Tuesday, August 16, 2011


For the last month or so I've been collaborating on a project with my brother-in-law Steve and his friend Abbey, called Tables for Tots which benefits the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego. Basically, the idea is to take a generic set of wood table and chairs, and transform it into something totally cool that will then be put up for charity auction. Steve, who is an architect, and Abbey, interior designer, had the concept to make the outside a lovely sleek modern piece of furniture that's beautiful on the outside, and a fun, interactive, secret space that's kid-friendly on the inside. They kindly invited me to design the family of characters and scenes on the inside, as well as write a little 'zine/ comic book/ character profile sort of thing to hand out with it. For those who know our families it's easy to see the work and concept were deeply inspired by the personalities and obsessions of our own children. We entitled the piece "The Fable of the Table of OTTO". (Otto, after the lead character, and after a very special real-life nephew!)

Cabinet built around original table, and chairs still in original form. No paint yet.

Decals are ready! After a bit of character development, we refined it to a family of seven characters, and a total of 28 or so final illustrations. Thank you Sign-It for your generous donation of time and materials! Illustrations to follow in future post.

Steve applying decals. This is more towards the end after a lot (a lot a lot) of work completing the painting and getting the dry-erase vinyl applied, etc.

Table complete, closed.

Table inside. Chairs are now grey, original proportion refined. Bottom of cabinet is lined with divine hide rug donated from Kyle Bunting. (As well as hide pillows, tiny bit visible upper right.)

Cabinet, each surface fully open. The top folds up and the doors swing open to climb in, and the desk panels can flip up to access paper, pencils, and stored treasures.

Viola, tidy again!

Auction day. The kids are our demo models.

Sam draws. (I made those bags for them to celebrate the occasion. More in a future post.)

Hello you!

Generous white space so kids can draw with dry-erase to their heart's content.

The chairs, transformed!!

There is even a custom brand burned into the wood. Concept: Steve and Abbey, design: me, execution: Steve's dad and my father-in-law Gordon. It says OTTO, the Os and two Ts suggest the silhouette of a tabletop.

The boys sat in the cabinet during the live auction. And guess what? Grandma was the high bidder! What an amazing surprise. Here are some very lucky boys.

On top of all that, our project won Grand Prize! And all for such a good cause. Many thanks to Steve and Abbey for all their inspiration and hard work, and the countless donors who helped make this project possible. We couldn't have done it without you!


Vickie said...

absolutely splendiferous!!! you all are a very creative bunch, so much thought put into it...but yeah my kids would LOVE that....especially the transformation aspect...my son would go bonkers simply putting it back together and opening it up. so cool and congrats!

paige said...

Beautiful!! I knew you folks would knock it out of the park! Congratulation to all of you from concept to grand prize! I know there was a lot of love put into that!

SHLP said...

...the little man that conceptualized the idea of hiding and this project (will the real-life otto please stand up?), says:
"That is totally awesome and i love it and HI!!"

shannon m. said...

I think you all are totally awesome and HI!! too.