Archive for December 30th, 2012

As you may remember, Bart and I have been eating on a plastic folding table for the last six weeks.

Remember? We sold our nice dining room table before we moved.

At least there’s a cute centerpiece and delicious food.

This is merely one small chapter in the Taylor’s ongoing saga about dining tables.

When I first moved out to Colorado, Mom took the opportunity to upgrade her own furniture by passing on our old breakfast table (probably as old as I am) to me for my apartment. Though small, this humble and sturdy table served us quite well through a couple of apartments and into our first house.


Unfortunately, it was just a little small for our new dining area and also for our entertaining needs. Since Bart and I enjoy having people over for meals, seating for four just wasn’t cutting it for us. We decided it was time to upgrade to something that would better serve our purposes.

I really like furniture, so I should love furniture shopping, right? Evidently, it’s not so simple. I am astounded that cheap, fake furniture costs so much money. Real, honest-to-goodness wood, quality furniture is hard to find and is astronomical. And then there are designer tables that are astronomically priced and yet are still full of wood veneers and plywoods. This lack of integrity in furniture really annoyed me, so I immediately became disillusioned in our table search. We still needed a table, though, so we had to figure out some sort of compromise.

One day, we happened across a store selling Amish made, solid wood furniture. Everything in that store was gorgeous. Even if not every style of furniture was our favorite, there were some really beautiful pieces in classic, timeless styles that we really liked. You certainly paid for the quality, though. But in reality, you would be purchasing a piece of furniture that you would use for the rest of your life and that your children would inherit and use. Even if the wood needed refinishing in a few decades, the stuff would never fall apart. Compared to how many cheapo dining sets you would have to buy in the same time period as they fell apart, it would ultimately pay for itself many times over.

While we could have afforded this set, we spent a long time deciding whether that was the best use of our money at that time. As great as it seemed, we ultimately decided that we could make due with something else for a while and revisit this option later, especially since we were never sure how long I’d be in school, where we’d be after I finished, and whether we wanted to drag something like that across country if we had to move.

Our ultimate compromise was to purchase what we deemed to be an “expensive cheap table” that looked cool, was huge, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg (just an arm maybe). We saved a bit buy purchasing it slightly used on Craigslist. While not a fine specimen of solid hardwoods and hand crafting, this beast of a table was actually pretty nice and served us well for dozens of dinner parties and multiple large gatherings. With both leaves in, that baby was over 10 feet long, and we packed it to capacity one or two times a year.


However, as we anticipated, when the time came to move, it was not worth the space it took up in the moving truck (since we were paying by the foot), plus it was unlikely to survive the wear and tear of a cross-country move. We sold that baby on Craigslist for just 10% less than we paid for it four years before. That’s Craigslisting like a boss, people.

However, that did leave us without any table in our new house. As described, we’ve been eating on a plastic folding table for six weeks now. That’s worked just fine for us, but eventually we did need to break down and purchase something else.

It seemed like the perfect time to revisit the heirloom-quality Amish furniture. We found a couple of stores and checked them out yesterday (and we’re even actually close to Amish country here!). However, while we still loved the furniture, this again turned out to be not a straight-forward decision. First of all, we are renting right now and don’t anticipate being in this house for more than a year. If we purchased something now, we wouldn’t know how it would fit into our next home. Plus, we sold quite a bit of other furniture when moving, so there are some other pieces we want to fill back in. It’s harder to do that if we spend multiple grands on just one room of the house.

So, yet again, we talked ourselves out of Amish furniture, deciding to go for another intermediate option while we wait to see what happens. When we get ready for it, the Amish store will still be there. However, instead of settling for another cheap table that we didn’t love, we decided to go for something completely and totally different, something that wasn’t pretending to be something it wasn’t.

While at the mall in Virginia yesterday, we randomly stumbled into West Elm and saw their mix and match dining tables. They offer five different table tops and four different bases for twenty separate table options. For some reason, this seemed really appealing to us, and after six weeks of shopping for wood tables at dozens of different stores, today we purchased a stainless steel table top with an industrial steel base.

Totally different. Not a cheap wood table pretending to be what it’s not. And sturdy enough to have the tar beaten out of it and still look okay. Even though it seems ultra modern by itself, paired with some dark upholstered chairs and warmed up with the right accessories, it will fit into just about any space. If we get ready for our Amish table in the future, it can serve as a breakfast table or even a utility table. We also hit just the right sale at West Elm to get it for what we considered a steal, so we can afford to make some purchases for other rooms, too.

Even if we went a completely different direction, I think this will be a good intermediate option for us. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all in stock today, so we’ll have to wait for the pieces to trickle in. When we finally get it set up, I’ll share a picture of our shiny new table!

So, the ultimate dining table saga probably isn’t over for the Taylors, but we’ll consider this chapter closed, and maybe we’ll turn over a new “leaf” in the future. ­čśë

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