AFTER 15 YEARS I FINALLY HAVE A “TULIP TABLE”.

I got a tulip table.

I could have started this post with any manner of clever sentences, stories or jokes but this is what’s know as an auspicious occasion and it deserves the reverence reserved for such times in history.  You’ll notice I didn’t even include an exclamation point at the end of my first sentence which obviously would have cheapened it.

I.  Got. A. Tulip. Table.

Praise the baby Buddha.

From the outside, the past 15 years of my life have looked fulfilling and happy, albeit with a few planet-sized bumps along the way, but the truth is even though everything looked great I’ve been walking around with a ragged, empty spot in my soul.   I had everything anyone could ever want, other than a tulip table.

Most people would argue that “things”, material goods, can’t make you happy and certainly can’t feed your soul, and that’s TRUE, unless it’s something you really, really, really want and has been featured on the runaway hit Mad Men.

 

So why has it taken me 15 years to get a tulip table?  Well.  There are a few reasons for that including a shortage of either cash or space.

The Tulip Table is an iconic Midcentury Modern piece.  It was designed by Finnish born, Michigan raised, Eero Saarinen in 1956 for Knoll furniture.  5 years later, Saarinen would die at the age of 51 during an operation for a brain tumour.  His designs live on and are still being produced by Knoll exactly the same way in exactly the same proportions as Saarinen designed them 61 years ago.

Good design costs money.  Good materials cost money.  THAT is why a genuine marble topped tulip table from Knoll costs $3,000 U.S. (apx. $4,000 Canadian)

I did not get a genuine tulip table from Knoll.  I got a knock off.  But even knock offs are $2,000 for a 42′, marble topped “Tulip Table” which I didn’t want to pay if I didn’t have to.

I originally wanted the table for my kitchen after borrowing my niece’s tulip table for a photo shoot of my house with Style at Home magazine.  I didn’t find one for the price I wanted and time passed until I eventually redid my kitchen with the help of designer Carol Reed’s e-design service and there was no room for any table at all.

But last November I redid my foyer and dining room and that resulted in 2 things; a) a fleeting romantic delusion about living in a condo, giving up doing stuff and instead spending my nights relaxing and posing my cats in famous scenes from the show FRIENDS  ( “Turkey on the head” is first on the list) and b) acquiring enough room and the right spot for a tulip table.

4 months ago my mother spotted a tulip table at Homesense (Homegoods) for $1,100.  Too much.  I didn’t want to pay it.  My soul would have to survive all ragged and empty.

Just before Christmas I saw the same table, still at Homesense on sale for $900.  Getting closer but it was Christmas and my pockets held only lint.  Plus at 48″ across the table was too big.  I could technically fit it in my front hall but it would actually be too large for the space.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when I got a frantic phone call from Betty.  The table was now stuck at the back of the store with a glorious, red clearance sticker on it.  $349.  For my marble topped tulip table.

I ran up there right away, I mean I can only be expected to have so much self control, and took a look. It had a bit of a ding on its base and the top had more than a few scratches.  PERFECT.  NOW I WOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SCRATCHING IT MYSELF BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY SCRATCHED!

There was still the issue of size though.  Then it dawned on me that I could take the marble top to a marble place and have them cut it down to a better size for me.  I wanted to take the top from 48″ to 42″ in diameter.

I made 6 phone calls and NO one would cut the top down for me. No one.   Marble is soft and easily broken.  Therefore most natural stone companies don’t want to bother with what is both a small job and one that could end up costing them a lot of money if they ended up breaking the tabletop.

Finally on my 7th phone call I had success with a small natural stone store local to me. My new best friend Madison from  Take Us For Granite was my saviour.  Yes indeed, they would cut the marble down to size for me.  That’s often the difference between a huge company and a small family owned store. The family owned operations are usually more likely to do the small jobs that bigger companies won’t bother with.

 

After meeting my mother up at Homesense and laying down the $350 for the table, we whisked it up to the guys at Take Us for Granite (my new favourite people in the world) where the son hauled it out of my mother’s CRV and brought it into his father to get a price on cutting it down, and a timeline for how long it would take.

$400 and 7 days.

Just to be smart I asked how much it would cost to just buy a 42″ piece of round Carrera marble.  It would be $900, so cutting my piece down was definitely the way to go.

They duplicated the bullnose edge perfectly.  You would never guess in a million years that this table top had ever been any other size.

