"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Coffee Table Problem

Flowers in the Foyer

 I am so happy to see spring arrive.  I've been working in the garden, spring-cleaning the whole house, spending countless hours on dull administrative tasks (most to do with the dreaded tax season) and lecturing my rascal kids.  So, all normal here.
I've also been doing a bit of re-decorating, you know, shifting stuff around, de-cluttering, creating room and just generally giving things a refresh.
It started with the Coffee Table Problem.

This is what our sitting room looked like last year:

Giant Barrymore loveseat paired with a glass coffee table.
 We bought a big puffy Barrymore loveseat sofa when we renovated the house in 2015.  Honestly, it was too big for the sitting room and I don't know what we were thinking. We also bought a big round glass coffee table at the same time.  I'm telling you it looked small in the store, but in our house it was far too large.
You can see there wasn't much room for people walking around the furniture comfortably, never mind the fact that the dog is giant and fluffy and takes up so much space in this room anytime we are in it.
No room to walk around, especially when you add in a giant fluffy dog.
This room started to change a year ago when we were given an antique sofa by Poppa Max, along with lots of other beautiful antiques that travelled to Canada on the ship from Austria in 1938.

The glass coffee table looked even worse when combined with the antique sofa.  I started to have serious hatred for it.  We had moved the loveseat downstairs to our family room (where it looks much better) and I became obsessed with moving the glass coffee table downstairs as well.

But what to replace it with?  I don't know if you've tried to purchase a coffee table lately but if you have you will understand how complicated it can be.  First of all there are thousands of choices but many are too large, or too cheap looking, or too expensive, or are constructed of the wrong woods, or are made of things not wood (terrible composites).
I looked at approximately 6000 coffee tables and this is what I ended up purchasing:
It's a black lacquered chinoiserie coffee table with a protective glass top.  I just couldn't add another wood tone to the room.  I was over the whole glass and metal coffee table thing, and so I started to think that adding in another black element to the room would be pretty nice.
 You can see the fireplace front, which is a major original feature of the room, is a solid beautiful black.  I like that the table ties in with this feature.
 The shape is a small rectangle which suits the antique sofa much better than a big round glass and metal thing.
 I was pretty nervous about the painted design on the table because I ordered it online.  I had total buyer's remorse until it arrived.

 As soon as I opened the box I knew it was a win.  I love the size, the pattern, the black lacquer, the solid wood and the protective top.
Coffee table from Wayfair

 I'm madly getting ready to go away again.  We travel to Italy soon with our friends and I keep changing my mind about what to pack up, I'm driving myself crazy.
How have you been?  What are you up to?  Any decorating going on in your house? Spring cleaning? Taxes?
Whatever you've been up to I hope it's going as well as it possibly can.


  1. That is fabulous! And from Wayfair. It looks just right.

    1. Thanks Megs. I think Wayfair has some interesting items but it's lots of scrolling through because they also have millions of items. I wanted something antique but olden days coffee tables are hard to find, so it was the internets for me ;) xx

  2. Hi Dani, your new coffee table is beautiful, it definitely fits the room. (And I must say, your Barrymore loveseat looks sooo comfy!) I need to take a closer look at Wayfair, we need new rugs.

    I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning, and also an exercise/weight loss programme at the gym. I'm doing 4 boot camps a week, daily challenges, and there's a running group too. I'm exhausted!! :0) I haven't lost much weight, but the main idea was to find the motivation to get back into the gym; mission accomplished. It's nice to exercise in a group too - lots of fun!

    I hope you'll share some of your preparations for your Italy trip - so exciting!

