The Process: A Rustic X Console Table

About a month ago, I went out of town for business for a few days. When I returned, Chip blew me away with how far along he was on his little sister’s graduation and birthday gift from us. With a recent purchase of a 10 inch miter saw, we knew that we wanted to create something for Mary Claire that would last a lifetime as she begins this new season. A handcrafted piece of furniture seemed just the right thing!

We sent her to Ana White’s blog and had her choose anything she wanted (that seemed within reason of our skill level). She chose this amazing Rustic X Console table that looks straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog.

Ana White Rustic X Console

For those of you who have never encountered Ana White, she puts together free step-by-step plans for every kind of furniture imaginable. It’s pretty darn awesome.

Although I missed the first half of the build, I got to join Chip for the second half of the process.

Here’s a run-down:

Yes, I used the miter saw. And yes, it was slightly scary at first. But I quickly got used to it… and really loved the efficiency. I also learned how to use the Kreg pocket hole jig. Power tools are getting to be pretty awesome in my book.

After finalizing the build, except for attaching the tabletop to the base, we took it outside for a staining party. We mixed our own stain to get the color we wanted – a rustic brown with hints of grey. It was a combo of Varathane’s Early American and Sunbleached. You can see the test staining here in the bottom right! Don’t mind the orange paint – that was from another project that I’ll post about soon.

Rustic X Console Staining

A couple tips when staining:

1. We prefer water-based stain. It washes off easier. Still wear gloves – you won’t regret it. Or else you’ll smell like paint thinner for weeks…

2. Stain your piece of furniture on top of pallets. They will catch the drips, but also keep the furniture stable and off of the ground.

Rustic X Console staining on pallets

After the stain had time to set, we used a matte finish polyurethane to protect it and give it a hard coating without the shine. To me, shine doesn’t scream rustic. We had never seen the matte finish before, but we were so pleased with the result! You can hardly tell that it has anything coating it!

Although it’s still drying and curating (takes about a week), we couldn’t wait to see it in its new home, so brought it to Mary Clarie’s bedroom. We ooohed and ahhed for quite a while to be honest.

Final Rustic X Console

Those X’s (while the most difficult part) are my favorite part! They add so much character to the piece.

Final Rustic X console x

As soon as it is finished and styled, I’ll make sure to post photos of the final product. More than anything, we’re just thrilled to see how our first big woodworking project turned out. We keep talking about how special it will be for MC to tell her kids one day that their Uncle Chip built the piece. I just love family heirlooms and things with meaning.

Now, I’m ready for one for our own home to pass down!


(Re)claimed Pallet Wine Racks

Our next woodworking project is officially checked off the list. Today we successfully finished and hung our rustic wine racks made out of reclaimed pallet wood!

Pallet wine rack

Our dining room walls were feeling a little bare and lonely. With Chip’s new deal of “You find what you want to make, and we’ll do it,” I quickly set to find something cheap but lovely to fill the space. We came across pallet wine racks on Etsy, which I loved! Fortunately, we live in a neighborhood where pallets can be found on a daily basis.

Now… “claiming” them for ourselves… Ready for a fun story?

We saw two great condition pallets in the garage of a house being built in our neighborhood on our way to lunch. We decided we would just grab them on our way back to the house, as one of the managers of the building company said we could take them if we ever saw them laying around. On our way back in, of course the garage was closed, as the builders were painting the garage door that day.

I thought I’d be brave and ask them politely if we could take them off their hands… you know… for “crafts.” They would totally understand my plea, right?

He said no… and I realized he wasn’t opposed to crafts, but really he hadn’t understood a word I just said. Super.

Now came in my Spanish skills… which are about as rustic as the pallets. I asked him if it would be easier for me to speak in rough Spanish than in perfect English. He nodded his head vigorously with a grin. Alright… here goes.

Even with my Spanish Spainglish, he understood and immediately opened the garage door for us and even offered to carry the pallets to the car! Success!

Looks like a bit of Spanish can get you a long way in the DIY world! Yeehaw!

Meet: the pallet (complete with a bit of spray paint from another project… stay tuned).


With a couple broken boards on one side, we pried them off and replaced them and cut off each end of the pallet with a jigsaw.


We sanded, sanded and sanded some more until the once dirty and splintery pallet looked like this:

Unstained pallet wine rack

We finished by staining with my favorite stain, which can be found here.

One thing I’ve realized is that my DIY habit is: “Let’s just go for it.” However, Chip’s is meticulous and detailed, which is ultimately a much better decision in the end, especially when you’re hanging large, heavy pieces of wood filled with glass bottles on the wall. Err?

Empty wall

After much measuring and leveling, we stepped back to enjoy this view!

Dining room

The pallet wine racks were the perfect addition to the big empty wall in the dining room! I did a little dance because I was so excited about these.

Wine racks

Now we just need to fill the rest of the racks up with empty bottles. Any takers? I’m thinking wine night at our house soon.

Great news is that we have a couple other pallets left over!

What pallet projects have you been eying? We’d love to put them to use in a great way!

The bench is finished!

Remember when I mentioned that Chip is following in his grandfather’s footsteps and beginning woodworking? Well, I’m a proud wifey, as his first project is officially complete!