The table top hadn’t been affixed to the table properly to begin with so before I left Take Us for Granite they even gave me a tube of their construction grade silicone to re-adhere the top to the base when I got home.

I was so happy and after 6 other phone calls, so SURPRISED that Take Us for Granite would actually do the job for me and do it right away that I promised I’d tell the world about them and how great I think they are.  Just like KellyAnne Conway did for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, only more legal.

So if you’re in my general area and you need anything marble fixed or replaced or are looking for stone countertops or anything else granite/marble/Corian etc. related … tell ’em Karen sent you.

Take Us for Granite, Take Us for Granite, Take Us for Granite.

O.K.  That’s all.  Sorry …  I forgot to mention that Sam, the son, isn’t shy about randomly whipping off his jacket to show you his flexed muscles if you want while you’re up there, so there’s that if you’re into that sort of thing.

Now that I had my Tulip Table I could start decorating my foyer for real. I got it temporarily decorated a couple of months ago by way of putting the buffet in there.

But having the Tulip Table meant I could finally pull out these Midcentury Modern lamps that I’ve been storing in my basement for the past 15 years waiting for a time when I’d actually be able to incorporate them into my decorating.

That time has come.

Some of you like these lamps and some of you hate them.  I get that.  They’re not for everyone.  Only for those of you with exceptionally good taste.  Just kidding.  No I’m not.

My favourite thing about them is how they turn on and off.  You slide the wood dowel in the centre of the lamp down and it pulls the brass chain that switches the light on or off.

 

I also wanted the room to feel less sophisticated than it was leaning towards with a white lacquer buffet, huge antique crystal chandelier and marble table.  Soooo I added in as many natural and rustic elements as possible.

I kept my original stump table in the room.  Added the lamps which although are Midcentury and sleek are also wood toned with grounding black shades.  Displaying some oversized twigs, a really rustic wood bowl (with Ramones drum sticks in it), worn wood candlesticks and a vintage cow print I got the feeling I was hoping for.  To bring a bit of colour over onto the buffet to pick up on the ferns on the table I added a multicoloured crayon too.  You can see it the best a few photos up.

I still have a bit of layering to do and new wood shutters (hopefully) to make for the windows but the room is getting closer to what I envisioned.  The one last thing I’d like to add in is a reading chair.  My initial want was a copycat Eames lounger (more on that in Friday’s post), but with already having the Midcentury lamps and the table, I’d probably rather go with something like a men’s club chair.  Something leather, worn and cracked in black or a caramel colour.

I found the lamps for $20 (if I remember correctly) at a flea market.  I’ve seen them online for upwards of $700.

The shades are shades I found on some Ikea lamps I had in the basement and are probably  temporary, buy for now they work.

So the table I’ve wanted for the past 15 years ended up costing $750 in the end.  Not dirt cheap but buying it this way had 2 benefits.  First of all, even at $750 the table was half the price of the cheapest knock off.  And since I’ve wanted and adored it for 15 years I know it isn’t a whim. It isn’t something I’m going to get sick of in a few years.

Second of all, even if I COULD have found a tulip table on-line for the same price, this solution had a very important benefit.  I had seen the table in person.  Every piece of marble is different with its own personality.  If I’d ordered the table online I wouldn’t know what I was getting in terms of marble. I could have hated the pattern or colour variations in it.

One final thanks to Ross (the endearingly curmudgeonly owner), Sam (the flexing son) and Madison (the do everything gal) from  Take Us for Granite for helping me out.

So after 15 years of pining, whining and waiting I finally got my Tulip Table.

And I also got something else.

Unlike the table, I only had him for the day.  🙂

120 Comments

  1. Rosemary says:

    Wahoo! Worth the wait, congratulations.

  2. Laura Bee says:

    Looks fabulous – I actually saw a “tulip”table on Kijiji a little while ago & thought of you. Pretty sure it was IKEA though & far away.
    And my eyes went right to the lamps! I have some lamps stashed too. hope I can find a spot for them soon. It’s been a year so far…

  3. Brenda says:

    omg – – the little pup is so sitting Buddha for you — was that where you had the linen duvet table cloth laying in wait for something to bring you this tulip table?

  4. Amber says:

    “My favourite thing about them is how they turn on and off. ”

    I had to stop there, a bit confused. Wait, I thought, are there lamps that don’t do that? And aren’t broken? And then I kept reading and all was well.

  5. MrsChris SA says:

    At last!! It looks aweome!!
    Really happy for you.

