thoughts on… semi-custom furniture

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When it came to decorating our home, Mr. Lively was willing to go with my design aesthetic except for one major demand:

No glass topped furniture.

Which meant my bachelorette dining table top didn’t stand a chance.


We first considered selling the Ikea table entirely and ordering a new, rustic table. Room and Board has a table with the look we wanted, but the price was so high we decided keeping the base and customizing the top would give us the look for a lot less.

Once we decided to keep the base and donate the top, we researched wood workers to get a custom-sized wood surface. This wasn’t as easy as we initially expected. We found a few local places that did great work, but didn’t have the style we desired. Then we searched online.

Many inquires later, we chose Union Furnishings on Etsy.

The Union team was amazing and offered us a great price. They also made sure that we had our top in time for our family party over Thanksgiving (which we greatly appreciated!).


Overall the experience of creating a semi-custom piece was pretty incredible. It isn’t always the cheapest option, but in our case we got the (more expensive) look we wanted, enjoyed supporting the craftsmen, and retained a base we already had.

So the next time you designing a space, keep in mind that you may be able to get unique look by altering an existing piece or commissioning a craftsman to do something just for you.


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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  1. This looks lovely Jess. I have a question, where did you get your bar stools from? I am looking for something similar. Thanks

    1. Jess Lively!! Can you believe it? So much less expensive than other places with similar stools.

  2. Rita

    perfect! i’ve been looking for a wood supplier for the standing desk i am building – this may be just the company! thank you!

  3. Rachel

    It looks lovely! I would have never guessed you could do that over Etsy.

  4. Erika

    I have to agree with him–no glass tabletops. Aesthetically I think they can look beautiful–but I had one in college and I always hated it. Haha. The handprints! Love what you guys did decide to go with–looks great!

    1. Jess Lively

      Thanks so much! I agree now, too. I like the wood vs. glass.

  5. alix adams

    What beautiful taste you have! And a great blog in general! I’m so glad I met you at Alt! Consider me a follower from now on!

    1. Jess Lively

      Aw, thanks so much! I’m happy we met at Alt and that you like the blog!

  6. The bar shelf thing is actually two Ikea Lack tall bookshelves placed on their sides on top of one another. I didn’t add the 1st and 3rd shelves, but just left the one in the middle so it has more openings for wider items.

    I hope this helps and I’m so glad you are enjoying the site!

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