Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometimes second best is...well, best.

For the past several months I've been on the search for the Holy Grail of kitchen tables. My requirements: Because of the length of the back benches, I needed an oval table rather than a round one with a length between 70" and 80" and a width of no greater than 48" (to keep the pathway to the back door clear). I also had to have a pedestal table to accommodate the corner seat. And of course, I wanted it to look good and be reasonably priced (I'd all but exhausted my budget for this space on the bench!). Pretty tall order, isn't it?

Of course what I fell in love with was no where near my budgeted allocation for a kitchen table. A classic Saarinen oval dining table, even in the more affordable white laminate (and of course I prefer the Carrera marble!), is still a budget-busting $4000. And while I'm a believer in paying for quality pieces that will last a lifetime, I just couldn't justify the price given all the other items we still need to buy for the home. Of course, there are a number of affordable Saarinen-lookalikes on the market today (CB2 and IKEA both have great versions), but unfortunately none of those are a larger, oval table. In fact, both CB2 and IKEA's versions are petite 40" rounds -- laughably small in this space.

There are those who argue that it's better to live with an empty room than to buy second-best, but I have a feeling those are the same folks who don't have to actually live in those empty rooms -- or have a host of people descending upon them for Thanksgiving. After three months of treating our great room and adjoining breakfast area as a pass-through space, I was completely fed up with rattling around an empty house.

And so Dave and I decided to go ahead and buy an inexpensive dining set and so we headed over to Rooms-to-Go and picked up this pedestal table and chair set. And of course, one of the greatest benefits of buying from a Big Box Store is that we were able to get our dining set mere days later. Someday perhaps I'll be able to afford that gorgeous tulip table (and wouldn't it be divine in there?), but for now we have a place to eat our cereal and drink our coffee. And I don't think it looks too bad, especially since we got the table and the chairs for less than 1/4 of the price of my beloved tulip table. And yes, I recovered the chairs with the same fabric I used for the banquette.

A shot of the chair before reupholstering, in all its standard beige microfibered glory. Bleh. It's amazing what some fabric and a staple gun can do, isn't it? Certainly makes the chair look more custom.

Oh and as you can see from the arrangement on the table, I went with everyone's advice and removed one of the three topiaries from the fireplace mantle. The move from the fireplace to the kitchen table does two great things simultaneously: the new mantle arrangement highlights the mirror and by repeating the topiary motif on the kitchen table, I'm tying the two spaces together (the fireplace is directly across from the breakfast nook and clearly visible from it). So many thanks for the sound advice, everyone!

With the countdown to Thanksgiving officially underway, this weekend I hope to accomplish a bit more around the house. We'll be changing out some more light fixtures, hanging a few more pictures, and even doing a bit of landscaping. Is anyone else similarly undertaking some home improvement projects in anticipation of the holidays?


Shannon said...

I have to admit that I love the table and chairs you went with. I think it looks really great! The other table was very nice but for some reason I like this one. Great choice!!

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I'm totally with you on your lust for a tulip table, but I agree that you did the best thing by realizing that sometimes second best fits your needs in so many other ways. Looking great, as always!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Your new table + chairs Averill look great. I've had to settle with second best most my life, but you do what you need to do. Plus look in all the fabulousness that you live? My youngest brother is an architect & had that same philosophy to do without until you have "the" one. He's 46 & his living room is still empty. He does have some killer pieces in other rooms of his home I have to give him that. Enjoy your weekend & sitting with Dave enjoying the paper, a cup of coffee & your new table.
And yes...2009 has flown-bye at a rapid rate. I'm thinking it may be a good thing. I'm ready for 2010 for most parts. x

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Yeah!! Table happiness abounds in blog land...and don't you think for a second I didn't want the Saarinen table myself!!

The space looks great. A wonderful example of high low? I think because of the presence of the wonderful custom banquette, which fits the space to a tee, the table can't help but look good. Very smart to reupholster the chairs with the same fabric. Have you thought of throwing a couple pillows into the mix?
Great choice, very cozy, enjoy!! Janell

Averill said...

Janell -- Throw pillows and some artwork for that long wall are next on the list!

Cristin said...

It looks amazing! Love the slate blue you selected. I agree with Janell too - throw pillows would make a nice touch and add some texture / additional pattern. Maybe pull the diamond pattern from the floor or circles from the chair backs - in an accent color - perhaps the gray or navy? Can't wait to see the artwork too. How fun!


VictoriaArt said...

I agree with your down to earth - live now approach, one day you might exchange it, or you might not. This looks wonderful.
If you want to make it a bit more modern you could always hang a drum shade fixture above the table...And something artsy above the banquette.
A couple of pillows and you're done!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

I love your nook and still can't believe how perfectly the banquettes fit in the space. The new table looks great and is much better than eating cereal straight off the kitchen counter. :) The circle detailing on the chairs is perfect.

Nichole said...

I really like your new table and chairs. Especially the circle detail on the chairs. As far as our TG preparations... I just had a table with enough leaves to seat 14 delivered from Wisteria outlet this morning. It's going to be a full house!

Kitty said...

flippin' sweet! it looks great!

Things That Inspire said...

I really enjoy watching your house come together, and I think the new table and chairs looks smashing (feeling British tonight). The corner bench is the scene stealer, and the new table is elegant but does not steal its thunder.

Anonymous said...

If you wouldn't have told me where you purchased it, I would have never known and it really doesn't matter! I love the way it fits the space perfectly and think you made a good choice. A space like this that needs to be used every day is a little hard to "just wait" on I agree. Hope you're having a good weekend!
pk @ Room Remix

Kellie Collis said...

Its looking stunning! x

Kara said...

You have such a good eye!! I love the table and chairs. It looks so inviting.

I will be going to my sister's house for the holiday so know crazy projects for me but I know what you are talking about. Right before my graduation from college my father decided to rebuild our deck in the backyard. I almost died!!

Christy said...

I love your new table and chairs - they would actually be my own first choice - they're so pretty and just my style! And I've never recovered chairs, but you did a great job! We always head to my parents house for the holidays, then we travel en masse to my aunt's house for the actual meals -- thanksgiving and christmas! So we're just baby-readying the house at the moment.

Oh, and I've been meaning to mention, the room you redesigned for us is still going to be the guest room. The OLD guest room is going to be Fiona's Big Girl room, and her room will become the NEW baby's nursery. Lots of home decorating in my future!!! LOVE IT!

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I think it looks great! Really love the upholstered bench seating!

Sarah Klassen said...

Averill -- this looks great!! Each time I visited your blog as of late, I have been waiting to see what you have chosen. The nook looks lovely and so warm.

Can I come over for breakfast? :)

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