Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Home Tour: Old Dog, New Tricks

Meet my dining room table. He's been with me for decades, ever since the first year of my marriage. I remember pushing six chairs around him, daring to hope that someday I would serve meals to a busy family upon his worn wooden planks.

Those dreams definitely came true. Four little girls joined our circle and every evening, for all of their lives, we've gathered in the dining room around this faithful fellow to eat, laugh, shout, squeal, pray, spill glasses of milk, and talk about life. Sometimes, friends and relatives joined us, squished into the small spaces between our plates, but happily we always found room. Holiday feasts, birthday celebrations, fond farewells, and many a happy Welcome Home meal have transpired around this table, and I have a lifetime supply of cherished memories of this table and the dining room in which it stood.

^ My old table came from an antique sale in Saline, Michigan; the school chairs are from a surplus sale, and the black chairs are straight-up IKEA.

So it was with much boldness and derring-do that I proposed to myself a dining table change-up.

Why not, I dared myself, move this friendly old guy into the kitchen nook? My temporarily down-sized family of four has been enjoying meals in this smaller space, but the round table that lived here was an awkward shape for the room. 

And the dining room has been begging for a bigger table. This family is likely to expand in the next few years, and I've been considering the need for more space to accommodate the newcomers. The round table from the kitchen, with its expandable leaf, is not my ideal dining room solution but it could serve that purpose for now.

So the other day, in the midst of a solo crazy cleaning binge, I decided the time for experimentation was now. Dragging, sliding, twisting and turning the tables every which way, I managed to accomplish my objective. 

As soon as I got the round table situated in the dining room, I hated it. Definitely have some DIY plans up my sleeve for a brand new dining table to seat ten. All in good time.

^ I made the painting; my husband and his father made the red china cupboard, though it was originally designed as a separate bookcase and desk. Most of the white dishes are thrifted, though the adorable elephant tea pot on the top shelf was a gift from my fourth-born this past Christmas. 

And what was my response to seeing my good old table in its new place in the corner of my kitchen? 

Surprisingly emotional. At first, it felt strange - and oh, so wrong - to move him out of his traditional spot in the dining room. But now that he's been settled in this new space for a few days, I'm slowly warming to the idea. He's the perfect size for the four of us, his rectangular shape fits the flow of the room, and I've noticed that we are starting to use him in some new, happy ways. 

The other morning, my eldest was getting ready to bake some chocolate chip cookies, and she began gathering her ingredients. I came into the room to find the table decorated with her supplies, and it felt so right to see him doing this domestic duty.

So I'm not sure if this proverb applies more to the table or to me, but I'm beginning to think it's true that old dogs really can learn some new tricks. 

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