One of the key elements in moving to a new home is selling your old home. After a blazing start, we realized that we weren’t seeing the results we expected.
We have been getting a number of visitors and they all spoke highly of the house, but no one has whipped out their checkbooks yet. Looking at their words vs their actions, it seemed as though we were missing something.
Since they had said nothing negative about the neighbor’s rusting car collection, the dead mule in the bathtub, or my garage full of sawdust, we figured it had to be something subtle, something subliminal, that left a faint negative impression but did not register as a complaint.
We realized yesterday that we have been ignoring one of the only drawbacks to our present home. (I was just testing you in the previous paragraph to see if you were following my line of thought. We have no cars, mules or sawdust…yet.) But… we do have a less than spacious dining area.
Drawbacks in a home have a fade-away quality. I’m sure you are all familiar with the phenomenon of finding a noticeable problem area in a living situation and then, over time, the problem literally seems to vanish under the
pressures distractions of every day living. In our case, we had become so adapted to the situation in our dining area that we actually had gone on to make the situation worse!
Our dining area adjoins the kitchen and opens on to the living room. It was probably designed for a expandable table with four to six seats. We had purchased a large farm-style table that seats six on the reasonable premise that we would be able to host dinners with children and grandchildren. As a result, the compact dining area was unnecessarily cramped and we had to sidle our way around the table to get into the living room.
The table was always beautifully decorated because of Gretchen’s artistic talents, so the area never seemed to feel overcrowded or cramped. Your eye was directed to the table decorations as you would sidle in and out of the kitchen so you weren’t reminded that you were inconvenienced unless you banged your hip on the table in passing.
So, we took a new look at our dining arrangements today and Gretchen suggested sawing several feet off the table. In fact, she showed great confidence in me by suggesting that I cut a few feet out of the middle and she would cover up the seam with a runner.
I took the easy way out. When one is a woodworker, there are always extra materials just waiting for a chance to be utilized. I took a sheet of cabinet-grade maple plywood and some cherry stock and whipped out a new 36" x 53" table top in maple trimmed with cherry. The whole process took about four hours including staining the new top and switching tops on the old table.
We got the result we wanted. This is the view from the kitchen. The dining area now looks properly spacious and we still can seat four people comfortably. If we were not short on time, we could have purchased or made an expandable table with leaves. That would have let us seat four easily and six people in a pinch. This new smaller table is rotated 90 degrees from its earlier position. There is plenty of room around it and the effect on the kitchen and dining area is remarkable.
We have definitely learned something useful in this project. The best way to make a room bigger is to empty it of furniture and to use smaller furniture where possible. Here is the table viewed from the living room.
As you can see, we can easily go to the back door without having to sidle. 🙂