Dads by Design

Husbands. Dads. Sharing Our (Mis)Adventures in Home Renovation and Parenthood.

Building a Modern DIY Coffee Table

Jason and Brian from Dads by Design smiling in front of DIY coffee table

When we decided to redo the living room a new round coffee table was a must. We’re not currently in the market to replace our sectional and a round coffee table is a much better fit than what we had previously (no corners for toddlers to whack their heads on!). Fast forward to 2020 and BAM, COVID-19! It seemed like nearly every retailer’s coffee tables were either on insane backorder and if we did find something that would arrive before winter 2020, it just wouldn’t work for our space. And that’s where the idea for a DIY coffee table began…

Once I discovered this coffee table at Wayfair, I thought, “we could probably build something for less than that list price.” Luckily, I convinced Brian to attempt DIY our table, even though we’ve never built furniture before. Full disclosure, we actually built this table twice because our first attempt was… well, terrible. As I said, we’d never built furniture before, so we were bound to make mistakes. That’s DIY, right? 😉

Here are our plans and process for the second successful DIY coffee table.

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Hiking During Our Staycation: Family-Friendly Trails

For Father’s Day this year, we gave ourselves the gift of outdoor adventure. We bought a hiking backpack, or as Sydney now lovingly calls it the “packpack.” We broke it in over Father’s Day weekend by hiking the Living Room Trail, a right of passage for Salt Lake City residents, a hike that neither of us had done after living here for 3+ decades!

Like everyone else, thanks to COVID-19, our 2020 vacation travel plans were canceled. We were planning to take Sydney to Disney World for the first time earlier this spring. Instead last week we both took time off, took a hike every morning, built a coffee table in the afternoon during naptime (more to come on that soon), and had lots of backyard playtime.

The major takeaway? Sydney loves hiking. Who can blame her? She has two grown men carrying her around, delivering snacks whenever she asks. Basically our modern-day Cleopatra.

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We Finally Finished the Deck

We finally finished our deck! (At least for now, there are several long-term projects that we still plan to do here like a build a BBQ and paint the rafters and potentially the awning.) After a target date of Sept. 15, 2017, we are finally done. Better late than never.

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Sydney Nursery Reveal 2

Sydney’s Nursery Reveal

Shortly after Sydney‘s birth mom chose us, we began thinking about how her nursery. By happenstance, a few weeks later, a Pottery Barn Kids catalog showed up in the mail with a photo of rainbow bookshelves that became the inspiration for Sydney’s room. Like her name, Sydney’s room is packed with meaning, and every choice was intentional. It was so important for us to create a space for her that felt unique and welcomed her as a member of our family.

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Rainbow Book Ledges 1

Building Rainbow Book Ledges for the Nursery

Shortly after we found out that Sydney would be joining our family I saw this picture of rainbow book ledges from Pottery Barn Kids and fell in love. I knew I wanted shelves like this to be a focal point for our nursery, and they became the inspiration for the entire room. Crate & Kids (Land of Nod at the time) also sold similar ledges, but the ledges from both stores would cost us at least $150 and each shelf was only 24″. Because of the size of our wall, we knew that 36″ shelves would be best. So we decided we’d build them ourselves, and desperately hoped they wouldn’t look like a craft project.

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Improving Our Doors with Molding

After we finished painting the windows in Sydney’s room, we wanted to improve the basic slab doors. Again, rather than buying expensive new doors we thought we could DIY a solution. Just like painting the windows, adding molding, was an easy and inexpensive fix that paid big dividends.

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Painting Our Windows Black

As we were prepping for Sydney’s arrival, and putting together her nursery, the first thing we knew that we had to do was get rid of the terrible shutters in her room. Not only were the window casings in bad shape (all the windows on our first floor are like this), but the shutters wouldn’t provide the necessary blackout lighting we’d want in a nursery or a kids room.

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Sydney Adoption Story 1

Sydney’s Adoption Story

Less than two weeks ago, which have felt like a blur and overstuffed with love, our lives changed. We became Dads. Now that Sydney Diana is here, we are so excited to share her adoption story. With Sydney’s addition, we’re now changing our name on our blog and platforms from “Two Guys and a House” to “Dads by Design.” There’s a lot more than just two guys in this house now.

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IKEA Table on Deck

The Partial Deck Reveal

Well, we are long past our September 15 deadline, and snow will soon be falling here in Salt Lake City, so it’s time to share where we landed with our deck project.


Let’s start at the beginning. Here are a few before photos to remind you where we started. You can see additional before photos (and our original inspiration board, which we deviated quite a bit from in the end) by clicking here.

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Our No Carve, Glow in the Dark Halloween Pumpkins

Confession: The smell of pumpkin guts makes Brian want to puke. Because of this issue, last year was the first year in our entire relationship that we’ve ever carved pumpkins together. (Brian claims to love Halloween and yet doesn’t participate in the pumpkin carving tradition, but I digress…) He made it through last year’s carving with a facemask and lavender scent but this year we decided to try something different and try completely no-carve pumpkins.

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