Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Tale Of The Plant Table

Once upon a time, my parents-in-law built a house.

Okay, so that was a crazy long time ago but the fact remains that they did indeed build a house and at the back of that house was a perfectly lovely porch. 

More of a stoop, I suppose. A spacious stoop. A stretch of concrete large enough for a handful of outdoor chairs with a few steps descending to the backyard.

I don't know for sure as I never saw this porch with my own two eyes. I'm only riffing off the stories I've been told.

Anyway, once the kids were grown and their college tuition all paid off, my father-in-law got the itch for change and decided to give this spot a bit of a glow up.

So he converted the outdoor porch into an indoor sun room.

And at his wife's request - again, I'm riffing here, but I think she initiated the idea - he built for her a plant table.

Clean, simple lines.
Mid century modern vibes. 
Beautiful cherry wood from a tree on his father's farm.(Or so I've been told.) 

And topped with an inlay of red brick vinyl tiles.

All during my years of visiting the family home, this table reigned over the sun room, sporting a plant or two and stacks of magazines, carefully arranged by my mother-in-law, of what were known in those days as "ladies magazines":

Better Homes & Gardens
Good Housekeeping
Ladies' Home Journal

When I came for visits, I loved to plow through her inventory, enjoying the heavenly bliss of flipping glossy pages during the day time, for heaven's sake, while my daughters entertained Grandma and Grandpa with dress-up shows in the basement. 

These were heady days for me. 

Anyway, years passed. My father-in-law died a quiet, peaceful death and eventually my mother-in-law decided it was time for her to move out of the family home and into a smaller place. And so, as one does during these emotional days, my husband and his sisters sorted through the goods to be left behind, and chose what they wanted to take.

My husband chose the plant table.

Now, all in all, that made me very happy. I had nothing but love for the plant table...when it lived at my in-laws' home. And while I appreciated its clean lines and that insane wood, and I was thrilled to continue the legacy of the plant table with my menagerie of houseplants, I was not altogether sure about those red brick vinyl tiles.

They looked great in the sun room. But in my home, they were a little jarring. 

For a number of years, the plant table drifted in and out of my rooms, serving useful purpose and bringing instant nostalgic appeal everywhere I put it. 

But I could not get past the red brick vinyl tile.

I talked to my husband about the possibility of swapping out the tile for something more my style. He was all for that, and gave me a green light for change.

But my daughters were shocked. How could I think of getting rid of that red brick vinyl tile? In their eyes, the red brick vinyl tile is part and parcel of the overall charm of the plant table, and in the eventuality that the table might someday become theirs, they would very much want that red brick vinyl tile to pass to them as well. 


Far be it from me to destroy my father-in-law's legacy to my daughters, so I reconsidered.

And after a few more weeks of brainstorming, I came up with a new plan; one that we all agree is a perfect solution.

I sent my husband to Home Depot with the measurements of the table top, and asked him to get a piece of thin plywood cut to those specifications.

He came home with a trimmed sheet of MDF, but potatoes, potahtoes.

I painted both sides white. Same color as my floor.

And when it was dry, I slipped that white board onto the table, right over the top of those red brick vinyl tiles, and voila! My father-in-law's sun room plant table was transformed.

See, here's how the table looks when the new white board is in position.

But with a simple tug, my white painted board slides away and underneath, in all their glory, are the red brick vinyl tiles, waiting peacefully in the dark for their future date with destiny.

This is just the latest chapter in a long family legacy of adaptability and change. 

From an outdoor porch to an indoor sun room, 
from a tree to a table,
from a place for stacks of magazines to a home for my happy green friends, 
from those iconic red brick vinyl tiles to a sleek white cover,

I'm honored to be one of the problem solvers and find-a-way-ers of group.

I love my temporarily transformed plant table
And I'm proud to be a Streicher. 

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