‘pressed to the sound of Van Morrison’s latest album, Three Chords + The Truth while the girls play + sing Frozen for the umpteenth time since we saw Frozen 2. “No, I’m Elsa + you can be Anna…”
Some of the best finds are the ones that come from an impromptu pick…you know, the really surprisingly delightful finds that pick you.
It was that way for this table.
I. [backstory] When we were first married, Ryan + I used a new table that his parents had bought for him. It was rectangle in shape with a dark stain, had chairs, a bench + space for guests. It was nice to look at, but that’s about all we really did with the table, look at it + pile things on it. We made some changes to open up the galley kitchen since we always seemed to be talking through the wall when between rooms. We took out the top portion of the wall to create a more open feel with the adjacent breakfast nook. Throughout the process of making edits (before, during + after) we talked about the table + how we thought the eating space should function. It was more in-play now because where there had once been just a doorway connecting dining area to kitchen, there would soon be a ledge for us to visit while cooking + the long rectangular table was taking up too much of the available space. It would be hard to make the new open space flow without editing the size of the table.
II. [booth, please] My dream then + for the forseeable future was + is to have a breakfast banquette. It’s a cozy notion, don’t you think?
When given the option, I am always a bench-seat-prefered kind of restaurant patron, so it’s a no-brainer to bring this cozy seating option to my favorite place to eat! I credit this, in part, to a time when I babysat for a sweet family with three boys + their home had a breakfast nook, tucked between two walls, not so different from this one:
The booth seating was very non-traditional, + limited, but ever so inviting. I’d always be more likely to be found cozied up in the banquette instead of in front of the TV when Caroline + Dean would come home + to me, that was the most comfortable spot in the house—which, was architecturally gorgeous by design. We had a few life talks at that table + as fate had it, they later introduced me to my husband. I can also remember another sweet family from early in my babysitting career, who had a larger built in bench below a grouping of kitchen windows for their frequent, impromptu little family gatherings. I still remember watching that young mom + dad feed their little ones Mama Brown’s barbecue until their tummies were stuffed full of pork, green beans + mashed potatoes. The bench was loved + pretty beat up, but it boasted extra storage + functioned to perfection for their convivial family time around the table. I remember thinking how fun it made meal time at their house.
III. [table lineup] Until we have a banquette of our own, we have been relying on a lineup of antique tables to make family meal memories that count. What a blessing it’s been, to have tables with such character gracing our home.
First, there was the craigslist table. You’re probably thinking, “what? you never really know who or what you’re dealing with on craigslist”; I tell you, it was simply meant to be! The listing led us to my uncle’s neighborhood–okay, so we were safe at least. Then to a gentleman who was parting with not just any old table, but one full of memories from years spent eating, doing homework + living life at this beautiful oak table which originally belonged to his grandmother from High Point, NC. It was scuffed + loved + after we measured, we knew it would fit perfectly in our nook.
The table with four leaves + oozing with charm, had picked us to be it’s new keepers.
We brought it to our townhome + began making so many memories, mostly after we had our first child. It provided a close spot for us to huddle together over amateur, home cooked meals + provided a nice flow as the go between from the renovated kitchen to the living room. We realized a few months after our baby girl was born, we needed to start making family meals a “thing” just as we did with our parents. Even though she ate her evening meal much earlier than we did, we began the tradition we continue today of sitting together + sharing time + family fellowship around a table. A couple months after that tradition began to stick, I began baking cutout sugar cookies for friends, families + lots of new customers. That table was crucial to getting my orders completed, from rolling copious amounts of dough to cutting, cooling + decorating. That noble table once held 13 dozen Clemson Tiger Paw cookies (wedding favors). If you know me, you know it was practically a crime to have one, let alone 156 of these abominable symbols painting our table with their audacious orange. What self-respecting baker turns down a wedding order? It was an honor, regardless of team loyalties + it was a big moment for me, for the table, for us. I often wonder if the table could have held up to the growing output from our little-kitchen-that-could. It will forever be a special chapter in our family’s story.
Before we knew it, our second child was on the way + we were uprooting our little family of four + moving to Atlanta.
The table made the trip + was a very important piece of “home” that helped us establish our family’s new normal in Georgia. Different state, same table, same family.
