Dining Room Furniture!

Throughout basically my entire childhood and adolescence, I can’t recall my parents buying furniture. Our house had furniture, so I never really thought too hard about it. That I’d never seen my mom hem and haw over a fabric sample or my dad try and fail to assemble something from IKEA never really struck me as weird, even when we moved to a larger house when I was 7. Instead of going to stores and finding the right pieces to fill the space, selected as part of  a pre-planned decor scheme, the house just sort of became furnished. It wasn’t until a little later that I started to understand that most of the furniture we owned had at one time belonged to another family member, and even later when I realized that all of my relatives are lunatics.

It wasn’t that my parents couldn’t have bought their own furniture (that would be different), but that they just never really had a reason to. Instead, it seems like anything that my grandparents bought between the years of about 1960 to 1980 but no longer used——including office furniture——was systematically kept, stored, and shipped great distances on an as-needed basis years later. Even now, if the second or third caretaker of one such piece then decides they don’t want it, its donation or sale must be agreed upon by all members of my parents’ generation (and, increasingly, my generation), lest someone else might want it or someday decide that they might someday want it. Then it goes back into storage and waits for the house that so-and-so won’t own for a decade. It’s psychotic.

The actual economics of this are often completely backward, since all of the storing and the moving and the shipping ends up costing more than the value of the furniture to begin with, but that isn’t the point. The point is, if you need a sectional sofa in my family, you can take your pick between the maroon one and the black one, and maybe they’re both missing parts, but on the plus side they’re already broken in a little and have a modicum of sentimental value for somebody, somewhere.

As this stems from my father’s side of the family, I’m not sure my mother knew what sort of life she was signing up for: the kind where actually buying anything new amounted to an act of rebellion, liberation, desperation, or all three. The poor woman has literally hated her bedroom furniture for 20 years——not casually, in the way that you might want a new set of dishes but never seem to find the time, but aggressively and persistently, day in and day out, for two decades. And it wasn’t like there was a honeymoon period at the beginning when it was new and she actually did like it, because in the context of her life it was never new. It just arrived at some point, and that was that.

Of the many things in my childhood home that my mother openly despised, very few received as much disdain as our dining room set. She has been plotting to get rid of it the entire time I’ve known her. I’m not even really sure what her major gripe with it was——something about the chairs being uncomfortable and not liking the shape of the table——but I’m not sure it really matters. It was more of a fixation, an imaginary problem into which many of her broader frustrations were slowly channeled. At various times she would find a new table option here or chair option there, but the effort always fell just short of actually placing the order. I think eventually the pressure of finding something that would make her happy became too overwhelming to outweigh just living with the anger, so she resigned herself to just waiting until they moved.

Once my parents actually did make the commitment to move, it was more or less assumed that the ridiculous cycle of storing and shipping old many-times-used furniture would just continue as it always had. To their credit, my parents did get rid of a lot of stuff, but the option was put to us kids to claim whatever we wanted first. Seeing as I’m the only one with the space or the need, I got the only thing I was truly interested in.


BOOM DINING ROOM SET. It is mine. Finally it is loved.

This set was purchased by my grandparents for the house my dad grew up in around 1965. It doesn’t have any manufacturer marks or labels, so I have no idea who the designer or brand is, but I love it. The chair frames are all brassy or bronze-y or some kind of warm metal-y with lots of patina, and the seats and backs are black leather slings with white stitching. I personally think they’re comfortable, but I also personally don’t give a shit either way because look at that fine chair.

I love chairs.

My father reports that as a teenager, he used to sit at this dining set and listen to Jefferson Airplane and watch the wallpaper.



Now for the potentially controversial part of the post. I don’t think I actually like the table. My evolution toward becoming my mother is officially complete.

Objectively, it’s a nice table. It’s solid wood. It has leaves. It’s in really good condition. However, the original finish was a much lighter wood tone, and in an effort to make themselves like it, my parents had the whole thing ebonized in the 80s. Consequently, even though the set is from the 60s and the chairs alone are delicious, the set together reads very 80s to me. Black leather is one of those tough things that really only works in certain contexts, I think, without looking like Wall Street. 

Luckily, my dream dining table is actually pretty attainable. I know people will roll their eyes, but the IKEA NORDEN table is SO nice. It’s solid birch, has great simple lines, and is HUGE (a bit bigger than this table, which I think will fit the room better). I think it would look reallllly good with the chairs, too, and complement them way better than this table does. Since this is our only dining space and we use it constantly (as opposed to the last 20 years, when this table only got used a few times a year because we had an eat-in kitchen), it would also be nice to have something I wouldn’t have to worry so much about damaging. Even though I don’t particularly like this table, I also do want to keep it in good shape.

You know, in case my siblings want it in 20 years.


