Whining and Dining: My Goldilocks Table Syndrome, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Craigslist

It all started with a table: The West Elm Carroll 88″ Farm Table

West Elm

Perfect in my mind, it was much roomier than our current 60-inches-with-a-leaf table with a creaky leg. We could have dinner parties and game nights, with up to 8 people lovingly crowded around its dark stained, rustic-yet-modern form.

And then we visited the house again, and did some measuring, and came to the conclusion that the table might be too large.

My friend Michelle said, buy the table you love! You’ll work around it.

But in my heart, I knew that the No. 1 most frustrating thing about our current dining room/kitchen setup was how difficult it is to dine in there, squished against the walls and all.

I even started polling my friends, in the hopes that somebody would tell me, buy the table you love! You’ll work around it.

But nobody (other than Michelle) did.

So I searched far and wide. Unfortunately, the other Carroll option was 66″ — which we decided was a smidge too small.

Do you know how difficult it is to find a dining room table in my rustic-champagne taste on a craft-beer-yet-beer-nonetheless budget?

There was the West Elm Industrial Table, which has the benefit of being that middle area width of 72″, yet the downside of costing about 200 smackers more than the Carroll. Plus, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the metal leg/wooden tabletop in the long run.

There was the Napa from World Market — a source I hadn’t really considered previously, but one that yielded lots of nifty options. The price was right, and it got great reviews, and I do like me some acacia. This one was a front-runner for sure.

Then we’ve got the Parsons Teak Top table from Crate & Barrel — oh, C&B, the keeper of my much-neglected wedding registry. How fair thee art. And how pricey — yowza!

And finally, for something a little different, the Pottery Barn Toscana fixed width 70″ table. Mmm, Pottery Barn. Totally insane prices, totally insane pieces.

In a fit of whimsy, late yesterday afternoon I decided to post my quandary on Facebook and see if anybody knew of a handy person who might be able to custom-make a table for us. For one, it just might cost a little less, especially when you factor shipping and handling, which often added $200 to $300 onto the price of a table. Plus it would do that whole “supporting local artisans” thing. It was worth a shot, right?

That’s when an out-of-town Facebook friend took it upon herself to do a quick search on Craigslist in my area for “farmhouse table” and uncovered this dude:

I don’t know, man. Some dude who made himself a table, and who’s going to be totally on time and conscientious with making ours? While we sit around twiddling our thumbs wondering what else we could find?

But I emailed him. And he got right back to me. And we went over to his house to take a look at his sample table (aka his dining room table). And it’s even more amazing and beautiful and wonderful in person. And sturdy. And it’s $400 for whatever size we want. And he can have it done in a week.

And he has a couple of really cute dogs. Just sayin’.

So there we have it: Our journey from “NEEDING THAT TOO-BIG TABLE” to, “Not being able to find what we really want,” to, “We’re not at all handy but this really nice guy is going to make us a totally cool and unique table for a fraction of what stupid Pottery Barn wants.”

Next up: Dining room chairs.

Did you have Goldilocks syndrome with other major pieces in your house — too big, too little, just not right?


4 thoughts on “Whining and Dining: My Goldilocks Table Syndrome, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Craigslist

  1. Allie says:

    Oooh can’t wait to see how your table turns out! Those pictures of his are pretty awesome.

  2. […] we eagerly await the completion of our custom-made farmhouse dining room table, my next obsession is the chairs that surround it. I love a good juxtaposition — and […]

  3. khu says:

    Hi! I’m also looking to find a handy man who can build me an affordable farmhouse table. 400 sounds too good to be true. Are you able to give me his contact?

  4. […] back when, I regaled you with tales of finding our dream dining room table — custom made, from a dude on Craigslist, for just $400. Then, I never even followed up. […]

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