Larkspur Project: Kitchen Before and After

Builder grade...but NOT basic

Larkspur Kitchen After(1).jpg

I know I know this kitchen and house are long gone by now but I mean I had no time. And now I have time. So here we go.....I wanted to share with you guys a little about this kitchen because I love it so much.

The reason I took on this house was because it was a lower priced home compared to my previous projects. I was really looking forward to designing something bold but on a really tight budget. The budget and space constraints got me all excited.

Check out the before in all of it's stock cabinet glory.

LarkspurProject Builder Grade before Kitchen

I know the cabinets look like the downside in this kitchen (as well as some other things), but actually I was quite pleased that these cabinets were already here. In fact, it was a deciding factor to purchase this home. If you saw my Insta stories or highlights about designing this kitchen, you saw me discuss several options on how to handle this kitchen. Here were my options:

  1. Remove all of the cabinets and start fresh with new white shaker cabinets
  2. Buy all new unfinished cabinets and paint them
  3. Work with the cabinets that were already here and fill in with more cabinets from Home Depot

And this my friend is why I like to do my own floor plans and order my own cabinets. Had I taken this dilemma to a contractor or kitchen store, I would've 1. spent hours torturing some poor unfortunate soul asking them to tell me ALL of the versions OR 2. would've been pressured into buying the white shaker bc $$$. So, can you tell which version of the above 3 options I chose?

Number 3!

Here's why:

Buying all new cabinets (Scenario 1) for this kitchen would've cost me somewhere around $2500-$3000. This is PEANUTS when talking kitchen reno. I mean seriously this kitchen is small and that is not a very large sum of money if we are talking renovating the whole damn thing with brand new cabinets. BUT, I could do better.

I knew I wanted to make this kitchen bold since it was a small house and because I'm me. I love me a nice white kitchen, but I also knew I'd been there done that a million times. Don't get me wrong, I will do white kitchens again and have. I just wanted something BIG. Different. I wanted to paint the cabinets. So, I thought if I was going to just paint them, why not buy new unfinished cabinets. They are the most inexpensive cabinets alive and in-stock at Home Depot. To buy all new unfinished cabinets would cost me only $1500! Don't forget the cost to paint them, obviously. But still that would be less than all new white shakers.

The final idea was to keep what was here and fill in with the "finished oak" in-stock cabinets from HD. The tricky, misleading part was that the "finished oak" cabinets were more expensive PER CABINET than the unfinished. However, once I accounted for the cabinets I already had, to fill in with the rest came to around $900. DONE DEAL. 

***I could not fill in with unfinished cabinets, even though I was going to paint them because the cabinet door design was not the same.***

The only way this would work was if the original cabinets were in good condition and that I could work with them to form the new layout. Because of course I changed it. Here is the original floor plan. The fridge there on the left, no dishwasher and the range on the right wall. The wall opposite the sink was empty, presumably for an eat-in-kitchen space.

Builder grade cabinet kitchen before
Kitchen Layout Before

Even though this house was small, there was a room when you walked in that was not being used as anything useful so I decided to turn it into a dining room to free up this blank wall to help this kitchen double in size. Here is the new layout.

Magic Plan Layout Larkspur Project

So, you can see I relocated the range to where the fridge was so it could have cabinets and counters on either side. I added a dishwasher and also moved the fridge to the opposite wall. I  flanked it with a pantry cabinet for balance, as well as some other cabinets and a space for the microwave. I also added a butcher block island after the fact which is not shown on this plan. The red box represents where a counter would span over an empty space. In this area I'd have enough room for 2 stools, so there was some seating in here after all. The counter space doubled in the new arrangement.

I use Magic Plan to make my floor plans. It's easy and gets the job done. In my plans I label the cabinets so the installers (and I) know what goes where and what was staying. I left out filler pieces which is why you can see gaps in some areas. I get lazy on my own projects. I do this same kind of plan for client designs. See more about client consults and eDesign here. 

 "I don't normally put microwaves in houses, but this one was just so cute and I wanted to stage around it."

The only cabinet that didn't make the cut from the original kitchen was the sink cabinet. To be able to fit the range and dishwasher AND sink on this wall, I had to opt for a much smaller sink cabinet. And don't you know they don't make a 24" sink base cabinet. So, I bought a regular 24" base, had my contractor take the drawer part off and affix the drawer front to the cabinet. Problem solved. The sink I bought is extra deep to make up for not having the width of a 30-36" sink. It feels huge.