About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 12.19.13
    Anne said:

    Agree 100%. Those chairs deserve a nice, light wooden table exactly like that. And those chairs are GREAT.

  2. 12.19.13

    Those chairs…LOVE & WANT! X

  3. 12.19.13
    kim said:

    Love the Norden table! I have the Norden Occasional table (with the three drawers) and you pretty much can’t hurt it. It lived in my kitchen forever and then in a dining room and then I painted it (bad idea) and then I sanded all the paint off and now it lives on my big country porch doing the same job it did in the kitchen, just for outdoor cooking.

    Get it!!!

  4. 12.19.13

    those chairs are damn fine.
    my family takes it to a whole new level of crazy…. we put actual labels on things at people’s houses so that when they die their furniture is already to go to the next rightful owner. my grandmother’s dining room table has a label on it that says it, its’ leaves, and its’ chairs are all mine. and the dish collection on her wall has my mother’s name on it. because we’re all nuts. :)

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      HAHAHAHAHA. So morbid. I respect that.

    • 12.19.13
      Samantha said:

      Ha! Same here. I just told my aunt, in front of two of her kids, that the grandfather clock that used to belong to her mother was mine when the time came. Everyone seemed pretty cool with it!

    • 12.19.13
      Ella Moe said:

      I love that it’s so upfront. No misunderstandings when the time comes!

  5. 12.19.13
    Kari said:

    So what’s the real plan for when you replace the table? Will the family go crazy if you sell it? I agree – it would look better lighter – but it has such great lines!

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I think the real plan is probably sticking it in the basement or the attic! We have the storage space, so why not?

      (note: i realize this seems crazy. I am human.)

  6. 12.19.13
    Anne said:

    I think the table has great ‘legs’.

    If you take out the middle leaf to create a smaller table, could it work in your fantastic living room after you have returned it to it’s original dimension?

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I agree, and I actually like the table much more without the leaf in it. But I don’t think we need another table anywhere else, really! I’m not really sure what function it would serve, you know?

    • 12.24.13
      Jill said:

      My mom put a round table about that size in her living room not that long ago, and it’s been a great addition. It’s currently covered in all her genealogical research, but 2 months ago, it was covered in a sewing machine and Halloween costume pieces. When family is over, we all sit around it and play Scattergories or whatever. If you’re working on a project, having a table in the living room means you can do it and still hang out with the rest of the household while they’re watching TV or whatever instead of doing your project alone in the dining room. Or if you have a group over and some of you want to play games, you don’t have to clear off dinner/food first from the dining room or leave half the party in the living room to do it.

  7. 12.19.13
    Southern Gal (@sogalitno) said:

    i agree with the idea of reusing the table somewhere else… maybe in the living room… or den? (you have a den right?).

    and dont shoot me, while the chairs are lovely, not quite my style but you love them and that ikea table will be beautiful with them.

  8. 12.19.13
    Liz said:

    are you going to stain the norden table? that seems like something you might do. that said, it also looks great as is.

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Nope! I like the blonde wood.

  9. 12.19.13
    Karen said:

    The Ikea table is nice, but for the half that price, you could build your own. Check out Anna White’s site, ana-white.com – there are many options with plans for building, cut lists, etc. Great for a handy guy like you!

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Honestly, that is just not another project I need at all! And I realllllllly, highly doubt I could build something that’s the same quality as the IKEA one (I know people don’t often put “IKEA” and “quality” in the same sentence, but this table really is super nice, smartly-designed and well-constructed). I’m sure I could handle building a basic table if I really wanted to, but replicating the NORDEN is many, many steps beyond anything I’m capable of doing. I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist to see if I can find one secondhand, which I’d MUCH prefer as a method to save a little money. :)

  10. 12.19.13

    I completely agree- love the chairs, I am not a fan of the table. Store that shit!

  11. 12.19.13
    Ileana said:

    I like the dark table more than the Ikea table. It is moody and posh.

  12. 12.19.13
    Jess said:

    I’m not a big fan of any sort of rounded dining table and that one reads a little conference room-y to me so I definitely like the NORDEN better!

    We just bought a set of chairs that came out of an old diner and they’re all covered with black leather. I’m not the biggest fan of sitting on leather but haven’t had the time/energy/motivation to recover them so now I have four chairs that silently mock me every time we sit down for dinner. “Oh, you’re wearing shorts tonight? Dandy! I’ll stick to your legs and make you feel disgusting.”

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      Oh gross! This leather is not like that kind of leather…it’s very smooth and matte. Leather is weird. (although if they’re from a diner, are you sure they aren’t vinyl or naugahyde?)

    • 12.19.13
      Jess said:

      You know, it very well could be naugahyde. I bought them from a local consignment store and they were advertised as leather but I didn’t ask or really even think about it because I knew right away they were project chairs (they also need a good cleaning and sanding) so I figured I would just recover the seats anyway to match the two chairs we already had!

