I have a habit of becoming fixated on one particular item I need, but won't spend a whole lot of money on. Exactly the right flour container, or brown sandals, or what have you. I am too cheap to just buy what I want on line, I have to scour yard sales and thrift shops until (three years later) I find it collecting dust somewhere.
When we changed out the kitchen cabinets, we went from l-shaped to straight, because I couldn't find a corner cabinet that fit. That left me with a spot about two feet wide that needed...something. Something with a small footprint, but negotiable height. Preferable movable. Something I could put...stuff in. That part is negotiable, too.
With that clear vision in mind, I breezed through all the area thrift shops, finding many beautiful pieces that were just not quite right. On my way to work Saturday I went to a few yard sales, ending at one that sounded promising - retired couple down-sizing to a travel trailer. I didn't see anything small enough, and finally asked the wife. They had a baker's rack that would be perfect. Sold it for $10 just before I arrived. Sigh.
As I was walking back to my car, something that looked like wagon wheels, tucked off to the side, caught my eye.
I pointed. "Is that for sale, or are you using it to hold your fly swatters?" (Said items scattered across the top.) Turns out the husband was trying to fix a caster with no success, and was frustrated enough to sell it to me for $5.
Obviously, it needs a tiny bit of work, but I have since found the exact tea cart online for hundreds of dollars. Score!
First up is the top, and this is where I need your opinions. It had this 'lovely' sticky laminate, peeling up in the corners,
with - ugh - particle board underneath:
The bottom tray is the same:
The particle board has become wet and swollen in areas, which is why the surface was peeling off. Obviously, that needs to be replaced, but with what? I keep vacillating between options, and every five minutes I am absolutely positive I have decided something different. Help! Here are the options I see:
1. A thin sheet of laminate
Easiest and cheapest, but it would probably also look that way.
I'm thinking white, maybe with a little grey, matte finish. Durable and pretty, and I can use grout to fill in any uneven spots. But, would the grout cause the particle board to swell more?
This has several sub-options (is that a word?) I could cover the whole top with a thin sheet of oak (I considered butcher block, but it is too low to be a practical cutting surface). I could take the trim off (will it come off in one piece?) and replace the middle part, which would also mean replacing the thin sheet of plywood holding it all together underneath. Or, I could toss the whole middle section and start new - which would then mean mitering the edges to fit the leaves when they come up. These last two options would be closest to original, but would also be most labor-intensive, and - hello - kitchen remodeling underway!
So, what do you think? Please tell me what to do, I can no longer think for myself.
Fortunately, the rest of the cart is sanding up nicely,
so I can probably just use either a light stain or a plain, clear varnish when it's all done. Which, you know, should happen in the next couple years.