14 December 2010

Thanksgiving at my Amish Table in Soho?

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Some people think that's weird, as I don't eat turkey (or any other fowl, or red meat...but I do eat seafood, 'cause it's more delicious than I am principled). For me, Thanksgiving is about the side dishes -- corn pudding, my friend Yokko's unbelievable cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes mashed with butter, maple syrup, and cream. Mmmm....

But I digress.

Thanksgiving is my main consideration when I think about buying a new dining table. It's the reason I want to be able to seat 12. We don't throw huge dinner parties (or dinner parties at all, really), and I don't think having a big table would inspire us to start, but I do want to be able to invite anyone I want to Thanksgiving, and then seat everyone at the same table. Fortunately, our floor plan lets us do that, as the dining area is open to the living area, so we can borrow some space when needed:


Replacing Steve's old 6-seater with an Amish shaker-style table like the one below (with leaves to extend it a few feet) is one of the many things I thought we would do in 2010...but buying a table and 12 chairs gets really pricey.


So we've held off pulling the trigger, but it's never been far from my mind. A while back, I saw the Soho chair on Costco.com:


I liked the color and the shape but wasn't sure if they were too modern for our place or for our (future) Amish table. But then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw this picture on the Restoration Hardware website:


And I thought that, if they put very similar chairs together with a very Old World-y trestle table, surely they'd work with our clean-lined table (maybe I was giving the fact that it's Amish more significance than it deserved -- it's actually a very simple, transitional design). So we ordered two of the chairs to try out:


Of course, they look silly with Steve's turned-leg table, and they're sitting on a rug because we haven't put felt pads under the feet yet.


And we're almost 100% sold. The chair legs are a bit darker than our cabinets (to which we will match the table) but they won't be very visible. The last test will probably be to haul one of the chairs up to the Amish furniture store (in Austin, not Pennsylvania, fortunately) and get a good look at the table and chair side by side. (Of course, they will only have a floor model, and the color surely won't be right, but we can get a sense of how the styles work together.)

This isn't the first time we've hauled furniture across town to be sure it coordinates with something else. During construction, we drove our coffee table way down to the cabinet maker in South Austin to match the stain. Like bringing a new dog into a home with other dogs, we've found that it's important to ensure that all of the wood gets along before making a big investment.

So far, though, the experiment is a success. Not only do we like the look, feel, and quality of the chairs, but we were surprised to see that they actually tie the beige/tan stone fireplace and kitchen backsplash together, too. And once we buy the chairs (assuming we do), the expense of "just" a table will somehow feel a lot more reasonable.

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