When we moved to LA almost two years ago it was the first time in my adult life that I had a real dining room. It was like a dream come true. The apartment we lived in before, in Washington DC, was amazing… the third floor of a hundred year old row house in Logan Circle. It had a cool loft with a porthole, soaring 20+ foot ceilings, a balcony and great light. What it didn’t have was a proper place to eat. Also, for a year of the 2+ years we lived there together, Jon worked from home. Making an already small living space even smaller (especially since halfway through the year he decided that he could no longer work up in the loft and took over the living room, then the kitchen).
Okay so this photo shows that little table against the wall… but truth be told that didn’t last. It was a loft and so everything was in one space… the Living Room. That table soon became an entry table in another location and we never ate anywhere except the couch.
As soon as we moved into our first place in LA we bought a real dining room table to fit in our large, light filled dining room!We bought the table in the first two weeks and it was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made.
It’s the large Basque table from Crate and Barrel – it’s made from renewable mango wood, which appealed to us, plus it has that sort of rustic, farmhouse table look but with modern lines.
We finally had a place to have dinner! It made such a huge difference in my life. There is something about sitting down together to eat dinner in dining room chairs on a nice table, without the distraction of television noise that just makes life more pleasant.
Our new house has a very similar set up to the old place – with a similar dining room. This is a look of our dining room right before we sat down for our (two person) thanksgiving dinner!
I am at a place now where I am really happy with the space… I do want to put down a rug under the table (been thinking of FLOR tiles) and I need to fix the curtains a little bit (you can see them sort of drooping at the top in the first pic, which is my fault for sewing in the curtain rings at a weird spot).
I am happy with everything… BUT…we need/want a nice new buffet, buffet/hutch, console, etc. As you can see on my Wish List I’ve been eyeing the Basque Buffet/Hutch Top from Crate and Barrel.
I am not usually into “matchy-matchy” in terms of furniture collections, but there is something about this piece that I just love. It is really beautifully made – an extremely hefty and solid piece of furniture. It has ton of storage and the latches are really unique. It has that “old vintagey” look and although I would rather have something that was actually vintage, with a past and a story – I have yet to find anything that I love as much as this.
This is what is we’ve got working for us now:
ummm… just a little different. Actually this buffet was a huge DIY project that I somehow convinced myself was worth it because I couldn’t afford anything I really wanted. It started out as the Norden Occasional Table from Ikea (only an older, two drawer version).
I started by sanding down all the wood (not easy) and then I stained the whole thing a dark chestnut color. This process actually happened over several years – I first start working on this project when we lived in DC! But I ran out of steam and only stained and sealed the top and the sides of the piece. Getting an electric sander into those slats to rough up the wood was a nightmare and I just left it two-toned for a long time. Until we moved to the house and I realized that it would still be a little longer until we could afford/rationalize buying something I really wanted ie; something very expensive. Soooo…. I worked on staining the rest of it so I could live with it longer. I also bought some drawer pulls to cover up the finger slots to make it look a little bit more substantial.
Even after all that work, I don’t really like it anymore than before and the itch to get something to replace it is getting stronger. Unfortunately, we really like our bar set – the tray was given to us as a wedding gift from one of my mom’s oldest friends. She is a true southerner who loves herself a good drink… and thinks we should too!
If we got the piece from Crate and Barrel, there would be no room for the pretty bar tray. Jon thinks we need something smaller – without a hutch – so we can set the bar on top (and so it doesn’t take up as much space in the room). One source that makes my heart go a pitter-patter is Silica Three… a giant 5000 square foot warehouse in North Hollywood that sells gorgeous mid century vintage European furniture.
This pristine Danish oak sideboard is just one of hundreds of amazing pieces that the owners personally import from Europe and restore to perfect mid-century condition! Jon and I went by the warehouse when we first moved in to look for a desk for his office, but the prices are steep and we ended up getting something from Craigslist. Here are some more images of pieces from Silica Three that would work beautifully in our dining room:
It’s like a mid-century modern paradise! If we got a sideboard that had a space for dishes and silverware, maybe my mother would finally let me have my great grandmother’s fine china and my grandmother’s silver that she left for me… she’s too afraid to let me bring it out to California 1. because it is old and irreplaceable and she worries it will break, and 2. because I need a proper place to store it all! I can imagine fun, fancy dinner parties where my fine china gets eaten on, my crystal wine glasses get drunk out of and my new buffet gets admired! I love a good dinner party – especially when Jon does the cooking!
ps: speaking of Dinner Parties… my two friends, from Marketplace (the business public radio show, where I occasionally freelance) Rico and Brendan have a hilarious podcast called The Dinner Party Download. Each episode is designed to help you “win” over a dinner party with amusing conversation. It’s newsy, pop culture-y, and full of hipster wit- check it out!