Larkspur Kitchen After Island and Light.jpg

So, let's talk about the design itself. I know the black on top is unexpected and that is EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING FOR. How else was I going to make a bold statement with builder grade cabinets!? I actually thought I initially wanted to do black on bottom and white on top, but I've done that. In fact while I was designing this kitchen I got some photo updates from a client that I did exactly that design. I had forgotten. I needed to switch it up. So I did just that. Only problem was I was freaking out because I had never really seen it done. I went for it anyway thanks to some encouragement from a friend to "SHUT UP AND DO IT." Fine.

I had to really commit from the very beginning. I couldn't hem and haw about it. I thought I could always repaint if I didn't like it. Only thing was that this kitchen was tiny and I didn't want stainless appliances breaking up the color palette. So, I had to choose my appliances and go for it. I chose the white appliances so all of the bottom cabinets and apps could work together to pull it off. To further this commitment, I chose coordinating cabinet hardware. I couldn't find matching white knobs and pulls I liked so I spray painted some white.

TIP: When choosing hardware, think about what you want to see. It's not enough to just choose the one finish you have decided to go with in the space. For instance I could've gone with stainless, all black or even brass (the light is brass). NOPE. I didn't want to see any hardware so I made it blend. If you're designing your kitchen, and let's say you want to do black faucet and black lighting, don't think for a second you have to do black hardware on your cabinetry. Do you want to see black lines or dots all over the place? Maybe you do. But if you don't, then give yourself permission not to match.

Larkspur Kitchen Black Wall.jpg
Larkspur Whole Kitchen After.jpg

To break up all of the black and white, and to keep within a tight budget, I chose a butcher block counter and used some leftover butcher to make shelves above the sink. These were necessary. Sometimes it's not about the color (or lack there of) you are putting on the wall, it's about what you want to STAND OFF of it. I wanted that black cabinet and wall so I could have the items styled on shelves and the counter stand out.

Speaking of the wall, let's discuss no backsplash. BECAUSE BUDGET. So little. But also, I wanted something different. It's not enough to just be different for different's sake, though. It also has to stand up to splashes. The cabinets had to as well. Throw another wrench in the system in the fact that I wanted it to be matte finish. Can you imagine a big ole shine coming off of that wall? So, I headed to HD and asked them which paint I should use and they told me Glidden Diamond Flat Enamel. It was meant to be scrubbable which sounded perfect for this application. Through the construction process the paint got dust all over it and needed a scrubbing. I did. It worked. No paint was removed in the scrubbing of this wall.

Matte Flat Black kitchen cabinet and painted black backsplash

The final piece of the puzzle were the floors. I didn't want to demo the tile throughout the entire house so I chose to try this vinyl product from HD that lays right over the top of tile!

Vinyl planks laid over tile
Black upper cabinets and white appliances with vinyl plank flooring over tile, butcher block counters

I'm so pleased without how this budget kitchen turned out. We all want to break the bank when renovating a kitchen. Sometimes it is "necessary" or even exciting to start all over from scratch. In this case, I was happy to not only be able to salvage what was there but also transform it into something bold and different AF. Below is the BEFORE AND AFTER! 

IMG_0102.JPG

If you're curious about where to find the items in this kitchen, check the links below. *There are affiliate links included.*

The process I went through with this kitchen from thinking through all of my options to finding budget friendly finishes and creating a bold design is exactly what I do every single time for my flipping and homeowner clients. Clearly the design will always be different for each house and current/future occupants, but the process is the same. I always start with a consultation where we hash out the options until we come to a final conclusion, just like I did on deciding the cabinet situation here. If you're interested in learning more about design services, click below.


SHOP THIS THIS ROOM

 

ACCESSORIES: 

Artificial Cactus: Target

Marble Cheese Board (Similar): Target

APPLIANCES

Dishwasher: Home Depot

Hood: Signature Hardware

Microwave: Home Depot

Range: Home Depot

Refrigerator: Home Depot

FLOORING: 

Home Depot: Home Depot

FURNISHINGS:

Stools: Amazon

HARWARE:

Pulls: Home Depot

LIGHTING:

Ceiling Light: Amazon

PAINT:

Color: Behr Black Boudoir

Paint: Glidden Diamond Flat Enamel at Home Depot

PLUMBING:

Sink Faucet: Amazon

Sink: Amazon

Sink Garbage Disposal Adaptor: Amazon

To shop my other designs, head to the "SHOP" section in the navigation bar and choose "SHOP THIS ROOM."

eDesign Reveal: Retro Fun-ky Bathroom

You guys. That accent wall. That is all I can say.

