Monday, February 25, 2008


I can't explain it. There's no rational logic behind it. It's silly and a time waster. But I just.can't.stop! What is it, you ask? Something important? Something ultimately productive? Oh no no no. It's craigslist. I'm addicted and I just can't stop browsing

Specifically, I'm scouring the listings in my area for dining room furniture. Silly, right? But I can't help myself. I've always loved dining rooms. I think it goes back to my parents dining room - I loved it. It was formal and pretty and special. It represented occasions. Holidays. Good times. Events involving gifts, usually. I always told my mom I wanted her dining room when she died (nice, huh?). Well, my love affair with the dining room continues to this day.
I have a "formal" dining room in my house. It's a small-ish space that can't accommodate a large table and hutch. Which is good, really, when you think about it, because a formal dining room simply isn't used very often. At least not in our house - we have a more "casual" eating space off the kitchen we use for daily meals. At yet, my longing for a nice, formal dining room persists. That's where craigslist comes into play. I check the listing for "used" dining room furniture to see if I can find something that would fit my space, appeal to me personally, and not cost much. There is a definite disconnect between what I like and what I can afford. And I'm finding that the dining room styles I'm initially drawn to aren't the ones that would work well in my space.

Back before kids, Mr. Chick and I found a china hutch at an estate sale. They were asking something like $500 for it but it was late in the day on the first day of the sale. All items were being reduced 50% the next day. So we put in a bid/offer on the hutch for $300 - just slightly more than the 50% off price to increase our chances of getting the hutch. It worked - we got it. I really wanted something to put our fine china and crystal in, so this was a good thing for us to get (see, the china, silver and crystal go hand-in-hand with my love of dining rooms. I love all that stuff!) The hutch we bought wasn't "fussy" - it was an oak buffet/hutch - 2 piece unit - with leaded glass doors. It can hold a lot of stuff! I don't love oak, but our house at the time had a lot of oak accents, so it worked. It was supposed to be a "placeholder" until we eventually got a complete dining room set.

Fast-forward nearly 10 years. We've moved a couple of times, had a couple of kids, but still have that hutch. And it "works" in this house we have now because, like before, it has a lot of "honey oak" accents (all kitchen cabinets, moldings, doors, etc.) It's the perfect size for our dining room. And the style is about right, too, because our house has a more contemporary feel than traditional, and that hutch isn't a formal, traditional style hutch. BUT, when I look at dining room furniture I'm drawn to the more traditional styles. Queen Anne, Duncan Phyfe, cherry wood, etc. What we should get in the long run, if I'm being practical, is an oak table and chair set to match the hutch and the style of the home (late-70's / early 80's contemporary with vaulted ceilings and sunken living rooms). But finding something like THAT is harder to do than you might think. Most of the oak tables are round/oval claw foot styles. That isn't what I want - I don't want antique like that. Or, the oak tables are cheesy with castered, rolling upholstered chairs. High on ick factor. I like a cleaner, timeless look. Chairs and tables without a lot of unnecessary embellishments and carvings and such. I'm not wild about rush seats or caned backs. I like the lighter wood tables, which are easier to find, but fear they wouldn't match up well with the medium golden oak of the hutch. And I want at least 6 chairs, not 4. 8 would be great, but I don't have the space for 8. But I'd like a leaf or two for the table so we could expand it when we entertain at the holidays. See? A conundrum. And so I look - everyday - obsessively. Which is just so damn SILLY of me because it's the LAST thing I should be spending money on. Even just a few hundred dollars. We should be saving it, or investing it, or ear-marking it for a 10-year anniversary getaway. Anything but a frivolous dining room set. But I.can't.stop.looking!! I seriously need help.

Does anyone else find themselves coveting something very unnecessary but can't stop despite their better judgment? Is it just me?

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