The Checkerboard Table

I don’t often get inspiration from bars.

This idea came from a bar in Wyoming that my mother took me to. (We don’t drink, by the way. We were there for the food. More specifically, the peanut butter pie.)

We ate at big varnished tables, painted with checkerboards.

It has been three years now, but ever since that day I knew that my humble kitchen table had a destiny to fulfill.

And now the time had come.

First we stripped and sanded the table.


This is my lovely assistant, Olivia. She is good with math and precision, so I had her draw the lines.


I am good with paint brushes so I colored it in.



Jellybean the cat, who insisted on jumping on the table every chance she got, was eventually banished from the garage.


Olivia administered the first coat of stain.


I was a little nervous about how it would all turn out in the end. I was worried that it didn’t look perfect. “Of course it doesn’t,” said Olivia. “It looks rustic.” Come to think of it, bar tables in Wyoming are generally pretty rustic.


After five coats of stain and four coats of polyurethane and 48 hours of drying time, I had the table I had dreamed of.
And now we were ready to play!






The game, as intense as it seems in the photos, was never finished. Too many of the playing pieces disappeared.

Thanks to my mom for the inspiration and Olivia for the hard work. I envision many happy games and meals and conversations around my new table. Now I just need that recipe for peanut butter pie . . .



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4 responses to “The Checkerboard Table

  1. My very old, thrift store kitchen table has been needing refinishing for a year now. specifically sanding and polyurethane. I hate working with polyurethane, so I have been putting it off, but perhaps when school starts back I might copy you. We have been teaching the boys chess recently, and they already love checkers so this would be perfect! Thanks for the idea!


  2. Love the game pieces! I don’t imagine Klondike bars would be allowed on your shiny, new table.


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