The rustic farm kitchen table in my childhood home was like a topographical map, its ridges, marks, gouges telling the story of our family and the families who owned the table before us. Our lives unfolded around this old pine table. This was were we ate meals, drew pictures, had fights, mixed cake batter, did homework. I remember using pencils and knives to lift out bits of gunk that had receded into the table's deep grooves. Its surface was never smooth, even or shiny. But it never looked stained or dirty, either, because any blemishes would simply become absorbed into the rich, textured patina.
This is the kitchen table I grew up with, shown here in my parents’ current home in the countryside of Australia. It is composed of just two thick planks of heavy pine. The knobs on the drawers are mahogany. My parents stripped a layer of linoleum that had been applied to the table top. The table legs had been painted so had to be stripped and oiled. My parents bought the table for just a pound at a thrift shop in rural England in the 1960s, at a time when the locals were upgrading to Formica and chrome and ancient pine furniture was being chucked out left and right. For another pound they snagged a set of 6 old English Windsor chairs that are now valued at a about $450 each.
Rustic farm tables, especially those with reclaimed or salvaged wood, have been popular for a while now, their popularity reaching its apex during the last few years. But trendy or not, I will always love them. If you are not a fan of the shabby chic aesthetic, pair your farm table with modern chairs or in an otherwise modern, sleek dining room. Farm tables can also be dressed up to look quite elegant and formal in more traditional settings. But what really makes these tables so appealing is their easy maintenance. No coasters. No stress. These are tables you can really live with.
Images: As linked above