Words & Images by Caitlin Paulson
I had a functioning dining room but it wasn’t completely functional. I needed to make some changes. It wasn’t a full out re-do. The floors and some furniture are still the same. I had to figure out a few things that suit my family, and ponder over a few questions to decide what I really needed.
One question I had to answer was: how do we live in our home? Sure, we have a bunch of different rooms but do we live in them? We don’t. What I mean by this is how much time we spend in an area on a daily basis. We sleep in our bedrooms, but we don’t hang out in them during the day. We have three areas, (four, including the basement) that we actually live in daily. I needed to get the most out of my space.
The three areas we use most often are the kitchen, eating area and living room. These spaces are an open floor plan and I felt like I had a lot of unused space in the eating area. The flow and energy of the room was off which made it less functional. I had to ask myself what could change it for the better. As you see in this picture (above), I had a wonderful table that I’m still quite fond of. It was whimsical with mismatched teal chairs. I’m still a huge fan of the look of my previous set up, but I needed to make a change to utilize my space. The long table sitting in the middle of the room created a barrier. To me, it blocked the flow of daily life in the room.
I have family and friends over for dinner often and naturally we always gathered at the kitchen island, which could only seat four people. No one really minded and we would happily stand around it and eat together. However, there was a huge empty table that no one wanted to sit at right next to us. Gather. That’s my key word, I needed a gathering table. So, I went shopping and ended up getting my pieces custom made.
I went to the best furniture makers I know around me - the Amish Market. They made me exactly what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I wanted a square table, something big and chunky. I wanted something that would be solid, take beatings from toddlers well and it had to be beautiful, of course! The table is 70” square; everything is over sized and chunky, just how I envisioned it. It’s made of maple, the table tops are scraped so when my kids bring their toys on it another little scrape doesn’t matter. I got the bar to face the living room, whereas my kitchen island faces the opposite direction. Seating options, please!
Ironically, the chairs are from Pier 1 and they just happened to match the stain on the tables perfectly. They are both called tobacco. The chunky legs on the table and bar are a farmhouse style and they fancy up my home just enough. Now, when my family comes over we can gather in the eating area. We have options. Some like to sit at the big square table, others still at either of the islands. Either way, we are sitting. The energy flows better now that there isn’t a long table in the middle of the room. And, I feel like I am utilizing all of my space.
Making changes, especially changes that you hope to be permanent are always a little scary. If you sit on your ideas for a while and think about your options, ask yourself what you truly want and need, the results are usually worth it! I can see this furniture growing with my family, and I am thrilled with my results.
Caitlin Paulson is a home decor enthusiast. She grew up playing in her father's steel yard, full of rusty metals and old machinery. This pasttime turned rustic industrial decor true to Caitlin's heart.