My friend Autumn gave me a ring and told me she desperately needed some help with her hall/guest bath. I had given her some advice on her kitchen before so I knew her style - MCM/funkadelic. I know Autumn from college, but haven't seen her in years. I've never been to her home in Michigan, but was up to the  task since eDesign is something I offer regularly. She sent me the photos of  her bathroom and walked me through it. 

While not the most horrible bathroom I've ever seen, it definitely was not looking like Autumn's style. Autumn is a fun, mid-century modern, retro loving girl. We decided since this bathroom was the guest bath, we could go a little more funky in here than what she had done in her kitchen. She did give me some parameters to work with, though. 

1. She couldn't afford to gut and remove everything. This wasn't a total redo, just a makeover. So we were stuck with the flooring and retro-old school shower tile. To be honest, I would've removed the shower tile if I were renovating this house for a flip. It's just not the sort of thing most people would be down for. HOWEVER, I was totally digging that we "had" to work with this gold tile. That shower tile is one of those things that I (and she) thought was pretty cool, but know it's not for everyone. Doesn't matter. This bathroom isn't for everyone, it's for her and her family.

2. We could replace the counter and backsplash tile.

3. We had to keep the sink and vanity base. Luckily, Autumn had a carpenter dude that could help us out with fixing up the vanity. The rest had to go. 

Everything else was fair game. So, I went to work on designing. Often when I'm designing I hit this sort of wall where I'm like you know this is just not fun enough....might as well be builder grade. Maybe you call it "writer's block". Nothing inspiring or special is coming out of my brain. Then I poke through to outside the box and find something that makes me think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they'll go for this." At this point I have to stop. Everything comes to a halt. If I'm about to make this super awesome decision and base everything else around it, then there is no reason to move forward without the client's consent. I hate wasting time just to start all the way over.  That moment came when I found this super funky wallpaper from Coloray Decor. I shit you not, I did not choose it for its name: Autumn Flowers.

I dread that call where I have to say, "I have a crazy AF idea and I don't know if you'll go for it." Ok, dread is a strong word. It's more of a "this person is going to think either think this is brilliant or that I'm a crazy person. No in between" Last thing you want is for your client to think you're way off base so yeah these phone calls are a little nerve racking. 

Well, she went for it! The floral wallpaper was the perfect accent wall funkiness to add to this retro-esque bathroom.  With the wallpaper decided, the rest of the design came together. 

A few things ended up getting tweaked but most of the design remained. Every design I deliver has a design board with details to the side along with a spreadsheet for each item needed to pull of the design, links to buy, quantities and total material budget. Some have an accompanying room layout. Some have a sketch to describe further detail.

To see more about my design services, click here.

The rest of the elements worked around the wallpaper and existing features that had to remain. She had a door on the other side of the room that was a natural wood (seen below) she didn't really want to paint so I wanted to bring in another wood element somewhere.

The butcher block was an easy choice. Not only is butcher block inexpensive, it is easy to cut and install.

The next element I had to deal with was the mirror and lighting situation. The vanity was super long at 76". I didn't want to be all boring and have a super large, expensive AF mirror. Nothing fun in that. Since this is the hall bath, it is conceivable that there may be a couple of people getting ready in here at once, so one mirror wouldn't do not to mention such a large vanity with just one small mirror would look unbalanced. So, we went with 3 smaller mirrors with a single sconce above each.

Also in this area was the vanity base. The doors and hinges were not looking too good so Autumn's carpenter outfitted it with new flat front doors. Such an easy way to update a huge vanity like this. Replacing it completely would've cost mucho dollars.

What you can't see in those other photos was the toilet "nook". My original design included a green accent wall instead of the wallpaper. We didn't want to lose that green so we opted to put it behind the toilet. You can see it when you look in the mirrors which is a nice touch. The vintage telephone stand makes a great TP holder and complements the vintage - retro vibe. I have one of these stands in my own bathroom and it makes for an excellent TP stand. You can put one roll on the top and it will hold 3-5 rolls below. You could obviously put magazines and other things in there if you plan on camping out for a while. :)

And the moment we all love, the BEFORE AND AFTER Photos!!!

