toronto apartment tour 2020: part 4 – the dining room, a diy success story

Facebook Marketplace find #2: the dining table set

(Technically this was the first thing we sourced for our place but I already wrote the living room post.)

The dining area in our apartment is not huge, so we knew that we wanted a round dining table so it wouldn’t overwhelm the space. Because I am who I am, I didn’t just want a round table – I really wanted one with an extension leaf so the table could also be as functional as possible without taking up too much room. I looked at retail options for these tables for inspiration but damn, tables are expensive! Also chairs! So much money that I was just…not willing to spend.

I was doing a lot of specific searches in Facebook Marketplace for “extendable round table”, “round table with leaf”, and “circle table chairs extendable”. I had actually found a listing that looked promising based on these searches, but then it fell through because the guy’s dad had already sold the set.

Between all my targeted searches I was also just tossing out searches for “table” into the wild and sifting through the many varied results. Then there she was…a photo of the chairs front and center, a tabletop hidden away in the background, and no mention of the fact that it was extendable.

I got Mike’s stamp of approval which honestly wasn’t hard because it had everything we were looking for and it was only $40. We picked up the set from Burlington and brought it back to my parents’ place. Once we got it out of the car we were able to confirm that there was a leaf stored in the table itself so that was excellent. We spent the next 3 days sanding, refinishing, and sanding everything again because the original lacquer made the wood look like a ghostly plastic version of itself.

We definitely did not know what we were signing up for when we started because we ended up needing both my parents to help with the sanding (and briefly my brother on the first day before he then became suspiciously absent from the house). We didn’t bother with a stain colour (because at that stage we simply couldn’t be bothered) so the end product is just natural wood sanded and sealed with 3 coats of polyurethane.

I’m not going to try to recount our process in detail but I will leave you with these lessons that we learned:

  1. If your parents pop their heads in and ask if you need help, say yes right away and not two hours later when you’ve realized how much sanding is actually needed.
  2. Tack cloth is your best friend. Buy 5 of them. Buy 10 in fact. You can never have too much tack cloth if you’re sanding stuff.
  3. Sometimes you don’t see that you missed taking off a spot of the original finish until you have already done the first coat of the new finish because of how light the wood is.
  4. Don’t leave your upholstery fabric out in the sun because it can bleach it real fast. Ask me how I know this.

Reupholstering the seats were honestly a lot of fun (see: staple guns!) and also surprisingly cheap since you don’t need that much fabric. It’s also a nice and affordable way of changing up how your furniture looks without putting in too much effort or money.

The finishing touch on the table was to install these spring draw catches on the bottoms of the two leaves so that we can lock them in place when we aren’t using the table in extended mode and not accidentally pull the table open.

Facebook Marketplace find #3: the floor lamp

There’s no overhead lighting in the living room/dining room area of the apartment so I was on the hunt for a floor lamp with 3 bulbs so that we can have lots of light. We almost bought the HEKTAR lamp when we were at IKEA back in August but decided against it because we felt that the dark grey would be too industrial/heavy visually for our space.

Luckily obtaining a floor lamp wasn’t really a priority item for us so I was able to take my time and stalk Facebook Marketplace for a month until I saw the HEKTAR lamp we liked but in a discontinued beige colour for only $20! I actually didn’t even know that it ever came in this colour but it’s perfect for our space since it blends into the wall. The top switch was broken so the light was doomed to be on permanently but we solved that by putting in smart bulbs so we could control it through our Google Home.

Lamp in its new spot!

The wall behind the dining table was looking particularly bare so I crocheted this large format houndstooth piece. The “dowel” is actually 3 thick cardboard tubes with clothesline rope wrapped around to give it a ~ rustic ~ look. Also to cover up the fact that it’s just cardboard tubes.

What’s next for our apartment? Well, we are still debating what to do with the space under the breakfast counter. It seems like a shame to not put some sort of storage/shelving in that area because we aren’t using it otherwise and we could always use more storage — but I don’t want this corner to look cluttered with the table, chairs, and lots of ~stuff. If you have any ideas on what we can do with this space, let me know!

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