Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quest for the Perfect Table & Chairs

The kitchen table we have is a hand me down hand me down.  And while it's actually in decent shape (it could use a coat of pain on the legs and some really good cleaning), the chairs we have with it are in bad shape.  We purchased all 6 chairs separately in 2004 and we are down to 4 that are usable.  They weren't "cheapo" chairs but they weren't expensive either and after 6 years they are starting to fail.  We've got 2 folding chairs at the table currently which isn't exactly the decor I'm going for.  Plus, it only seats 6 people so if one set of grandparents comes over, we automatically don't have enough seating.  Family fail.

Problem is, finding exactly what I want isn't so easy.  I want a table that seats 6 daily and 8 when needed.  I needs to be a lighter wood (no darker than our cherry colored floor), and it needs to be rectangular.  Oh and then there's a real deal breaker, upholstery on chairs!  I'm okay with leather cushions but NOT fabric but I'd mostly prefer just a hard seat.  However the trend now tends to be toward darker finishes, square tables, and freaking fabric upholstery!!!  WTH?????

We've looked online a bit and the other night we went to Ashley Furniture.  The saleswoman who swooped in on us at the door was hard pressed to make a sale and seemed frustrated that they didn't have anything that fit my bill.  If we found a rectangular, lighter wood table, the chairs had upholstery.  She tried to convince me that we could get the protection plan or that the cushions were easy to reupholster yourself.  Um, no.   Yes, a stain guard might make it so you can wipe ketchup off but it's not going to protect against wear and tear of shoes on chairs or a 2 year old who stabs it with a fork.  And I will NOT buy something that I will be altering right away either.  C'mon lady.  She tried to convince me of mixing one table with another set of chairs but truly, it was a bad match.

They actually had a LOT of sets to choose from, which was why it was so disheartening.  And pretty much what they had in store is what we're seeing online at many other furniture manufacturers - what we want isn't hip right now.  Sigh.  The other thing you'll see a LOT of if you are looking for table/chairs right now is this new trend toward counter height tables that are square when expanded and also seat 8 semi-uncomfortably.  The problem with the square table is that it would be a little tight in our kitchen fully expanded, which isn't a big deal for the short term, but not for every day.  But, if it's collapsed, it's too small for the 5 of us, especially as the kids grow.  Jason really likes the counter height table and chairs though because of his height and I like the potential for higher chairs to keep kids in their chairs when they eat instead of with one foot on the floor.  But the problem with the higher chairs, especially when you have 2 people to a side is that even as an adult I can't push my chair back with my feet as they don't reach the floor and because they tend to be tighter on space, I can't get my legs out the side.  So you see the problem.....

This was pretty much exactly what I want except it's several shades too dark.  Rectangular, wooden seated chairs, and a more modern look (I hate country look) seats 6 to 8.  Bummer.

So it's back to the drawing board.  There are a few other local furniture stores I want to check but with all the free time I have and the fact that children love visiting furniture stores so much, it's definitely going to be a while before I find my perfect set.  Whatever set I buy though is going to be our set for a long time, so it has to be just right.  Which is one of the main reasons I won't buy something online -I need to see something that is going to be used 3 times a day (and more).  I need to sit at it and feel that it's sturdy and exactly what I want.  I just have a feeling that what I want is going to be hard to find based on what everyone else wants right now.


Katie said...

For me, furniture shopping takes months or even years! It is so personal a choice and I think furniture has to match your personality too, so it is a tough match. Sometimes I think I should open my own furniture store with stuff I like b/c it just seems that stuff I like isn't out there (or is just really hard to find).

Good luck! We got our table at a store down in Columbia...Oak Tree Furniture off of Red Branch Road. I have no idea if they have the style you are looking for.

Heather said...

I know you said you don't like country--but what about trying one of the Amish markets? You might even be able to have something custom made by them--you'll know its good quality and will last.
Here is just one website I found:

Viv said...

Or check out the Amish market in Hunt Valley - they can custom make furnature based on what you want (we had some stuff made a few years ago but nothing as big as a table!)

Erin said...

I actually think the kitchen table set I have is exactly what you are looking for. We got it at Value City, but it's part of the american signature collection. Light wood top, whitewashed legs and frame... you can get chairs or benches. We have two benches and two chairs... there is also a leaf that you can put in that makes it bigger. Currently, we have it as seating for six but it can be eight.

Here's a kinda picture of it in my kitchen...(best I have at the moment)

I'll check their website later and see if I can find a better pic.

Erin said...

Actually, reading your post more carefully... this might be a bit too country'ish for what you are looking for. It's kind of Pottery Barnish looking.

Unknown said...

Have you tried going to an Amish Market? Where you would be able to pick the wood stain? I know there is a Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Baltimore on York Road near the Fair Grounds. Right next to Valley View Farms.

Erika said...

I actually like Pottery Barn stuff, Erin! Of course, Pottery Barn doesn't even have anything that fits my bill right now. VCF was one of the first places we looked a few weeks back and nothing. From what I can see of your set, though, I like it.

This Amish market, hmmm. Don't know much about that. I just saw on that they have customizable tables, so that might be the option we're looking for. Now to find time to actually go and look!

Katie said...

There is a new furniture store (i think) that opened next to the Costco in Columbia. I will check it out next time I go over there and let you know the styles they have.