August 2017 Newsletter: Cool Coffee Tables, Removing “Drink Ring” From Wood Furniture


Well, the cicadas are screeching and the air is heavy with moisture — it must be August in the Delaware Valley! We hope you are staying cool and comfortable as the “lazy dog days” of Summer roll by, just a while longer.

Lately we’ve been noticing a trend in home decor toward unusual, funky coffee table designs. Some use glass to provide a showcase for photos or curios along with a practical surface for your drinks, snacks and TV remote. Others combine more traditional design with splashy stain or paint colors. Some are best described as true works of art, amazing centerpieces to a room’s decor. Below are a few links to some really interesting articles highlighting the endless possibilities of the humble coffee table!

Over the past month at Martin & Calloway we’ve been busy with several custom cabinetry jobs, including the gorgeous wall unit featured below, designed by a local artist to showcase her ceramic sculptures. Also check out this month’s Tip From The Shop, where we illustrate a simple method for removing “drink rings” — those ghostly-white marks that can appear beneath the finish of a wood surface when a sweating glass of your favorite August beverage lingers too long on the table!

Enjoy the last weeks of Summer and the start of the 2017-18 school year, and we’ll see you again before the leaves fall!

Gary and Mike

The Coffee Table, Re-Examined


Whether you enjoy a double espresso latte, a simple cup of joe, or none of the above, the simple coffee table has been the beverage-landing spot of choice in America’s living rooms for nearly 100 years.
Today’s designers and furniture makers are beginning to revisit this ubiquitous piece furniture with an eye toward the unusual, seeing it as an opportunity to add storage, showcase art, photos and other interesting items, and to fulfill it’s potential as the grand centerpiece of a sitting room all on its own.

A recent article from shows many of the unlimited possibilities for the design and flexibility of the modern coffee table.’s “Coffee Table Roundup” features more interesting designs, from the traditional to the ultra-modern, some of which would make great DIY projects! And if you wish to crawl down the YouTube rabbit hole of amazing, innovative table designs, you might start with “7 Insane Tables You Won’t Believe Exist” for the latest in cutting edge table design and technology!


Art & Entertainment Unit


An artist client of ours commissioned this unusual built-in cabinet unit to display her gorgeous ceramic sculpture work. We took her design needs and came up with this elegant-yet-simple piece to house her family room TV and showcase her artwork.

We especially love the “floating cube” effect on the upper right section of the unit, a striking feature our client envisioned from the start as part of the design.

Every custom built-in unit we make comes with it’s own set of features and challenges, but this one in particular struck our imaginations, even in its relative simplicity.

Below is a photo of the unit as it neared completion in our shop. We think you’ll agree it looks much better in our client’s home!





Tips From The Shop: Eliminating ‘Drink Rings’

While nothing adds beauty and charm to a home more than fine wood furniture, it can be susceptible to damage caused by everyday use. One of the most common issues we see from our furniture repair customers is “drink ring,” the sudden appearance of those pesky, whitish rings beneath a wood finish when it’s been exposed to a wet drinking glass or other source of moisture.

There are a number of home remedies you can try to remove or minimize the effects of moisture damage on your wood surfaces. Some recommend using toothpaste, mayonnaise, or even a vinegar/olive oil mixture to rub out the offending marks.

We usually recommend you leave those items in the cupboard and reach instead for your electric iron!


First, cover the damaged surface with a clean, soft cotton cloth or t-shirt. Heat up your iron, but don’t add any water to the reservoir. The idea is to evaporate the trapped moisture causing the cloudy, white mark. In the photo we use an edge banding iron, but you’re household iron will work fine.

Gently run the iron in a circular pattern for about 10-15 seconds, then lift the cloth and check the status of the stain. Repeat until the mark begins to magically fade away.



Remember to take it slowly, and check your progress frequently. Don’t heat the surface beyond the point where it’s too hot to touch with your finger. If the heat begins to build too high, stop and let the piece cool down for 15 minutes and then continue the same procedure until the mark is history!