I had grown tired of the end table I had, not because anything was wrong with it, but I just wanted something different. You know how it is. I looked in furniture stores, consignment shops, estate sales, and my parents' basement. I looked at traditional, mission, glass, wood, etc. Finally, while browsing in "Ike's Underground," a vintage store on Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall, I came across a large Department of Civil Defense water barrel from the early 1960's. The barrel was popular in the 60's to store water in fallout shelters. I thought it was cool when I saw it, and didn't give it much thought. However, then it hit me. End table. Ok, so I may lose some of you on this one (especially those of you with really formal homes), but I love to mix in vintage pieces, repurpose items, and incorporate a mix of hard and soft lines/elements. I loved the gun metal/dark olive color, the pop of writing on the front (mine is white writing, unlike the yellow of the picture), it was the perfect height, only $20.00, and if nothing else, it will be a conversation piece. I also love having pieces from the 50's and 60's mixed into my modern decor, because the bungalow dates back and has a very 50's/60's feel.
*Quick side note, my friends from college should get a kick out of this post, because I made an end table out of a beer keg in college. I applied our Alma mater's decal on the front, and fashioned a top from a a round piece of plywood, covered in stick on silver flashing tape (used to cover a car bumper.) See, even back then I was up to the same old tricks. I was just trying to be an interior designer while pretending to be straight. You try being the only boy in the dorm with curtains and a duvet cover.
I placed a large coffee table book on top to create a more substantial surface to place a lamp. However, you could easily add one of those round pieces of glass they sell in every major multi-purpose chain store (you know, the glass that goes on top of the "Screw in the three legs, round, raw particle board tables they sell that you put a table cloth on to cover). I think this could be not only great for a bachelor pad, but for a modern loft or industrial space. It's sure to spark conversation at your next cocktail party, and it can't hurt to have a little history in your home. Also, for that price, it sure beats buying a fiber board table from a chain store that you have to put together and hope nobody scratches or leaves a drink on. This doesn't mean you have to buy a civil defense water barrel from the 60's. It means design, once again, doesn't have to be so damn literal. Look at items in a different way. An old ladder can be wall art, a door can be a table, and you get to make all the rules.
So, next time, think beyond the basics, and think creatively. It may not be what you were looking for, but then again, it might end up being just exactly what you wanted.
photo credit: www.civildefensemuseum.com