With most of the pieces in my new place coming together, the them of a retro place from the 70s is slowing but surely emerging from all the other scattered ideas and concepts.
And as a result, right now the main thing that is taking a whole load of time is my dining table. Apart from the lounge chair, this will be the piece de resistance… I am reluctant to part with a big wad of cash, and the Ikea Bjursta extendable table at $245, makes all the rest look expensive. So being so "cost conscious" doesn't really help at all.
It means you are getting the real deal based solely on looks and not form. However, as a friend mentioned, if you have got period pieces that cost quite a bit in the living room, using the Ikea does not seem to fit, and perhaps getting something you like and then enjoying it maybe be better?
Furthermore, I have plenty of experience with the Ikea Bjursta, since it is used at a friend's home for Bible Study every week and I can see that with 15 people sitting around it week in and week out, the wear and tear is evident. The laminate is fraying and the table is showing it's edge.
So the hunt for an alternative, begins…
Well first, there are replicas of famous pieces at much lower prices, which can be had from Lush Lush, Lorgans and an online website "Studio 1961". The price varies on them, and the designs are many…
So far the top hits are:
Hans Wegner Dining table
Calligaris Finland (nonextendable) table
Replicas for them can be had from 1300 upwards.
I also went to Grafunkt, a nice local company with some really nice tables, but they really cost a lot and I was a little embarrassed, with almost everything beyond what I wanted to pay, except for a small "Werk" table that resembled a study table instead of a propery dining one.
Calligaris from Italy makes extendable tables, but the trouble is price price and price. Most of them begin at $1700 and the cheaper ones seem flimsy. Some of them also don't go with the 50-70s décor anyway. So it's like I am trying to fit them into my home with a hefty price tag and yet, I may not enjoy them.
However one of them impressed me more:
The Calligaris Baron 130 extendable table in Walnut for $1698.
The version which is specially made for our "mickey mouse" houses in Singapore is a smaller 130cm version which extends to 190cm.
I got a nice deal on a walnut frame version with a dark coffee colored top made of glass – so it's 'girl friendly', since you can't look through the dark glass…
75cm H x 130-190cm W x 85cm D
So the price difference and the struggle over the vast difference between the Ikea table and the nicer, fancier ones got me ruminating for a long time…. And it was almost an obsession.
Why pay more?
It's just a table, one side of my head and some friends said.
After all the rest of the décor has been spent on stuff which makes the place look nice so a little more on this table won't hurt.
I finally decided to splurge on a nicer table after some tough days at work, and when those cases went really well, I decided to reward myself, especially since there was an extra allowance of $500.
So it was down to a Hans Wegner replica CH 327, but I still kept my eye out for the Calligaris ones, even though there was a 4-500$ difference.
What clinched it was the lunch I had at my friend's home, where I saw the Calligaris in action, and how nice it felt, the solidity of the structures and that it was truly useful in accommodating more guests when required. Plus the fact that there was a shipment arriving within days of my order helped, as ordering any of the others will mean a 1-2 month wait.
I was nevertheless very impressed with Studio 1961 and will try to get something from them.
When we shop, it's imperative that you get the proportions, and measurements right. For example, even though my hall was 3m wide, I found that a 150cm was pretty big already, as you need space for the chairs, for others to walk etc. A table which is too large will be disproportionate, and look overbearing.
The color tone, and scheme should also go with the rest of the chairs used and the living room theme too.
Finally a table needs to be durable. A simple push and shove test will suffice and if the table flexes to the left and right, that's not acceptable at all.
I actually wanted something bigger than the 130 cm version, but it was good that I went to my place and placed a paper of that size there.. Even though the room was close to 3m wide, actually you need space around it to walk around, and if the proportions are wrong, then it will look too overbearing, and with only one PH5 light on top, it is imperative to get the lighting correct too.
Plus, it exends to 190 cm when needed, which will fill up the entire dining area too.
I look forward to seeing how the lighting will be with the PH5, reflecting off dark glass top. Actually, the Baron 130 in walnut is created only for Singapore, all the other model can be bought worldwide, but if you Google for this combination, you wont find it. With only five pieces locally, I guess it's a limited edition then..