Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vintage Suitcase Coffee Table

Last summer while cruising through the flea market in Wimberley, I picked up this awesome
  vintage steamer trunk


For awhile it stood in a corner of my dining room.  When we got a new sofa for the family room, I decided to try using the trunk as a coffee table.  

I had a set of coffee table legs I'd gotten at the digs a long time ago with the intention of some day using them to create a table or footstool.  The coffee table in our sitting room measures 19" from the floor.   With the trunk measuring only 9" thick and the legs 5", the table would have been too short.  I decided to attempt to build a simple table base.  I measured the bottom of the steamer trunk...

and then drew up a plan.

A trip to my local big box home improvement store was in order.  One 8' length of 1" x 4" pine and piece of plywood were cut to size, costing only 25 cents per cut.  I then purchased some wood screws, wood glue, and 4 leg brackets.


After cleaning up the workbench, I gathered all my materials and set to work. 

I laid out the basic box frame,

drilled pilot holes for the wood screws that would attach the frame pieces together, squeezed out a bead of wood glue, and screwed in the wood screws.

Next, I attached the plywood top, 

again, drilling pilot holes, adding a bead of glue, and securing the top in place. 

I was happy with the fit of the steamer case on the tabletop, but wanted a much cleaner, more attractive, finish.  

I opted to do an upholstery finish to cover up the wood frame.  I picked up some polyester batting and a durable fabric.  

I wrapped the table top first with the batting and then the fabric.  Pulling the fabric until taut, I then stapled it in place.    

Next, I attached the leg brackets and screwed the legs in place.

With the table base now complete, and providing an extra 5" in height, simply stacking the steamer trunk on top finished up the project.  I'm thrilled with my one-of-a-kind, vintage steamer trunk, coffee table!

This really is the perfect table for our family room.  When opened up, the steamer has some wonderful storage compartments.  The top section has the original hangers on which we hang blankets for snuggling on chilly nights; the bottom for games, cords, remotes, etc, all of which can be neatly tucked away.


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