When geeks do home improvement

So, despite the Adorable Baby having yet another mysterious “rash with fever” this week (and being dubbed “The Measel” as a result), I have undertaken a bunch of home improvement projects. I confess, I read that Japanese decluttering book everyone’s been talking about and I finally decided to clean my act up and get rid of a bunch of crap.

I do hate throwing out furniture, though, which explains why we have a 30 year old wing chair in the game room, so tattered that the fabric is falling off of the arms. We bought new living room furniture when we first moved into this house in ’07, but we bought BIG furniture and it’s just not working out for our current style. And since I can’t stand to throw away a perfectly good set of furnishings, the pieces have been shoved in odd places and repurposed. The cabinets that enclosed the TV are now holding homeschooling supplies in the dining room, the bookshelf is being painted white and hauled upstairs to hold knick knacks, and the huge couch is currently the preferred place for the kids to zonk out while watching tv in the game room.

My newest and most fun idea, however, involves the coffee table. It’s got four drawers underneath it and it’s heavy wood, but the top was just laminate over chipcore and the kids have destroyed it. We’ve had a lot of fun gaming sessions on that table, though, which gave me the idea of making it a “gaming table” for the sheer geek chic of it.

The top is wrecked, so I can happily sand it off or just replace it with a thinner piece of wood. My plan is to strip off and sand down the wooden sides and paint the thing a nice color– maybe a sage green? That seems gamer-friendly. Then I want to put some nice trim framing the top, painted to match, and the piece de resistance . . . I want to put down Dungeons and Dragons tiles across the top to make a permanent playspace, sealing it in with a thick coat of polyurethane.

I’m probably going to choose an outdoor tileset, plenty of trees and dirt roads and whatnot. (And, shhh, I may use a Pathfinder set if they’re a better fit) . . . but I think it will be fun. The drawers underneath are perfect for storing books and minifigs and dice, and impromptu games won’t even need a battle map. Best of all, it will give the kids a play space for their other toys, too– you may not know it, but Playmobil figurines make excellent D&D characters, just on a slightly modified scale. You can arm them in so many ways and they have LOTS of dragons these days!

I have always loved turning furniture into these sorts of things– the boys’ room has a dresser that hubs and I painted to resemble a jungle adventurers shipping crate, complete with decoupaged travel stickers from Timbuktu and Egypt and India and maps of exotic locales glued to the top and polyurethaned in place. The years have worn the poly thin in places and the maps are a bit battered, but that just adds authenticity, right? 😉

It’s a lot of work, but I think it will make an admirable table for just having fun and goofing around with the kids. I just have to make sure to make the polyurethane nice and thick– don’t want any moisture ruining the tiles! Who says your house has to look like Martha Stewart lives there, right? She doesn’t. I live here, and I game. 😉


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