This week thoughts turn to food and families around dining tables, perhaps more than most weeks. So I’ve been thinking about dining tables for our place in Chennai. To gather lots of people. Big dining tables.
The table and chairs in our Chicago dining room are a matched set we found at a sale open to the public at the Minneapolis design center. The dining set totally bores me now, but at the time we were caught up in an exciting event (want it? better grab it before someone else does, quick!) and it fits the spaces that we had then, and have now, perfectly. It has an elegant fine cherry finish, which is nice, but it’s a delicate finish and it’s now showing so many scratches from cats using nails to brake while sliding across it (I never see them do it but evidence is definitely there), plates being pushed across it, etc. It doesn’t stand up to the rigors of women wielding scrapbooking tools on it. And that’s tough stuff, believe it or not! So something much hardier is needed. And what’s hardier than a table built for a farmhouse? With a thick slab of rustic wood, already imperfect, so you don’t have to worry about imperfections ever again.
Such as this dining table from Arhaus:
Of course there’s no worries of scratches on anything from Restoration Hardware. Everything there looks indestructible, but scratches would only add to the look if they happened on this dining table:
It’s already clear I favor tables that mix wood and metal, as this one from Anthropologie also features:
This Mexican dining table has a lighter personality. Many laughs and jokes would be shared over meals at this table:
It’s best to have a table that’s comfortable enough for people to linger over for a long while. The kind of table where conversation gets going and eventually true confessions of secrets from long ago are cheerfully spilled and accepted. You know, like the time in high school when I fit 10 friends in … oops, let’s not go there now … what I’m about to say would run counter to my full-time profession now and that’s not a good example to set (because I work for the public’s good and safety), even if that was about 25 years ago! See why you need a good table and good food, with conversation running long enough to create atmosphere for these stories to be spoken, as that’s safer than written words! This is a friendly table for that kind of talk:
Here is a table with some Spanish style:
Trestle style tables are making the cut, clearly. I think they’re much more interesting than tables with four legs. The different styles have their pros and cons depending on how you use your table. I like to stretch out and take over everything when home alone and rest my feet on the chairs across from me and criss-cross bars are bothersome for that. Why I cannot sit like a normal person, I cannot explain. Just can’t! So, think about your body’s preferences which aren’t likely to change around your furniture’s limitations.
Now this table has a very interesting base with bar across the bottom which isn’t in the way. But is that a shiny finish on the top I see? Can’t tell, but would prefer a rustic finish, which probably could be done, as they offer this top in leather, metal, natural fiber, stone, etc.:
Huh. This dining table looks ready-made for the rigors of a well-lived house:
For a change of pace, here’s a contemporary take on a farmhouse table. Whoa, at 3.66 meters long, people better come over often to help use up this table!
I believe many of these table styles would mix well with the Tuscan kitchen we’re creating. We’ve had furniture made for us previously, in Baan Tawai Thailand near Chiang Mai, and we may go that custom route for the India apartment, for bigger pieces like a dining table. The last time we did that, I was admittedly not yet a believer that it would be successful because we wanted a big teak patio dining set with table, chairs, everything. Previously we’d had smaller things made. We were near the very end of our trip, like on our way to the airport to catch a flight, and my husband asked to stop at a place where the furniture looked a cut above many other places. I was a bit cranky and impatient by then, this having been many days full of trekking through countless shops, driving ourselves in Thailand’s road environment, and also the third country we’d been in in about 10 days - lots of planes, lots of lines to get things stamped on passports. Whew. I was barely able to mentally pay attention to be sure I drove on the left side of the road, most certainly not natural behavior coming from the U.S. Now we were going for a final push, to have this family make a bunch of stuff just from our pictures? I thought my husband was crazy. Well, it worked. They made every detail. Very cool. We got two Ming style console tables to tuck under the bigger windows in our living room, perfect spots for plants and cats to rest and bask in sunshine. They even rescaled based on our re-measurements when we got home and discovered the measurements we had given them were completely wrong. Measure, measure again, then measure again, just to be sure! They made a summer dining table which is now in our sunroom and six chairs. The thing we had to be very clear about was needing well-seasoned wood in our climate. We have seen wood split in the dry air here, and it ain’t pretty. That likely wouldn’t be a problem shipping stuff from Thailand to India though. I hope to have opportunity to visit Baan Tawai again and collaborate on making something, I now have confidence that we can do it, and I promise less crankiness next time!