A family who eats together...
...stays together. Is that how the saying goes?
In our city apartment, we never had room for a dining table. At one point we created the contraption you see in the before picture with an IKEA table top and an extremely heavy solid metal base we found for $25 at the annual Bernal Heights Hillwide sale. It wasn't pretty but it seated 8 people for Thanksgiving, and in the end it was my first successful attempt at cooking a turkey that took the show - no one even noticed the table.
Well, when it made the move across the bridge and we placed it in our new dining area, its imperfections and makeshiftness stood out like a really really sore thumb. So, I set out to find the perfect dining room table.
Craigslist landed nothing fruitful - anything worthwhile was either gone or too far away. I visited the usual suspects, but you know how I feel about new furniture. I ventured instead to the East Bay, to two furniture stores I have always wanted to visit.
In the Wooden Duck (a local favorite for furniture made of reclaimed wood), there she was. The most outstanding dining table. Perfectly imperfect and rustic and heavy and long and...$3000. I laughed out loud. The nugget looked at me funny. "Let's go kiddo, maybe in my next lifetime."
Right next store is Urban Home - a consignment store in a huge warehouse space. Full of light and space to explore, I found more than just a dining table though I tried to stay focused and on task. I snapped a few shots of the table (made locally from reclaimed wood and vintage table bases and priced at a tad over $300) that caught my eye, grabbed the nugget from behind the rolled up carpets and headed back home.
Two days later, the table was strapped to the top of our car and well, you see the result!
As for the seating, the benches are IKEA Lack shelving units turned on their side with Iris chair pads and Capita legs (different heights available). Functional for keeping nugget trains and automobiles nicely tucked away when not in use. As for the booster seat, its a Mutsy that I found on Craigslist. I like it because of its modern un-baby look and the straps are long, which allowed me to secure it on the bench. Now the nugget is up high with the grown-ups, exactly where he wants to be.
A last trick for rented homes and apartments, hang your own lighting or ask your landlord to do it. If it doesn't require a change to the existing electrical hardware, it is easy to put up and then take down when you leave. And really, it makes such a huge impact. We hung a Kroby light fixture and even installed a dimmer switch. The switch we'll probably leave for the next tenants - every overhead light should be on a dimmer in my opinion.
We've found a few upholstered high back chairs that just need new covers and we're all ready for this year's Thanksgiving. Now I just have to cook a damn turkey again.