My friend David Menendez came to me with a problem. How to create a central repository for keys, dog leashes, and mail in his tiny front entry without gobbling up precious square footage? Easy. Build a two-legged console that saves space by anchoring directly to the wall. To match the lived-in look of his farmhouse, we built one ourselves using inexpensive salvaged stair parts. For the front legs, we chose a pair of green-painted spindles for $50. The top is an 11¼-inch-deep-by-36-inch-long heart-pine tread that we got for just $15. To replicate the look of a riser (salvage yards usually don't stock them) for the apron, we cut a $5 rough-sawn pine board to a standard 7½-inch height.
Exclusive offer for TOH readers: Get 25 percent off a salvaged stair part kit to make this table when you mention TOH at Caravati's Inc.
Pry old fasteners
Pry old fasteners (nails or carpet staples) from the stair tread with a nail-puller, and use a scraper to remove any glue or paint residue.
Marking a straight line
If your tread has returns (small projections that would have given the tread a finished look when its ends were exposed), remove them. Start by marking a straight line along both ends.
Cut along the line
Cut along the line using a jigsaw. To steady the tool, clamp a wood scrap to the tread as a guide.
Arrange the apron boards
Arrange the apron boards on the underside of the tread, leaving a ¾-inch reveal for the tread to overhang. Next, mark where you'll attach 2x4 interior blocking into which you'll screw the apron.
Clamp the apron
Clamp the apron and blocking in place and mark where the fasteners will go. You'll use 3½-inch deck screws to secure the blocking vertically to the tread, and 1 5/8-inch ones to attach it horizontally to the apron.
Predrill screw holes
Fit your drill/driver with a countersink combination bit and predrill screw holes in the blocking. Bore holes just deep enough so that the screws will anchor in the tread and apron but not go all the way through. Screw the blocking to the apron and tread.
Attach the spindle legs
Attach the spindle legs to the apron's front and sides using 1 5/8-inch screws. Predrill holes first to prevent the wood from splitting.
Mount the strip level
To secure your new table to the wall, cut a wood strip that fits between its interior blocking. Mount the strip level on the wall at the height of the table's underside. Rest the table on the strip, and join the two with finishing nails tapped through the table top.