There's just something that feels quintessentially "summer" about outdoor porch dining.
Even back as far as when we were looking at second homes, the idea of having a large space for outdoor dining was really appealing to us. And when I first laid eyes on our home, I was immediately struck by the very large side porch and how perfect it would be for this classic summertime activity.
Our side porch space is quite large at almost 14 feet wide and over 40 feet long. To put it in perspective, that's nearly the footprint of our entire row house.
For nearly two years (since I first saw the wrap around porch in our home's listing photos), I've been dreaming of how we could pull this space together, creating an outdoor dining area that could accommodate large numbers of friends and family, fit the character of the home, and be conveniently located near the kitchen.
From the very start Alex and I agreed that we wanted a long, farmhouse style table for the space, and began casually talking about building one ourselves. Alex began casually looking for large reclaimed floor joists and other reclaimed lumber, but quickly realized how expensive materials would be for the project. So between a limited budget, limited time, and a limited focus while we put the house back together after last year's HVAC and plumbing replacement, it seemed that our reclaimed farmhouse table project would still be several summers away.
That is, until we stumbled upon this table.
Do you see it there? It's sort of tough since it has at least two smaller tables, several wood boxes, and a whole ton of other stuff on it, but there's a table there, and we both spotted it right away.
We were paying a visit to one of our favorite local sources of antique and second hand items, The Old Lucketts Store, in Leesburg, Virgina. We've mentioned Lucketts and some of the things we've picked up there before, as it's in a great area of Virginia with several antique and home furnishing stores. This particular table, in all of it's glory, was sitting outside on the Lucketts porch, just waiting for us to see it.
Alex and I both saw it at the same time, and we immediately gravitated to it. At 10 feet long and a little under three feet wide, it had the roughly the dimensions we had been discussing for the table we wanted to build. I figured Alex would be hard to convince since he was really looking forward to building one himself, but he seemed to be quite interested as well. Color me shocked.
The thing that convinced Alex is the fact that the whole table's top was made from reclaimed lumber that was full of character. From the underside we could see that it was built in a similar way to how Alex wanted to build his distant DIY table.
Since this table was sitting on the porch of the store below all of those other items, the top was damaged in several places with scratches and missing finish. So even though we wouldn't be building a table from scratch, Alex will get his fill of DIY on it since we'll need to refinish and repair the top for outdoor use and we were able to save roughly 15% because of the damage.
A few days after we bought the table it arrived by delivery service and we excitedly placed it on the side porch.
We played around with the placement a little bit and decided on centering it under the porch's middle light. This means the table will be directly outside of the kitchen window, which will make it easy to pass food in and out of the house. We'll also be able to remove the center light and replace it with a ceiling fan, which should help keep it a little cooler in the heat of the summer.
Though the legs of the table are painted black right now, it's my plan to paint them white to match the house color. But that brings us to our next big question. We need to get a set of 10 chairs for the table, but I'm torn between colors, with two as the frontrunners.
I know the style of chair I'm looking for is a classic metal stackable bistro chairs, but I can't decide if I want the chairs to be white, antique bronze, or classic steel (with white and antique bronze as my top picks). I placed one of our new indoor dining room chairs by the table to establish the scale we'd need for the chairs, and this also made me think we should go for white.
But at the same time, a white house with white table legs and white chairs might just get too lost on the porch. Alex is pulling for something "not white" as he's worried it will be too boring. The antique bronze would pick up on the light fixtures on the porch as well as the door knobs we're slowly spraying throughout the house, and would also do a better job of hiding dirt. The steel would also be a nice choice, but may also not lend enough contrast. (And just a side note, we plan on bringing the chairs inside when we're not there as they're not made to withstand outdoor use.)
I'd love to hear what you think we should go with. Here are a look at the few options I'm considering.
At any rate, even though it was a little cold when the table arrived, we still christened our new outdoor dining table with the first of what we hope will be many wonderful meals shared on our great side porch overlooking the water.
I can't wait to turn this massive and largely empty space into an inviting outdoor dining area that we'll be able to fill with friends and family.
I'd love to hear your vote for chair color, and of course any ideas for menu ideas for the first meal with a large group. Is it wrong that I'm already contemplating homemade cupcake flavors?