    1. Patricia it's a really comfy sofa, so it;s much better suited to our tv room rather than this sitting room (which we use for visiting, coffee, cocktails etc). Oh my gosh your program sounds brutal! Good for you it's so great to do something different and group exercise classes can be really motivating. I've been doing pilates on the reformer torture rack thing with a trainer and lots of hill walks every day. Trying to get in shape for summer, and for our trip.
      I'll share a packing up post if you like :) xx

    2. Dani, I see below that you want to do carry-on - that's brave! :0) I'm sure you know Une Femme's blog, she has lots of packing posts in her archive, maybe you'll find inspiration there. Here's a post about packing for an upcoming trip to Italy: https://unefemme.net/2017/03/spring-travel-wardrobe-europe.html

  3. It looks perfect - love it. I (hope you don't mind my suggestion) to see some of the reddish color in the rug as throw pillows on the sofa - I think it would help tie it all together.
    It's hard to pack for in between season travel I think. I'm better at hot summer or cold winter. You're going to have a great time though.

    1. KSL you're so right that is exactly what is needed. I love the reds on the window seat including a William Morris print pillow, they're hard to find though.
      I'm tortured about packing because it could be cool and rainy or it could be warmer. I'm trying to do carry-on only which is very tricky because it means I have to bring just the right things. Thanks KSL xx

  4. Dani,
    Loving this post. I too an cleaning out like crazy right now.

    I love the new table. I think it's perfect with your rug and also compliments both your couch and the chair. Best of all, it's different and pretty. I honestly am so sick of seeing the exact same designs over and over again- wood, metal, etc. The white couch is also gorgeous and I love the fringe pillow too. I have to check out Wayfair.

    I'm excited to hear more about your Italy trip. We are going and I need your guidance for packing. You are brilliant at what to bring! We are going to Positano, Sorento and Rome and a fast trip to Pompeii, but not until July as we are meeting family. Earlier like you are going would be better.

    Hope all is well. Happy spring. xo

    1. Kim that sounds like an amazing trip! July will be easier for packing because you can count on warmer weather I'm thinking? I bought a new raincoat on your suggestion so I'll definitely bring that, along with lots of black, dresses and a warmer spring coat. The shoes are very tricky because we'll be doing lots of walking and hiking the Cinque Terre. So excited though. I'll plan to do a packing up post this weekend and then afterwards we can see where I went wrong, which will hopefully help for your trip.
      Thanks Kim :) xx

  5. Love the coffee table, so glad the room now suits your family.

    I also love that sofa. My mother had one similar, Empire style? It did not sell, and in the end we gave it to her housekeeper of many years, who'd expressed a liking for it.

    I admit in your room I'd want to reupholster and put color on the sofa so the whole room was awash:). But that's just me, having a late in life color love affair. xoxo.

    1. LPC I really really want to re-upholster the sofa. First of all it's getting wrecked by the teenage gangs that hang out in my house but it also needs some rebuilding, the bottom is falling apart. So it's an expensive project and I have to send it out of my city to have it done. I'm thinking next year, and yes to colour!
      People don't want old furniture anymore. This came from the house in Austria so it's sentimental. I do like the lines of it though, suits the house. Thanks Lisa xx

  6. Careful consideration, some obsessing, and marking it out with painters tape on the floor to get the "feel" of the size, are what is needed when purchasing furniture these days. Looks great! Our project this year is outside. I want a cutting garden and a greenhouse.

    1. BB so true! I had no idea of scale for this room when I bought that loveseat and glass coffee table. For this one I mapped it out on the floor according to the measurements. Very difficult to find a smaller coffee table.
      A cutting garden and a greenhouse how gorgeous. Do it! You must be well into spring now. Hope you and the family are well xx

  7. Did I just SEE pink PIGS on your sidebar?COOKIES????
    LOOKS much BETTER.I have the same problem.......too much or TOO BIG BITS for the ROOM!But unlike you I am not willing to let GO yet nor do I have a DOWNSTAIRS!
    ITALY...........just think like this!
    You can wear every OUTFIT TWICE maybe even THREE times........with the exception of the travel outfit.Make those pieces switch out so you can MAKE NEW OUTFITS!
    Chances are YOU will find SOMETHING TO BUY at THE MARKETS!
    YES,I too have a trip LOOMING UP!!!!
    Because it is a GARDEN TOUR I want all my clothing to have a FLOWER MOTIFF!BUT I doubt that will happen!!!!!!!