    • 12.20.13
      Loryn said:

      I couldn’t put my finger on it, but you’re exactly right, it does look like an 80s conference table! The IKEA one will definitely look better!

  13. 12.19.13
    Rachel said:

    My family does the same thing! It does come in handy when you move out and your first apartment is totally furnished, rugs and artwork included. Fortunately my family tends to have pretty good taste. I think it’s nice curating a collection of family member’s former furniture from various homes. Like this couch was in my aunt’s house in Georgia, that couch was from Mimi’s game room and is the best napping couch, while that side table came from Mom’s house, etc. I like to purchase my own art and pillows to make things my own.

  14. 12.19.13
    Billy said:

    Those chairs are so insanely sexy.

  15. 12.19.13
    JAY said:

    It is so interesting to me that other families home existed this way. We were a close extended family and furniture always either came from my grandparents house our my uncles house. We still sit around the table and discuss who has the old dinning room table, where is the record player, who has the rug. Luckily I scored the “less wanted” items, which turned out to be great mid century pieces!

  16. 12.19.13
    Tracy said:

    Yes, those chairs are amazeballs! Have you taken a moment to consider that the Norden might look a bit like plywood? Or some sad, unfinished Pinterest pallet project? We agree that the color of current table is just too dark and reads “boardroom” instead of dinner party, but the shape is actually pretty nice. I’m loving the base. Can it be refinished? Because, I could be totally wrong on this –and would trust your aesthetic over mine any day– but the chairs’ cool Mid-century vibe might not jibe with the Norden’s barn feel. Sorry to be the Devil’s Advocate, but I recently got a dining table (http://www.crateandbarrel.com/dakota-77-dining-table/s517252) and since you’re getting so much positive feedback already, hope you give this big purchase its due consideration. You have a great knack for making a warm, livable home, so I’m looking forward to seeing your finished dining room!

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I haven’t really considered that, no! I’ve checked out this table manyyyy times in person (and my friend, Anna, has owned one for 8 years and it still looks brand new!), and it’s really super nice. Promise. I think aesthetically it will look great, and I don’t think it’ll read “barn”——more like Scandinavian/Japanese, which I’m totally down with. Don’t worry, I’ve thought lots about this!

      I think the existing table could theoretically be refinished, yes, but it’s not something I’d feel comfortable doing myself, and I don’t really think I’d LOVE it even if it were a different color. I don’t really love the shape, and the dimensions are a little small for the space anyway.

    • 12.19.13

      As someone who has owned the table in question for nearly a decade, I assure you there is nothing “barn” or “pallet” (or otherwise rustic) about it. In a million years no one would think it looks like plywood, believe me! It’s made of solid birch that is very, very smooth—classic Scandinavian modern design. It has a super-durable clear satin finish which, as Daniel mentioned, still looks brand new after many years of use. I expect to own and use it for the rest of my life.

    • 12.21.13
      Tracy said:

      Hey, Anna and Daniel, please don’t take offense at my comments. Truthfully, the internet often shows furniture badly, and I totally believe both of you that the Norden table makes a different/better impression in person. (My table looks n-o-t-h-i-n-g like it does online.) The best thing is that Daniel sounds completely in love with the table already. How can you go wrong with that? Again, really looking forward to pics of the finished dining room, which will no doubt be inspiring and lovely.

    • 12.21.13
      RebeccaNYC said:

      and here is where IKEA sometimes goes wonky….I had a Norden for a long time, too. It was amazing. The only problem with it was it would sink in the middle when I put in the extra leaf. We rigged up a leg to hold it up, but still…other than that…great table. I think my ex still has it and uses it in his Victorian dining room.

  17. 12.19.13
    Amanda said:

    oh yes, we had those chairs in the 80s, though ours were chrome with white leather and black stitching. my younger brother, perhaps 5 at the time, located a pair of scissors one morning and cut through three of them as if he was cutting the opening ribbon at a target opening:) my mother never recovered.

    they sat around the worlds largest white formica table, a monolith of some 300 lbs, but simple, clean lines. Rectangular, with block legs, it could have been a Keith Haring character.

    I don’t love the table your parents handed down, but I definitely don’t like the Ikea either…. if feels like the birch will float away chromatically from those rooted chairs. Is there a third option?

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:


      But really, I’m pretty certain this is what I want (and it’s affordable and therefore realistic). Not everyone has to like what’s in my house! I’d actually much prefer if they didn’t. :)

  18. 12.19.13

    It is funny that you do not remember your parents buying furniture. I spent hours in cars outside of antique stores growing up, because my parents stopped at every antique store they saw and didn’t want to run the risk of their progeny breaking anything precious, read expensive. They often had to sell pieces that they already had just to find room for the new pieces, so our home was a rotating showcase of beautiful furniture. Unfortunately, since I was constantly being left in a car, I was usually shouting things like,”I HATE antiques, and I will NEVER have an old ugly thing in MY HOUSE!” Now, of course, I do have antiques, and one of my favorite activities is perusing antique stores. I suppose we are all doomed to repeat the behaviors we are exposed to as children.

