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?

Comments 25

Comments

Cathy
3/21/2016 at 12:08 PM

I personally prefer the white. I think you have enough contrast with the floor, table top and ceiling. I'm also quite sure you will be adding to the porch decor which can add color! Love your homes!

3/21/2016 at 12:23 PM

I think the white will look better. You can always use some thin chair cushions to add color. The house is coming along beautifully!

Wilma
3/21/2016 at 12:48 PM

I'm on team antique bronze. it'll hide the dirt/dust better, and i love contrast--so white table legs, wood top, metal antique bronze chairs. lovely. any chance to photoshop so you could get a better idea?

3/21/2016 at 12:54 PM

Wow, that porch just made my heart skip a beat!

I like the white chairs, personally, but the antiqued bronze are a pretty close second.

Hallie
3/21/2016 at 1:22 PM

I say paint the table legs the color of the ceiling and go for white chairs.

No matter what you decide, I look forward to seeing the results!

3/21/2016 at 2:14 PM

I love the table. I vote for antique bronze. It is my favorite right now. I think it will had some pizzazz to the plain white of the legs.

Claire
3/21/2016 at 2:25 PM

I'm on team white... think of all the color you'll get from place settings, the food, maybe a couple bottles of wine and a big pitcher of wildflowers?! Oh my, I'm very jealous.

Cheryl
3/21/2016 at 3:50 PM

I would be afraid of the table top appearing to float if the base is painted white to match the house. I know white is popular but sometimes contrasting colors make it easier to pick out details from a distance - and I imagine that the porches will often be viewed from the yard. For the same reason I would avoid white chairs - the antque bronze would be my choice.

Personally I like the current black table base but any strong color would work. Maybe something to coordinate with your exterior door color (I can't remember but I'm thinking it is a blue or blue-green). Or go lighter and match the porch ceiling (as Hallie mentioned) and go for a beachy vibe.

Glad you're over the worst of the HVAC and water pipe disaster. Thanks for sharing - it's fun to follow along with the thought process as well as see the lovely before & afters.

Gaidig
3/23/2016 at 10:13 PM

Agreed!

Kerrie
3/21/2016 at 4:26 PM

What a delicious problem to have. I personally like white with colourful cushions as per other comments. I think it will be lovely whatever choice, but I wonder about how you will use the chairs inside the house. Will the darker chairs match your interior colour scheme?

Erin
3/21/2016 at 5:23 PM

I think you should go for color! It is outside and summer, so to me it is an opportunity to have some fun with color. I'm thinking a shade darker than the blue on your ceiling for the table legs and lime green or a raspberry red for the chairs.

Stephanie
3/21/2016 at 6:13 PM

Have you thought about painting the table legs/chairs the same color as your door? The pale blue would be a slight contrast but not too much (we did this with our dark blue door/furniture and I love it, plus we could use an outdoor stain that allowed us to leave them out))

Carly
3/21/2016 at 6:25 PM

There's really no wrong combo for that amazing porch, but I completely agree with the other commenters who said to paint the table legs the color of the ceiling and get white chairs.

3/22/2016 at 6:31 PM

Oh my goodness, major porch envy!Alt smile
Love the table. I'm a fan of those tin/steel chairs -- they are such a nice contrast to the farm table.

franki
3/22/2016 at 7:23 PM

GO BRONZE or GO...MORE BRONZE!! That will be perfect with the lights, ceiling fan, etc. I even painted our front door "vintage metallic bronze"...I'll never go back!! Alt smile franki

Bea
3/22/2016 at 7:44 PM

White legs, bronze chairs, and lots of ceiling fans to keep the mosquitos at bay!! Loving your porch! What fun!

SH
3/22/2016 at 8:02 PM

I guess I'm a loner. I like the bronze chairs with the black legs and wood top--very earthy. And then bring in coastal colors with rug, cushions, dishware, placemats, artwork etc.

Steve
3/23/2016 at 12:23 AM

Oh, I love that table! I wish I could find a table like that for my kitchen. As far as chairs, any of the colors you are considering would be fine, but I think I would go with white. Boring? Maybe, but shouldn't a weekend getaway be just a little bit boring?

Celia
3/28/2016 at 9:23 PM

How exciting that you found a table and inaugurated it already!

I would say antique bronze for the chairs and maybe paint the table legs a different neutral color than white.

Mary
3/29/2016 at 11:23 AM

Those metal chairs are super cute, but if you have a visitor slighter wider than the rest, they are very uncomfortable. Something about the backs curving into the hips.

threadbndr
4/8/2016 at 1:13 PM

I vote for darker. I actually like the dark legs on the table. So I vote for the bronze first and the steel second with white as a last choice.

All white as a background for bright table linens/pillows, chair cushions would work, of course, but that's the 'safe' option, you know.

Speaking of seating. What I personally would do is a couple of benches for each side - either individual or two person, not the whole length of the table. The benches can move around the porch for all types of casual seating, with or without cushions. And they won't need to move inside.

Anne Timpano
5/19/2016 at 10:03 PM
Have you thought of repeating the blue of your porch ceiling? Will you plan a color scheme for all your deck furnishings or just let it evolve organically? I think all that white is calling for some color....
Kelly Wagner Amen
5/19/2016 at 10:03 PM
Fabulous! I vote blue (always blue). But white is my second choice.
Margaret Schleicher Bjorklund
5/19/2016 at 10:03 PM
Colors of nature
11/20/2016 at 5:53 AM

good post.

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