DIY: A Summery Side Table by Two Young Paris Architects

Architects Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann, the young couple behind up-and-coming Paris firm Heju, design apartments, shops, and cafes notable for their clean lines and playful pastels. After-hours, the two apply that same aesthetic to DIY projects: newly out of design school, they published the 2017 book, Design It Yourself: 35 Objets Design à Petits Prix et à Faire Soi-Même.

They continue to invent—and to present their latest designs on the Heju blog. And they’ve allowed us to share some of our favorites. Today, we present their tiled tabouret, which they describe as “a small piece of furniture that will find its place on your balcony, in your garden, or your living room to give it a swimming-pool atmosphere.” (Scroll to the end for links to more Heju DIYs.)

Photography by and courtesy of Heju.

DIY tiled side table-plant stand by Heju of Paris. Above: The side table has a simple plywood frame with a “transom,” the middle cross piece, of painted MDF.
DIY tiled side table-plant stand by Heju of Paris. Above: The designers set off basic white tiles with colored grout.

Tools and Materials

Heju DIY tiled side table materials. Above: All supplies are from Leroy Merlin, France’s Home Depot equivalent. They include plywood and MDF cut to size, square white tiles, tile adhesive, paint, grout, pigment, a putty knife, paint roller, hand drill, screwdriver, sponge, and squeegee. For the full specs and step-by-step instructions, go to Heju.


DIY tiled table by Heju in progress: priming the top. Above: The MDF transom gets two or three coats of paint. Hélène and Julien say, “Don’t forget to paint both sides as well as the edges.”
DIY tiled table by Heju in progress. Above: The wood is three-ply plywood that’s 19 millimeters thick. The legs and top are attached by brass flat-head screws.
DIY tiled table by Heju in progress: prepping adhesive backing for the tiles. Above: For a glue-free installation—”very fast and practical so that you do not get dirty at home”—the designers recommend applying an adhesive backing to the tiles. They used Leroy Merlin’s Cristalgrip, which comes in a roll and is cut to fit; for a similar product, consider Bondera.
DIY tiled table by Heju in progress: laying the tiles. Above: Standard 4-inch Square Ceramic Wall Tiles are $8.36 per square foot at Home Depot. Place the first one in a corner and carefully space so that the gaps between tiles are even.
DIY tiled table by Heju in progress: laying the tiles: squeegeeing the colored grout. Above: The colored grout is spread with a squeegee and then sponged off. Hélène and Julien also applied a layer of grout to the exposed edges of the tiles.

For advice, see Remodeling 101: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Grout and Caulk (but Were Afraid to Ask).

The Finished Look

DIY tiled side table and plant stand by Heju of Paris. Above: Paint and colored grout give the tables what the designers call “a summer touch.”
DIY tiled side table and plant stand by Heju of Paris. Above: Hélène and Julien use colored pigments to create pale pink, curry yellow, and olive green grout.

Explore our DIY Archive for many more projects, including these two by Heju:

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