New Friends, Old Furniture: Laura's Cigar Band Tables

One of the many wonderful things about my boyfriend, are all of the truly great friends he has around him.  From kids in his grade school class, to business colleagues around the world, Ronnie has introduced me to so many interesting and fascinating people in the last few years, the only common thread is how much respect and adoration they all have for him.  Everyone has welcomed me with open arms, and I couldn't be more grateful! 

We spent last weekend traveling out to the end of Long Island to visit one of Ronnie's best cigar buddies (and fellow Ambassador for the Cigar Rights of America), Christian & his beautiful/awesome/amazing wife, Laura.  I met them both over the summer at The Grand Havana Room where Ronnie is a member, and this was the 2nd time they invited us to their beautiful home for the weekend.   After snowstorms ruining our Holiday plans and the frigid Winter, I was really looking forward to a getaway with great friends!

Friday night when we arrived, Laura welcomed us with fresh homemade lobster quesedillas.  Deeelish!  We couldn't show up empty handed, so I picked up a great regional Italian cookbook for their kitchen library - I know they will put it to good use!  We got settled and talked the night away, catching up and deciding the itinerary for the next day. 

The Lunch Truck was our first stop before we headed to the vineyards.  Although Laura made yummy blueberry pancakes that morning, Ronnie suggested we get some lunch before we start sampling the bubbly - clutch decision baby! 

This interesting little set-up was in the parking lot of the famous North Fork Table & Inn, where the same delicious gourmet food from inside is served by the side of the road!  The painted cut-out in front of the real truck was just adorable, but the food was super fresh and out of this world! ($15 for a lobster roll - but worth it)

Christian approves!

The next stop was the Sparkling Pointe Vineyard, not far down the road. We met up with some of their friends and family that live nearby, and sampled the best sparkling wines Long Island has to offer! 

The guys enjoying a smoke outdoors

Even the chandeliers were bubbly!

Dinner reservations for 10 were at Harvest on Fort Pond in Montauk.  This restaurant specializes in family style dining, and although the decor was nothing to write home about, the food and sunset view was what we wanted.  It was a bit of drive from the North Fork all the way to the South end, but I was enjoying the drive and company so much I didn't mind at all.  Laura told me about the times they visited the Pollock/Krasner House & Study Center near East Hamptons.  The barn studio's original floorboards still has remnants of splatter on the ground where Jackson Pollock's most famous works were produced. I would love to make time to go on our next trip!

Laura's Cigar Band Table

The more I get to know Laura, I really understand and appreciate her values and motivation. She explains her relationship with her husband as the most fulfillment there can possibly be in life; a partnership based on love, trust, friendship and respect.  They are each others #1 priority in life, and they support each others interests and hobbies wholeheartedly.  Not all couples prescribe to the "he's my best friend, we do everything together" lifestyle, and that may work for them.  Although I was exposed to positive, committed relationships in my youth, I was very independent in my 20's, almost to a fault.  At the time I wasn't confident yet with what kind of partner I wanted to be, and I paid very close attention to her words.  But the more I listened to her and observed their love for each other, the more I was sure this was one (of many) ways to make a marriage and partnership work for the long run. 

The den in the basement of their home is the only place to watch TV.   Without a boob tube nearby, the entire ground floor is open to be a place to talk and visit without many electronic interruptions.  But the basement is where all the toys are; poker table, flat screen TV/media center, Playstation, and dart board.  In order to decorate Christian's "Man Cave" with some individuality, Laura came up with a clever idea to detail some old side tables she picked up at a flea market.  It really gives the room the perfect touch! 

I have been slowly picking up the lifestyle of cigar aficionados like Ronnie and Christian, and it is a seriously impressive hobby.  But Laura has more of a handle on this connoisseur's lifestyle!  Because our men are well connected in the industry, friends and colleagues have been saving cigar bands for Laura for years now.  And when you add in Christian's rare and exclusive collection she had a lot of material to work with.

She took all of these beautiful foil bands, arranged them in a collage pattern and used rubber cement to hold.  I can't say that I know this from experience, but the older and thicker the tacky rubber cement is, the better it works.  She said, the glue works best when it looks like mucus!  Once the bands were in place in each section, she slowly poured shellac directly to the area to achieve the high gloss effect.  Now this is something I have worked with before, and thick is the way to go, but be prepared with proper ventilation - shellac is strong stuff!  Using a clean brush, you can even out the shellac across the surface and finish the edges, but be careful to avoid brush strokes or bristles from getting into the smooth area before it starts to dry. 

Laura lined the drawers with faux black leather contact paper (it looks so real!),  she said it was hard to find, but when you do make sure you buy extra. If you make a mistake, cutting this fabric isn't forgiving & most times you have to cut a whole new piece. 

With a project like this, I'm sure it took a lot of meticulous time and patience, but the result is a lifelong conversation piece that Laura can be very proud of!

One of the many humidors in the house!

This is her second table and it is still a work-in-progress. The finish on this wood was different than the first, and the rubber cement didn't work as well.  Sometimes it's hard to replicate the original, but I encouraged her to continue with her projects!  I'm so inspired by her to make artwork or customized pieces for our home that reflects Ronnie's hobbies as well as mine.  Laura showed me these pieces back in September, and I am so thankful that she allowed me to photograph and write about them for my blog.  We started brainstorming ideas for other cigar accessories to be banded - maybe the base of a free standing ashtray?  There may be a business in the future!

Laura could see my wheels turning when we discussed possibly ideas, and made sure I had a good starting point.  She sent me home with my very own box of cigar bands - each one is so ornately detailed, and specific to its region.  The possibilities are endless!

Thank You Laura!

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