  6. Tina says:

    OMG, I was enjoying the read until I go to the EXPLOSIVE ending! Who is the fuzzy little mister? If he yours? If not, can he be mine? Best part of the entire post and you left it to the gasping, groaning end.

    • Karen P says:

      I’m wondering myself if she has the dog as a trial, the same way she borrowed the tulip table from her knees…

      • Judy O says:

        I’m already considering what style dog bed would look best tucked right under that tulip table. Pretty sure it wouldn’t cost anywhere near $750 — even after adopting a pooch from the local rescue group. Just sayin’.

  7. Judy says:

    This is a perfect example of the saying, “It’s worth the wait.” You have exactly what you’ve been wanting for so long. The table looks fantastic, and I love how it beautifully displays your Buddha. I think you have a lot of talent when it comes to designing your home.

  8. Christy Weber says:

    Yay!! You beat the system and got what you longed for and it looks DIVINE. Worth the wait and what a smart deal. Now when I see a tulip table I will stop eyeing it for you. Lol. I immediately understood and related to your longing for one and it stayed with me all these years. Happy your vision for the space has materialized. It was worth the wait.

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    Yeah, yeah, the table’s nice and the lamps, too. Tell us about the DOG!

  10. Sherry in Alaska says:

    So – It’s great! That said, remember I told you when you did the reveal on this room that it didn’t look quite like you? This looks like you. Totally. And the lamps are just right. All that and great bargains too.
    Now the quest for the perfect aged cushy leather chair begins in earnest. I hope it doesn’t take another 15 years to find. I may not be here that long…..

  11. Margaret says:

    Congrats. I’m looking forward to what you will do with a 6″ (I think, too lazy to go back to check the math) wide large marble donut. You took the left overs right?!

  12. Sharon says:

    Those lamps are amazing. I wish I had room to keep things in storage for later. Currently have a coffee table I love but doesn’t go with the room and absolutely nowhere else to put it. No other room to style it in or outside space.

  13. Catt-in-Kentucky says:

    You’ve got style lady! That Table. Perfection and a great story. Patience and persistence paid off big time…. I had not seen your lamps! Those lamps are fabulous…artful, organic and what a great price. Everything looks so cool.

  14. KATHLEEN HARTZELL says:

    Stunning, sophisticated enough for your style yet leaves rom for the stump!! And the lamps are to DIE for.

    And I would love that pupster, too!!!

    I had a tulip table years ago and sold it do $100 at a garage sale (kick kick kick myself) when I was thinking I didn’t have room to store it. Damn damn double d.

  15. Maureen Locke says:

    Congrats on the tulip table. It looks awesome. Love the lamps and all the wooden accents. Really love the pop of colour with the crayon. Where on earth did you get that?? So cool. And little puppy is just darling. Hope he didn’t make any spots on that white carpet. Is that some kind of “skin”??

  16. Grammy says:

    The room is perfect now. Beautiful. Every time you show new pictures I’m reminded of what a huge improvement you made when you painted your woodwork white. All your lovely artsy artifacts look so good without the competition of the older dark wood on the walls. The tulip table is just exactly right, too.

  17. Shelly says:

    I’ve always wanted a tulip table but I’m holding out for a marble top one too. Can’t wait to hear the new pups name!

  18. Franniecanary says:

    This brings me joy.
    I love the lamps.
    And the doggie.
    But they will eventually pee pee on white rugs. Ask me how I know this.

  19. Carrie Badger-Wallen says:

    Just another reason I look forward to seeing what’s next with you Karen! I had no idea what a tulip table was!! Its beautiful and its almost like it was waiting for you to snatch it up. (Good lookin out mom:) Love the lamps too. You got style girl! Whish I could decorate like that but we have 4 cats that chew on damn near EVERYTHING!!!!!
    Keep doing what you’re doing! Besides great ideas, you are one hilarious chick!
    Now, let’s get back to this Sam………………😁😁

  20. Beth Lawton says:

    Don’t the kitties think that the multicolored crayon is theirs? We have adopted a whole new, spare decorating style now that we have a cat who prefers every single horizontal surface clear of any items, even those a lot bigger than he is. We call him “ThankYouKitty” so we don’t spend the days hollering “F@#$ You Kitty” – but he’s also totally deaf, so it doesn’t matter what you holler!

  21. Cynthia Jones says:

    If he was yours, he would be perfect for you.
    Compact, well-proportioned, alert, disciplined, bright-eyed, willing to pose, colour co-ordinated, quirky and willing to look a tad scruffy.
    Dogs are funny.
    I think you would enjoy one.

