Repurposed Furniture

After leaving San Francisco and before moving to Louisville, Kentucky for a job in August 2002 I had about a month to spend in Detroit kill free time. One thing that I did was buy a notebook with unlined paper (I thought I was so cool) and begin to draw sketches of furniture. In college I had assembled a simple rectangle made with 2″ think boards of wood to hold a tv in our apartment. It was remedial and didn’t have much forethought. Plus it only involved a few screws after cuts were made. In the notebook I was trying to think about the design prior to building. Plus this time I would have to buy wood, so considerations for cuts had to be taken. What I made, with the help of some family pals, was a two layer coffee table. It was an awkward size (3’x3′) and the best part of it was the top. For legs I used two rectangles of plywood painted black that fit together and could be placed inside the table during transport and storage. Well for the last 3 years it’s been in storage, residing in a lonely slot of space next to our fridge and only coming out for the occasional deck parties. I think the dimensions of it were its detriment in our new house.

In what seems to be a trend in this house, another piece that I made also never really found a home. It was a bench that I made using salvaged couch cushions found on the side of Briarcliff Rd. in 2004 during a visit to Atlanta. While I kept designing and making furniture in Louisville one thing I tangentially learned was upholstery. I cleaned up the cushions and added some a new skin but once again the legs seemed to be a problem. It started out with 6 post legs that wobbled often and eventually Lauren and I found a Home Depot willing to sell us just the two podium legs of a cement garden bench. This made for a sturdier, though more difficult to move, bench for our space. After moving from place to place throughout our house it was disassembled recently. Many of the boards went on to provide planks in the attic and the legs finally made it outside to be used near a garden, though without a bench.

Like the bench the coffee table also finally met its demise. It sat out on the street for a day and a half with a sign that said “Free to a good home.” Then I defiantly went down, grabbed it, and brought it back up to the house; set on improving it to a state worthy of a permanent spot on our deck. My initial intention was to refinish the whole thing for outside use and find some new legs. But then I took it apart, cut the bottom layer in half, and finished it and the top separately. I used the half to make a bench top for the cement bench feet we had and with some new legs the original table top is now a stand alone table for the deck. I still have have a table to spare. I wonder what we’ll come up with for it.

At least one piece of furniture that I made still exists in its original state (two actually): the cube end table with the built-in magazine rack seen on the shag rug in the picture above. However, I can’t claim credit for the design. I saw in at a furniture boutique outside a farmer’s market in Santa Monica.

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