When I first saw the house in early February, I didn't fully appreciate the awesome that was the dining area. And by awesome, I mean challenging. As mentioned, a few walls were knocked down during our house's flip and the one that separated the kitchen from a little living room by the window was one of them.
The bar from the kitchen was added (which is cool - I really like that aspect) but it meant that the space now was a bit too small to have a kitchen table AND an extra sitting area but it was too big to make sense with a small dining table. After we closed on the house and my mom and I came down to look at it, I realized this space was crying out for a big, substantial wooden table. Something completely different than the expandable light wood table we'd been using and Paul had had for the past 6 years. (I ended up selling the table and green chairs on craigslist this past weekend just as we got this new stuff set up.)
And so began my dining table hunt. Again, I considered everything. Vintage tables. Craigslist tables. Crate & Barrel tables. Target tables. Ikea tables. Pier 1 tables. Overstock.com tables. Pottery Barn tables. Restoration Hardware tables. Insanely gorgeous $5000 dining tables from a boutique in Little Italy (okay so those weren't so much considered, as drooled on). I emailed local carpenters. I scoured Etsy. I went around and around and around.
My requirements were simple-ish. It had to be at least 80 inches long but not longer than 96. It couldn't be wider than 40 inches and I really wanted something about 36. I didn't want it to be expandable. It had to look big and important. But it couldn't be too fussy. It had to be dark. AND OH MAN, DID IT HAVE TO BE REAL WOOD.
For a hot minute this spring, my dad and I were going to build one. We had plans. We called local wood distributors. My dad talked to his carpenter brother. But what we realized was that due to the size we were looking for and the thickness of the tabletop we hoped to achieve, this was going to be a long (a.k.a not completed in a weekend) and expensive project. We pulled the plug and decided to focus on a few different projects instead for my parent's last trip down before the baby came. And I realized that these insanely expensive new tables were a little more worth it. I think I had to break down the DIY cost in order to see that.
So after that, we were ready to go with this gorgeous table from CB2. We had a 10% off coupon. They were offering a free delivery deal. It was as cheap as we were going to get it. But the morning I was ready to buy, I got an email from World Market with a 25% off coupon. Just one more look at their tables, I thought to myself. And ta-da...there she was! THE TABLE. Dark wood. Good sized. A bit smaller than I thought I wanted, but substantial. More detail on the legs than I thought I wanted, but maybe that would help balance out my minimalist-ish style. And with 25% off, a deal compared to what we had budgeted.
I sent Paul a link and drove to the store to take photos. We both agreed it looked better "in real life" than online. Boom. Ordered. (And once again, proof that when it's really right, I go for it, no hemming and hawing.)
Once we scored on the table, the chair plan came together in about a day. I sent Paul a bunch of pinterest links to light chairs with dark wood tables and black chairs with dark wood tables and we agreed on black. We liked the look more and black chairs matched the black stools at the bar (from Ikea and kindly left by the sellers for us). I found the chairs on overstock.com originally, but then found them even cheaper here (the day I bought them they were $119 for 2.) I don't know that they'll last us our whole lives and they are certainly not family heirlooms, but they look good, were easy to assemble (even nine months pregnant), are sturdy enough and are surprisingly comfy. They work well with the table and to me, tie it all together. We went with six to start but may grab two more (this table comfortably fits eight).
Long before there was a table and chairs, we had the bent wood pendant lamp (I cannot believe they are no longer online!!) hung. I was not a fan of the chandelier that came with the house, (plus it was positioned totally wrong) and so my dad installed the pendant lamp and we used a chain and hook to get it centered in the room without having to mess with wiring. It's huge - 2 feet wide - and helps the space feel like one area and not two small areas spliced together. I like that the light wood plays off the dark beams above and the dark table, rug and chairs below.
I found the rug at a vintage shop the first week I moved in. It's graphic and old (the guy who sold it to me thought it was made in Japan in the 1960s, but who knows?) and big. I bought it because it was a killer price for the size and I'd never seen anything like it.
The ampersand was found on clearance at World Market. Total impulse buy, but something I would have regretted everyday of my life if I let it go. It was covered in an old map and I painted it with black chalkboard paint (though haven't got up the courage to actually chalk anything on it yet). There were a lot of fans of the map on Instagram, and I get that, but maps are not my decorating style right now and it's not like this was a handmade or vintage piece, so I felt great about painting over it.
The blue ceramic candle sticks were picked up at a house this past weekend when I went to go get a mirror from craigslist. The lady had almost a little garage sale set up outside and she sold them to me for $3. Total deal. I love them. The white bowl was picked up at our farmer's market, right before we left Oxnard.
As this low-budget sketch demonstrates, I have additional plans for this space. I'm going to stick an indoor tree (hopefully a fiddle leaf fig which I am hoping to track down on craigslist) in the right corner into that basket I found at goodwill. I am going to have photos from our upcoming family shoot with Tara Whitney blown up huge and framed for behind the table and next to the ampersand. And of course, we are going to gather around this table for Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves and most importantly, family dinners every night. (No more eating in front of the TV for Elise & Paul.)
Thanks for letting me share, in perhaps WAY too much detail, how this space came together.