The Kitchen Companion

Surprises are AWESOME. I love surprises. Love being surprised, and love surprising others. So when someone recently asked me to make a custom side table to surprise his wife for her birthday, I was really, really excited. Not only did I have a chance to be creative with some barn wood and reclaimed pine pieces, but I was part of a covert operation. Heck, YEAH.

But there’s a problem. I get so excited that it’s hard for me to act normal around the person who is being surprised.

“Hey! How was your trip?” I ask the wife at a party this past weekend. Uh Oh, I think when I see her walk into the room. Talk about ANYTHING but her birthday gift. Meanwhile, I’m carrying on an inner dialogue with a slightly crazed look on my face. I MADE YOU A TABLE! YIPPEE! AND IT HAS A SECRET TRAY. FUN, FUN. IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! YAYAYAYAYAYAY.

I’ve been told I have a horrible poker face. My emotions are always splattered across my face and in my body language, making it hard to conceal how I really feel about things. So when I have a surprise for someone or I know something that needs to remain a surprise, I usually avoid said person until the surprise is no longer a surprise. Because I know myself.

Yesterday, I got the text that Operation Birthday Kitchen Companion was a success. The husband did an awesome job decorating it with other gifts and Christmas lights:


I created this piece almost a month ago, and fell in love with it unexpectedly. Going back through the photos rekindled that.

The project started while hanging out in the above kitchen a few months ago. I was perched on the radiator as we talked, so when the husband said to me later, “Hey, do you remember where you were sitting last time you were over? Think you could make a table for that area? We want something for our toaster oven and can’t find exactly what we’re looking.” I knew what he was talking about.  Challenge accepted.

But I had a hard time coming up with the design. I know the decor of this couple’s home, and the piece had to be something that meshed well with their style. Once I started building, it worked itself out. The frame is out of reclaimed pine stained in a dark mahogany, with the imperfections of the pine becoming more apparent with the dark stain, giving it character. The shelving pieces are 200-year old barn wood slabs, secured from underneath, giving the allusion of floating shelves. The shelf under the main tabletop becomes a removable wine tray (with a reclaimed metal wine rack):


Reclaimed cabinet handles complete the tray.  And I found these really cool antique gutter holders in a store in Vermont, but haven’t been able to figure out how to incorporate them in a piece until this one. By sliding them on a recycled metal plate and drilling the plate to the wood, the gutter holders become pot holders, wine bottle/beer bottle opener holders, or towel holders.


Wine bottles can be stored on the tray table:


…But if she just wants a tray, the bottle rack easily pops out.


Happy Birthday, Lizzie! And this is why I was a complete tool when I saw you this past weekend. Well, more of a tool than usual.


Operation Birthday Gift: I promise I won’t spill the beans. I just may avoid you for awhile. Please email me with your gift idea!



About Mel

My name is Mel, and I spend my time living, working and playing on the east coast. I'm a reclaimed wood artist who loves to continually find ways to repurpose wood and give it new life. "Nature Calls: Reclaimed Wood Designs" is my business dedicated to doing that! Thanks for stopping by!
This entry was posted in Reclaimed wood and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s