Monday, May 27, 2013


So we got a new dining room table!

You might remember that this upgrade has been a long time coming.

I'm really happy with it. I think the small round table fits the scale of our dining room nook much better than the old rectangular table (there's a leaf, too, for when it's not just the three of us for dinner). The smooth surface is far superior to bumpy old tile when it comes to writing and drawing projects. And you can't deny that it's a lot more stylish.

A month or two ago my man started forwarding me links to Craigslist listings for mid-century teak dining sets. A lot of them looked nice, but they scared me. So slick and shiny and perfect!

I told him that I thought having a mint-condition mid-century piece as the only dining table in a house with a small child was not a great idea. To me, having to constantly worry about the little bumps and nicks that come from real everyday use is Not Gezellig. What I had in mind was something more like an old farmhouse table, something that could be gathered around by all and knocked about a bit.

Well, if you just want a table that can get messed up and damaged, why get a new table at all then? he asked me. Touche.

But I think the table he eventually found is a nice compromise. It's sturdy and in good condition, but it has a few of the little nicks and scratches that come from good use--just enough that we won't have to worry about adding to the patina ourselves. (It sounds crazy, but I really think I prefer this kind of imperfection on a purely aesthetic level, too.)

He seems happy with it too, so all's well that ends well. Still, I'm struck -- as I always am during home improvement and decorating projects -- by how different our approaches are to these kinds of decisions. His approach boils down to: we need a new table --> search Craigslist --> here is something within our budget that I can live with --> done --> next item. Mine is more like: dream up overall vision --> pin a bunch of images on Pinterest --> never actually do anything.

That sounds flip, but I really do think that he tends to be more focused on the part (that is, the decision about the table), and feels overwhelmed by contemplating the whole (that is, what we want the dining nook to look like overall). Meanwhile, I tend to focus on the whole, and trying to make a decision about one part of a room without reference to an overall vision makes me anxious.

It's pretty interesting. And I'd like to find some way to help us meet in the middle. Especially because we now seem to be tackling what has historically been the single greatest source of tension in our relationship: the task of Picking Out A Rug....

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