  19. 12.19.13
    Christine said:

    I love those chairs! I wish we could have a nice leather sling chair somewhere in the house, but both of our dogs are leather chewers, and it would never last.

    I own a Norden table, and it is indeed awesome! We got it second-hand from someone who bought it and then realized it was too big for her kitchen. It was one of our more awesome Craigslist scores. The chairs we’re using with it currently are some 60s-era classroom chairs from a local university that were in a neighbor’s garage sale.

  20. 12.19.13
    cd said:

    Recent blurker – first time commenter :)

    I have the Norden (scored for half-off when Ikea was selling off for a remodel, I also see them come up in the as-is section with some frequently, so if you can afford to shark it for awhile, or watch craigslist, you might come up a winner on the price). It IS a solid table. Smooth and sexy. I love it with two caveats: first, the blonde will go a bit warmer yellow over time, Something about the finish and the effect of sunlight? I don’t know. Happens with all the birch-effect things in my house. Second, the table leg placement isn’t the awesomest. If I could retrofit this into a pedestal style, I’d be the happiest camper of all. It sort of seems like it should take three chairs within the table legs on a side, but then not really. It has a bit of the awkward in there. But still, as you say, solid, and I love to run my hands over it still. Like a table creeper.

  21. 12.19.13
    Jaimie said:

    Those chairs are fab. The table is neither here nor there for me, but I do think it is a lot of black and it would benefit from a different wood tone. We inherited most of our furniture from my husband’s step-grandparents. The family thought it was all “so dated”, but they had some beautiful mid century pieces in pretty damn good condition. All it cost us was a trailer rental and gas money.
    My cat destroyed the perfect original upholstery on the 8 foot long sofa, and I could throttle her for it. That thing is gonna be so expensive to reupholster.

  22. 12.19.13
    Maria said:

    hi there!
    I think these chairs will look very nice when paired with the right table. The one pictured here is far away from my personal taste, especially the legs of it. But anyhow, my opinion doesn’t really matter when it comes to YOUR dining room.
    I will however bother making a couple of suggestions:
    a/ You could grab a couple of these chairs and take them over to Anna’s (doorsixteen) place to see how they look with the norden table (which is beautiful by itself). Her home aesthetic is pretty close to your style so you could make a safe judgement of the pairing.
    b/ Would you consider painting the floor white or some light colour? I think it would help the chairs really pop out and become a statement piece of that dining room.
    c/ You could just trust your guts and do whatever you want. I mean, your taste has proved to be amazing many times so far…

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I don’t think I’d paint the floor white (the flooring is continuous with the front parlor room and the whole entryway/hallway, and I don’t think I’d want to paint all of it), but we do need to have them refinished at some point. I think they’ll lighten a bit when all the old wear and tear and poly and crap are sanded off, and I don’t plan to stain them, so that will help I think. We’ll probably also have a rug. I think it’ll all work!

    • 12.19.13
      Rachel said:

      ooooh a light colored rug would be sweet, although probably impractical as hell I guess

    • 12.20.13
      bfish said:

      Good for you for planning to NOT stain your floors when you refinish! Our oak floors lightened up considerably when they were sanded down and it was kind of shocking but we didn’t ever regret using a clear finish. With time floors inevitably darken up again. Strictly my personal taste, so take it with a heap of salt, but I really don’t like stained wood floors; I like to see what the wood looks like without cosmetics.

  23. 12.19.13
    Maria said:

    (From the above comment)
    I mean “The table pictured here…”

  24. 12.19.13
    Emily said:

    It’s because of you that I now have a deep love of good lighting and good chairs.

    And you’re right. These are beautiful chairs!

  25. 12.19.13
    tlg said:

    First, I think you are an amazing and hilarious writer and remind me of David Sedaris, you know, with mad DIY skills.

    Second, I have the Norden and this was after a long search for a great table. It’s awesome and handy that we can extend it if we need to and the leaf is just stored right underneath. I use the Ikea butcher block oil to keep it in tip top shape, the quality is really amazing, it’s super heavy and has a beautiful grain to the wood.

  26. 12.19.13
    Stephanie said:

    Simply, your writing is fabulous. Keep up the good work.

