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Craigslist: A Love Story in Three Point Five Acts (The Final Act)


Um, yeah, so, the last time I talked to you about this project, it was April. I was feeling like it was probably September or October. I searched through my blog archives in the fall, but I didn’t find it. Because I was wrong. It was actually 9 months ago!! These are the things that make me feel old – when time seems to be passing by so quickly that I can’t even keep track.

Have you been waiting for months to read the conclusion of this beautiful saga??

No? You have no idea what I’m talking about? Okay, go read the first part of this here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

And now for the final act.


I have always wanted a big round pedestal table for a coffee table. I mean, BIG. I wanted enough room to play games and do puzzles and spread out projects and books and coffee and ALL THE THINGS.


When I saw the Craigslist ad for the pedestal dining table and chairs, I knew it was perfect. Use two chairs for the front porch, use other chairs for our existing dining room table, and then figure out how to turn the dining table into a coffee table.

In April of last year, we decided to tackle it. I hemmed and hawed about what to do, but Husband just went for it with a hand saw.

cut down pedestal table

That’s how we roll. We are a good complement for each other.


No turning back now. Amazingly, it was perfect.

cut down pedestal table (2)

We reattached the table top to the base.


My plan was to eventually paint it, but we brought it in the house to use right away – just couldn’t wait to have a place to set my coffee in the morning since we bought a sectional on Craigslist and the den had become our morning hangout spot.

Wait. I haven’t told you about the sectional!


Our den was empty for a couple of years. Well, there was a desk with a computer, my Hoosier work space, and, for a brief period, an armoire in the corner where Husband kept some of his clothes. (The things you do for storage in an older home….)

Then one day, my neighbor told me she had found a Pottery Barn sectional on Craigslist and she was on her way to pick it up.

What?! Why had I never thought to search for a sectional on Craigslist? I actually went home and immediately searched for HER sectional on Craigslist. It was fantastic!! Lovely slipcover, great condition, Pottery Barn! Lucky duck!

And so began my search (read: obsession) to find the perfect sectional for our den. (Husband wasn’t sure we actually needed a sectional in the den – or any couch, really, considering we didn’t have a TV, any other furniture, or even a plan for the space. I said, “What if I find something for $250?” Sure, he said, doubtfully.)

The one I loved was pricey for Craigslist standards – $600. I messaged and offered $250. (That’s what I had to work with!) The owner responded kindly that it was a very nice sectional in really great shape, and they just couldn’t take that little for it. It dropped off of Craigslist a few days later.

Then, when I was searching a couple of weeks later (see: obsessed, above), it was back! And for $300!

I messaged and offered $250 again. He accepted!

I was thrilled. Of course, I enlisted the help of Fake Adopted California Dad to help me out. He loves these outings, and he’s always up for an adventure. We drove into Sacramento, optimistic that everything would fit in the back of his truck.


All the cushions had to be removed and put into my car. This is how I drove home.


We had to play Tetris with the main pieces, so this was my view of Fake Adopted California Dad’s truck on the drive home. But, miracle of miracles, it fit!


And it fit in the den perfectly, too. (We misplaced that middle cushion for a couple of days, but it turned up in the back of Fake Adopted California Dad’s truck.)

(Note the lack of table.)


Even Molly liked it.

ACT III (continued)

So, after cutting down the table, we moved it into the den. It was great. I still hadn’t decided on a paint color, but it was totally functional.

Except every time I wiped it, varnish flecked off. And one time I found pieces of it on The Girl’s face and in her hair. (Who even knows??) And it was just kind of yucky.

Two weekends ago, I decided it was time. I would sand this puppy down and leave it raw. I still hadn’t decided on a paint color, but I was tired of the flaky finish.

How hard could it be?


sanding table

First I attacked the top surface with the electric sander. I had to stop shortly after I started and bike to the hardware store to get a tougher grit. And keep changing hands. And taking breaks.

I sanded. And sanded. And sanded.

Then it was time for the side of the table top and the pedestal and the legs.

scraping off finish

I used my favorite orange stripper (last seen here) and an old pharmacy rewards card (like a credit card) to scrape away the finish. It worked beautifully on the flat surfaces, but not so much on the legs and claw feet.

This is were Husband came in. He worked tirelessly to sand the legs by hand. We bought a different kind of stripper (which required us to wear fancy orange chemical gloves). We used toothpicks and toothbrushes and kebab skewers to clean out stripper in the grooves. We sanded. And sanded. And sanded. And then Husband sanded and sanded and sanded some more.

When we finally got all of the old finish off, I was in love with the look of the raw grain of the wood, so we decided not to stain or paint. Instead Husband rubbed Danish oil (3 coats) into the wood to bring out the wood grain and keep its natural color.

husband reassembling

reassembled base

Two nights ago, Husband brought in all the pieces and reassembled the table.

The results?


Perfect. I love it. I love the legs and feet. I love the bead trim around the side. I love the beautiful grain of the top. I love it.


And I am so so so happy to have our coffee table back. It’s beautiful and it’s the right height and it’s big and WE DID IT and it’s just perfect.

Except maybe now I think it needs a rug.

I guess I’m off to scour Craigslist! I’ll let you know what I find….


PS – This is what I found yesterday morning when I got back home after dropping The Boy off at school. Husband does not handle clutter very well. And, admittedly, I’ve been hoarding library books the last few weeks and leaving them everywhere around the house. This was his solution. Ha!



4 thoughts on “Craigslist: A Love Story in Three Point Five Acts (The Final Act)

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