This is a set of two end tables and a coffee table that I just finished. The table top is Honduran mahogany and the legs and rails are made of maple. Nothing was stained. I used a gloss polyurethane finish (Pratt and Lambert's Varmor, which you can't get anymore thanks to the meddling of dirt worshiping hippies). The design features a distinctive "floating" top, and the effect is heavily influenced by the art deco style, because art deco is awesome, obviously.
The coffee table is 17 and 1/2" tall with a top that is 16" wide by 44" long. The end tables are 26" tall with tops that are 16" by 16".
In no particular order, these tables, Wine Rack 3.0, and a book case that I haven't quite gotten up on the blog yet, are the three things I've done the best job building. Part of that is design, each project started with very cool design features. Part of that is material choices, mahogany is a beautiful wood.
The tables rely on color contrast for a couple reasons. First, it looks great. Secondly, it helps create the floating effect. Spolier alert: the table top is not actually floating. It's resting on a set of support rails that are higher in the middle than on the edges. By making the edges light, the top dark, and the supports dark as well, it helps make the supports less noticeable, and thus the floating effect more prominent.
The frame is maple, which is the right color as well as extremely hard and very affordable (offsets the more expensive mahogany a bit). I joined the frame and legs together using mortise and tenon joints, which allow them all to butt up flush and not show nails or screws. You make a mortise and tenon by drilling a square hole into one piece and making a square peg on end of the other so they slide together.
The legs have a couple cool effects. First, the top of the legs are cut with an angled pattern.
The tops also have a couple cool things going on. On the edges there is a 22 degree bevel with the point clipped off.
The second is that I "rubbed out" the finish. The gist of it is that I took increasingly fine sandpaper, and sanded the finish, creating a smoother and smoother finish. It's hard (read: impossible) to convey it by photograph, but if you ran your hand over it, then you could tell.
These tables turned out really, really well. I think in hindsight I would have cut the tapers on the legs differently, but otherwise I think that the design was strong and I'd make them roughly the same way again. It's an alterable design too; I think that it would be just as striking with any dark top - light frame species combination (e.g. substitute walnut for the mahogany). If a person were inclined, a heavily figured wood or really exotic species like bubinga or a burl would turn out gorgeous. There are almost limitless incredible exotic materials that are well-suited to being a table top on something like this. I'd be happy to make one... all you have to do is ask.