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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3 Comments

Filed under Apartment Design, farmhouse table

3 responses to “farmhouse table

  1. Your table is an Eastlake table which means it was made in the 1800’s. You will damage the value if you sand off the finish. Eastlake is a subcategory of Victorian. It is a farm table and San Francisco, like the rest of the U.S. had farmers.
    Is it oak or walnut? Walnut wood was very popular with Victorians. Both woods are hard woods. If it is oak, it is probably late 1800’s or early 1900’s. If it is walnut, it is probably mid to late 1800’s.
    Oak was considered less desirable by Victorians and was stained a dark brown to make it look like walnut.
    The linear groves and the side braces are Eastlake features
    It is a lovely table.

    • mcelroyarch

      Hi Anne,
      Thank you for the very informative post! I didn’t think it was that old, wow. It’s definitely made of Oak. I can’t find a photo of it online anywhere, but I’m happy to hear any input people have.

  2. Hi again,
    Due to a computer problem, I lost your address or I would have written back to you much sooner.
    Yes, it is a farmhouse table.
    Try searches with the words: primitive, farm house, farmhouse, kitchen, Victorian, Eastlake, antique, vintage, castors, fluted, turned legs, and spoon carving or spoon carved.
    Fluted or fluting refers to the decorative linear grooves and turned legs refers to the rounded contours of the legs which were created on a lathe. Spoon carving is a shallow, but curvaceous, decorative detail which was sometimes, although it seems to be rarely, include on such tables.
    These tables were multi-purpose table used in a country kitchen which is a kitchen which is also used as the dining room. The castors, or wheels, made moving the table about quite easy which was useful as it was used for food preparation, doing laundry, or whatever else was needed.
    Such a table originally also had a center leg which supported the table top when leaves were added. In rare cases, there were two center legs located on the same plane.
    The leaves and extra leg were stored away in the attic to be used when a large gathering came over for a special meal such as Thanksgiving.
    So, that’s it for now.

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