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DIY: A Red Lacquer Table for Under $500

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DIY: A Red Lacquer Table for Under $500

January 30, 2014

When Napa Valley-based chef and event planner Amy Edelen moved into a former water tower, she had to think carefully about configuring her new home, as the bucolic three-story structure has sloping walls that get steadily narrower at the upper levels.

Amy, who loves to entertain, says she decided on a custom table to fit the space because “I wanted the maximum number of people around a table, and this sits a dozen comfortably.” The total cost? Under $500 for the materials plus the handyman’s time. Better still, Amy says, “The table has changed my life. I have had more dinner parties in the last two months since I made the table than I did in my old home where I was for five years.”

Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista.

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Above: “I bought cabinet-grade plywood from Home Depot,” Amy says. “It’s the most expensive kind of plywood because it has no grain and no knots. It comes in a 4-by-8-foot sheet, and I had it cut down to 6 by 4 feet to fit the space.” The wrap-around white banquette was also custom-built to fit the space.

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Above: The 1-inch-thick plywood has a 2-inch trim around the edge; the deeper trim makes the table look thicker and more substantial. Amy’s handyman used 92 screws to put it together, each puttied over to give it a clean look.

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Above: On the topic of color, Amy says, “I was thinking of painting the table gray, anything that wouldn’t make it look like plywood. Then I happened upon a sample of Ruby Red Paint from Benjamin Moore, a poppy shade that just jumped off the wall when I was looking at colors.” The sheen is courtesy of a coat of resin: “I had used resin before and liked the way it made color pop. When you apply it, you pour two compounds together and the mixture bubbles up on the surface. You have to blow on it to get the bubbles to disappear. I tried using a hair dryer, but blowing is better. You need to do this in the first 30 minutes. The resin levels off, but as it drops down the side you need to use one of those paint stirring sticks to clean the edges as the resin drips off. This stage takes around four hours.” Amy sourced the resin from TAP Plastics.

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Above: Amy covered the table in three coats of Ruby Red Paint from Benjamin Moore and then finished it with resin. The strip of black on the base of the legs is electrical tape that Amy added to see if a touch of black enamel would look good. “I like the way it separates the table from the floor,” she says. “The tape might just stay if I never actually get around to painting the legs.”

Looking for more red inspiration? Check out our posts: Simply Red, 10 Easy Pieces: Red DIning Chairs, and Gardenista’s 8 Best Red Exterior House Paints.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 14, 2013 as part of our Do-It-Yourself issue.

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