I love how everything looks fresher. The floral wall obviously is very vibrant, but the counter just feels more natural, one of the reasons I love using real materials like butcher block.

I'm now working on a closet design for Autumn and can't wait to see how it turns out. She's an awesome friend/client who is not only not afraid to be bold, but she also gets things done fast. Right up my alley for someone who loves to get her some photos! Stay tuned for the closet!


Sources

Butcher Block Counter - Lowes

Mirrors - West Elm

Sconce Lights - Etsy

Shelves - World Market

Sink + Faucet: IKEA

Toilet Paper/Telephone Stand  - Etsy

Wallpaper - Etsy

Bathroom Makeover: Travertine Tune Up

When Joe from Constructed Matter and I launched our Room Makeover offering, I never thought our first client would be my mother-in-law. She reached out to me a couple weeks ago asking if we could do it pronto. Planning and coordinating these things with clients take time which is why we haven't had any to show yet. But, we were excited to jump in and do our first one with someone I know. Our Room Makeover deal is meant to be a small-ish in scale project lasting a week or less. And by a week or less I mean the actual work, aka labor. Two weeks ago I began the designing and planning. We have to allow some time for orders to come in, which they didn't but we made do. We finished the install in about 3 days. I want to show you the before photo first but I shan't. Straight to the result!

Ok let's back up now. While my mother-in-law would have loved to tear out the travertine tile, it just wasn't in the cards. Too much time. Too much money. She has other projects she wants to tackle so we had to deal with it. The main problem with the travertine is just how yellow and brown it comes off most of the time. Here's what it looked like before.

So, we had the travertine, fine. But, that counter that I think looks like "tiger" granite had to go. I used to know the builder grade name but I purposefully blocked out of memory bc it is not yummy. 

Granite that must die

Clearly that had to go and was going to be a huge factor in brightening and de-jungle-fying the joint. Next up was toning down the travertine. Travertine was a huge flipping trend a while back when beige was all the rage. It's not a bad tile. I wouldn't choose it for my own house, but I do like that it is a natural stone. You can have it polished, which my in-laws did, and it looks shiny and new. Only problem is it is still beige. Some travertine comes off really yellow and even more so when paired with browns, reds, and..... anything. My mother-in-law tried to work with it and painted the walls a grey blue, even tying the gray and the beige together with the shower curtain. She thought it would feel like the ocean with the sand color and the blue. If I'm honest It didn't look half bad. But, it still felt yellow-y/brown and dark. To make matters worse all of the fixtures were ORB. I mean come on. More brown. :(

Brown and brown granite and brown fixtures

So, we stripped it all back. It comes to no shock to you I'm sure that I was painting this room white. I'm telling you I really really tried to think of something else. I studied. I Pinned. I Googled. The only thing I could think of to tone down the beige/yellow/brown of it all was to paint the walls white. It worked like a charm. Actually there were a few things that really made HUGE strides in correcting the browny yellow factor in this bathroom. 

  1. Paint. Obviously.
  2. Removing the blinds on the window. Even when they were slanted open it still made the room dark.
  3. Replacing the counter

To keep from adding any beige/yellow back to the mix we opted for black fixtures and hardware. I went a little haywire here actually. I had a black can of spray paint and nothing could stop me. I didn't even mean to enter the shower area but nothing was safe. I painted the shower curtain rod. I painted the shower head, tub faucet and handle. I don't know how that will hold up but my MIL was cool with it and if it turns crappy we'll just swap out the stuff for a new black version. For now it will work. The light fixture I ordered was backordered so I just ripped that old ORB mofo off the wall and painted it. Slapped on some new shades and called it a day.

Speaking of painting hardware and fixtures, Joe made us some custom towel bars. I looked for what felt like 5 hours for a long ass towel bar. No one makes a long ass towel bar. We need a long ass towel bar in this bathroom because when guests come in town to visit, which they do, often, theres need to be room for all the towels. So, Joe welded a 5' foot long ass towel bar and it is magical. It was raw metal so I of course painted it black. If it rubs off I will get it powder coated. My photos all sucked so I stole this one from Joe.

He also made a matching TP holder and hand towel holder.