  27. 12.19.13
    AnnW said:

    I like this table a lot. The legs are beautiful, classic and modern at the same time. If you remove the leaf, you could use it as a library table in the living room or somewhere else. It would even look good with a velvet cover, either floor length or not. With a big globe or statue on the top and a huge Victorian looking plant.
    Another idea for a table would be a glass one. You can pick up the 1970’s ones really cheaply these days. No one wants them. You need a Pinterest board so that everyone could pin their suggestions on it. Ann

  28. 12.19.13
    Dana said:

    Yet another sexy addition to your old house! I don’t know which is sexier – the dining chairs or the new boiler? I immediately thought of Will Ferrell’s latest Dodge commercial (don’t judge, I really don’t watch a ton of TV…it just *happened* to be on) for the minivan. SO. MUCH. SAX.

  29. 12.19.13
    Rachel said:

    I’m with ya all the way! I actually love both the table and the chairs, but NOT together… and that being the case, the table must go. Light wood is gonna look SO much better :)

  30. 12.19.13
    Jess said:

    I LOVE those chairs and I don’t mind the ikea table…but not together!
    Don’t do it! Those chairs deserve something better. The Norden is just too “country kitchen” for those elegant chairs. I’m sure you can dream up a better alternative!

  31. 12.19.13
    Jess said:

    It is in Australia…..but something like this. Same effect, but less country.

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      That table is nice! Unfortunately, it’s wayyyyyyy out of my price range and on the other side of the earth…

      I REALLY, REALLY don’t see the “country” thing at ALL, though. I think it just looks very classically Scandinavian. Trust me, I am not interested in having my house look remotely “country.”

  32. 12.19.13
    oh Holland said:

    I wasn’t going to say anything, Daniel, but was so relieved when I got to your “controversial” paragraph in which you admit you don’t like it much, either -!

    The chairs are fantastic. Never before saw those curious, sophisticated metal frames with their just-so kicked back rear legs. Ha! You get to completely detour all those predictable Eames molded shells. Anxious to see how they cozy up to the Norden.

  33. 12.19.13
    ellen said:

    Hmm. Have you checked out the Ikea Stockholm table? I think it’s architectural lines and clean simple design compliment your chairs (since you asked for my opinion).

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I have! It’s nice, but I don’t like it as much, and NORDEN seems like higher quality (and is a bit bigger). I also really do want the blonde wood! But thanks :)

  34. 12.19.13
    Gillianne said:

    Two Daniel posts in a week–a holiday season treat!
    I know the feeling of staring at walls while listening to Jefferson Airplane/Starship. Actually, it was the concrete walls of a Louis Kahn dorm with carefully spaced (ahem) little round holes that–according to friends, you understand, absolutely not me–under certain viewer conditions looked as if they were breathing.
    But enough of that era and who did and didn’t inhale. Those chairs are beyond fabulous. The table, too, is kinda swell I think but not with the chairs. It could look surprisingly contemporary in the right space if it were refinished much lighter and paired with the right seats. A rectangular table would do more justice to your metallic stunners. Interesting to see what rug you eventually put in that room; thoughts?

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I don’t know! A little stumped. I think I’ll just have to find the right one and know it when I see it. I like lots of different styles of rugs, but for some reason can’t totally picture what I want for here! It’s like the one thing that’s missing in my mental plan…

  35. 12.19.13
    cate said:

    Those chairs are AMAZING. SCORE! Agree about the table. Perhaps it would be happier in some other room”¦?

    If you ever change your mind about the chairs, I’ll take them.

    • 12.19.13
      Daniel said:

      I’ll keep that in mind, haha!

  36. 12.19.13
    Minnie said:

    I wish I had a family like that! Especially one with such great taste in furniture. I love the table though, so I think it should be kept.

  37. 12.19.13
    Cindy said:

    I love that you called your dad a stoner!! You are a national treasure. Love you!!!

  38. 12.19.13
    michele said:

    LOVE your story! The chairs are fantastic! I was SO happy when you blogged today! Your posts are the HIGHLIGHT of my week. LOL.

  39. 12.19.13
    Debora said:

    those chairs! Holy mackerel….will your family please adopt me so I can get in on the furniture hand-me-down heaven? All I ever got was ratty old sofas that went from living room to basement to sister to sister and then to me….no one even said a peep when I left them to my roommate in MI when I moved to NY. Oh and I have a bedroom set that was my grandparents, my mother’s and then mine whilst growing up. I love it dearly for all its faux antique falling apart totally impractical glory. Full size four poster bed (my husband I are very close sleepers) a tall dresser and an honest to god vanity with a bug mirror, bench and stupidest use of storage space ever. I will never part with it.

    anyway. not in love with the dark table. I can see it with the leaves taken out, as an oversized side table next to a fireplace, or as a “game table” elsewhere.

    Not in love with the ikea table either, but you know what? What I love doesn’t matter. All that matters if it makes YOU happy. Personally, I think those chairs would be dreamy with the slab table on bronze legs from BDDW, but you know, it’s $25K and even its knock off is ten grand, so there you go.

