Tim Foolery

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Dining Room Design

For those of you who read my ramblings know the history of my dining table.  I’ll give the rest of you a quick recap.  My dining table started it’s life in rural Kansas in the late  1800s.  It made it’s way to Oregon on a covered wagon in the early 1900s.  Photos have proved that my great-grandma (the second person to own this table) used this for her every day table and even extended it by using sheets of plywood sitting on one edge and saw horse holding the other edge so she could host the entire family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My family has never had any money, so when someone would die they would break up proper sets of things (a dining set for example) and give the component pieces to various family members.  The table stayed close to my branch of the family tree, the chairs were turned in to lawn chairs by another member of the extended family — solid oak chairs to make the best option for lanai seating, don’t they?  I never said my family was the classiest of families around.  After a few generations, the table made it to my house. I had it refinished before we closed up the Oregon house and it’s been living the urban life with me for 2.5 years now.

As noted before, it didn’t come with matching chairs.  The chances of me finding a set of 6-8 chairs that match the table perfectly is next to zero, so I’m not even going to try.  2.45 years ago I was hosting a dinner at my home but didn’t have any chairs. I opted to purchase cheap folding chairs from World Market with an espresso finish.  I figured it would pull the dark grain colors from the refinished table.  Plus they were only $40 for 4, so it’s not like I was out anything if I hated them and to quote my friend JM “Shit, who doesn’t need more folding chairs around their house — you can always use them”.  Good point.

So for the past 2.45 years I’ve been using these CHEAP folding chairs to see how I liked the darker chairs against the dark brown table — and I really liked it.  The problem is, I can’t find any reasonably priced espresso chairs that fit the bill.

Last week, I received a catalog from Home Decorators that had a few chair styles that I liked.  Plus they were on sale.  I know, I know. The first thing I thought was it would be press board (mdf) and would fall apart within a few weeks but the website said it was “wood” and not “particle board” or whatever else they call it.  What the hell, I’ll buy a chair and see how it goes.

The chair arrived at Home Depot within 2 days of ordering and it sat there 3 more days while I was out of town.  I swung by HD to pick it up and was SHOCKED at the size of the box it came in.  The box is only slightly smaller than if the chair was fully assembled.  I schlepped this chair home in a taxi and spent 15 minutes putting it together. It is wood and not press board. It has a WIDE seat for all of my wide seated friends.  It is slightly distressed with bumps and gouges and some of the coloring has rubbed off to reveal a little red undertone.

The chair is heavy and stable and for $140 it’s a pretty good deal in my mind. I’m just not 100% sold on it for my table.  The wide seat is so wide it just barely fits under the table (between the legs).  It’s a bit taller than I’m use to, since I’ve been using these small folding chairs.  It goes without saying, if I keep this chair, I’m going to reupholster the wide seat — perhaps with a bold color or pattern.  The chair could use a bit more padding on the seat too, but that can easily be handled when I upholster.

 What do you think?  Should these chairs move into my home permanently?  What do you like about them? What do you hate?  Be honest, I want to hear.  If you don’t want to comment, please email me.

Oh yeah, and you can see Miss Lilly wanted to get in the photos. She woke up just in time to supervise my photo shoot and now she’s sitting here watching everything I type.  She’s a great little supervisor.


1 Comment

  1. Jamie says:

    I like the contrast between the dark and lighter wood and think reupholstering would be fun. What color are you thinking? I'm having a hard time visualizing whether the size is right or not. Since you are used to the smaller chairs, I'd just try out the new one for a week or so and see how it feels. The only thing I don't like is the nicks in the finish. That is likely a sign that more damage will occur through regular use. If you like the distressed look than you've got no problem, but if you don't, I worry you'll constantly be touching them up with a wood pen. As someone who owns a dining room table that scratches easily I would recommend something more durable if you are at all worried.

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