My Happy Place, The Library Table
As I write this we are in the midst of the Corona Virus. I am looking forward to the lifting of fears and having friends and family back at the table celebrating life. What is your happy place in your home? This is one of mine, the library table . It is usually filled with stacks of coffee table books, nik-naks, items of seasonal decor and someone usually lands at the end of the table with their laptop. If this is where one of us lands to surf the web or do some work, it gives a birds eye view through the exterior side porch to the line of trees behind our house, a great view to the keeping room off the kitchen and it peeks into the dining room.
When we renovated our house, this area was labeled a “sun room”. It is definitely flooded with light on sunny days but, furniture placement in this room did not allow for the traffic pattern that is needed to keep the flow going through the house. In the early 1980’s this room was an outdoor porch. Sometime in the last 20 years it was enclosed and all of the exterior brick and windows were left in place. Currently, there is no evidence of this room ever being an outdoor space. Three owners ago they enclosed the porch and did a flawless job on the outside but, with the remaining brick, windows and exteriors doors being left behind on the interior, it was obvious that it had been a porch. Removing the brick in this area proved to be the messiest part of our renovation to this house by far. Removing the exterior windows and doors that were on either end of the room leading to the keeping room and the living room allowed the house to have a full and complete circular traffic pattern throughout the middle floor. This is where the library comes in to play. Instead of drywalling or shiplapping where the brick walls once were, our carpenter crafted bookshelves on every wall and over all the doorways. What better way to cover the walls than with books?! I collect coffee table books of all different topics; decorating, historical homes, cooking, entertaining, travels, anything that interests me. The table is always stacked with my favorite coffee table books and decorative goodies. As I feel many things in a home should be, this table and room have a secondary use. Being right off the dining room and having a full view of the dining room, it works so well for dinner party overflow seating. Our dining table seats 10 comfortably and when there are more guests than it will hold, a second group is placed at the library table. Even when everyone fits at the dining table, it is the perfect place to set a your food for a buffet. We placed quadruple French doors in the library that open on to the covered side porch. During wonderful weather it is so nice to open up these doors and dine (almost) alfresco!
I feel that having spaces in a home that can do “double duty” and that are multi-functional is essential to being able to entertain at home. Years ago in a previous home, I had over 45 people for a sit down dinner party. I rented tables and chairs and seated some of our guests in the master bedroom (they had a wonderful view off of the upper porch), two tables in front of the fireplace in the living room and had more tables on the covered front porch! It definitely made for fun conversation that evening.
As always, there will be questions about the library table. If I had this table cloned over and over, I could have sold it about 100 times! When the beloved Davis Kidd Booksellers closed their last location in The Mall at Green Hills they sold off all their fixtures. I had shopped at this fabulous book store for years and had never noticed this table. Probably because it was covered in stacks of books! I purchased it for $200. It was put together with square nails. When you find a piece of furniture constructed with square nails it indicates that it was made (approximately) before the early 1900’s. When I first put this table in a previous home I used it as an island and it was the perfect height. When John and I married and bought our first house that was in Oak Hill, we used it for our dining room table. Our carpenter painstakingly backed out every square nail (I saved them) and removed the top of the table keeping the tongue and groove boards in place and in one piece. He then cut down the apron to lower the height of the table and replaced the top. This was a much better option than somehow shortening the legs which visually was just not the best method. I am sure that this table will continue to have a fourth, fifth and sixth life for the next 100 years!
Photo Credits: Ruby and Peach @rubyandpeachphoto