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Friday, February 12, 2010

Sometimes, Size Does Matter!

Have I piqued your interest?

Yes, sometimes size does matter, but I'm not telling you why until the end of the post,
when I am also going to ask for your opinion.

But in the meantime. . . .

Yesterday, Susan at Between Naps On The Porch, who hosts Tablescape Thursday, showed her own table setting on her porch, and also in her dining room, and asked her readers which we liked better. No contest for me; I'm a sucker for dining rooms.

Also yesterday, Kim of Savvy Southern Style left a comment on my Thursday post, mentioning the hutch in the pictures, and that she'd like to see more of it. So, while I was scratching my head, wondering what to write about today, I decided to feature my dining room.

Fridays are not my most creative days!


This is a picture-heavy post, mostly just pictures of the dining room from its original condition when we bought That Old House in March '08, through its paint crew makeover, and the Craigslist and Ebay bargains we furnished it with.

I really wanted to paint this room yellow, as I love yellow dining rooms
and think yellow walls look wonderful with antique wood, but I could not find the right yellow.

The room itself kept whispering, "Paint me red!"

Tinted oil primer, plaster repair, then top coats of Benjamin Moore Tucson Red.

Decisions on fabric for the draperies: gold or red?

Gold won out. Were you among the readers who voted?

A Craigslist find -- a big old mirror with a cast brass frame. 60 dollars.

It took us months to work up the nerve to hang it.

We hung it over a marble-topped sideboard we bought for $100 on Craigslist.
Don't get envious; it needed restoration, and we had it done professionally.
Amazingly, the marble was intact and undamaged.

The hutch Kim mentioned? Furniture people call this a breakfront, because the middle section sticks out past the sides; in other words, it's as if the front is not a straight line, but is broken. That middle section also hides a butler's fold-down desk, behind the middle drawers.

I found it on Ebay for $800. Ended up getting it for $200, as successive auctions kept ending without bidders. I just waited. It was in an apartment on Manhattan's Central Park West.
It's by Saginaw Furniture; I've seen its twin in mahogany online, but have never seen another in pine.

When I was a little girl, I would stand in front of my grandmother's china cabinet and look at the treasures she stashed inside.
I have that cabinet now, below, and it is very old. It holds my own treasures:

We replaced the existing modern rusty-finished chandelier with a crystal fellow that still surprises me when I turn on the light switch. I do enjoy the contrasts of the plain old pine board floors, bargain furniture, and snazzy light fixture.

The neighborhood kids think it is made of diamonds,
and love to climb up on a chair and touch the crystals, to watch them sway and cast rainbows.

Just some pictures of the room, now.
It is hard to capture the whole room in one shot; I can't get it all in at once.


Now, about that size issue?

The table we have in this room was the perfect fit in our last house, which had a 12 x 12 foot dining room. The dining room at That Old House is more than 18 feet long, and about 16 feet wide. A table that only measures 6 feet long with its leaf installed is just not big enough.

As I've tried to shoe-horn 8 people around this oval table,
I have come to realize, reluctantly, that size does matter.

I do love this table. It is from The Bombay Company, and I got it secondhand, on Ebay, about 5 years ago. It's beautifully made; the edge is banded, and even the leaf has both the banding and an apron. But I think we'll be selling it soon.

Even things we love sometimes outlive their usefulness. On Saturday,
Howard and I are going to look at two other dining tables, both found through Craigslist.
Both are double pedestal, mahagony, and both extend to more than 8-1/2 feet.

One of them is for sale right here in our own town. Here's a picture:

We used to have a smaller version of this table; our dining room floor in our old house was so crooked that the double pedestals eventually rocked apart from the swell of the floor. This table is a classic, probably from the '40s; we've all seen dozens of them, with the reeded legs and the brass capped toes.

The other table we are looking at is newer, with Queen Anne style double pedestals.

It is by Henkel-Harris, the Virginia Galleries line:

Well, what do you think?

We won't decide until we see them both. I know the second one is a good quality table, based on its origins, but I'm not sold on its legs; I have a soft spot for those old fashioned brass capped toes!

Now that I have overwhelmed you with more pictures of my dining room then you ever wanted to see,
I encourage you to buzz over to My Romantic Home, where Cindy is hosting Show and Tell Friday!
Shoo! Shoo! Go!!! --- Cass


  1. I loved the tour Cass! I feel like I've known your house right from the beginning! Your furniture finds on Craigs List are just the best and I so love that mirror! Cindy

  2. What a pretty transformation!! It would be hard to say which one is right - I am one of those that has to see it in person. Sorry, I am of no help. I have never bought anything on Craig's List, but my sister has many times and had great luck.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. Cass, I WISH our CL was as good as yours! Such a lovely room. While I agree that the Henkel Harris is a quality table, I also agree that the first one just seems more right for the house. Honestly, you will make either one beautiful. Good luck and have fun!
    xoxo Pattie

  4. Thank you for the tour of your beautiful dining room. I really, really, really like your mirror!
    Personally, I think the first table would be perfect in your room...but what do I know?

