Dining Room Tulip Table

I’ve been trying to get our current dining room situation to work for our family for years and it just wasn’t. We finally decided to invest in a new table that was the right size and offered a more durable surface, this Lippa reproduction tulip table. VERDICT: A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER IN EVERY WAY! (Sources at the end)

This has been a great lesson that just buying what you love and making it work doesn’t actually always turn out. I wonder sometimes if I should be more content and less persistent when it comes to house stuff, but every time I invest the time and money to get things right, I’m always blown away at how much it elevates our day to day life. Often times “contentment” is really complacency. I think that’s why I love architecture/interior design/industrial design so much. A little effort towards good design can literally change your life for the better. Yes I just said that about a table.The things that weren’t working before: We never used this room, talk about a house red flag. It was uncomfortable and cramped. The table was too big/wrong shape for our awkwardly small square dining room. And the table, which was a vintage Heywood Wakefield dream table/find/purchase, was too precious, not to mention rickety, to let the kids go to town with art/homework/regular disgusting kid eating or even for me to spread out with a project. Add in that it took up the entire room but could only seat 6, and the color wasn’t popping with our grasscloth and wood floors, and it was time to move on. I’ve known for years, but it felt stupid to spend money on the table I wanted and knew would work when I had “a perfectly good one already,” which actually wasn’t true. I should have spent it sooner. Lesson learned.

Pedestal (for the tiny room size) and white (for the dark room color) were the parameters. Since I’m in a huge tulip phase right now, a tulip table was the only answer. I’ve been keeping an eye out for vintage ones and I even looked into the cost of a Knoll, who has been in tulip table production since the beginning of tulip tables, because vintage/real is better than fake…usually. But vintage and very expensive originals need some stewardship and responsibility that I don’t want for this season of our life. I need a table that can take a beating, that we can really use, where markers and spaghetti sauce are a go. So sellout repro it is!The cost was a little daunting. I’m a by low, sell high estate sale scavenger type and I think this might be the single most expensive piece of furniture we’ve ever bought and it’s not even real… I’m hoping to sell our old one for about the same price, so I’m justifying it as an even trade. But, so far, the cost and hassle (SO HEAVY WE CAN NEVER MOVE OUT OF THIS HOUSE) has been totally worth it because we are actually using it. I feel like we gained a room.

This room is small and acts as a passage from the family to the dining room, essentially leaving only a 9.5′ square for the dining area, making it difficult to find the right size. Rectangle didn’t work, I thought oval might, but once I got down to the actual available dimensions none were right. Circle made the most sense, 54″ or 60″ being the options. Normal recommendations are that you have at least 30″ from your table to your wall, and neither size offered that clearance. But the most important thing for me was table top square footage…for a giant workspace. Cozy was fine with us as long as I could comfortably move around the table when we weren’t sitting there. I took a chance and went big (60″) and I’m so glad I did. This may not work for the host who throws drawn out dumb dinner parties where people need to be able to come and go from the crowded table, but I am so not that person. Mostly I need this to meet the daily needs of the four of us, and it would be nice if we could occasionally squeeze a few more around our table. The 60″ fulfills all those needs. I’m SO glad I went big. The room is spacious, bright and comfortable – finally!As for the top, I went with the engineered artificial marble over plain white just for durability, but I am so happy with the texture it adds. I’m not really a marble person, there are so many other surfaces I’d choose over marble, but I UNEXPECTEDLY LOVE IT. I’m no expert, but the fake marble is pretty convincing and it won’t stain. The shine bounces light around in the room in a wonderful way.

Our chairs are from Ikea, 7 years ago. We have 6 of them and they easily tuck under the table, with room to squeeze in a few more if need be. I’ve apparently been collecting tulip stools for various parts of our house (dressing room and I recently got another for our kitchen desk area). When I brought one in out of curiosity, something magical happened! They look SO CUTE AND I WANT A TABLE FULL!!! Like 8 multicolored spinning stools around this round table. Highly impractical or the most practical solution ever??? The kids and I are all in agreement, husband thinks that is crazy talk.The most glowing endorsement for the new table has been from my son, who often cannot tolerate change or new things, especially when they involve getting rid of familiar pieces of furniture. When he saw this table he proclaimed, “I usually hate new things but this new Palm Springs table is great!” Hmm? While tulip tables star in many a Palm Springs homes, he has never ever seen one there himself. His explanation: “Things in Palm Spring are bright and clean and this table is so bright and clean that it reminds me of Palm Springs! I love it…even though it’s new!” GREAT SUCCESS.

Mostly for my benefit, here’s our updated dining to-do. Notice that baseboards are crossed off. I AM LIVING. Next up in here is a mind blowing wood room divider. I can’t wait to get to that project. Pure fluff fun! 2018?

Dining Room To do:

  • Remove carpet
  • Swap out old light for Nelson saucer
  • Paint trim
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint ceilings and walls
  • Hang grasscloth wallpaper
  • Frame out pass through
  • Put some weird woodwork in the pass-through
  • Build room divider
  • Walnut curtain cornice boxes?
  • Finish wood floors
  • Baseboards
  • Paint the pocket doors
  • NEW TABLE!

Now I need to figure out if things are getting too themey in our house. Tulip table in the dining room, tulip coffee table in the family room, tulip stools in the dressing room and kitchen. Plus round white table just outside on the patio. Too much??? It feels right to me, but some non-tulip-obsessed eyes would be appreciated.

