A LITTLE HOME IMPROVEMENT is always a fine way to head off the mid-winter blahs. Case in point: the new dining table, left — really a desk, since that’s its function 90% of the time — in my Brooklyn apartment.
Rarely have I had such a successful, not to mention lightning-quick, furniture shopping experience, all the more surprising for being accidental.
Originally I intended to pull a switcheroo, swapping the round oak table, below, inherited from my parents’ house, for something that would fit my rectangular dining area, and my more modern tastes, better.
That something was going to be the X-legged dining table, below, at my East Hampton cottage, a 1940s piece with a linoleum top I had bought for $50 at a yard sale. I figured I’d bring the oak table out to Long Island, and the X-legged one back to the city.
Taking apart the oak table and putting in the back of my car was easy. I brought it out to the island in January. But dismantling the X-legged table proved impossible. The legs were screwed on at a weird angle; it was heavy; it didn’t seem I’d be able to cram it into the back of my Honda Fit; and anyway, I decided I ought to be able to do better for my urban pied-a-terre than a $50 yard sale table.
So justified, I left the oak table in pieces on the porch and returned to Brooklyn and an empty dining area. I set up shop in the living room, whose coffee table became my new work surface (and a tray my new eating surface). Fun for a day or two.
I needed to go shopping. My first line of defense was Time Galleries on 5th Avenue and 15th Street in Park Slope, an overflowing used-furniture emporium. I saw lots of dining tables; nothing seemed right, and everything needed work. I looked online to see what they had at White on White/Organic Modernism, a growing chain of small Manhattan stores selling Herman Miller knock-offs, of which I don’t approve, made in Turkey and China. But they also sell other licensed modern designs, including two tables with glass tops by Argentinian architect and furniture designer Alejandro Sticotti, which I liked.
I went their White Street store in downtown Manhattan for an in-person look and settled quickly on the Recoleta, realizing that the glass top would work nicely in my rather dark, not-so-big apartment. I chose the white oak base instead of the dark walnut, the 77″ length in lieu of the 88″, and got the price down a bit, to $900 including delivery.
A week later, I had a functional office/dining room again, the new shape better by far for using a mouse, as my elbow was forever slipping off the rounded edge. It’s also light and unobtrusive, taking up seemingly no space. “It floats!” said one friend.
The chairs, by the way, are vintage molded plywood by Jens Risom.