Monthly Archives: August 2011

farmhouse table

Years ago I found a beat-up farmhouse table in a consignment shop, offered a price which the clerk accepted, and left to go to the ATM.  In those few moments he called the seller of the table and when I returned he shook his head saying “I’m sorry, you can’t have the table at this price….”  Bummed out, I walked away from it and lived with my reproduction 1950s ‘diner’ style table and chairs a few more years, though I thought of that table and peeked in the shop window until it eventually disappeared.  Here’s the diner one: One morning I went to a rummage sale on my block that had trinkets and trash including a farmhouse table that fit the bill – and more importantly would fit my kitchen. I snapped it up for 1/3 the price of what I would’ve paid for the one that got away. Here it is:  From what I’ve seen that classifies the typical farmhouse table is its simplicity, heft, worn-down wood (from age or faked), square or turned legs, and a thick slab top.  I’m not sure if this one fits into the category of farmhouse table: is it too small, its legs too fancy, those angled corner pieces too frilly? Either way, it adds a tangible warmth to the room.The top is thinner than others I’ve seen and is made of about 6 pieces.  I didn’t love the angled corner brackets at first – they’re just decorative, but I left them.  We kept the wheels on the legs because they lift it a bit higher so we can get our knees underneath…It has a gap down the middle that would allow for expansion, but came without a leaf:  the leaf had been cut down and used to hold the two halves together from below!  The gap was pretty wide and became a nasty crumb trough, so we recently took it apart to jamb it closer together.    You can see marks on the underside of the table that were probably the parts that allowed it to expand.  The strip of wood with the screws in it is an old leaf that was cut up.  Here’s proof – the wood strip / leaf has a matching bevel along the end.  Above you can see the peg that goes into the opposite half.  The legs are bolted into angled pieces.  I don’t know the age of this table, but underneath it looks pretty old and wrecked. Even though it’s not a glossy finish I’ve thought about sanding the top down so it’s totally raw wood, but the legs and other trimmy pieces would be tough to get the finish off of….to be determined

I’m typically a modernist but I think an old wood table in the kitchen just feels right.  Food looks better on it.  Pretty much anything looks good on it. 

So, is this a farmhouse table?  Since I found it in the heart of San Francisco it’s probably never set leg on a farm, but we crowd around it like urban farmers and enjoy it nonetheless.

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1920s bathroom

A cramped layout in this old bathroom – the sink was in front of the window (good view, but a reflection is preferred).  There was a closet inside the room which was a waste of space, made for a squeezed entry and the 2 doors would crash into each other.  Overall the look was a bit tired: There’s the mirror / medicine cabinet that should be above the sink!  The only slightly redeeming quality was the hexagonal tile, which has had a resurgence lately as penny-rounds.  It was all taken out to accommodate the new design.   We looked at a few options in handy-dandy Sketchup and decided on the one seen below:  This removed that bulky closet but maintained the door, window, and perimeter walls.

Some shots during the quick demo and as the new tub was put in.  We were able to keep the window – a film was added for privacy.To the studs:  since this is the only bathroom in the house, the old toilet was left in (the new position) and swapped out at the last minute.  The finished results!  Admittedly this project was a little break from my more modern design, but one that I was pleased to do.  The owner wanted the cabinetry to feel like furniture so it has legs, is held away from the side walls and finished with a crown.   The built-in linen storage is a sufficiently smaller replacement for the old closet. The pinwheel tile pattern on the floor is a mix of porcelain and glass tile.  The pattern shifts as it runs across the floor – an interesting skew that’s not immediately apparent. The bath wall tile was arranged in a herringbone pattern – subtle at this scale of tile 9″x18″.  This tile doesn’t come with a bullnose option so we finished edges with Frey reglets.  The ledge at the end of the tub is a good place to sit and stow all the bottles etc! To finish off the front of the tub we opted for a custom wood panel that matches the cabinetry.  I was sure to advise that it’s risky to have wood next to the tub/shower, but with the glass enclosure and a little daily maintenance, the owner went for the look she wanted!

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