Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cottage Life - The Dining Table and Chairs Question

When Dennis and I moved into our cottage our dining set was an old table and two curbside chairs that received a makeover. We were using that set when our cottage was photographed for the Angie's List feature.


Photo courtesy of Angie's List. All rights reserved.


I liked that little set. It was cute and I thought it fit our small space really well. But the table was pretty wobbly and the chairs needed some help  (I guess you've got to expect that when they're free), and it was hard to justify spending a lot of time or money to repair them. Besides, Dennis wanted more comfortable chairs and we both wanted a table that could seat six people.

Now you have to understand something about me. I don't force my will on my husband. I've blogged about this in the past in Embracing the Green Chair. The majority of the design decisions in our cottage are made by me. Dennis is very open to my ideas and mostly lets me do what I want. There are times, however, when he expresses his desire about our home decor in a way that tells me I need to pay attention and be willing to put on my compromise hat. Replacing our dining set was one of those times. 

We spent months and months looking at tables and chairs. Finally, while we were in Pendleton, Oregon at our favorite antique shop we saw a collection of oak caboose chairs that had originally come from a library somewhere on the coast. They were in great shape, comfortable and priced right. We bought 6 of them. Then, on the way home we stopped at a consignment shop and found a table that was big enough to accommodate the 6 chairs, but not so big that it would dominate our small space. It was in pretty good condition except for one leg that had been used as a chew toy by the owner's dog. The shop owner reduced the price and we bought the table.

Fast forward to this week (13 months later) when I finally got around to painting the table. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the table was an outdated orangey/yellowy color, just begging for a new look.





And here it is all pretty and white with the antique oak caboose chairs. 



Now here's where it gets interesting. I photographed the dining set in a typical set up -- one chair on each of the four sides. 

Dennis likes the table and chairs arranged like this. Two chairs on each of the long ends, leaving the short ends open for good traffic flow.


Which is okay until we're both trying to cook in the kitchen at the same time.


That's when things get a little dicey and we end up trying to squeeze past each other to get from one end of the kitchen to the other, or I walk all the way around the dining set to get to my destination without running into my husband.

So one day when he wasn't looking I rearranged the chairs like this.



And I didn't have to squeeze, or duck to the right, or dash around the table to avoid running into Dennis.


This is convenient. Very convenient. 

So, my question to you is: Does having one side of the table chairless and open to the kitchen this way look really weird to you and have I lost all sense of design etiquette? Please be honest -- you won't hurt my feelings. I really value the opinions of my cottage friends.











42 comments:

  1. I LOVE your 'new' table and chairs. I've always thought these chairs were comfortable. I like Dennis's arrangement of the chairs - but I like yours and I think it makes great sense for your space. I have a small dining room with a table and chairs that seem to make it smaller. Especially on the ends. No, you're not crazy! You have a good idea and I think it's the perfect solution. I'm off to try to rearrange my dining room chairs!
    ~Adrienne~

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  2. Living in a small space myself, I fully understand the need to make things work. I actually like the look and would be happy with that on a day-to-day basis. The table and chairs look great in your beautiful tiny home.

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  3. I love your table find and the caboose chairs . . .
    And . . . you get my, "oh my" . . . for the charm it brings to your cottage.
    AND I think you were brilliant to rearrange the table, free on one side,
    for work ease when in the kitchen. Perfect . . . I'd say!
    AND . . . where are the two extra caboose chairs . . .

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  4. I was going to suggest just that! So you know my answer is it looks great. It's a charming arrangement that works for you. Great finds!!

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  5. Oh my, we too have a small kitchen. We do not have a dining room so we have an eat in kitchen. I love your first little cottage table and chairs. How sweet they were. We have a round table and for the two of us, we just use two chairs to keep it a bit more open. When we have company we add the other chairs. I love your "new" table and chairs. We have been on the lookout for a farmhouse style table and chairs to replace our round kitchen table. I do like your setup which gives you the much needed space in your work area. I love coming up with ways to make our small spaces a bit more spacious. Enjoy your day. Hugs ♥ Teri

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  6. Quote stated in my house........"dear, I'm not sure I like the way you placed the chairs". Response from me......."It makes it so much easier for me to prepare you wonderful meals efficiently". Response.....now that you mention it that does make sense. Dinner is served. : )

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  7. What charming chairs and table. So much character! I say, "Whatever works and creates comfort and ease." Do as you please ♥

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  8. For the flow of traffic in the kitchen, I prefer your way!

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    Replies
    1. It does make it easier to get around the kitchen.

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  9. My honest opinion - keep the chairs the way you have them when it is just you and Dennis at home, but if you are having company, they could easily be rearranged to his satisfaction :) I think at times design or personal preference has to take a back seat to have better work/traffic flow.

    We have an eat-in kitchen as well, and it gets tight at times. I'd love to get a new table and chairs, but we've had this one since we married. So, I continue to use it, even though a different design might work better. Maybe someday!

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  10. I like the way they look each way. The current way, with no chairs on one side, makes it like an island with seating. Very workable! Then if it were me, I'd put the chairs all the way around if I had company.

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  11. The open kitchen side arrangement, gives you the best of all worlds, something for both of you AND extra kitchen space. I think this actually makes the area look BIGGER too. Love it! Now I have to go back through some of your older posts, so I can see what the rest of this cute place looks like. And the comment about Dennis's green chair has me curious :D

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  12. I think it looks just fine and very workable. Good job!

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  13. If you've lost your sense of design, then so have I! It is exactly the set up I have in my kitchen, except I have stools are around three sides of an island with the side near the sink and stove free. It has worked here for me for 21 years. Great solution!!

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  14. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just do what works for your space! Perhaps if you put placemats at the 4 chairs and some sort of arrangement on the side that has no chairs? Either way, your place is adorable! I'm off to see what's up with the green chair!