Custom towel bars welded by Constructed Matter

Obviously there is a lot of experimentation here. I was sure to get these ideas cleared before implementing. But, also, since I am over at this house often, and use this bathroom pretty often, I can check in on the things and fix as necessary. For a client (and not my family member) I would maybe not go to these experimental lengths. It's fun to test these theories though and see what happens so I can share with the world.

The last thing was to add the soft stuff. This is my favorite part. I don't care how much you do to a space in a renovation or makeover, if you leave it empty it will lack personality. If you fill it with your old stuff it will feel like a split personality. Finish it off! First I start with some things I know I want, like a piece of art or some vintage thing. In this case it was the Arizona and Ohio Eye Charts from Constructed Matter

Styled white floating shelves in bathroom

Next, I love going to Target, Lowes and West Elm and just throwing stuff in my cart. I tell this to my Design Therapy consult clients on the regular. When you finish your renovation or just want to revamp your space, go to the store and just start throwing shit into your cart. I'm not trying to get anyone to overspend by any means, but I've learned from my staging days that this job will never get done, or done well, if you don't just GO FOR IT. Sometimes shit works that you least expect. So, grab that cart and just fill it up. I usually fill up 2 or 3, honestly. Don't waste time hemming and hawing about do I really like it, will it fit, is it the wrong size, is it fugly....JUST GRAB IT. Take it all home and start grabbing from your pile to build your styled area. I can't tell you how many times I was so sure about something at the store and in the end it didn't make the cut. And guess what did? The thing I thought might be fugly. Take all the rest back. Then I finish it off by filling in with random stuff from around the house. 

Another thing, don't just stick to the departments in the store that coordinate with the room you're working in. Use things from other rooms to dress it up. In this bathroom I bought kitchen towels to be used as hand towels because they had a better pattern. I also used a cheese tray as a tray on the counter and a dining charger as "art". Whatever. IDGAF. It works.

Funny Side note: the bust on the counter is from a garage sale and cost around $1.75. He was awesome until I knocked him over and his head fell off. My MIL glued his head back on and I found him in her laundry room waiting for me when scavenging the house for more things to bring in. I sprayed him all black (naturally because watch out I have this paint can in my head) so his decapitation didn't show. 

Bust and cheese tray make a great bathroom

And that was it! Bye bye dark yellow-y tiger brown bathroom. Let's see the difference.

BEFORE AND AFTER TIME!

The bathroom turned out so nice and bright and the travertine is actually a nice sandy color now rather than all the brown and beige.

Interested in your own Room Makeover....or Restyling of a room....or Design Therapy Consult? Check out your options on my Design Services page!

Shop This Room

Shelves: Home Depot

State Eye Charts: Constructed Matter

Succulents: Target

Towel Bars: Constructed Matter

Towels Bath: Target

Towel on Rod: Target

Towel on Cabinet Pull: Home Goods

Vessel Sink: Amazon

Vessel Drain: Amazon

Wood Box: Target

Bath Rug: Target

Black Round "Art" Charger on Shelf: Target

Cabinet Pulls: Amazon

Clock: Target

Counter: Marble Look Quartz

Faucet: Amazon

Mirror: West Elm

Planter - White: West Elm

Planter - Black: Home Goods

Spray Paint - Black:

Camper Update: This Ceiling Is Bananas

Guys I can't wait to show you how the ceiling in my camper has turned out!!!

I partnered with Milton & King on this project which was awesome because from the start I knew I wanted to wallpaper the ceiling of this camper. They have so many great options and I wanted this place to be a bit wild. The biggest surface area to do it on is the ceiling. Liz Kamarul's RV was an initial source of inspiration. 

It wasn't my intention to do tropical like she did. At first I was thinking about something a little more geometric and subtle like the one on the left. Then one day on the way to school, my 4 year old daughter says, "Mommy, I think we should do palm trees on the ceiling in the camper." I don't even know if she knew I was doing something on the ceiling. I'm don't know where that came from, but I did have the Jungle Palm wallpaper on the right in the back of my mind and asked, "How about banana trees?" She screamed, "BANANAS!" which I took to mean "Hell yes." and so the decision was made. The wild factor in this camper multiplied by 100 thanks to my design assistant.

