I’ve been looking sporadically for several years on Craig’s List for a formal dining room table. At the other house, we had a nice table but it had three glass panels on the top and was a royal pain to clean. When we moved, I refused to bring it with us. It was not my style and it fit perfectly in the other house, so it had to stay.
After we moved in August I began looking in earnest because our new home had a major void in the place waiting for a more formal dining room set. We had a nice little breakfast table, another Craig’s List find that I will blog about later, but with Thanksgiving looming around the corner, and family coming for the first time in over 5 years, I really wanted to have a table we could actually sit down at.
But I had very specific ideas about what I wanted, and of course it had to fit the space. My dream was to have a “farm table”, made of old barn wood, glossy and smooth and SOLID! I wanted 8 country chairs and I wanted some black in either the table legs or chair backs.
Easy to find, right?? Well…no!
I looked almost every day for almost 3 months. What I know about Craig’s List is that if you see what you’re looking for, you better be the first one to find it, look at it, and BUY it. There isn’t a lot of time to think about it once the item is out there and visible for all to see.
I found a few tables that were ok. They would have worked, but I knew that once I bought something, that would be IT for many, many years.
So I passed over the tables that would work, keeping my sights set on what I wanted, and not compromising on my dream or on quality.
Last weekend I missed a few days and forgot to look on Craig’s List, so when Sunday rolled around, I had several days worth of “dining room set” searches that I had to slog through. I’ve learned that being on my computer, and not on my phone is much easier for this job because the pictures are all viewable at once on the computer while you can see just one at a time on the phone.
And then I opened THE ad with MY table. It was almost exactly what I had imagined, except it wasn’t a classic old farm table, but it had a character of its own that made up for that little deficit.
I studied each photo in detail. I loved the chairs. I loved the pattern on the table top. I loved the color and it looked like substantial furniture. I made the call and talked to the gal. The table was at a lake house that the family was selling. It had been used twice. A death in the family was forcing the sale and it needed to be gone by Wednesday. There were actually 2 identical tables for sale, one that would have 6 chairs and one with 8 chairs (due to my suggestion since she originally was going to send 7 chairs with each table). I hung up and thought about it, a Craig’s List no-no.
The table was not cheap. It was not a “steal of a deal” (like my bedroom furniture which I will also share in another post), but it satisfied my entire want list, which of course covered my need list, and I never really look at the big price tag of an item, but instead let my mind calculate the price per use, as that is the best indicator of the worth of an item. I knew this table would probably be in my family for the rest of my life, so I called her back the next day.
She told me another lady had called and wanted a table with 8 chairs.
She then hesitated because she knew I had called her first and she let me know she had made no promises to anyone, and she guessed the first person to make the effort to look at the table and purchase it could take the 8 chairs if they wanted.
I needed no further motivation. The lake house was 2 hours away and it was beginning to snow, but I didn’t care. In an hour, I was in my Explorer and heading to Idaho. It was do or die time, and I’m a do-er!!
The last mile of the drive was a little scary. My snow tires are still not on the car and there were several inches of snow combined with dirt roads and hills. But thankfully the driveway to the lake house was flat and I pulled up to a magnificent home!
I will just say this about the home of my table. EVERYTHING was custom designed in that home…a bountiful feast for the eyes, a true work of art at every turn, and the petite little 65 year old woman, who had suddenly lost her husband, was responsible for all of this exquisite beauty.
It was a tragic story. The home was for family gatherings, a place for grandma and grandpa to live, and children and grandchildren to gather around the table and spend the holidays and summers together. The property was dreamy, matching the story book qualities of the home, but it had all been cut short, suddenly.
Even with objects bubble wrapped in every room, it was clear that the home was a master piece. I felt so terrible for their family and it seemed selfish to feel any happiness when at first glance, I knew the table was mine as the quality matched all the wonderfulness that surrounded me.
After about thirty minutes I gave her half of the money in cash as a deposit, and told her we would be back the next day to get the table and chairs. My heart went out to that tiny lady, so stylish, so tasteful, so talented, knowing that with each object that was removed from its space, a part of her died as the house was compartmentalized for the moving vans. Life can be so harsh and it reminded me that I’m not the only one with problems.
The next morning we got the kids to school then hooked up the Cougar Mountain trailer and made the 2 hour trek back up to Idaho. It took 2 strong men to move the table, built of solid oak, and The Wood Man successfully tucked everything into the trailer and we were soon on our way. At 1/2 mile away we realized we had forgotten the 2 leaves, so we turned around to fetch them. (The table will seat 10 comfortably with both leaves in, though I’m not sure if my space will actually accommodate it in its full glory.)
We made it home safely and I’m happy to present my amazing Craig’s List find to all of you fine people!
I’m a happy girl and can’t wait to use it for the first time on Thanksgiving!
It was love at first sight! Do excuse the pile of books on the left that I’m still getting organized.
I love the color and the distressed wood. The top is definitely not boring.
I love how it looks like a barn door!
It fits my space perfectly! I can’t wait to share many meals around this table with family and friends.
Ack! I guess that means I have to cook!