Monday, January 21, 2013

Kitchen Surprise: A New Table

Sometimes, I don't even verbalize the sense that something isn't quite "right" about a room or a renovation project. I just mull it over for months, inside my head. 

That was the case with my kitchen table. I liked the kitchen table we were using, and I still do. It's a chrome and gray "crackle ice" formica set from the 1950s, in good condition, and at the unbeatable price of free from a family member.

Here's a crummy photo of a crummy "before" the kitchen renovation.

However, the table is an oblong in a square room. We needed the leaf to make it large enough for the five of us (and often six with Mr. Man), and it seemed to cut an already boxy space in half.

Of the four original chairs, one was broken, so we were always having to sub in other chairs from around the house. (You can see two of them, from another era, hanging out with the mid-century stuff in the photo above). We were constantly schlepping chairs around, and it was annoying.

The chairs aren't the most comfortable for adults. They are just a tiny hair too low, and since I am a tallish woman (5'8") I was always feeling a bit squatty and off kilter in these chairs unless I perched at the very edge, like a nervous child in a strict teacher's room.

I'd begun to get the sense that I needed some more comfortable, proportionate seating. It had also come to me, in all my musings while I held a paint roller in that room, that a round table would be a better use of the space in the eat-in area, and still seat us all.

I'm not really a person hung up on matchy-matchy either. So while I was perfectly aware that my 1950s table didn't really "match" with the 1960s-70s vibe I was shooting for in this room, I didn't really care.

Really, we have a serviceable table, I like it, and it has that vintage flair that I love. What was I complaining about?

I wasn't complaining, especially not out loud. I never really was seriously "looking," and I never announced to myself or to anyone else "I need a different table."

Nevertheless, I stopped dead in my tracks when shopping at a local furniture consignment shop and I saw this:

It's Colonial Revival style (just like my house) and maple. The set has six chairs (one with arms) and two leaves; the table without them is 48" in diameter. 

It looked perfect. It felt perfect. The price was very affordable. And I left without buying it. 

I know. Sometimes I have trouble leaping even when it feels right. 

In the cramped store, the table looked huge. I measured it, and at home Grant taped a 48" circle on the floor with painter's tape to make sure it would work. 

I made myself wait past Christmas. And then past New Year's Day. By the time I got back into the shop, I was half-crazy-scared it would be gone. But it was still there, and had been reduced in price too. 
That time I brought it home. 

I love the warm color of the wood in my kitchen. It looks good with the green walls, and will look even better with the bright floral curtains I have planned. 

The chairs are sturdy, and comfy: 

I love how my favorite colors look next to the pretty wood grains:

I also love how it contrasts both with the color on the walls and my free-standing cupboard. (Yes, I have a chicken problem). Picture, if you can, the curtains on the windows. It still looks a little bare. 

Just for bonus, the placemats on the table are quilt and applique made by my mother. Yes more chickens. It's perhaps the only downside of the pretty little table: it's not as bomb-proof (boy proof?) as formica, so we will have to be more conscientious about tablecloths, placemats, and coasters. With handmade things like this, I don't mind at all. 

The formica table is still part of our family. It's going to the basement, and will become the study/craft table for the kid's lounge area when we start putting it together. I'm glad that it will still have a place in our home. But I'm also glad that I followed my instincts on the kitchen. It's beginning to look like the space I had pictured in my mind's eye.


  1. It's perfect! And totally meant to be since it waited for you. : ) That's the exact set that my family had the whole time that I was growing up. My brother and I eventually ended up breaking most of the chairs and snapping those spindles in the back ( you KNOW my Mom wanted to kill us) so we got newer chairs but made my day to see your beautiful new set.

    1. Thanks, Eartha! My sister and I remember a similar set from our paternal grandparents, and we think my purchase was at least half nostalgia. And don't you think about half the kids that grew up in the 60s or 70s had a set like this? Anyway, I'm happy to have made a home for it.

  2. Love the set and the story! I was holding my breath a bit, thinking somehow you didn't get the table. (Which of course, you had to have, otherwise there'd be no pictures...duh.)

    It looks perfect for your space. I'm now wanting a round table, too. :-)

    1. I can't believe how much a round table has improved "flow" around an otherwise small space. It really has made a big difference, even with our "odd number" of five people.

  3. You're right - that table is perfect!! The wood compliments the green so well and your cabinet sets it off! And those placemats - LOVE! It's a dining area I feel compelled to sit down in and stay awhile :)

    1. You're welcome over for coffee anytime you're in the neighborhood. :) And thanks!

  4. What a great find! (Oh, and I LOVE your free-standing cupboard!)