We have been hunting for a new dining table for, ooh… about 1,000 years now, ever since I sold the old one on Ebay on grounds of having always hated the thing. Anyway, replacing it turned out to be harder than I’d anticipated, because dining tables cost a ton of money, are frequently hideous and did I mention the cost? Since we’re trying to maximise space, we specifically wanted a square or rectangular one that extends, which we could shove discreetly against the wall when we’re not having people over.
I’d searched everywhere, from Kempton Park antiques market (the biggest bi-monthly market in the country, and brilliant if you can be arsed to get up at 5am to get there) to your Habitats/Heal’s to obscure websites like this one. Then I saw Pearl Lowe boasting about her new Somerset home in Grazia. I like her flea-market style and she mentioned having bought furniture at places like 88 Golborne Road, which made me think, ‘Ah! Golborne Road!’
Because, having not been there for ages, I’d quite forgotten it was chock-full of antiques/junk shops. It’s off my usual patch – the truth being that we tend to be a bit ‘grrr’ about West London. Partly because it’s full of tossers, and partly because we have ginormous chips on our shoulders, the East having been traditionally seen as the inferior side of town. The shop she mentioned was closed, but there were plenty of others to check out, Les Couilles du Chien being the best-known. But my favourite was Phoenix on Golborne, which stocks antiques, along with pretty vintage, painted and shabby-chic furniture. It’s straight out of the Harry Enfield sketch I Saw You Coming, which made me reluctant to pay £430 for this scrub-top pine table, even though it’s lovely:
We ummed and ahhed and took a walk up the road to decide, whereupon we stumbled on this table, lurking on the market.
Not as pretty as the other one, perhaps, but only £60! Which is a big fat improvement on £430 (which would actually come closer to £500, once you factor in paint, delivery charges, etc.) We decided to paint the legs, because wooden table + wooden floor = neverending expanse of brown. Some people (my mother-in-law, my best friend) see painting old things as sacrilegious, a crime akin to adding ionic columns and a hot tub to the Pyramids. But I think it looks nice:
We used Annie Sloan chalk paint, a brand I hadn’t heard of before (which we bought at Phoenix on Golborne – the woman in there suggested painting the scrub-top table in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey, so we basically stole her idea and used it on the cheap table, which I felt terrible about because she was so nice, but 400 quid is 400 quid). The initial effect was a bit, well, chalky, so we gave it a coat of Liberon liquid furniture wax. And, lo, this is the result. We may coat the top with Nitromors to get rid of the varnish, but that may equally be another job we never get round to.