A couple of weeks ago I purchased a coffee table for Favorite First-born’s townhome at the Good Will. It was a whopping $10 so I figured I couldn’t really go wrong? I know I can change the direction of this dark and gloomy table with a fun compass rose.
This post first appeared on July 18, 2015.
Favorite First Born is now married to Favorite Girlfriend who I now
affectionately refer to as Favorite Creative. 🙂
So here’s the before. Please excuse the photo – can’t do much with a cell phone and Good Will lighting!
First of all, I love that it is solid wood. Like, so solid that I cannot pick it up myself. And, of course, it did not fit into the trusty Dart so Favorite Third Son had to go pick it up for me. But I digress…
Also, the shape is great! I took one look at the super awesome round top and thought, “Yup, I can try that compass rose design that I have been coveting on Pinterest for this piece.” Woot Woot!!!
Let’s do this! Let’s create a compass rose coffee table!
Armed with my design inspirations, I was off and running, right into a bit of a snag. After texting Favorite First Born, I found he was less than enthusiastic about my design plans. He didn’t completely dismiss the plan so I figured he would come around. After all, he is MY son, right?
I began to sand the top down. I knew I didn’t want to sand the entire table down to the wood, but I thought maybe the top wood would be in decent enough shape to salvage. (Yes, I did just say wood would – How much wood would a wood chuck chuck…)
This, I have to admit, was quite a process. I used my trusty mouse sander and very coarse sandpaper, but it still took quite a while. As I was taking the above picture, I decided to text FFB with an update and guess what he said? He liked the dark side! Hmmmmm.
Well, that’s a problem, as I have already committed to sanding this top down and I am NOT going to restain it dark once I’m done! Then he and Favorite Girlfriend send me the following picture of the kind of table they would really like for his townhome.
Needless to say, we have a serious design conflict here! Beach chic vs. Industrial/Urban. No problem tho, I can roll with it. Fortunately, I had just happened to come across some awesome hairpin legs at a local flea market that morning – who says God is not awesome?!
Thus, I told FFB, this fabulous round table would no longer be his and continued on with my sanding. I guess there will be a post about a barnwood coffee table with hairpin legs in my future!
While sanding, I noticed the distress this table had been through in its previous life. See the nicks in the wood? I decided that those were pretty cool, so I left them. I like pieces to retain some of their history. There were, however several deep scratches on the top. Those, I sanded out.
Now that the top is completely sanded down, you can see that the wood is beautiful! I am not sure what type of wood it is, but it has a reddish hue to it that I am in love with.
Time to tackle the compass rose. I am certainly no artist, but fortunately a compass rose is really just a matter of math and patience.
First, you have to find the center of the table. I did not remember how to do this, but really it is simple geometry. And these days you can google anything! Try “How to find the center of a circle.” And voila! You can do it! I used a T-square to make my straight lines.
Using the center, draw 2 perpendicular lines across the table. Use a triangle to make sure and get this right. Since my table is 39″ across I drew my lines 28 inches. I wanted to leave room for the circle detail around the table.
I could go into great details about my measurements, each individual step, the angles, however, why reinvent the wheel? Check out the great tutorial here. Vintage Revivals has super detailed directions for this design. She did hers on a rug, but that’s neither here nor there.
If you follow the directions, you can do this design on anything! My lines measured a bit differently, but I think whatever your project you should be able to adjust accordingly.
One little piece of advise tho – you should probably line your design up with the grain of your wood! Seriously, how did I not notice the problem until I had finished? Oh well, if at first, you don’t succeed, and all that…
Once I had redrawn the design, straight this time, I used a makeshift compass (a tack with some string tied to it and a pencil on the other end) to draw 2 circles toward the edge of the new compass rose coffee table. Then I just added some lines between them to create a boxed pattern around the table. Easy peasy…
Next came the tough part. I had to paint the design following the pencil outlines on the table. This requires a steady hand and a good brush. I am here to tell you that this is not my strength! But I persevered!
I didn’t want mine too precise, which is probably a good thing as my lines have some character. I used some regular latex paint that I had left over from a previous project and painted right onto the raw wood as I intended to keep the table top natural. You could stain or paint the top prior to doing the design if you want. I love that about DIY!
Lastly, I applied 3 coats of poly to the top (lightly sanded in between coats of course) Oh, yeah, I also painted the base and legs a nice bright white for a fresh feel.
Look who snuck in the picture – Crosby! How do you like his summer ‘do?
I love the way each of these pictures shows the wood in a different light. It is beautiful the way the coloring changes 🙂 I also am really glad that I decided to make the design simple and subtle. I really like that about this table.
What do you think about the compass rose coffee table? What is your design style? Would you prefer this sort of beachy chic table or do you side with Favorite Firstborn and Favorite Girlfriend with the industrial/urban style? Can’t wait to hear Y’all!