The tale of a thrifted dining set


Photo from Industrial Lane craigslist ad

After months of couch eating in my tiny Chicago suburb apartment, I finally have the space again to have a dining table. With a budget nowhere near my dream CB2 tables (Paradigm Dining Table and Dylan Dining Table), and my former run-down undergrad dining table long since donated to my older brother, I decided to dive into the world of Craigslist with the plan of attempting my first ever furniture DIY project.

I found a few tables, emailed a few people, but nothing was quite right. Most of the tables I liked were too big or too expensive, but then I stumbled upon something interesting. It was a listing for a “funky industrial chic chemistry lab science table” posted by Industrial Lane Vintage Store (check them out!) for a whopping $50. I looked at the pictures, and was pretty much sold that this was exactly what Mike and I needed for our new place. I had to have one.


Mike and I traveled out to a warehouse where the tables (and lots of other wonderful industrial things) were being stored for sale, browsed the selection and settled on a rough blue-legged table with hilarious high school-aged graffiti. Somehow, the owners of the warehouse managed to pry the legs off the table for transport, and miraculously, the table made it home in one piece. I knew the bright blue paint had to go, so we purchased some 60-grit sandpaper and got to work. After a few hours of sweaty, mostly Mike work, we were able to remove the bright blue paint from the legs and underside.

Next, I began the hunt for chairs. I knew that the chairs had to have as much character as the table itself, but also didn’t want to spend a fortune on them. My new hair stylist had recently recommended a flea market/antique warehouse, Front Range Mercantile, in Longmont just north of Boulder. I didn’t have any idea what I was in for, but decided to check it out anyways. I was barely in the place for one whole minute before I spotted perfection: two distressed red french country cafe chairs for a $19.50 a piece. I paid for them immediately (so that none of the other old ladies in the shop could steal my find) and then I continued wandering around the market.


Now, I can honestly say that I had never spent any significant amount of time in a place like this before; however, after about five minutes, I was hooked. There was no going back. I was going to dig around in every single spot until I found two more chairs for my epic dining set. It wasn’t until I got to the last aisle that something caught my eye: a wood dining bench marked at $28. I wasn’t entirely sure about it and ended up leaving it even after staring at it and sitting on it for a good 20 minutes.

Luckily, my more furniture experienced mother was on her way in town, and the very next day, I dragged her and Mike with me back to the Front Range Mercantile. The bench was still there hidden behind the large dining table and shelves I found it by the day before, and after showing my mom and Mike the bench (and the price tag), the decision was made: the bench was coming home with us.

In my righteous opinion, the thrifted dining set turned out fantastically well. I absolutely refuse to get rid of the etched high school graffiti on the top of the table (someone went full mean girls on my table and it will keep me amused for quite some time), but I do still plan on flexing more of my DIY muscles by finishing the legs and re-painting the underside of the table sometime in the future.

 IMG_0917   IMG_0921