Tables are sometimes treated like the poor cousins to chairs, which have captured the imaginations of Arts and Crafts designers like the Stickley brothers, architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Danish Modern furniture guru Hans Wegner, and Mid-century Modernists Charles and Ray Eames. But tables deserve our respect, too. Whether they were built for decoration like the console tables of the 1600s or for purely functional use like the Shaker seed tables of the 1800s, tables are often the focal points of the rooms they occupy.
One of the first things furniture designers did after they seized upon the idea of raising a horizontal surface into the air via legs was to devise ways to reduce the size of their creations in order to save space. The surface of a tilt-top table, for example, folded vertically, so the table could be stored against a wall when not in use. Drop-leaf table surfaces were designed to be folded down against their legs, often creating a narrow rectangular table that appeared to be wearing a skirt.
Some drop-leaf tables had gate legs (also spelled as one word, “gatelegs”), which could been swung out to support the leaf when needed or collapsed against the stretchers connecting the bottoms of the legs when not. Others revealed a chair when the tabletop was tilted up and out of the way, although the resulting seat was not especially practical.
The efficiency of other tables was more obviously elegant. Side tables such as console tables were meant to be permanently situated against a wall, often between a pair of windows. Sometimes these occasional tables, as they were also called, had drawers to store household items. Side table surfaces could be rectangular, but half-circles were also popular, allowing the table to be placed flush against a wall.
Center tables, as their name suggests, were typically placed in or near the center of a room. Usually round and mounted on a single pedestal attached to a wide or footed base, center tables were favorites of the Georgian and Victorian Eras, when entertaining one’s guests meant gathering around one of these ornately carved and ornamented pieces for a rousing game of cards.
Though not as associated with storage as desks and cabinets, tables were often asked to pull their weight in this department. Hutch tables, popular in rural 18th-century America, contained hidden compartments beneath the table surface and between the wide trestles that supported it. Library tables often had a wide, horizontal stretcher between the table’s trestles or legs to keep books up off the floor and out of the way. Fancier library tables were elevated by small bookcases at either end.
Early examples of dining tables resembled the communal tables found in both monastery refectories and neighborhood pubs, perhaps the only thing those establishments had in common...
When it comes to interior design, though, no table has had a greater impact than the coffee table. Low-to-the-floor painted, carved, or inlaid tables were historically common in Asia. Coffee tables made of exotic woods, steel, glass, and even mirror were a signature of Art Deco. And after World War II, coffee tables were staples of Mid-century Modern.
Perhaps the most iconic coffee table of the 20th century was designed by artist Isamu Noguchi. His IN50 coffee table for Herman Miller, 1944, featured two interlocking curved legs that supported a thick, glass top. Early in the following decade, Charles and Ray Eames placed a narrow, black, surfboard-shaped ellipse on a pair of wire-rod bases, similar to those used in some of their chairs.
Another minimalist, albeit with a more organic orientation, was George Nakashima, whose slab tables reveled in their defects and irregularities, which the designer took pains not to correct. Other woodworkers, though, preferred their tables fully finished. Sam Maloof, for example, riffed on Shaker traditions by replacing straight lines with gentle curves and contours.
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A Maine Home Where the Wild Turkeys RoamWall Street Journal, November 26th
The antique table shown here came from Holland. Francois Gagne … 'In the summer it's a little paradise,' says Ms. Schair of the screened porch. 'It has views of the marsh. It's wonderful for dinner parties. My daughter [an interior design student] is...Read more
Big and small ways to make your house a Frank Lloyd Wright houseBuffalo News, November 21st
Do as the Martins did and take off your tablecloth. Adorn your table instead with placemats and runners. The runner at the Graycliff gift shop is a best-seller, but you can find vintage table runners at thrift shops and on Etsy. If you're crafty, make...Read more
Wildwood Historic Center plans Heirloom Christmas Dec. 6Nebraska City News Press (blog), November 19th
Set out as vintage table settings, the china and other table ware are temporarily on loan from individuals in the community. This is a great way to not only show a variety of antique china patterns but to give local residents an opportunity to...Read more
Chef Justin Burdett's Local Provisions restaurant to open for business, Nov. 24Mountain Xpress (blog), November 18th
The redesigned bar features pipe work shelving with corrugated metal, which complements the antique table bases, new banquettes and warm grey walls. Local Provisions will be open for dinner on Tuesday, November 24, and Wednesday, November 25, ...Read more
Baldwin Drama Club slows down the pace with comedyTribune-Review, November 11th
Jenkins even found a 1930s vintage table printing press to display on the stage. Costumes, with a 1930s take, were hard to find, Leschak said. She looked at Goodwill and costume closets and they even borrowed from other schools to fit the needs of the...Read more
Bohemian RhapsodyHome & Design Magazine (blog), November 9th
The traditional living room sofa by Donghia is paired with an antique Chinese coffee table, while in the dining room, an antique table and chairs from Rose Tarlow offer a rustic touch. Throughout the house, Ireland layered fabric patterns, from Ikat to...Read more
Mismatched china sets inject personality into tablesettingsLA Daily News, November 6th
Blumel already has plans for her Thanksgiving table. “I'm trying to find a vintage table runner and go from there,” she said. “You can spend a lot of money, but you don't have to. You can do a lot and it will look like you spent $1,000 but you spent a...Read more
Police Blotter: Drunk man charged with false alarmMyCentralJersey.com, November 5th
THEFT, 6:28 p.m. Nov. 3. A Watchung Avenue resident said that four antique wrought iron chairs and the glass portion of a wrought iron antique table were stolen from his backyard on Oct. 31, police said. ATTEMPTED THEFT FROM VEHICLE, 10:17 p.m. Nov...Read more