The Greg Test


So when you’re young, broke, and are new to the world of home ownership, there are three magical words that bring joy to your ears- hand me downs.  After we settled into the house and had unpacked a majority of the boxes, we soon found ourselves with a lot of house and a lot less furniture.  There was literally an echo in our living room when you spoke.  So, when Chris’ mom mentioned that she’d like to give us her coffee table, we jumped at the offer.

I couldn’t remember what the table looked like exactly when we initially accepted her gracious offer.  I was a little nervous not knowing what I had agreed to take on but, honestly, anything would be better than the cardboard box we were currently using as a makeshift coffee table (sadly, I’m not joking).  Chris seemed convinced that I would love it but his sense of my likes/dislikes are sometimes questionable… hence the awful hot pink shirt I was gifted with one birthday.  See below.

The minute I saw the table, I loved it.  It had a great shape and had the naturally distressed look I love.  I even had the in-laws blessing to repaint the table and distress it more (jackpot!).  Then I heard that it was hand built by Chris’ grandfather.  I was in awe.  I couldn’t wait to incorporate this table into our home.  It really is an incredible treasure which is that much better because of the love and sweat that were put into it by our own family.  And it looks perfect in our living room!


For starters, that shirt was part of a joke that my wife apparently didn’t get.

Anyway, I can trace my craftiness back to my grandfather. He’s an expert craftsman and a brilliant artist, and he had six kids. I don’t have any kids, but I know that they are remarkably destructive given their relatively small size, so everything he made was built to last and had to pass “The Greg Test”, which means my NCAA champion shot-putter Uncle Greg literally jumped on it. If it doesn’t break, you can probably use it to hold your house up. I don’t like having flimsy things in my house, so I leapt at the opportunity to have the coffee table he made. If a tornado rips through my house, I’m grabbing onto that table.

When Julie puts her feet up on something, she tends to kick it like she’s going for a field goal first. This table had withstood the years of abuse my sister and I had thrown at it- it was a bench, a footrest, a ramp, a stage, and a slide- so I knew it would survive my accident-prone wife. It’s also huge, so there’s plenty of room for all the “decorator pieces” she can handle.

I liked the table as-is, but Julie wanted to “distress” it. I don’t know if she missed the story about using it as a slide but trust me, this thing was pretty distressed as it was. Fortunately no one was attached to the paint job and we had my parents’ blessing to repaint it. I dulled the finished, sprayed a light coat of primer, and brushed on a strong, oil-based flat black paint. Julie sanded down the edges to finish off the “distressed” look.

I’m not attached to a lot of things, but this table is really special to me. Believe it or not, I can pinpoint my earliest memory, and the table is in it. It’s handmade by my grandfather and stands as an inspiration of what can be built if you put care into your work. It’s built to last, so I like to think that it will end up in one of my kids’ houses one day. And Julie finally got to distress something.



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Filed under Homegrown Furniture, Living Room

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