Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Kitchen Table


kitchen completed: this table has actually been in the kitchen since last summer and was a parting gift from my ex, Mo the architect, who had been building it in the garage when things between us began to sour. truthfully, given how tense things were back then i never expected him to finish it, but he surprised me by bringing the completed table into the kitchen about a week before he moved out. this was last June. it’s been the centerpiece of the house ever since.


the delay: i’ve had this entry in draft form for several months and just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. i suppose it’s because this table is so inextricably linked to Mo, who still manages to stir some intense emotions in me. i can’t look at the table and not think of him, of us, of it, of everything. certainly, time has helped soften some of this intensity, but Mo’s hand is evident in every corner of the house, which keeps him an ever present force in my life.


the specs: the table is about six feet long and is as tall as the kitchen countertops. it’s made of small panels of wood that have been laminated together, then sanded. (i believe the wood is birch.) the stain is a blend of ebony and dark walnut, which was followed by several coats of sealant.


the legs: they are pretty extraordinary. i’m not sure if this pattern even has a name beyond “pretty extraordinary.” every person who has entered my house after the table arrived has commented on how stunning and unique it is. i fear these photos aren’t doing it justice — it’s truly one of a kind.


the chairs: i bought these walnut barstools from my beloved Crate & Barrel, where i’ve spent far too much money over the years. they are incredibly comfortable — with that curved back cradling the ass perfectly. they’re also incredibly gorgeous and fit snugly underneath the table, as though they were built especially for it.


special: the table is 100% Mo’s vision — from design to execution. he made several sketches of it before he began building and kept costs down by going with lower-grade wood panels, which, when fused together, made it super strong. the table is incredibly sturdy: it does not scratch easily nor does it wobble.


support: i wobbled plenty after Mo left. i would often lie on the table in an effort to feel closer to him, especially in my saddest moments. perhaps that’s why it’s been so difficult to write this post. the table is so beautiful and perfect, completing the house just as Mo left the household.


the center: during the interior remodel, Mo made every executive decision about the aesthetics of the house — a house i bought alone on paper but had every intention of sharing with him in a life that in many ways would have centered around the table as the family hearth, with children in highchairs pushed against it during breakfast and family discussions during dinner, all situated against the backdrop of a sturdy table made of solid wood, standing strong and tall, enduring and supportive, a depot for the mail, the bills, the food and drinks — everything that encompasses a shared life.

yet in the absence of that life, the table has still become the heart of the house. when friends come over, we hang out around the table instead of the couch. i take my morning coffee there and leave my purse on it. it’s currently piled high with documents about the home remodel and everything else i need quick access to. it doesn’t stay clear very long, nor do its contents stay static. it’s truly become the centerpiece of the house around which everything else revolves, including my life.

as for Mo, he called me about a year ago after many months of not speaking. we stayed on the phone for several hours that day and have slowly worked toward building a friendship. nowadays, our contact is fairly regular, especially since Operation: Home Remodel began.

just as he did with the table, Mo has determined the entire remodel — from early renderings to detailed plans to finalizing colors to deck design, which has left me blissfully off the hook. it’s no cliche to say that i couldn’t have done it without him; it’s the cold, hard truth.

so if my house looks incredible once it’s done (and i fully expect it to), it’s because of Mo’s involvement, which has included many sleepless nights and frantic emails — and all for a house he doesn’t live in anymore, a sacrifice for which i will forever be grateful. his creative genius is singular and extraordinary; i’ve been in awe of it for the 20+ years i’ve known him and count myself among the blessed to have had some of it shine on me.

(note: he’s available for design work if you want some of it to shine on you — message me privately for his info.)

so thank you, Mo, from the bottom of my heart and house. know that your imprint dwells in us now and always and that we have been forever improved because of you. and happy birthday.



Michael Landis said...

Everybody touches us. What a wonderful way to be touched. :)

Gitella said...


Anonymous said...

This was so beautiful :) And the table is spectacular.


stainless steel kitchen table said...

Love that table! It's quite impressive.