About 3 years ago, a small group of staff members at my school started up a little committee to work on the asthetics of our school and more specifically our staff room. None of us really know anything about Feng Shui, so as a joke, we call our committee, Feng Shui Our Way. We began chipping away at the new look about 3 years ago, when we purchased paint and spent several hours repainting the entire staff room. Slowly we began replacing furniture and upgrading other elements, but it is definitely a work in progress.
A few months ago, we removed our commercial coffee maker from our staff room and replaced it with a couple of Tassimos and a Keurig. I think everyone is pretty happy with the new system. You bring your own pods and prepare a fresh cup of coffee with the touch of a button, whenever you wish. No more coin operated machines. The downside is that all of the new coffee makers take up much more counter space than the single commercial unit.
The solution …. a coffee station. Our committee decided to create a coffee station that would be set aside from the main counter space and allow staff to access the machines without so much congestion in the main part of the staff kitchen. We spent several weeks searching kijiji for something used and resonably priced that could serve as our new coffee station. Although I was excited about the concept, I was not finding a furniture piece that really “spoke to me”. We actually narrowed it down and decided to go and take a look at what we deemed to be the best option. I contacted the owner, but unfortantely was not getting a response. I tried several times and then decided to check-out the kijiji site for another look. It was then that I found exactly what I had been envisioning.
I found this antique dining buffet and the man was asking $200 for it. It seemed like a reasonable price and I loved the curves and detailed workmanship and was happy that it was taller and thus more of a bar or counter-top height than that of the dresser we were looking at. When I called, he was excited that I was making a serious inquiry and really just wanted it gone. He said that if I’d take it that day, he’d give it to us for $100. It was the perfect piece and I didn’t even need to negotiate. I would have happily paid the $200, but was certainly not going to argue with the $100 offer. I used the “stow and go” feature in our van to make the seats disappear into the floor and a colleage and I went to check it out. For the most part it was in good shape. It needed to be sanded, a broken piece glued back on the foot of one leg and a I had to cut a small piece off one of the drawer to match the broken part on the other side of the drawer. (See the detailed carving on the bottom of the middle front left drawer and how it is missing on the right side ~ too bad.) We also cut a circular hole in the top (that was hard) for the cords. We wanted the finished coffee station to have a nice clean look and that meant trying to hide the cords, if possible. They will feed down the top and out the back and hopefully be virtually out of sight when its all pulled together. All of the preparation and repairs were quite simple and almost a non-issue because we planned to paint the piece out black.
I sanded and repaired the buffet at home and then just before spring break we spent a few lunch hours and evenings priming and painting. Overall it turned out quite beautiful, but I must admit that the top surface did not cover that well. I have painted many pieces of furniture over the years and have never had this problem, but we just couldn’t seem to get a perfectly smooth finish. I’m not sure if there was some kind of permanent damage to the wood or what, but it just kept coming out a bit “pebbly”. After much sanding and re-application, we decided it would just have to do. The plan is to purchase a piece of plexiglass to cover the surface, as there will be lots of wear and tear and spills and we want it to hold up long term. With the plexiglass top as well as the coffee makers sitting on top, I hope it won’t be that noticable.
Although we don’t have it set-up yet and the plexiglass is yet to be ordered, we are getting close. Ideally it takes about 20 days for paint to cure properly. We had used an oil based primer followed by a latex paint. We decided that we would give it the full 20 days to cure. We are really hoping the finished piece will be durable and won’t chip easily. Here is where we are at so far!