Bench front

Doesn’t it look pretty darn awesome? I’d say for the first time with a jigsaw, he did a bang-up job. And in more ways than one. After it looked like this:

2012 Woodworking

He let me take a chain and hammer to it to beat it up. No offense to the perfect wood, but a little “distressed” is more my style.

I was having a hard time picking out fabric and paint colors, so we just followed the token Carnes’ colors and went with teal. It shows up in pretty much every room in our house, so we knew it would match anywhere. While at my home away from home (aka Hobby Lobby), we came across this lovely fabric, which matched oh so nicely with the teal and brown in our favorite living room chair.

Fabric with chair

After a fabric decision was made, we visited Home Depot for some friendly, neighborhood home store advice. Like I mentioned previously, decisions aren’t quite my thing, so getting help in the paint section is the way to go. Let’s be honest: too many color options for me.

We decided on a Glidden “Cappuccino White” color match to purchase a $3 color sample of the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint. It didn’t seem like a lot of paint, but ended up being more than enough for our project!

We already had wood stain at home from this Christmas craft, so decided to save some moolah and use that as the undercoat before layering the paint.

Wood stain

After two coats of stain, the bench looked like this:

Stained bench

While the stain dried, I took to the seat of the bench for some upholstery. Now, the book I got for Chip for Christmas had details all about building the bench, but nothing about upholstering the top. I tried my hand at upholstering our dining room chairs, so figured I could do the bench without too much trouble. While it wasn’t terrible, the chairs were certainly much easier, as they already had all of the pieces, and I just had to recover them.

For the bench, I purchased foam & batting at Hobby Lobby (always use the 40% off coupon AND they recently created an app for it – oh happy day!!)

However, the foam wasn’t quite long enough, so after cutting it to size with an electric knife (who knew it had more use than just for carving turkey?!), we glued the two pieces together with… wood glue and hot glue. Not exactly what is suggested – spray adhesive is best – but when I get my mind set on a project, there’s nothing stopping me. Definitely not always the best thing.

Foam for bench

With extra batting, we created a sort of “band-aid” for the spot where the two pieces came together, and it worked pretty well. However, next time I’ll definitely be sure to have spray adhesive on hand.

Foam band aid

After cutting the layer of batting and fabric to size, Chip tried out the upholstery side of things and quickly decided he’d leave the finishing steps of the woodworking projects to me. His reaction was: “I’ve never been good at wrapping gifts…” That’s ok, Chipper, we understand.


After some tugging, staple-gunning and careful “wrapping” of the corners, the seat was finished!

Best suggestion: start with the corners and short ends – it will make your life a whole lot easier.

We beat the wood up some more with a chain and hammer and layered on a thin coat of the paint. It was a pretty good system. I’d paint, and Chip would follow with a rag and wipe down various spots to let the stain shine through. Finally, we both used sandpaper to sand the edges and other parts of the wood. We think the antiquey-ness worked out quite well!

Painted bench

After waiting a bit and screwing the piano hinges back onto the seat, we had a finished bench! Ta da!

Final Bench  Final Bench Side

I truly couldn’t be more proud of Chip. And now we have an awesome bench to store shoes, blankets, etc. The best thing (as cheesy as it may be) is that we made it together! I love to envision passing it down in our family one day. Yea, yea… cheeseball.

Here’s the real dilemma: now Chip needs a new woodworking job, as he’s already itching to make something else! Any easy suggestions? Do share!

Bench you’ll want one, too!

Watch out for sawdust, everyone, because we’ve got a master woodworker on our hands! Chip has been talking about woodworking for a while now, so for Christmas, Santa brought him quite an array of tools and woodworky things.

I got to be Santa’s helper and wrap most of his presents, so knew what he was going to open before we gathered around the tree for some fun. Needless to say, I think I was more giddy than him was while he opened! I kept envisioning incredible furniture and kitchen redesigns with his master carpentry!

Christmas gifts

To add to the fun, I gave him this book, which has already proven to be incredibly helpful! It’s full of easy woodworking projects that require minimal tools and experience. Sounds like a win to me!

We settled on a bench with an openable top to start. Seemed simple and useful enough, so off to Home Depot he went!

Hall bench

Pardon the terrible iPhone photo…

His grandfather was a carpenter and built their home with his own two hands, so Chip’s got some magic woodworking genes we think. One thing we know is that PawPaw is looking down on Chip and smiling while he begins this new hobby. Home Depot has become his new favorite place.

Here’s the man in all his glory!

Master Woodworker

We’ve decided that Chip will create the woodworking projects, and I’ll finish them. The problem I’m finding is that if you know me at all, you know I’m a terrible decision maker. Having to decide the location for the bench, the color of the wood, and upholstery for the top (that’s one decision I have made is that I want it to be upholstered on top so it’s comfy to sit on while putting shoes on), is woah tough for me.

It’s already pretty far along, as mentioned in my 2012 review, so decisions are a comin, people.

2012 Woodworking

First things first: location. But that’s not nearly as fun as colors and fabric!

Any thoughts on what fabric to use? Have you seen any benches on Pinterest lately that have really caught your eye? Do share!