Then the doubt set in. I'm about to install banana wallpaper on a ceiling. In a camper. I've never installed real wallpaper, only peel and stick. And did I mention in a CAMPER. Also did I mention that I am alone in this renovation? I've been determined to do most of this camper reno myself bc honestly I need a long LONG break from contractors. But, anyway, I realized that I cannot in fact install wallpaper on a ceiling by myself. So, I enlisted the help of my husband. My husband geeks out as a system's engineer and programmer wallpapering is not in his list of repertoires. This should be interesting. At the time I wanted the wallpaper go up, he was preparing for a very important upcoming conference. I had to wait. I wanted the wallpaper to go up first thing after painting in case any goop dropped down from the ceiling or something of that nature. Why go and put new floors, cushions and kitchen stuff in if the ceiling was going to rain goop? You see how this is becoming dramatic?

Let me paint a picture for you about how this was to go down. The camper is parked at a storage lot. No water. No electricity. No one to install wallpaper for you. My daughter and her friend were also with us. Let me remind you they are 4. So, when the day came I was at anxiety threat level: MIDNIGHT.

Luckily, inside the camper we had two very long benches to prep everything on and I didn't quite care if I scored right through the paper to the bench. It would be covered with paint and a cushion eventually. Here are the materials we used including this glue from Home Depot. Believe it or not it is not that easy to find wallpaper materials these days even though wallpaper is all the rage.

So, we finally got started after weeks and weeks of self imposed stress. Would it be falling down everywhere? Would we be able to match up the seems? Would we kill each other? So many questions. And guess what....

IT WAS EASY.

The most difficult part about this process was thinking about it.

I mean why WHY did I let this get so built up in my head? All we did was paint the glue on the ceiling with a paint brush. Then we lifted up a sheet together and got it lined up. We didn't fight! I mean we aren't really fighters but you know when frustration is high, barking ensues. But, no need for that because this was EASY.

We worked in small sections so we didn't have to hold up a really long piece and try to work around too many obstacles at once. In the camper there are a ton of obstacles like curved walls, cabinetry, more cabinetry, appliances and doors all within a foot or inches of each other. So, small pieces it was.

We were even able to match up the pattern pretty well considering the non-straightness of....um everything. We layered up the paper in spots so that it matched and honestly you can see the layered areas but you can't. I mean who will be inspecting the ceiling except us at this very moment?

It easily could've taken us 3-4 hours to complete but we instead stopped after 2 hours because 4 year olds. We came back the next day and finished up within an hour or so. I think Dusty was probably getting sick of me saying "OMG OMG OMG I FREAKING LOVE THIS!" and "DUSTY, I'M SO HAPPY WE DID THIS AND WE DIDN'T WANT TO KILL EACH OTHER."

It really was so easy. I encourage anyone to give it a try. If you know how to work a paint brush and a have a buddy to help out, you'll golden. Check out Milton & King's full inventory of wallpaper! They have so many options!

 

 

 

 

 

Camper Update: DIY Geo Dinette Table

Geometric Basswood Camper Table

One of the very first projects, besides painting the interior, was making this dinette table! I originally had the idea that I would have If You Give A Girl A Saw make one for me. But, if you follow her you know, she is very busy. At the time I wanted to order her shop was down with no reopen date reported so, I decided I'd make one. This would be a chance to put that chop saw I have to work for the second or maybe third time ever. 

Here was the inspiration for the table.

Obviously the pattern she did here is amazing. But, look at that coffee. Delicious. And a green mug. My camper color scheme has green in it. Staging works my friend. I was sold.

In order to make this as easy as possible, I thought I'd take the old table and just glue the pieces of wood on top. I saw an episode of The Weekender (around 16:20) where she uses balsa wood on a cart and thought this will be perfect. Cheap craft wood is the way to go. Thin, easy to cut, beginner friendly.... but, after seeing balsa wood in person at Michael's, I could tell that would be way too soft. It's so soft that you can dent it with just your fingernail. That's no good for a table top. What I did see at Michael's was a harder wood called basswood. Unfortunately, they had only 1- 2 pieces of each width. Hobby Lobby same problem. So, I went to good ole Amazon and bought a batch of it.

A full list of the materials will be at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links.

