In our 400 sqft house, the living room is the center of everything we do, and the coffee table is not just the coffee table. It is a dining room table, game table, desk, and a catch-all for everything else. I wanted to build something to match the baskets I had built for my wife for Christmas, and also would be something that would grow with our family and last at least as long as we do. My wife also wanted it to be 'pretty', with a planked top and X-style side supports. I think we found common ground.
I started with construction grade lumber. After lots of cutting, routing, gluing, screwing, and sanding, I applied a coat of dark walnut stain followed by up to 6 coats of brush-on lacquer.