#Around the Table

My table.  I love this table.  I got it for a song off Craigslist from a sweet woman who had a great looking photo of it with melamine chairs, gray walls, and cute lime green accents.  My secret tip for Craigslist purchase is to make sure you have good mojo with the seller.  I want my finds to come into my home with good energy from the change of hands.  She said she had better offers, but she wanted me to have it because I had mentioned I liked her room.

What I liked best is that it slides open in the middle for two extra leaves, easily stored inside, to seat 14 people quite comfortably.  My husband and I have four children, and we often have my parents, and his brother and family for dinner.  We use the length of this table every bit as much as I thought we would when I bought it.  Preparing a meal and inviting friends and family to join us around this welcoming table brings me a lot of joy.  My favorite idea from Inspired Room, is that it isn’’t about how a room looks, but how the room feels.  I love the way this large gathering table makes this room feel, in all its imperfect glory.  The hutch is an antique that belonged to my great aunt, and half the chairs are Stickleys that belonged to my grandmother.  To me, it’s a wonderful hodge-podge.

My dining room is the product of a recent home renovation, a DIY venture with very limited funds.  The space, which was intended to be a seating area, is a bit awkward, with a couple of required walk-ways, a fireplace, and a set of french doors that make it difficult to furnish.  Another Inspired Room concept I appreciate is what happens when you really live in a space and get to know what it wants to be for you.  I tried many arrangements, changing with the needs of our growing family over the years, including using the original dining room as a full  nursery for the first year after our triplets were born, (complete with crib and dresser-style changing table).  There was no way I was walking down the long hall to their room every time someone needed a change!

Once our family was old enough to sit around a table together at mealtimes, we began using this room as a dining space.  It was the most function we had ever gotten out of it.  The only flaw was that one of us was always around the corner in the kitchen, making seventeen trips back and forth through dinner to fill another sippy cup with milk or dish someone more rice.  I began daydreaming about making that wall between the kitchen and this space a half wall, and that’s how my favorite room in the house was born.  Now open to the kitchen and entry, we also use this table for all manner of crafts, coloring, folding laundry, homework, lap top work, and everything in between.

Not long ago, I watched an old episode of House Hunters, about an ER physician looking to move back to her hometown to be near family.  She was teetering between downsizing as she got closer to retirement, or going all out on her dream home.  She hoped she would know it when she saw it.  At the top of her list was a dining room large enough to seat 20 people.  Although she hadn’t married or had children, she loved hosting large parties for friends, family, and neighbors, and was very active at developing community.  I identified with her immediately, and it made me so happy when she chose the somewhat illogical huge historic home over the comfortable smaller choice just for the enormous dining room, that came with a table too large to move out!

Thanks for listening.  I have really enjoyed looking at everyone’s pictures and reading your stories, but most of all, the ”realness” of all of your photos; the sense that we are all making do with what we have and making it wonderful. 

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    Love your table, love your room, love your decorating energy and thoughts about hospitality. I am also a huge sucker for brick walls and twinkle lights, so consider me smitten with your gorgeous. dining room!

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