You know those life pathfinder systems where you’re supposed to envision what you want life to be like when you’re a grown up?  Maybe you don’t because maybe you were nothing like me and you knew more or less what direction you were going by the time you were ten :)  But if you had to dream a bit to figure out which direction to steer, this was actually a somewhat useful tool.

One of the things I’ve always wanted – still want – is to realize a certain very dear, very specific vision of having small groups of friends and family gathered around a big sturdy table in the kitchen in the evenings, with warm amber light creating an atmospheric glow as dishes clink and laughter and chatter fills the air.   It just makes me swoon.  I would bake teacakes and everyone would put up their feet and not want to leave.

Our family is pretty hospitable, but we have one major issue when it comes to this happy vision.

This is our dining set.

Actually, I’m sparing you with that photo.  The dining room end of the kitchen is one of the few remaining parts of the house we’ve done almost nothing to.  It has dingy paint, badly cut moulding, damaged linoleum, a tin punched chandelier with a festoon of Jack Skellington lights hardwired into it, a skylight badly installed one inch away from the chandelier by a drug addict, need I go on?  I’ve peeled off most of the sprigged country blue wallpaper below the chair rail and that’s about it.  It’s going to be quite a long way to go from this:

to this:

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.  Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of new dining tables and Craigslist listings. 

O Craigslist, my beloved friend, where I can go thrifting for furniture when it’s slow at work.  I’ve actually browsed for this forever dining table before and there are definitely good possibilities that pop up regularly.  My requirements are:

  • no grooves between boards to collect crumbs
  • real wood (duh) of a good quality and color.  Dings are fine, shiny thick varnish is not.
  • rectangular shape
  • four interestingly turned legs at the corners because trestles get in the way of knees too much
  • a removable leaf, while not quite a deal breaker, would be highly desireable

I’m hoping to find this paragon for $150 or less, and I bet I can do it, too.  Chairs are not of much concern at this point and it can come with or without them – eventually I plan to mix and match or do the four of the same/ two different route.

Just today on Craisglist I found this lovely thing, which I emailed about to inquire if it came with a leaf.  I would probably paint the legs a different color, no biggie.  Look at that fancy edged tabletop!

And this one, which is exceptionally cheap at $60 (I would have the Chief fabricate a wooden tabletop for it) which I will not be getting because the gorgeous legs have long vertical cracks in them.

I know I’m not the only one hankering for a sturdy kitchen and dining table that will feed the ones I love, be a place to sit with a book and tea, and of course devolve into a convenient work surface and clutter catcher. 

Do you already have the table of your dreams?  Any great places you’ve found to look?  Did you make yours out of two by fours?  Do share!