The holidays are catching ground so don’t get caught off guard-save on new dining furniture now!
I know, it’s July. Why am I bringing up the holidays now? I questioned myself as I thought of what direction to go in for our Summer Dining Furniture Sale blog post. Just last week I went into Target to look for some outdoor patio decorations and the entire seasonal section was turned over to back to school supplies–nearly two months before school starts!
I’m about to out myself as an old-timer. When I was in Junior High most girls took a class called Home Economics. We learned cooking and sewing skills and actually got tested on the proper way to set a table. I have never forgotten the basics of casual dining place setting: Fork on the napkin to the left of the plate, knife and spoon to the right of the plate, with the knife closest and its blade facing the plate. A drinking glass would be above and to the right of the dinner plate. I admit I don’t often practice these skills. In our house we pretty much grab a handful of knives and forks and divvy them up at the table. I picture the Vermont Tavern Table as the perfect place for the family to gather and talk about their day.
If you want to invite a couple of friends to join you for dinner, you may want to kick it up a notch. That brings us to the informal place setting. In addition to the items found in casual dining place setting you may find a bread plate, an additional glass, a salad fork, and possibly a soup spoon. I think the Cherry Moon dining table would be the just the thing for a gathering of close friends.
For a more formal gathering, place setting can be much more involved. There are water and wine glasses and, for truly elegant dinner parties, enough silverware to ready a small army. These can include fish, dinner, salad, cake and cocktail forks, dinner and butter knives, teaspoon, soup and dessert spoons. Add to all of that a charger (a decorative plate slightly larger than a dinner plate), dinner, salad and bread plates and you’re going to need a lot of real estate to hold it all. My choice would be the Vermont-Made Shaker with a boat top. It just gives a vibe of elegance to me.
Place setting has become a bit of an art form. While there are “standard” placements for items, these days you can be much more creative. Add a favor for each guest, create your own napkin rings and place cards or learn napkin folding techniques. Add different levels of candles and some flowers, gourds, or other seasonal items to make an aesthetically pleasing centerpiece. Your table should be a reflection of your own style.
A thick, organic slab table handmade by Dan Mosheim of solid, claro walnut wood. The end grain and live edges are characteristics of the real thing.
Walnut furniture has been one of our best sellers this year, in spite of the fact that there is a 10-30% premium on the wood. Walnut wood is becoming rare (due to a disease called Thousand Cankers) so we are super careful about making sure ours is sustainably harvested from forests where re-planting is well managed.
We use a couple different types of American walnut wood for our furniture.
For thick, organic slab tables we often use claro walnut wood from huge old (up to 100 years) shade trees that have been taken down (usually from city streets) because of safety reasons. These slabs typically have beautiful, interesting character resulting from things like burls and branches.
For modern looking furniture, customers generally do not want "character wood" so we use younger walnut trees with straight grain patterns grown in managed forests in the mid-west (since walnut doesn't grow well in Vermont). This is the contemporary SoHo walnut 4 drawer chest, made by Copeland Furniture with solid, walnut wood.
Whether you're shopping for organic, walnut slab tables or Modern walnut furniture, it's important to verify that you are indeed getting real, solid walnut wood, as opposed to cheaper woods that have been stained dark to look like walnut. Be sure to ask your salesperson to confirm the wood type and its origin before you buy. Ask if the furniture has been made from solid walnut wood or walnut veneers.
Learn more about walnut wood and see photos of beautiful walnut furniture on our website. If you take the time to find real solid walnut furniture as opposed to what most stores call "walnut" you'll probably have that furniture for a lifetime. Enjoy it!