  40. 12.19.13
    Lila said:

    We had the norden and it was fantastic, unexpectedly heavy to move and sadly too tiny for our current home, but a really nice piece of furniture.

  41. 12.19.13
    Lila said:

    Or rather our current home is too tiny for the table (it’s so hot here my brain isn’t functioning)

  42. 12.19.13
    n said:

    haha! you NEVER disappoint!

    I do really like the table, tho, the alternative also looks pretty good… Glad to see you guys having fun – may it always be so, may there be some places where cheer and goodwill and aesthetics reign! (the other place is YoungHouseLove) sending you best wishes and lots of touch woods x

  43. 12.19.13
    Tricia said:

    I love the chairs and the table but not together. There’s a proportion thing going on that bugs me. Keep the chairs and store the table until a wild hair overpowers you and forces you to paint an apartment dining room charcoal gray or midnight blue.

  44. 12.19.13
    Nancy said:

    While I like the look of the square/rectangular tables, I prefer oval tables for myself because it’s easier to see everyone to lipread. (I’m hard of hearing.)

    At first I couldn’t see the appeal of the birch table with those black chairs, but after seeing black chairs with that table on the Ikea site, I can see where it would work.

    It’s funny how people hang on to things they don’t use or like because it belonged to family. After seeing many lovely things ruined while in storage, I won’t store things I don’t use. I also like to think it honors my relatives more to have their beloved items used by those who are enjoying them. That makes me happy.

  45. 12.19.13
    Diane said:

    YES! My family is crazy just like that! Wish my last name was Kanter because I want your dining table. You know, to use and then store for my nephews.

  46. 12.20.13
    Heather said:

    I would take that table and match it up with some Gustavian chairs. But I think the table needs to go back to its original lighter color. Ebonization was such an 80s thing, wasn’t it?

    And we also have a family furniture problem. I thought it was just us, and that we were super weird. So glad I’m not the only one who shops in family basements and fills in with Ikea where necessary! :)

  47. 12.20.13
    hillary said:

    Love the chairs, agree that the with the table the black leather factor is OTT. I have a Norden in my dining room (also with black chairs) and love it. It is VERY big. Maybe too big. But great for art projects as well as eating, and fairly indestructible.

  48. 12.20.13
    JJB said:

    Hi Daniel,
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the chairs . . . the table? . . . Meh!

    However, you always come out smelling like a rose with your vision, so I’ll wait for the big picture. What fun to see it all play out.

    As always, love your blog as much as the chairs, no moreso.

  49. 12.20.13
    JJB said:

    I meant Meh for the Ikea table. Not liking the Kanter table either.

    I, too, would love to be in the Kanter family. Kanters must have available a really upscale storage facility, temperature & critter controlled, free of pilferers, PLUS a good furniture accounting system.

  50. 12.20.13
    Florian said:

    Yay, a post!

    I really like the brass, and usually I really like leather as well, but it looks a bit weird, because of the stitching. But maybe it just comes out like that in the picture.

    The problem of the combination seems to be the scale difference between the chairs and the table. They seem to need a table that is either more thin or way more chunky. Personally I really love tables made from just a board and two sawhorses. There is restaurant in Berlin called Altes Europa (old europe) which has this gorgeously huge slab of marble sitting on two ancient, massive and super fucked up sawhorses.

    Wouldn’t that brass look magnificent in combination with marble? Very Italian, no? But probably really pricey, too, huh?

    So anyway, happy holidays, or season’s greetings or whatever! Enjoy your dining room and the central heating!

    • 12.20.13
      JJB said:

      I like!

    • 12.20.13
      bfish said:

      Agree with your vision for the table (sorry, Daniel). I’m just not feeling the Ikea table with those chairs, but of course will reserve final judgement until all of the pieces get together.

  51. 12.20.13
    Jack said:

    Love the chairs, love the old table, love the future table!

  52. 12.20.13
    Christa said:

    So funny. My family does not do this sort of furniture swapping, at least not formally. I love your chairs, and kinda think the table is workable. Is ebonizing baked into the finish, or a stain on top of the wood? I wonder how hard it would be to strip it? Also, I have a large spare table in my work room. I put 6″ casters on the legs to raise it up to counter height, and I work around it standing up or sitting on a stool. Since you both are art & design people, you probably also would find a table useful for working.

    The Ikea table is cool and I trust it’s going to look awesome.

  53. 12.20.13
    Julie F. said:

    I think these chairs would look amazing with a sleek, chic, rectangular table. Go go Norden!

  54. 12.20.13
    Laura C said:

    Love the chairs. Not convinced by the Ikea table, but not my house! Enjoy!