The basswood arrived and I got to work. First thing, I learned which I probably should've checked in the first place is that the old table was crap. It was particle board with a thin laminate on top. It was crumbling and no bueno as a base. I had to buy a new base so I headed to Home Depot and bought a good piece of cabinet grade plywood. I didn't want it to have a bunch of knots in it and make my table all bumpy. I also didn't want it to warp. I bought a 4' x 8' piece and had them cut it to the size of my table and had ample leftovers I could save for other projects.

Finally after all of this running around I was able to start actually working on the damn table. I started by configuring the pattern. I split down the middle both directions and marked it off on the plywood. Honestly, this plywood is so pretty it could've been the table on it's own.

Next I figured out the angles. I had been taking an architectural drafting class which came in handy. I had some triangles (not pictured) to help with determining the necessary angles. 

Making the first cuts for my geometric table
Making cuts

First I cut every piece to cover the board. I wasn't sure if I was just going to paint on the actual pattern at this point or cut the pieces into a pattern and then just paint those actual pieces.

Look, I'm a newb. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm winging it. So long as you get that. This post is as much of a what not to do as what TO DO. But, in the end you know I made a table so the lesson here is just try and maybe you'll end up with something you can use. LOL. 

Next thing was cutting the ends off so it was close to the size of the actual table. I left a little overhang so I had some to cut off if necessary instead being too short.

If I look back now I think I wish the pattern chosen a narrower basswood but honestly figuring out the angles and cutting all of these pieces was enough for me. Design-wise I'd prefer the narrower pieces but DIY-project-wise I'm glad I had the wider pieces and less cuts, angles and pieces to deal with.

Next, I decided to go ahead and cut the pattern into the pieces instead of just painting it. I wanted this to be "legit". During the first cuts I learned that if I moved the saw super fast that the wood would splinter, so this time I was sure to go slow and smooth. Why call it a chop saw if you can't karate chop it down!? Makes no sense to me.

After cutting the pieces I painted the appropriate parts. Next up was gluing it all down. This part just about ruined everything. The thing is that this basswood is super thin and probably the downfall of the entire project (except it worked so maybe I'm exaggerating). Once I glued it down with construction adhesive it started to curl. I checked in with my guy Joe Wood at All Around Joe in Cincinnati. He was my long time contractor when I lived there and gives me pro-tips when I've gotten myself into a situation like this. He recommended I clamp down some wood over top to help secure it. Probably would've worked except I didn't have clamps. I used paint cans and heavy tools and everything under the sun that would fit. I wish I had a photo of this because it was a shit show. Anyway, the next day I come to see the results and it was good.... not great. A spot where I used an unopened tool still in its box to hold it down didn't stay down like I wanted it to. It curled and buckled in areas as seen in the crappy photo below.

You can also see where the adhesive squeezed through in some spots. That I wasn't too worried about, I could sand it out. I re-adhered any areas that popped up and then got to work sanding away the adhesive and any lumpy areas. This is not that legit of a project. I'm aware. I also sanded the edges away. You can see below that they were rough where I cut them close but not exact. I was afraid using a saw would really tear this wood up so sanding it nice and slow was the best option. The photo below is before I re-glued the edges.

Then the corners I rounded off with the sander so no body stabbings will take place while maneuvering around the table in the camper.

So at this point the table is just about done, just cleaning up and putting a finish on it. Some of the paint was sanded away when I was sanding off the adhesive and trying to flatten some bumpy areas. So, I taped off the pattern and touched up the paint.

FINALLY, it was time to put a finish coat on it. In order to make this thing as flat as possible and fill in any gabs and unwanted "character" I decided to use an extra thick poly. I was hoping it would act as a kind of epoxy. It did a pretty good job but couldn't fix all of my mistakes. :)

Here's the table all done!

And then I left it outside for a few days and it rained. I live in the desert. It doesn't rain. Anyway, I cried internally and then brought it inside. After a day of drying the warping of the basswood subsided and it settled back into place. I put another poly coat on it to seal it all together a little more. 

Next, I stole the old hardware off the old table including the cross supports underneath. This table is meant to convert to a bed and hold someone sleeping so the supports were necessary. 

AND TADAAAAAA.....ALL DONE!

There are some obvious flaws, such as some warping in the one corner but since I've never made a table before, and used a chop saw for only like the 3rd time ever, I'm pretty happy with the outcome!

Stay tuned for a bunch of camper updates! A bunch of projects are being completed and in the pipeline for new posts. There are a bunch of wild DIY projects here I can't wait to share with you!

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