    • Karen says:

      That’s hilarious. I didn’t see the similarities between the dog and I until you pointed them out, lol. True. ~ karen!

  22. E Wilcox says:

    Congrats on the table and kudos to your mom too! Definitely not my style but good for you! Dog sitting? I am a big dog person, but that doggie is cute and pose-able too I see.
    Anyway, well done Karen!

  23. Anita says:

    I love that you fully support people/businesses that have helped you out or you believe in.

    The tulip table is lovely and so is the décor but the kind things you have said are even nicer- omg the yoga is getting to me- I am such a crunchie granola hipy freak.

  24. Susan Stanford says:

    I”m more excited about your new dog – what a great ending to the table story – can’t wait to hear all about your new addition! 🙂

  25. Linda J says:

    Cool lamps, cute dog.

  26. Melissa says:

    Congratulations!! Doesn’t it feel great to fulfill a life long dream? I love everything about your foyer…even the lamps.

  27. Betty says:

    Beautiful! My mom has a round marble table. Now I know what I am going to do with it. Love, love, love the whole ensemble!

  28. judy says:

    This is 99% perfect…I still don’t get the animal skin….not a Vegan although I Don’t like Meat but the entire skin of an animal on the floor gives me the creeps- on a chair is OK- just laying there on a floor looking like a little first aid would have it back grazing again makes me distinctly uneasy-what am I weird? That absolutely Yes …..was a little too quick guys. I love those Lamps-They scream “Ready for Lift off” to me. Very futuristic in any age. You are the most charming Genius I know that lives in a different Country-thousand of miles away,that I will never meet….but still I consider myself very fortunate to know you. Thanks!

    5T

  29. Leslie in Hampton says:

    Oh Karen I love the table and the lamps. The table is so special because you have waited so long for it and found it on sale but also because you customized it.

  30. Mary W says:

    Ramone’s drumsticks – love that you surround yourself with things you treasure. Usually ONLY things you treasure. It makes it so Karen and a real treat to visit even if only virtually. I guess I need to send you a new baby card – congrats!

  31. billy sharpstick says:

    Beautiful table!
    Sorry to dampen your elation, but the engineer in me has to make an observation. (Also we have more cats than I’ll admit to.) How much does the table weigh? What is the diameter of the base? How much does Buddha weigh? How much do your cats weigh? Do your cats ever jump up on things? Do your cats ever go on random inexplicable mad dashes around the house, bouncing off of walls and furniture? See where I’m going with this?
    (Although the fact that those lovely top heavy lamps are even still standing tells me that this may not be a problem in your home. )

    • Karen says:

      Hey Billy. You may be an engineer but you aren’t a furniture designer, lol. Don’t worry. The original designer was not not only a furniture designer, but a sculptor and an architect. It won’t topple over. The proportions are accurate and the base is weighted. ~ karen!

  32. Jody says:

    Love love the lamps. I covet them. Love the table. And the stars are aligned. I have an old Singer treadle base and want a marble top for it. Take Us for Granite will be the place.

  33. Carrie says:

    Love it! I, like you, had been fixated on the tulip table for a long time and finally welcomed mine into my home a year ago. I needed a 36″ table top and managed to find one online at Office Chairs Canada through Amazon Marketplace for $900 AND free shipping!! It really stands as a piece of art in the eating nook of my kitchen that is about to undergo a remodel around it!

  34. NinaMargo says:

    Great column, Karen. Love it. Hope you keep the pup. I see you evolving from a cat person into a dog person somehow, at least this type of dog, not a Great Pyrenees type of dog person…

    About the lamp shades, I’m glad the IKEA black ones are temporary. Somehow they seem not quite true to your eclectic decorating style. Not sure what would be. You always find the perfect solution! Can’t wait to see what you find!

    • NinaMargo says:

      Replying to myself. I truly love the lamps themselves. Fighting down waves of bright green envy….

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well the shades although temporary are very similar to what I would have on the lamps. Plain, black. 🙂 ~ karen

  35. ronda says:

    Fabulous tulip table! And thanks for the link! I have a need for a smallish piece of marble or granite to cover the top of my TV table and didn’t know if it would be big enough for anyone to be bothered to cut.
    The dog is a cutie … he compliments your decor!

