So we all eat dinner together at my house, and half our time is spent sitting around the kitchen table. I got so sick and tired of not having paper and pencil on the kitchen table I came up with this solution to not being able to write things down.
A hidden white board attached under the kitchen table. It was really easy to make, really cheap, and with a cell phone to take pictures of whatever you wrote is effectively a poor man's smart board.
Playing hearts after dinner? you got the scorecard. need to all chip in to pay for the pizza delivery? here you go. shopping list thoughts? no problem.
Step 1: The BOM and Build.
1) 1 piece of white board material, you can get a 4'x8' sheet of it at home depot for $14. that's a lot extra, but you'll find some use for the rest of it.
2) 4 big paint sticks. Again from home depot. they are free if you ask nice. in lieu, you can buy a $1 yardstick and cut it up.
3) some white glue and half a dozen screws.
Its pretty straight forward from the pictures. you offset glue about 8" of 4 pieces of the paint sticks so they act as rails for the white board. The white board material is conveniently a little thinner than the paint sticks so it slides really easy.
Next, drill 2 holes in the higher of the offset bracket you just made, (after the glue dries!,) and screw it into the table to hold it in place. Now you can place the board on that rail and use it to space where the other rail goes.
It's really convenient to not have these two rails the exact same distance from the front of the table as when you pull out the board completely and then want to put it back, you can hook the corner on the rail that is closer to the edge of the table and then be able to guide the board into the other one.
With the left over pieces of wood, glue the parts such that they are at 90 degrees and make an L bracket. Drill some big holes to hold the dry erase markers and when dry screw the L bracket into the table way towards the back.
If you set things back far enough, you'll never see the hardware from eye level and now you have a ready to use drawing board all the time.