Tree Week

Before and After: A $250 Natural Wood Coffee Table Project Brings the Outdoors In

published May 25, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Slab of wood on floor
Credit: Faith Carbon

Decorating with raw and live-edge wood can be a great way to incorporate the outdoors in your space. From countertops to tables to doors to open shelving to headboards, there are plenty of live-edge pieces for every room.

Often, though, these rich-toned organic features come with a high price tag. Rhode Island resident and DIYer Faith Carbon says she “was really into the idea of a live-edge piece, but they are really expensive.” Thankfully, her partner, Julia, has a background in carpentry and is handy with a sander and a saw, and she convinced Faith that they’d be able to create a custom coffee table on their own for just $250.

“I think we were both eager to try and learn new things, and there was not a lot to lose if it didn’t work out,” Faith says.

Credit: Faith Carbon

Their first step was choosing the right slab of wood. They ended up finding a great one on Facebook Marketplace — a great way to source not only secondhand furniture but also the materials to make it.

“When you are furnishing a home, you don’t often think to make the furniture yourself, but we did,” Faith says.

They were looking for the perfect piece of wood because they wanted the coffee table to function as a centerpiece in the living room. “We chose the piece because of its shape and the bark around the edges,” Faith recalls.

After a few initial rounds of sanding, they filled in any holes in the wood with epoxy, and then they sanded the wood and bark until it was smooth to the touch. To bring out its color, they used an oil finish rather than a polyurethane one. “We wanted the table to have a more natural look over a shiny one,” Faith explains.

Credit: Faith Carbon

Lastly, Faith ordered heavy-duty hairpin legs from Amazon and attached them to the bottom of the slab. From start to finish, the project took a few months to complete. Faith says it wasn’t as difficult as she’d anticipated, but it did “require patience and persistence.”

Faith says she’s proud that the table is something that she and Julia created together. “This table represents memories of learning and creating with someone that I love,” she says. “It is literally an image of us that lives in our space.”

Credit: Faith Carbon

Not only that, but because it was made from scratch and keeps its live look, from a tree with its own individual traits, “there is no other piece in the world like it,” Faith says.

To see the coffee table in their space, check out Faith and Julia’s apartment tour.