    1. Contessa you know I love pigs too that's why I don't eat them! But those are the traditional cookies we make at Christmas. Very popular and they have to have the pink icing.
      Thank you so much for the advice! I tend to always overpack and then I really regret it. I once got stuck in the door of a high speed train in France because of all my luggage! I think if I bring three dresses I'll be fine, two pairs of shoes good for walking, a sweater, a coat and a raincoat, and one other pants outfit of some kind.
      A garden tour, you MUST do the floral theme! You will be divine.
      I bought a new camera, there will be lots and lots of pictures, thank you Contessa I hope you're feeling well these days xx

    2. RAINCOAT one of those plastic cheap things......that TAKES NO SPACE!AS unlike here don't know about CANADA over there is rains for 5 minutes than CLEARS!YOU might be too cold with the dresses..........take at least two pair of pants or leggings...............BUON VIAGGIO!!!!!!BACI BACI BACI

  8. The unpredictable weather makes packing a challenge...many more experienced travellers advised me to pack clothes so I could dress in layers and bring several scarves.
    I like the new table and the rug is sumptuous!
    Other than books, coasters, a candle and an orchid I never know what to put atop a coffee table...our new white slipcovers have had to be laundered 3 times since we purchased them so I think I have a wee bit of insight into your "gang of visitors"
    Bon Voyage!

  9. Love that antique sofa and it looks fantastic! My mother in law has a very similar one - apparently when she was little her mother walked in and found the cleaning lady in a rather compromising position with the milk-man! Now whenever we sit on it (and yes it was immediately recovered) we think of that poor woman who was naturally (says my mother in law) fired immediately! And that coffee table is amazing - we have an old pine thing that is constantly covered in too many books and socks (don't ask). Have a fabulous time in Italy and yes, layering is the way to go. I have been several times around this time of year and it can be very warm and very cold - and, rainy. If you have a rain--coat with a hood (I just bought a fabulous one) that would be ideal. A good friend is there right now and her photos have all been fabulous - sun and she is in summer clothes. Anna26x

  10. omg dani i'm dying ovet the new coffee table. what a great choice. i think ellie would approve! have fun in italy and please do post your picks as i always love seeing your color stories. xoxo

  11. Never heard of Wayfair, but I sure like their style. Your coffee table is absolutely gorgeous, and you must be thrilled with it. I love your antique sofa too. What fun, going to Italy. We went in 2014 and it was the best trip ever. It was early September, and 34C in Rome, so hot I had to buy an extra light top to wear.
    Doing maintenance here, carpenters been to fix balustrades outside, and quotes for renewal of kitchen.

  12. It is always so fun to tweek with things (I never stop in my own home!). Black is always a nice accent and I find it acts like a punctuation mark in a room.

    As for modern furniture, it seems to be getting more and more inflated (have you seen some of what Restoration Hardware sells? You'll need to move into a warehouse to accommodate even an armchair!), which presents a problem if one lives in older houses.

  13. I really like your new coffee table AND the antique sofa!! Our daughter in law bought a lovely tufted upholstered bed from Wayfair. I would have been very nervous buying furniture online--but the bed is lovely as is your coffee table.

    We recently updated two of our bathrooms and turned an extra bedroom into a nursery for our baby granddaughter. The projects took WAY longer than they should have, but I am happy with the results.

  14. Your eye is unerring, Dani. That table is perfect for the room and the other furniture in it. I have an antique trunk as a coffee table and am quite pleased with the find since it doubles as storage.

    I'm envious of your trip! I travel so much, all for work and rarely to exotic locales like Italy. Since you are daring carry on, I think it would be a wonderful post to tell us what you packed and how it worked for you.