And as dizzyingly as it came, Valentine’s Day has passed. Le sigh. Having already gone out to celebrate at our favorite Italian BYO in the city on Saturday night (in a move to avoid the V-day insanity that no doubt plagued all restaurants last night), Boyfriend and I had a yummy home-cooked meal for two last night. Well, for 3. Fitz definitely thought he should get in on the action. And I can’t blame him, because we made fondue out of crazy delicious cheese (one had two X’s in the name, which got yesterday’s song back in my head) which made the whole house smell delicious, and dipped in crusty bread, red peppers, apple, and pear. It was so good. We used the electric fondue pot my brother and sister-in-law got me for Christmas a few years ago, and then watched “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt. Not, you know, with Brad Pitt because that would make for one awkward Valentine’s Day.
Dinner was made more special not only by the dozen long-stem red roses Boyfriend brought home (he clearly is unfazed by flower-cost-inflation), but because we were eating at our NEW (old) dining room table. The table is my dad’s old drafting table, so while it’s new for us, it’s definitely easily over 30 years old. We officially made the switch over the weekend, so we’ve had breakfast and dinner a few times, but this was the first important meal.
As promised, here are some before and after pictures of the whole shebang:
This is the bar set Boyfriend had previously. It’s really beautiful dark wood, and very well made. It’s perfect for a bachelor, which he was when he bought it. It also happens to fit the space perfectly. We don’t have so much a dining room as a dining space, an area situated between the living room and kitchen. I really didn’t have any major objections to using it, I just kind of wanted to drag my dad’s table out of storage and give it some proper love and attention.
Thankfully, we have an entire, huge room downstairs adjacent to the guest bedroom that is empty that Boyfriend and his dad are planning on turning into a bar area. His dad is super handy and built a custom wine closet and marble-topped bar for his other son, and this table and barstool set will not only match the decor in that future bar space, it will make more sense to use there. That’s a huge undertaking, that room, and I’ll definitely keep you posted once things get underway.
I should also give thanks for the fact that Boyfriend is perhaps the most agreeable human being on the planet and is very hands-off when it comes to decorating/design. When I said, “Hey! We’ve only been dating for 5 months and I don’t live here but let’s paint your bedroom dark gray!” he said, “Cool!” When I said, “Hey! We’ve only been dating for 5 months and I don’t live here and we just painted your bedroom dark gray yesterday, but let’s paint your bathroom blue!” he said, “Cool!” When I obsessed over the pendant light from West Elm he gave me free reign over changing the ceiling fixture out. When I bring home blankets and throw pillows and magazine baskets and old maps of Paris and decorative vases and candles that smell like macarons, he immediately says he likes them and compliments my design aesthetic. If I were maniacal I might test his patience and bring home something truly hideous or borderline ostentatious just to see if he would snap, but to find someone that not only lets you do whatever you want to their house but likes whatever you end up doing is like a gift from the Relationship Gods and I’m not trying to mess with it.
So given that we were switching the dining room table out for something much lower, we’d need new chairs. This sparked a crazy search for reasonably priced dining chairs that were both simple and attractive. I considered buying replica Bertoia wire chairs, but the fear of waffle-butt kept me at bay. I’ve always loved these Emeco Navy chairs, but at over $450 a pop, they just weren’t a realistic option.
Enter Overstock.com. Purveyor of cheap-priced home-goods, provider of my coffee table, patron saint of $2.95 shipping, regardless of what you’re buying. I found these white metal side chairs and decided they were similar enough to the Emeco chairs without being direct knock-offs that I wouldn’t feel bad about buying them. Where the Emeco chairs have 3 back rails, the ones from Overstock have 4.
Obviously there are minor quality differences between these and their inspiring originals. But they were $111 for a set of 2 when I bought them, and I had a coupon from Overstock for 10% off furniture with free shipping. Which means I got 4 chairs for the price of less than half of ONE original. And they came in boxes almost as tall as me, fully assembled, for free. When it comes to shipping furniture, that’s unheard of. Oh, Overstock. I love you so.
So with the chairs purchased it as time to reassemble my dad’s drafting table. That took us some time because obviously it didn’t come with instructions and Boyfriend and I were left to our own devices trying to figure out which knob unscrewed which beam and how the hell we were supposed to lower it from drafting-table height to dining-table height.
The height is controlled by two beams that sit in between the legs that make up the base, and when the table is lowered as low as it will go, those beans are lower than the base of the table. Which means it can’t sit on the floor or balance. Our options were to saw a few inches off the beams to make them lower than the legs so the table was usable, or just not use it. After some tears and some persuasion from Boyfriend that he wasn’t literally hacking my father’s memory to bits with a hand-saw, I relented. He took off about 3-4″ from each beam (in between the two angled legs on the base) and viola! Dining room table.
Please ignore that there are only 3 placemats. IKEA failed me for the first and only time in recorded history.
The chairs are surprisingly comfortable, but I ended up added gray chair pads from IKEA to add some extra padding.
The table was my dad’s main drafting table. He painted at it, sculpted at it, worked at it. There are marks, scratches, dings, paint drops, and even finger print marks on the underside where he must have put his hands while using varnish or sealer of some kind. It is far from the brand-new surface of the bar table we were using, but to me it is perfect.
And I can’t imagine a better place to eat.