Monday, July 23, 2018

Underestimating The Table

A friend left us a round pedestal table for indefinite storage with carte blanche to use it. I tried it in a couple of promising spots, but it didn't click, except as a skirted staging and storage area in the front hall. I'd seen the table in a couple of apartments, and it had impressed me as a faintly malnourished but affordable rendering of classic modern design. It worked well holding a large cathode ray computer monitor in the corner of a 1900 kitchen.

The piece has a heavy mahogany veneered top fastened to a lightweight steel base. The balance worried me until I realized that the tension/integrity design of the pedestal ensures stability. Sheer weight in a piece of furniture designed for seating in small space is a good thing. Last week I moved the table to a sweet spot in front of a west-facing window. It worked pretty well with a tablecloth until I pulled the cloth to wash it. 

I always knew that my dishes were eighteenth century and have learned over the decades that my other tabletop preferences have been eighteenth century as well. I lived in this house for thirty years before realizing that it, too, is essentially eighteenth century Anglo-American architecture. The first time I set the new bare table for a casual afternoon meal, it lit up. 

The grain of the mahogany veneer is one seamless peel. Direct west sun turns what had seemed to be an overly refined finish into a welcome light show. Daylighting and portable furniture were important in eighteenth century interiors, and this table more than fulfills that design brief. Setting a bare table was the custom at the time, when tropical wood was on display. This bare table paired with gray period dishes, essentially period utilitarian glassware, and period cutlery is an unintended and gratifying 2018 restatement of classic style. The high degree of finish on the table's top and base allow for easy movement in close quarters. The brushed stainless post and foot of the base reflect eighteenth century silver design. All in all, I'm pleased to have stumbled across a significant high-tech increase in my standard of living -30-

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