  55. 12.20.13
    threadbndr said:

    Gosh, I think I just had a flashback LOL. I’m glad you are looking at other tables. It may be because my ‘growing up’ dining room was my great-grandmother’s Victorian set in all it’s claw-footed glory and my own is chunky Arts and Crafts, but those chairs look SO LOW to me. The proportions are odd to my eye.

    Looking forward to what you do with this room – so much potential!

  56. 12.20.13
    Simone said:

    Hi Daniel;
    Maybe your mother’s biggest gripe with the entire situation was that A she was not really in control of the look of her own surroundings and being able to truly fulfill her dreams in that respect and B that there was not a sense of true full-blown ownership (I guess the grandparents with the wonderful house you wrote about are on her side of the family? Maybe she would have loved to do something similar like that for her own husband and children?). It is one thing that one day we die or move (and our needs change) and that our things move on to other people (within this system, is it possible to give things to friends?). It is another that the things we have are under a certain moral and implied scrutiny and that we possibly have to explain our actions -in relation to our furniture- to other people, but I guess you know more about this than I ever could.
    Good for you to pick out your own table (this one looks a bit “Wiener-werkstatter”-like to me), really kind of you to see and understand your mother’s emotions, but remember it is her fate not yours. Maybe she will be able to “own” and shape the house your parents are moving into more?
    All that said, my mother inherited a huge and very ornate “Kussenkast” (google it you’ll find lots of examples) from her father when I was a child. She sold it to her brother when she was in Dire Straits and we were grown up. A few years back I saw it again in his house and it was as if I met an old friend, the body of the thing, the materials, it’s smell, the touch of the wood, it’s shine, the carvings, the depth of the drawers, the sheer volume of the thing. And you know I don’t even think it is particularly nice or pretty, but my heart sang. So strange. I’m not even sure I would want it for myself (my aunt was touched by seeing me with the Kussenkast and I heard her mutter something like ” maybe Inherit”).
    Kind regards and happy holidays.

    • 12.20.13
      Simone said:

      P.S. Could not resist google-ing it myself, check this out: http://collectie.museumrotterdam.nl/objecten/8566 the top and the molding is different to “ours” (hahaha), but the “feeling” is similar. My mother paired it with Le Corbusier furniture and a nice white shaggy wool rug. You really need space (height) for a baby like that though.

  57. 12.20.13
    KathyG said:

    I think that table and chairs will look great together…very modern. I had to scroll back and forth a few times and squint, but I can see you thinking about it alot. THe blond wood with the blond floors..they are staying that color?
    Aside, any way you can do a quick photoshop the Ikea table into the dining room photo? Would be fun to see that way.

  58. 12.20.13
    jbhat said:

    I think the IKEA table will look grand. I hope Santa or his designate brings it to you soon.

    The way you described your mother’s frustrated feelings about the furniture situation is very insightful. I wonder if that’s your interpretation or if that’s how she described it to you for this piece? Genius either way. I feel the same way about a few things we have inherited.


  59. 12.20.13
    Bea said:

    my mum doesn’t understand why I covert items of furniture from my grandad’s place.We are the kind of family that just gets rid of things. But I am desperate to get an old 60’s armchair he has, mainly because it’s where I sit when I’m at his house and it’s so damn comfortable. As far as dining tables go I bought a mint Ercol Plank table from eBay for my little flat, it’s beautiful: http://images.cdn.bigcartel.com/bigcartel/product_images/129204051/max_h-1000+max_w-1000/placemant2.jpg

  60. 12.20.13
    Hilary said:

    Where is the bowl from that is on the table now? I love it!

  61. 12.20.13
    planktonfisher said:

    two posts in one week mean that it is a good week!
    i really like the chairs, but like some commentators above, i don’t think that the proportions of the ikea table work with such delicate chairs. i would suggest looking for a 60s table like this one: http://www.retrospectiveinteriors.com/content/retro-walnut-extending-dining-table-vintage-1960s. i think, the legs fit much better to the chairs. and with a bit of luck you could find a cheap one on craigslist…
    anyway – happy holidays! greetings from finland

  62. 12.20.13
    Cristina said:

    Hahaha, Daniel I love your writing and I have to say… Your family is not the only one! My family does this too and it drives my poor husband up the wall. So much of our furniture belonged to my parents, grandparents, etc. He hates all of it, but I know he despises our dining room set most of all. I’m sure we will buy our own one day, but it has been passed around so many times that it would just be a crime to sell it! And so it will sit in storage until another family member claims it.

  63. 12.20.13
    Kolti said:

    Hi Daniel! I agree – a rectangle-shaped table would be perfect with your chairs. And I applaud your choice for all of the reasons you cite – love the unmatched contrast look.

    A friend told me a story about early in her marriage: She did not like her old station wagon and wanted a new car. So one time when the bumper got caught on something at the gas station, she just floored the gas pedal and the bumper got all bent to hell. Did she get her new car – no, her husband fixed the bumper.

