The first thing I asked my husband Charlie to build after we bought our teeny-tiny house seventeen years ago, was a picnic table. Our little cottage was 700 square feet. An efficient two bedroom one bath that we got for a steal , it had no real place to sit and eat dinner. We dined at our coffee table.
So, as soon as the weather improved he set about building a big social picnic table so that we could have friends for dinner. During the winter, we did have friends for dinner from time to time but two people would have to sit on the floor and two on the couch to use our coffee/dining table. We only invited our closest friends to sit on our hardwood floor and eat.
True to his nature, Charlie designed and built a beautiful oversized picnic table with perfectly comfortable proportions for getting in and out without banging knees, with plenty of width to hold bowls and platters of food in the middle without crowding the diners and the most comfortable distance for conversation. The top of the table was just a couple of inches shy of 4’ x 8’. The structure was simple and clean. We applied a translucent stain to give it a pickled look and protect the wood a bit.
That picnic table sat out in our yard for 15 years and played host to countless meals with friends and family. The wood aged to a comfortable silver grey.
When we designed our new home, the center point/nucleus/origination point for the entire design was a large table that could host a new generation of meals with friends and family. It took us two years to build our home and during that time the economy collapsed and along with that were any immediate plans to spend additional money furnishing the house….or finding that perfect table.
Since it was November, we decided to bring our beloved picnic table indoors. The top was pretty beat up from spending so many years outside in Seattle weather. So Charlie fastened a new top to the table. A 4×8 sheet of maple veneer plywood. He put a nice edge trim on the top and finished it with the leftover polyurethane finish we used for our bamboo floors.
The result was a new favorite! Smooth, glossy mod top with silvered, weathered soft bench seats….and you can even find a little moss underneath leftover from its previous life in the outdoors of the Great Northwest. It seats 8 comfortably and 12 is cozy…adding chairs to the ends.
It doubles as a ping pong table after dinner. And an art project table.
So, we’ve decided we no longer need to search for that perfect dining table. Now, what we really need is a new outside picnic table!