  5. I'll just warn you right up front, I ain't gonna be no help at all.

    BECAUSE - - - I can't make myself like EITHER of the new tables NEARLY as well as I like the one you currently have.

    I know, I know - - - you need a bigger table. I GET that, but I don't think if I had to do it, I could let go of the one you have for either of the other two.

    See, I TOLD YOU - - - no help at all.

  6. Cass, my heart goes to the first table, I love the legs and the shape of it.

  7. Cass, thanks for sharing your whole dining room and how it came to be. So glad by me asking that it made you come up with this post. I guess my hutch is really a breakfront, too. I just got it last year and mine has the ledge that sticks out, too. That was very interesting to learn. Your dining room is just beautiful. I love the red. Your room is large enough to carry it off. I liked mine dark blue for many years, but now I love the yellow that I painted last year. My kids and husband think I am crazy changing things and painting all the time. I am just about getting where I don't want to paint the walls, but would love to hire someone to come in and do it. I want my great room which would also include the foyer and stairs and upstairs hall to be a new warmer color, but this is a job I don't want to have to do. I will probably do it though once I just can't stand it anymore. My original color on these walls when we built the house was a plummish color that went with some wallpaper we had in the kitchen. The beige color we painted a few years later is to pink. So the change will happen someday. I love your old home with the wide plank pine floors. I would have loved to restore an old home...KIm

  8. What a difference the paint made--especially in the molding. If you've got the room, there is no use fighting a small table. I love them both, but the second is my favorite. Everytime I read your blog I go and check Craigslist--nothing but junk here! Your breakfront and china cabinet are gorgeous!

  9. Forgot to tell you, either table would be perfect in your room, but I am like you I think the first one with the brass feet is the one I would lean towards. We almost bought one when we were in our first house. It was too big, but it was beautiful.

  10. You are also living in MY dream house. It looks amazing. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I can't wait to "dig" into yours more.

  11. I loved seeing your dining room transformation. I love the red colr and white trim. I love your breakfront and great deal. Oh, and the mirror!!!

    I love both tables on Craigs list but when you see them personally, you will know. Well, maybe the 2nd one!


  12. Cass your dining room is simply stunning! I would have never known the table wasn't large enough. *Size does matter* are so funny. It looks like a really big table in all of the pretty photos. Both tables are really beautiful and classic in style. I can't wait to see what you end up with.
    Your mirror is amazing.

    Thanks for entering my LL giveaway and your kindness today sweet friend. You always make me laugh! Chestnut thanks you too. He was really starting to get a body image complex. HeHe!

    ~Blessings, ~Melissa :)

  13. I enjoyed seeing your beautiful dining room and all the beautiful furniture too!You got some great deals.

  14. So happy I found your blog, but I have to say, my favorite color has always been yellow. There just seems to be no color more happy or cheerful. I do love the red and your dining room looks fantastic, Char

  15. Oh Sweet Cass thank you so much for the dining room tour...girl you know I was doing my Happy dance through this WOW!! I love your home so much and I have house envy girl...All your furniture is just beautiful from the Chandy to the hutch and that side board is to die 4...Love the red you painted goes so well with the room size...girl I thought my DR was big but I think you have me beat on this one...Thanks again..Hope you find just the right table you'll know it if it screams your name girl...Hope you and Howard have a romantic Valentine day my Dear friend...Hugs and smiles to you...Gl♥ria

  16. Hi Cass! Oh, what a beautiful dining room you have and I love getting to see how you've set it up. You have found the most beautiful and perfect furniture for your room. Love both of those tables you're eyeing. It'll be fun seeing which one you choose.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  17. Absolutely lovely. Just lovely..... the entire room and every stick of furniture.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  18. Cass-

    Your dining room is gorgeous! I LOVE the red walls! And all your furniture looks right at home. Even your current dining room table (from the pictures, anyway) doesn't look too small! Very elegant and homey at the same time.


  19. I like the second table most. There is just something about it, maybe the legs?? I am not sure.
    Happy hunting this weekend and thanks for the tour of your lovely home.
    Suzanne :)

  20. Oh what a lovely dining room! Perfect! I like both tables and I know you will choose the right one. Let us know ............

  21. Can't make my mind up about the tables, but I love that you have your Grandmother's cabinet. So sweet, especially after you spent so much time admiring it when you were young. Thanks also for telling us the history of your china cabinet. I have long admired that piece. Love the wall color too.

  22. Hi Cass....Love your red DR and gold drapes...I like how the drapes just puddle the floor a tad bit....I like the second table best.....I like the base of it and the finish looks beautiful....

  23. Cass... I ADORE everything about this room...completely love it! The breakfront is beautiful...what a steal! Patience pays off, huh? Gorgeous chandelier! I love the story about the neighborhood kids...they are going to grow up knowing they must have a chandelier in the dining just watch. :-)


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