SOURCES

table – Lexmod | chairs – old Ikea | tulip stools – Amazon (I recovered)

painting – DIY ripoff of this one | bookshelf – DIY

light – Modernica, now at Herman Miller | grasscloth wallpaper – Brewster, similar

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Easter Weirdness

I don’t always decorate for Easter, but when I do, I keep it weird and simple. This is as far as it went this year. Less strange than last year’s web, but same eggs holding tight! Lucky us, we have a glass hoarder AND a stick hoarder living in this household, so this modern take on an egg tree was way easy to throw together on our dining room table.
Happy Easter everybody!!! xoxo

Dining Room Too

Hey everybody! We spent some time in lovely San Diego last week, where I said 1000 times “Ya, I could live here.” It’s going on my Ya I Could Live There List, joining San Luis Obispo (the place where I actually live and fully endorse) and Palm Springs (a questionable addition where 50% of me is positive I could live there and the other 50% is willing to roll the dice). I was born and raised in OC, not far from San Diego, so an exciting part was hitting up old shopping haunts. My lucky shop in Oceanside, where many a treasure have been scored, was not only still in business, but had just what I didn’t know I needed: a 100 pot stash of not perfect but decent white Gainey planters for very cheap. Though tempted, I didn’t come home with 100. Just a very restrained four. We somehow managed to tetris them into our already packed car without breaking them and now all I need is more plants. (This is the process of becoming a crazy plant lady when you don’t even really like plants but pottery is your favorite.) This week, in contrast, has been rough. Rough at home and so rough in the world. More on that at the end because I hear post intros aren’t supposed to be horribly depressing…

So, fluffy dumb stuff first: my dining room! Since sharing my family room last time, I figured I should give a look at the other side of the coin, the dining room. They occupy the same space, separated by only a step and a railing. Only a few changes since the last time I shared: the pass-through has been framed, new artwork hung, and the buffet was swapped out for the bookshelf in the last great rearrange.

I’m gonna be honest, this room is a waste of space. We rarely, if ever, eat in here. I really want to change that because my kids are probably old enough to not cover every surface in food mess. And nothing irks me more than keeping things around (especially room sized things!) that you don’t use. But this room isn’t super functional for us. The furniture is tight and heavy, doing the opposite of making you want to linger around the table. While the large rectangular Heywood Wakefield table is one of my favorite pieces that I don’t want to ditch, I’m accepting the fact that it may not be a match for this particular dining room. A round table would work so much better. And while I’m heading down that road, I may as well request a more durable surface, possibly one that is white to lift the blandness currently going on. You see where this is going? A large tulip table. But how many tulips are too many? Do I then need to find a new coffee table? Because I don’t want to. And another concern: generic is never the right choice and I’m seeing tulip tables everywhere lately (or is it only on my dining room pin board, a sign that I love them enough to get one?).

And then there’s the walls themselves stumping me. That odd pass-through wall, which by the way goes to the desk in our kitchen – a very inconvenient point for food passing. Previous owners had a massive china cabinet covering the hole, definitely grounding the space more successfully than I have. But I refuse to lose the light it provides. The bookshelf, though an odd choice for a dining room, offers some welcome lightness and color. That wall is just hard. I still love the grasscloth wallpaper I hung after opting out of the 70’s green floral wallpaper that once graced the walls, but the whole room is suffering from monochromaticity.

In all of these complaints it’s unclear whether contentment or functionality is the right path to choose. Unless a tulip table knocks on my door, which I hope it does, I’m not planning any major changes in here for at least a while. The front yard is calling, and then a string of more pressing projects.

Dining Room To do:

  • Remove carpet
  • Swap out old light for Nelson saucer
  • Paint trim
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint ceilings and walls
  • Hang grasscloth wallpaper
  • Frame out pass through
  • Put some weird woodwork in the pass-through
  • Build room divider
  • Walnut curtain cornice boxes?
  • Finish wood floors
  • Baseboards!
  • Paint the pocket doors

But wait there’s more…

Now, this has absolutely nothing to do with a house blog and is in stark contrast to all that superficial complaining above. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t do dumb posts about dumb rooms without saying this. If you are sick of watching in helpless HORROR at the atrocities going on in the world, I encourage you to do something! I’m guessing if you read my blog you have necessities like a roof over your head and also have luxuries like some extra time and money to even think about improving your spaces. I for one, have a relative abundance of these things compared to many in the world. Don’t underestimate the power of throwing some cash, even what may seem like a small amount to you, at the good people doing good work during bad, bad times. I’m loving the hard work that Preemptive Love is doing in Syria and Iraq, and that they offer the opportunity to people like me sitting in my dumb dining room across the world to help in some small but actually practical way. And there are so many other worthy and effective charities that are meeting needs in all regions of the world where people are suffering. Sorry for the rant, but it feels very dirty to complain about my dining room table considering world events. I believe in the power of good design or else I wouldn’t be blogging about it. And I know “the world still turns” and all those lame sayings. But good design and cheesy rhetoric amount to nothing for those who don’t have homes or health or safety or loved ones or life. I know death happens. But it shouldn’t be from chemical weapons. Or famine. Or whatever other atrocities corrupt governments and leaders are handing down. Geez world, let’s get it together already.

On a happier note that also has nothing to do with my dining room, my best friend since like forever (we made some pretty artistic hamster music videos in our day, featuring our real live hamsters) is adopting a daughter from China and is raising money to bring her home. Her family’s story is a beautiful one. There is so much good in this world too.

Join in something good somewhere, okay? Okay.