  36. Karin in NC says:

    Love the entire space. Especially those lamps. Now I have a hole in MY heart. Must have them. I don’t have 15 years, though. 🙁

  37. Edith says:

    Hi Karen – so happy for you! I know what it’s like to finallly get something after waiting for it for years. Your table is beautiful and timeless and it brightens up your foyer so nicely.

  38. jaine kunst says:

    You were talking about a table and all I could see were the lamps, those ugly but beautiful somehow, lamps. The table is good and I’m glad you found it but those lamps really make the room. Well done, Karen as always!

  39. Carolyn says:

    Congrats…. LOVE the lamps!

  40. Teri says:

    You’re the one! With the patience of Job. I’ve been hearing about you my whole life. I confess I had never heard of tulip tables, real or knock-off, but it is a might fine item. Congratulations on using your usual ‘can do’ approach to getting what you needed.
    By the way, there has been a terrible mistake – what are you doing with my dog in your foyer? I’m sure he was meant to be mine…

    • Karen says:

      🙂 I’m afraid he’s not meant to be either of ours. I was dogsitting for a friend who has since stolen their dog back. ~ karen!

  41. marilyn meagher says:

    Love the table. But those lamps are drool worthy

  42. AmyL says:

    I’m on team love the lamps.

    In fact, they had something to tell to me. They said, quite loudly: “Yeah, the original shades were WAY to kitchy, but these shade aren’t quite right either; they’re a bit too traditional. What we need is a drum shade — same diameter top to bottom — that starts 2″ above the metal crossbar, and ends exactly at the top of the flared out nubbin. And the material needs to be a natural colored (and lighter than the wood) rough fabric, like burlap or slubbed silk. That would be the very best way to show off our elegant vertical lines, beautiful wood crown, and sassy brassy undercarriage.”

    Honestly, that’s what the lamps told me.

    • Karen says:

      My lamps are very pushy sometimes. 😉 The shades definitely need to be black for the space, although natural would be nice on them somewhere else. And my initial hope was a drum shade, but the interior of the lamp arms is actually slanted with funny little nubs which means for a drum shade to fit in them it would have to be very skinny. Weirdly skinny. My search continues … ~ karen!

      • AmyL says:

        Oh I forgot. The lamps also told me: “Karen needs to add lampshade construction to her already formidible skillset.”

        Boy, you weren’t kidding that those lamps are pushy!

  43. Maryanne says:

    Congrats on the tulip table! It’s nice to see that story work out in the end.

    1) The lamps are awesome!
    2) Typo alert: “…and are probably temporary, buy(?) for now they work.”
    3) Excellent post! Although a picture of the flexing Sam wouldn’t have been amiss either – lol

  44. Jenny says:

    Congrats on finally achieving the table of your dreams!
    I personally dig the lamps and their Eye of Sauron aesthetic, though my husband would probably rather die than have those in our house (he obviously doesn’t have good taste). A club chair sounds like a great plan, plus they’re sooo comfy. I love the look of old leather club chairs–they just beg to be sat in while reading on a rainy day.

    Adorable puppy–too bad he’s just a loaner! ^_^

  45. Elissa says:

    I love everything about this room! Amazing table find and the lamps are so cool!
    Long wait with a happy ending, enjoy…

  46. Cheryl says:

    The table’s not my thing, but I do love those lamps.

    NOW I WOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SCRATCHING IT MYSELF BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY SCRATCHED!

    Ha, I thought I was the only one. I pretty much only buy older furniture for two reasons: it’s better quality and I don’t have to be paranoid about putting that first scuff on it.

  47. Amy Ping says:

    Congrats!!! What a find and a great story too! I’ve worked in the furniture biz and I’m not a fan of modern, but, I Love those Lamps!!! Yea!!!

  48. Tammy says:

    I like your tulip table but LOVE the lamps! I think they are the grooviest lamps I have ever seen and would pee my pants if I saw them in a flea market for $20! Way to go on the table and lamps!

  49. BamaCarol says:

    Beautiful! That is all.

  50. Mary R. says:

    Just stunning!! As an accounting gal, you did it the right way – you saved $4.17 per month for 15 years – totally do-able, and something I would do!
    Congrats on your design, on your home, and on your wonderful, and informative blog, and oh yes, your new addition – does he/she have a name yet?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Good to know I have the approval of an accountant. That might change if I told you how much I spend in potato chips a month. I was just doggie sitting for a few days for a friend. Alas, he’s gone now. Which is good. Dogs are expensive! ~ karen!

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