Our marble tiled top coffee table is definitely one of my favorite pieces in the house. I have never actually seen anything quite like it and I think it's a great way of incorporating stone tile into furniture. We built this piece from scratch: using hemlock wood and marble 12 x 12 inch tile. We stained the wood a dark mahogany red which I think contrasts nicely against the very light stone.
Sometimes dark wooden furniture can take over a space and just feel kind of heavy. Not here; the white carrera marble tiles actually brightens up this table considerably and it feels anything but dark and heavy.
We started out using 1 x 2 inch and 2 x 2 inch hemlock pieces. Hemlock is an affordable type of wood (especially if you compare to oak for example), and it stains nicely.
For this table we didn't want to utilize the common construction method of screws and nails. Sure, screws are practical, but are they elegant and interesting? We wanted to create something unique and different so we thought of a somewhat more unusual way of attaching the wood pieces together: chiseling out the wood on one end, and fitting another end through.
This did take a bit of work, however I love the way you can see the wood come through on the other end. These details are especially prominent when you showcase the wood by staining or just finishing it off. If you were painting it on the other hand, then you would simply cover these lovely details.
For the bottom shelf we decided to go for slats. The wood construction of this table is mainly glued. However for the slats, we did use a nailgun in addition to the glue to make sure all the pieces were on there properly.
Since we were planning on putting marble tiles on top, we actually went with a plywood top since it would end up being covered anyway.
Once the basic construction of the table was finished (before we put on the marble tiles), we stained the table in our mahogany red stain, which we have used on several pieces in our house (kitchen cart, kitchen table & frames.)
Here you can see some of the interesting construction details.
The frame stained, with the plywood on top.
Now we could prepare for installing the marble tile. We put down adhesive with a trowel.
And carefully put down the marble tiles, butting the pieces against each other without any spacers. We didn't want to create a grouted look here, but instead the look of one surface. Grout lines definitely creates more of a separation, whereas this method creates more of a seamless look.
Once the marble was on and set, we put on some wood moulding on the sides to hide the edge of the tile and the plywood. Then we stained those parts as well and finished all the wood off with a few coats of clear polyurethane.
And that's it. This was a bit of a project, but didn't it turn out awesome! The marble tiles on top of the table matches our kitchen floor perfectly (to bad it doesn't belong in the kitchen!)
We chose to construct the table completely from scratch. However you could certainly adopt this technique with any old table you find or have in your house. If you choose to tile an old table, then the only thing you might have to think about and do something about is the edges: where the edge of the marble meets the table top.
If you're planning on painting or staining your table, then this could easily be fixed with buying some wooden moulding and attaching it around the sides of the table. That way you create a seamless look and basically "embed" the tile inside the frame.
More details on how this table was constructed can be found here:
Making a coffee table by hand part 1
Making a coffee table by hand part 2