The summer before the round table made the permanent move to Atlanta, we still needed a place to have a meal together while we rented. We looked + looked but weren’t able to find much of what we envisioned for our family ritual. We made-do by gathering around the house’s kitchen island until finally, in the last month of that summer, we took a chance + introduced our first daughter to Scott’s. As fate would have it, we found our second antique table, outside in what my mother always refers to as “the dregs” + what I refer to as chippy good stuff. After admiring the table on the first walkabout, we circled back after walking around inside + bargained a deal for this beautifully aged, green farmtable. We just barely fit it inside my Volkswagen + around one carseat. Upon unloading it back at home, we realized it needed a little love, but with time running short before our second babe’s debut, it got put on the back burner.
Once we moved permanently, it sat in our shed for months + months until we realized it’s full potential as a backporch summer supper table. It has become a functional piece in our lineup now for six plus months of family meals, happy hour charcuterie feasts, birthday cake toasts, puzzle working + even a backyard party or two. It is easily one of my favorite pieces ever, simply because of it’s soothing green patina + classic structure.
Back inside, the round, brown table was front + center in the new kitchen + it was really showing signs of wear + tear. It was nice to sit + recall how at the same round table, we fed both of our baby girls their first rice cereal + solid foods, welcomed a second high chair + continued the intentional family meal tradition we started years ago. The stain was long past time for a brush up, so we got crazy, bought a sander, took it back to its original wood + then—we painted it!! I got the idea after seeing a high-gloss end table painted an enchanting color of blue/green in an Architectural Digest magazine. I had a few moments of doubt during the process, but generally loved watching the beautiful blue-green glistening paint go on coat after coat. The scalloped underside of the table + turned leg details were highlighted beautifully with the color + I couldn’t wait to get it back in rotation for meal time!
That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it was a bold move + everytime I look at it, it gives me such a feeling of confidence in a style that is all my own.
We’ve made it work in a space that isn’t quite the right size for the beloved round table for almost three years, here. So the time finally came in the week after New Year’s Day, when we found ourselves scouring the internet for the next table for our stone farmhouse. Our home was built in the mid-late 70s, so many of the rooms have a certain quirk to them; some of the floorboards creak, occasionally there are doors that curiously cross paths + none of the rooms measure like most houses built these days. Having said that, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Quirk brings charm in our book, + charm begets a cozy value to a home if it is simply embraced.
So the ideal table for our oddly sized kitchen space would have to be a long, narrow farm table. When the sizes we kept finding weren’t falling into our ideal price range, we loaded the girls up in the pickup + went piddlin’!
We perused together, up + down aisles + saw some pretty fun picks. When we came across this table, I quickly we had that feeling; I found I couldn’t move from the spot. I hovered as I was trying to take in the table, it’s beautifully turned legs, its chippy layer of aged, white paint, it’s phenomenal pine wood versatile top:
I was entranced, just taking in all of the details. I didn’t want anyone to notice the treasure I was ogling, so I quickly found myself checking out the other items in the same booth that was chock-full of that vintage Americana style I always hope to see while piddlin’. When I come across a booth with such soul, I positively cherish it; it’s like meeting a new friend. We walked away to mill on the find, as one does + all routes led us back to see the table. It felt so right, so it was time to ask for a deal. Sure enough, it was on sale for 20% off. . . SOLD!
We got it moved inside + so began a piddlin’ inspired furniture chess game. Blue table to the dining room, those chairs here, china cabinet over there, it was all a bit mind boggling. Now that the dust has settled, I most love the way this new addition feels in the former breakfast table’s spot. Part table, part kitchen island, it is everything this room needed + opens the whole space up just like our first antique table did all those years ago in our townhome. It’s already become a favorite space for creative thinking, writing + soaking up the afternoon sun from our southwest facing windows!
Now-a-days, all eating takes place at the breakfast table in the dining room + we have had so many fresh ideas hatching since! As a creative mind, I so love a good shake up, it really gets my wheels turning. This is a good sign that our recent finds are truly meant to be. I once had a co-worker + friend from Buffalo, NY describe to me a kind of wives tale that all vintage/antique items carry a little of their past “lives” with them + some items have a kind of positive or negative energy about them. This idea sounds similiar to a feng shui concept, or as Ryan calls it, feng-fooey! Take it all with a grain of salt, y’all— for now, I’m loving the vibes of this new-to-us table. If only she could tell us where she’s been all this time! Imagine what stories each of these tables might tell.
What are your thoughts? I hope to have a few more updates to follow + I always feel we have a lot of catching up to do, so thanks for stopping by today.
What have you been up to so far in this new year?! What’s on tap for you in 2020?