The Study Tables

Alrighty, up next in the Library: The Study Tables.

In conjunction with the bookshelves we designed, we designed a grouping of study tables – to round out the Library experience.

Values for this project:

  • We wanted something “built-in” to juxtapose the influx of furniture we’d bring into the room – something that would look congruent with the oak molding on the walls and the oak bookshelves.
  • Maximum seating / minimum space. Cram as many students in as possible and let them study to their hearts’ content. Who knows, maybe if we cram them close enough together, osmosis will make them all smarter! 😉
  • Computer friendly experience. So, yes, these tables are “wired” to plug in your laptop.
  • And, as we realized part way through, an elegant solution to filling the awkward middle of the room.

We used the 3″ thick beams we got out of our friend’s barn. They were chewed to hell by termites so we couldn’t use them in their raw state. And that would probably have been too much wood in the room anyway.

Each table was designed in an “L” configuration. So the beams needed to be mitered and joined at the right angle.

Attempt #1: Pegging.

That didn’t work. So, we screwed it. Literally. Less tidy but still hidden. That’s when we realized all the boards weren’t exactly the same thickness. Of course.

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Chiseling to slope the difference out.

Fortunately all of these set backs – the termite chews, the visible “toe screws” (contractor lingo), and the chiseled wood to create a smooth surface – fed nicely into The Plan. The Plan being: clad the study tables in sheet metal! 🙂

After an intricate nail pattern, we spray painted the tables gold – to emulate brass. Much later in the process, we worked further on this “treatment” by introducing wood stain. We used an old rag coated in stain from refinishing our hardwood floors and – for lack of a better word – flounced it across the metal.

Flounced (definition): (when used in metal-working) to beat across a surface with sharp, quick strokes of random duration and size to achieve an “old brass” look.

As in: We flounced the stain rag across the metal, resulting in an impressively accurate reproduction of old brass. A few stressful coats of polyurethane later, it was as good as new… but old.

… Before the flouncing, we got out the ol’ chicken wire. In my post on the bookshelves, I explained that chicken wire lined the back of the shelves. One shelf back doubles as the support of a study table – meaning the customers sitting there will look directly at chicken wire and the back of those books. The other study table looks at a wall – so we made a cut-out in the wall and hung chicken wire to create visual continuity. Again, all part of The Plan. Man, we’re good!

With all those steps done, it seems like we’re just a simple install away from the end, right?

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Wrong.

While our first study table was an obvious choice – against the bookshelf and along the wood wall – the second table was a bit more… complicated. We thought it should go Here (see above) but, after setting it there, we realized… it didn’t.

The floor was SO out of level that an 8ft study table did nothing to give a sense of stability to the situation. It only emphasized the fact that our building is tumbling down hill, quickly. So, we did what anyone else would do after already MAKING the damn thing…

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We looked for a new place to put it!

Not an easy feat for an 8ft by 30inch table in a tiny room with several stationary pieces of infrastructure!

I can’t even remember the number of hours we contemplated this. An entire day was spent moving the L around the room in various configurations. And while Cowboy Fitz makes it look easy in the picture above, that table is HEAVY and AWKWARD. That picture was staged — and probably around 1am so we were a bit delirious!

Finally we had to go to the storage area and bring back all our furniture. I’m not kidding. We couldn’t figure out what to do and there were SO many factors to keep in mind. In addition to these study tables, we needed to make room for:

  • a couch and coffee table
  • a game table and chairs
  • a desk
  • a rocking chair
  • and a couple of smaller sitting scenes with tables

… Not to mention the bookcases, sconces, chandelier, entrance fence, and all our books and antiques.

We did it to ourselves.

And, as you can only do when you’re the one to blame, we figured out a creative solution.

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Make it smaller!

Yes, that’s right, folks. We figured out where to put the “L”… minus a couple of feet. A few modifications later…

NOW we’re ready for the final install!

Alright!

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Pretty representative of the final Library! Woo hoo!!

So, there it is! The second L ended up smack in the middle of the room. Go bold or go home, we say! In fact, it’s the perfect solution to what ended up being a bizarrely awkward Middle of a Room. We couldn’t figure out ANY piece of furniture to put there (and we tried them ALL… several times). So – nothing fits in the middle of the room and the L fits nowhere. Hmmm… It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

…Just Fitz with a saw!

Of note in the above picture… you can see 1 of the study lights (green shade) on the far right. They are SUPER cute – perfect library lights. Below the lamp are 2 plugs for computers. A similar set up exists on the back of the bookshelf at the front right of the picture.

You have to come visit to get a better sense!

A few more posts to go and I’ll have officially re-told the entire Library story. Hooray! Thanks for sticking with me!

 

 

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