, right?
That wood slab was such a fixture in my childhood that I never stopped to think about how it could be repurposed.
It’s a good thing someone else did!
My stepmom (aka The Junk Whisperer) had a vision for using the wood slab as a coffee table that was absolutely perfect.
The table legs are DIYed from 1.5-inch black metal pipe. This sort of black pipe can be found at any home improvement store, but their’s came from a plumbing supply store.
If you buy this type of pipe, you’ll notice that it is coated in some sort of oily film. If you want to paint it, you’ll need to wash the pipe first to remove that oil. Be sure and prime first or use a spray paint that has primer in it. Otherwise, the paint won’t adhere correctly.
The wood slab had been sanded smooth decades earlier, but it received a sanding touch up and a few coats of a clear sealant (like this one). I thought the slab was cool in its original state, but a few coats of clear sealant really made the wood pop!
Is there a moral to this story?
Run home RIGHT NOW and scour your parents’ garage for any treasures that can be reused and repurposed.
If you’ve learned nothing else from reading this blog, you should know that my life experiences often serve as a lesson of what not to do.
Today’s lesson? It’s a lot easier to fit a wood slab in your suitcase BEFORE your parents realize what they have on their hands and turn that beauty into a coffee table. Just saying…
Seriously though, it is so much fun for me to see something old (but not THAT old because I’m still super young) repurposed into something new and useful that will bring happiness for many years to come.
P.S. I wrote this article on the fly. I didn’t even have my good camera with me. If you have how-to questions about making this DIY live edge coffee table, let me know and I can dive into that in the comments section or in a separate article.
P.P.S. The coffee table book is Best-Kept Secrets of Ireland by Kevin Eyres. I highly recommend actually going to Ireland to buy this book, but if that seems like a jaunt, you can also buy it on Amazon.
Thanks for hanging out with me today at my parents’ house! It’s been fun! If you want to read some other stories from my visits home, here you go.
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