  64. 12.21.13
    Jo said:

    The Norden is really nice. I was going to purchase it and pair with lucite chairs – until a friend asked if i wanted to buy this slab o tree & had iron legs made instead.

    Go for it.

  65. 12.21.13

    Haha, awesome story.

    The table that you’re eying from Ikea would look sweet with those chairs. Any thoughts on what kind of lighting you’d do overhead? Too soon?

  66. 12.21.13
    nella said:

    Quick, get the table before IKEA discontinues it. (It’s happened.) Also, it is so nice to look at the beautiful picture of your beautiful, perfectly proportioned home and know that it is well-lit and warm. I still like to go in the basement and see the new breaker panel that several years ago replaced our ancient fuses.

  67. 12.21.13
    Lewis said:

    I totally agree about the table. Mostly because I just hate oval tables. But I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove the chairs. Awesome chairs + simple table = gorgeous. I fully support your dreams.

    You’re welcome.

  68. 12.21.13
    Z17 said:

    Boom! Gorgeous. Not wild about the old table, but being sentimental, it feels like that set is married and should stay together. I feel that furniture develops a soul over time and especially tables – many people you love or don’t love have eaten there, touched them, shared stories happy and sad over them, sat and stared at wallpaper with The White Rabbit near them. And someday those people will be gone. This being said, I gave my dining room set away to a friend who has a pig living in her house… So! Whatever you do will be right. Keep it up, Daniel. Love following your stories.

    • 12.21.13
      Z17 said:

      Oh, P.S.: In looking again at the old table, man what a shin-buster! Maybe divorce is not always wrong…

  69. 12.21.13
    ECKDesign said:

    lol! Looove this! I really enjoy reading hour posts! ;)

  70. 12.22.13
    Jenn said:

    Well I’ll wait and see. THAT table? WITH those chairs? I don’t see it. LOVE the chairs. Don’t think the existing table is irredeemable. What magic could you work on it? It’s already not original, so it’s not precious….!

  71. 12.23.13
    Linda said:

    I have nothing left from my family. My Dad sold real estate and sometimes, if a client couldn’t find anything they liked, would bring them home and often ended up selling our home which might explain 25 moves. Once, the client said he would only buy the house if the furniture came with it. “Done”, said my Mom. She loved new things. She has all sorts of decorative items stuffed in her home now that I think of as crap. I will have an enormous garage or estate sale when the time comes as I don’t want one thing, which is sad. Since I’m probably your parent’s age, I know furniture like your table and chairs well and it doesn’t do a thing for me. Antiques for me.To each their own.

  72. 12.23.13
    Jenny A. said:

    I’ve owned the NORDEN table for five years and I’m still in love with it. It is a quality piece and has survived many raucous family dinners, art projects, my then 12-year old using it as a stage and everything in between. It’s solid and looks great. I highly recommend it!

  73. 12.23.13
    Jdub said:

    I so look forward to your posts, thank you for sharing your stories.
    I’m surprised that your choice of ikea table has raised so many skeptical comments. I think that the leather needs the natural wood to complement, and that’s not country at all. It will be beautiful and comfortable and a place you will happily linger over a second cup of coffee or second bottle of wine.
    For the floor I love the idea of the refinished natural wood with an old oriental rug, sorta muted and worn, which would ensure a feeling of timelessness (eg, no “look at my mcm dining room”).
    Enjoy the holidays, take a well-earned break!

  74. 12.23.13
    Jdub said:

    Forget to mention, we use metaphorical sticky post-it notes in our family to claim things we want to inherit. “I gotta sticky on that” comes up often at big family get-togethers. It sounds bizarre as I’m writing this but it actually is done with love, for the items themselves and for keeping them within the family.

  75. 12.28.13
    Colleen in MA said:

    We saved up some electrical jobs and hired an electrician this summer. What a difference. It seems that it’s hard to get an electrician over if it’s just an odd job or two but in the end I do think it saves money to have a bunch done together. And I also recommend dimmer switches everywhere. It’s amazing how little they cost and how much they contribute to the mood of the condo.

  76. 12.28.13
    Colleen in MA said:

    …oops mean to comment on the lighting post!

  77. 12.31.13
    Sarah said:

    My ex had the Norden, a hand-me-down from someone who moved and couldn’t take it along and it is literally the only thing I miss about him or his place. It’s the best and was stained a rich ruddy mahogany at some point and I have such fond memories of parties centered around it.

  78. 1.3.14
    sonrie said:

    Thanks for giving me a good laugh! My grandmother passed away about the time when I moved out on my own, so I inherited a lot of everyday type things, with some family heirlooms. As time passed, I occasionally found a replacement or did not need an item, and my mom demanded that she keep in in her basement “in case someone else needs it.” This has been done quite a few times. I am so glad there are other people out there like my mom!