My Imperfectly Perfect Dining Table and Chairs


One of the first purchases I made when I moved into my home two years ago was my dining table. I wanted something with a French country vibe, and it had to be priced in my budget. Fortunately, while browsing in Habitat Restore I spied a unique table that peeked my interest. I wasn't in love with the parquet top, but it did have two inset draw leafs that extend to allow for 8 - 10 people. In my small space, that was a definite plus. What really sold me, though, was the price tag of $75. Definitely within my budget.

The table is solid wood; oak I believe, and it is extremely heavy. I recruited several neighbors to help me get it up the porch steps and into my kitchen. (I paid to have the table delivered, but the Habitat employees wouldn't bring the table inside. They wouldn't even bring it up the steps onto my porch. They left it at the end of my drive. It was at the height of Covid, so I guess that had something to do with it. Thank God for a short driveway, and willing, helpful neighbors who weren't afraid to come into my house.)

This table was well loved or well used, depending on your perspective. Its parquet top has some disfigurement that I have come to embrace and appreciate. I like to imagine all the good food and conversation that seasoned this lovely table.

I guess I'm weird, but I find quality used furniture that's a bit beat up to be much more interesting than new furniture in an upscale store. For me it's about character. 

I've researched tables like this online, and from everything I've seen the table is most likely vintage, and was very expensive as a new piece.

The details on the table base captured my heart.

The scalloped apron, the cabriolet legs with what I've learned are French toes on pegs (sometimes referred to as "snail feet"). 

After acquiring the table, the next step was to find chairs. This was not an easy task. I did find four French country chairs on Marketplace for $25 each. Unfortunately, I only tried out one chair and asked the very nice owner if the rest of the chairs were okay. She said she hadn't really used them. She bought them as part of a dining set, and already had four chairs to use with that table. However, she thought they were sturdy, so I took all four. After I got them home, I found one chair was pretty wobbly. A second chair wasn't quite as bad, but it needed work, too. Still, I didn't regret my decision. Although I knew I would have to recover the seats (the fabric was outdated and stained), and figure out how to deconstruct and fix the two wobbly chairs, they paired well with the table and having paid $175 for the complete dining set, I was satisfied.

This brings me to my current dining set state of affairs. After watching some Youtube tutorials on repairing chairs, I figured I could handle the job. I took apart the chair and was cleaning off the old glue when I discovered a piece had broken off -- a clean break right in the middle of one of the dowel holes. Now this was a much different matter than simply regluing the dowels and clamping them. I would need to glue that broken piece and buy a different kind of clamp. Then hope it held. Suddenly, my $100 for four chairs didn't seem like such a bargain. Who knew what I would find with the second chair that needed work? And then there was the reupholstering. Also, although I planned to leave my table in its original state -- no painting there -- I did plan on painting the chairs. A lot of work for what seemed like a questionable outcome.

And so, my friends, I decided that during my staycation I would shop for four new-to-me chairs.

I started out looking for French country style chairs, and soon discovered that finding four of those was going to be just as hard as it had been two years ago. And then something happened that totally changed my direction. I found two pressback antique chairs at Habitat Restore in a neighboring town for $7 each.

And these chairs spoke to me. 

Seeing those round plates inserted where the cane used to be reminded me of my grandfather's house. I may have mentioned my Belgian grandfather before on this blog. He is my inspiration for my kitchen. Well, not him precisely, but his kitchen in his cottage is my inspiration. He owned some chairs that had this same fix for broken cane. It was common for people to do that back in the day. So, yes, the $7 price tag was appealing, but it was the nostalgia that cinched it for me. Suddenly, I knew that even though they weren't French country, and certainly not what any self-respecting designer would couple with my table, they needed to come home with me.

When I unloaded them at home and put them with my table, I was convinced that I needed to find two more similar chairs. And find them I did. At an antique store that I never imagined I could afford. However, they had some storage sheds in back of the store with chairs hanging on the wall, and I found a number of pressback chairs. Long story short, I found a style that I felt was pretty close to the two chairs I already had, and the manager made me a deal on the two chairs that I couldn't resist. 

This photo shows the two chairs side by side. The chair with the cane is the antique store chair. The other is the $7 Restore chair. I think they're very similar in style, and they both are in very good condition. No repair work needed. Whew!

I will put matching pads on the chairs to tie them all together.

I really love my imperfectly perfect dining table and chairs, and are you ready for this? 

I am not going to paint anything! 

Nope. I am so very happy with my dining set as it is. I think the wood is beautiful, I imagine all the people who have loved these pieces over the years, and most of all. . .I think of my grandpa and it warms my heart.

When I walked into my kitchen this morning to make coffee, I felt like I had stepped back in time. The lace curtain at the window, the real wood table and chairs, the vintage French plates on the wall, and the still life painting all gave me a feeling of contentment. 

That's when I knew I really have made my house a Home.



  1. You did good! They all look very nice together and bring charm to your room.

  2. I think they are the perfect chairs for your table. I like to find well loved furniture too. Our table and 6 chairs were a $150.00 find on FB marketplace and they are so study and nice they should last us the rest of our lives.
    Thanks for sharing the journey of finding the right chairs to make your house a home. I don't want a house that looks like everyone else's house, with decorator style. I want a home that looks like US!
    Blessings and love,

  3. Betsy, that's exactly how I feel. Everything I have in my home are things that I really appreciate and enjoy. I love what you wrote about your table and chairs, and how they should last the rest of your lives. I'm pretty content with the furniture I have, and if I don't replace any of it for the rest of my life, I'm fine with that. Like you, my home looks like "me". Thanks, as always, for sharing your wisdom. xx

  4. So lovely Nancy. - Joy (from a vintagegreen blog which disappeared)

    1. Hi Joy! So nice to see you here. What in the world happened to your blog???

  5. I also like my furniture to look lived in rather than new. And I love the look of your dining set. Is there a nicer feeling than being At Home?

  6. Hi Nancy. You might check out a blog called Confessions of a Plate Addict and click on My Home. She loves anything French, she was a French teacher before retiring and lived in France for many years. She has several accent chairs throughout her home, all very frenchy as she calls it, the one in her bedroom next to her desk is especially lovely. You might be able to salvage one or two of the original chairs you bought and use them in your beautiful home. I love your creativity.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. I do remember Debbie at Confessions of a Plate Addict, back from the days when a lot of us bloggers linked up to "blog parties". I did just return from visiting her blog, and you're right! She has a lot of "frenchy" chairs. :) Her home is lovely, and how fortunate she is to have family heirlooms to incorporate into her style. I have actually salvaged one of the original chairs I bought, and am in the process of redoing it into a seat for my kitchen desk. I also have some plans to repurpose the other three. So stay tuned. Hugs.

  7. Sometimes we have to go through 'broken things' to find the beauty of what we really cherish. I love the story of your imperfect table and chairs. They are beautiful! I had a brand-new table and eight lovely chairs once upon a time. The table opened out to seat twelve (clean into my living room!) when our kids and then young grandkids all came to visit at the same time. It was wonderful and I loved it but seasons change and our kids each bought lovely homes - bigger homes where family get-togethers can happen with ease. So, my lovely big table went to a lady who was over-joyed to find such a big table at my low price. I kept the chairs and found a table at our local Kiwanis thrift store. It was marked ninety dollars but the manager told me if I took it THAT day she would let me have it for seventy. Calling my sweetheart to come retrieve the table and - voila - I have the round table that seats four without it's leaf. It's perfect for the two of us in our small dining room and works well when there are a few more folks. I really believe God love the details of our lives and He loves to help us find the 'bargain' desires of our heart.


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