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  15. I LOVE your home! Your kitchen is adorable! Well, I think it's quirky with no chairs on one side, but I don't like the two and two either. But I'm a very balanced person, which means I need one chair per side. LOL. Sometimes I hate being so anal. :)

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    1. Truth be told, moving my analness aside, I like it best with that one side without chairs. :)

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  16. What a great compromise!
    By the way, I like that you defer to Dennis when he has an opinion, green chair and all.
    Yes, I like it.

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  17. Hi Nancy Is it possible that there is yet another solution? Could the table be moved in a different spot? Would a round table or one with drop down leaf work better? I definitely understand......I think it's great your compromising and maybe that is just the way it will look and if so it is beautiful the way you have it. I see the table as an island and it gives you more work space.

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  18. I neglected to mention maybe different chairs? Maybe fold up chairs for company or ones that can be displayed elsewhere - or a bench and just two chairs for each of you for everyday and when company comes round up the rest which you use elsewhere the rest of the time? (That is my solution in my cabin- also none of my chairs match either but it sorta just all works.... At least to me it does but who knows what people say when they leave although there was a day when I never had a spare chair to offer......

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  19. Your kitchen is SO LOVELY Nancy!

    Now on to the chairs...I like your arrangement and when you have company change it to a chair on each side.

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  20. I like the way it looks and if it makes it more comfortable working in the kitchen, then that's the way it should be. If you have guests for dinner putting a chair at each side would give everyone more elbow room and be best for conversation . . . but when it's the two of you . . . set it up so it works best. I think it is cool that you have the room to play around with it and change it up once in a while. Our table is round, so there's not much chance of rearranging :) I love those chairs; they do look very comfortable and they're loaded with charm.

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  21. These were fantastic finds, Nancy! I love the table and how you made it even prettier.

    I love the chairs every way you have tried them---it's all about how they work for you. In a cramped space you might consider a bench. I'm thinking about it at our huge harvest table, I can then push it more towards a wall and get more space on the other side. But still...you have a winning look here1

    Jane x

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  22. I think it looks great Nancy. I would leave it like this for daily functioning and then when you have company just switch the chairs around. I think it looks great.
    Kris

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  23. Nancy,IT WORKS! It looks great, and it's also functional. Your original shift to put two chairs on each long side is what I ended up doing in our dining room and I love it. And in your case, it looked great. But functionally for you, you needed another solution and your idea worked. It looks FABULOUS!

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  24. Function trumps design "rules" every time. You've found the perfect solution for your space. Looks great! Way to think outside of the box. :-)

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  25. Your new table and chairs are great and I think the way you ended up arranging the chairs works just fine and I love this glimpse into your lovely cottage. It all looks great and living in small spaces, we have to do what works for us to live comfortably.

    Happy Summer ~ FlowerLady

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  26. I really like the new caboose chairs, though their arms are a just the right "awkward" height in relation to the table. They are so cute though.
    My table is positioned with the chairs as your hubby likes the table set, with two chairs on each of the long sides. My dining area is just too small to do otherwise. Holidays and other large gatherings I'll put in the leaf and add chairs to the ends but no one would be able to walk behind on each end. So you better not need a visit to the "necessary room" :~)

    I think it looks so nice the way you decided to set it up in the end. Plenty of room where it is needed. And it looks nice!
    Kath

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    1. While the arms on the chairs make it impossible to push them under the table, I will say they are the most comfortable dining chairs I've ever owned. Having arms makes it very pleasurable to push back from the table and linger.

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  27. I love it! It's like having a bar or island in your kitchen.

    Do you plan to refinish or paint the chairs? My kitchen chairs oare very sturdy but not very comfortable. They're handmade ladderback chairs...very straight tall backs. My husband bought them for me new to go with a handmade table & bench my father-in-law made for my birthday years ago. They fit my table perfectly! But we never really linger after a meal because they are too hard to sit in.

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  28. I love the table and chairs! This may sound goofy, but maybe if you raised the table 2 inches with some hardware, it would let the chairs slide under the table. It's just a thought. :) Otherwise, it looks great the way you have it. Everything you do is wonderful!

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    1. What a nice thing to say. Thank you so much. xo

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  29. It looks great. As one poster stated, it looks like an island. I have never heard those chairs called caboose chairs. I learned something new. I am also happy you didn't paint them. The old oak is so pretty and adds warmth. Debbie

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  30. I love the old oak chairs combined with the white table. And happy for you that you found the best functional arrangement. I think it looks great! I adore your sweet little cottage. Our home is small, but I'm ready to go even smaller these days...

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    1. I can't imagine living in a large one again. I love the simplicity of living small. Thanks for visiting and for the very nice compliment. xo

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  31. I like it. :-)
    Jeremy and I have a small kitchen as well, we call it the Kitchen Dance when we cook and clean up from dinner together.
    xx oo
    Carla

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  32. I like it both ways, but having a small kitchen, I would do what you did too. You can always put a bench that tucks under the table for more seating :)

    xo

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  33. I LOVE your table and chairs. What finds! I don't think it looks weird to have them arranged like that. And the great thing about it is that you can move things around as you need to.

    :)

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  34. If the table was an island in a big kitchen and the chairs or bar stools pulled up, it would probably be arranged like this so I think that it does make perfect sense. Flow is very important in a small house. That is what makes small houses doable. And, I love those chairs. I love having enough bottom to wiggle around.

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  35. Wow, your "new" table looked as orangey as mine before I painted it. I like yours painted as well and those chairs are absolutely beautiful. They have a unique charm and adds something to your cottage. As for the way they are displayed around the table, it doesn't bother me at all. Practicality comes first when we live in small houses.

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