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.  ðŸ™‚

123 Comments

  1. Hope says:

    Hello! Came across your article as we are also FINALLY piecing together a tulip table. We have a base and I am ordering a quartz top. I think I’ve settled on a bullnose edge (thank you!), but can you tell me how thick is your table top?

  2. Miljcca says:

    I’m looking for a cool gift for my brothers housewarming party. He’s into like techy stuff and gadgets. We had this huge old school

    projector with slides (if anyone remembers those) when we were kids, so thought this would be pretty awesome and remind him of that

    (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/starsailor-live-brings-the-skies-into-your-bedroom-technology#/), but i’ve never bought anything

    from indiegogo, is it reliable and do you think it’s appropriate to give since they’ll have to wait to receive it? Anyone see

    something like this before?

  3. Kellie says:

    I deeply admire that you are willing to wait and for the right price too. There aren’t many folks like that anymore.
    I am sure that the Elmer Keene has a special place in your heart. If you find yourself short of cash for something else you’ve been waiting 15 years for please let me know. My husband has 5 of them and would probably fart his head right off if another ever came his way. He is a go the distance kind of guy so you never know what the next 15 year may bring. Just sayin’

  4. Marti who also has Mid-Century Modern says:

    Thank heavens he left with the flexing son (guessing there). Imagine if he’d pee’d on that cowhide? Then you and I both would be crying… it’s such a lovely scene-setter. 🙂

    Congrats on the new table. What do the original shades on those lamps look like?

    • Karen says:

      You know what? If I had a party and everyone brought a dog and every dog, and their owner, peed on that carpet, I don’t think it would even matter. NOTHING penetrates that cowhide. It is the best carpet EVER. If you click on the link in the post you can see the shades that came w/ the lamp but those weren’t original. Original shades are a long cylinder shade on the inside and more of a drum shade sort of, on the outside. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        That is so interesting. I’ve always assumed those cowhides were sorta delicate. Every time I see yours, I am always a tiny bit drooly in the mouth. Mmmmm!

  5. Alena says:

    Congrats on the excellent deal and everything.
    I am not much into MCM but I do like some pieces, like the tulip table and the Eames chair.
    I decided, last year, after looking at a gazillion images of Scandinavian interiors, that I want the tulip table, too.
    I had a nice round MCM table (in need of a refinish but that’s the easy part) but it is 48″, too (do you start to see the similarity?). I decided that a smaller version would be perfect for my dining room and I set my eyes on the Docksta table. I believe it was over $300 if I remember correctly which I though was too much. I started to surf Craigslist and Kijiji but the Dockstas sell like hot cakes. Finally found in London but the owner wanted $150 and warned me that she is not going down with the price as she had already reduced it once. I still didn’t like it much but I wanted it badly enough that I said OK. It was Thursday night and we agreed that I would come get it on Saturday.
    Friday morning, as soon as I got to work, something was telling me to check Craigslist or Kijiji again. There was a new listing, that had to be posted shortly before midnight. Somebody in downtown Toronto wanted to let his go for $50. I emailed him immediately sending my cell phone # and offering $70. Two minutes later my phone rang and it was him. He was moving abroad and selling everything; he said he doesn’t bother responding to replies without phone number because he believes that’s a waste of time. At 8:30 pm that night the table became mine (dude conveniently lived on Carlton).
    The top was scratched (he told me about it in the morning, when we talked). I fixed that in a couple of days. I love it even though it’s only Ikea but it’s perfect fit for my dining room.
    I haven’t decided yet if I should do a marble imitation on top or leave it white (as it is now).
    Your deal beats mine by 500% but that’s ok.

    I don’t know if your HomeSense has better stuff, I lately find it very difficult to spot anything of a value. Sometimes I like a rug I see there but none of those I liked came in 9X12.
    I do like your cow hide, I have two but never found one in your colour (that was not $700).
    I got mine on eBay, both quite large and for under $200 (long time ago).

    • Karen says:

      I just got my rug at Ikea Alena. Nowhere special. 🙂 (not that Ikea isn’t special) If you keep checking there you can find the very light ones. ~ karen!

      • alena says:

        Thanks. I always look at them when I am in Burlington’s Ikea but never ever did I see one that was not brown or black (not every the spotty ones). But perhaps it’s better left that way – I have two and nowhere to put a third one unless somebody build me an extension wing. 🙂

  6. Catherine Van beek says:

    Really pretty, I love “furniture stories”! An added bonus, a great shout out for a hardworking local business..

  7. Polly Krize says:

    Love the table! Congratulations on finally fulfilling one of your wishes…Have to say, though, I am not fond of the carpet(?) you have under it…at first glance I thought it was a painter’s drop cloth…

  8. leila says:

    I would remove the shades from the lamps and add some low wattage edison bulbs. They come in such great shapes and give off such a warm glow. Or perhaps a silver or gold topped light bulb. The shades really take away from the clean design IMO.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well that’s an interesting way to look at the lamps. But in truth they’re supposed to have not one, but TWO shades. One interior and one exterior. So having no shades isn’t the way they were intended to be displayed. I get what you’re saying, but I think I’m gonna definitely go with having shades on them. Also, I’m not a fan of bare bulbs. I don’t even like it on a chandelier because there’s nothing to diffuse the light. ~ karen!

  9. Robbie says:

    Brown matchstick shades with cream linen drapes would look great on the window.

  10. Jan Hekhuis says:

    It really is all pulled together now. The table fits right there beautifully, but the lamps take front stage for me, and yes, black shades do it. It will be interesting to see what shades you end up with, although I think these work really well. That little pop of blue in the print catches my eye too.
    Too bad the dog is gone.

  11. Birgit says:

    Did you keep the dog 😍??? If not … that was a mistake Karen. Also – nice table. Glad you finally made it. 🙋🏼

  12. Stephanie says:

    Congrats Karen. MCM isn’t my favourite, but I really like the lamps too. I hope I find a need for the stone company and flexing Sam in the future.

  13. Lynne Burns says:

    Ohhhhhh…..those lamps…….

  14. Karin Sorensen says:

    my heart skipped a beat on the last sentence and picture. oh i was so hoping you got yerself a puppy. he’s so cute.
    i love your approach on “ha, it’s already scartched” i’m the same way, i like worn stuff, stuff with a history, stuff with character. books, clothes, furniture, men.
    pfff, the last one wassa joke.
    anyways, the room looks awesome, just great.
    patience is a virtue and DOES pay off.

    you’re awesome. no, i do you one better. you’re the shit and that’s it.

    Karin

  15. Jeanne Boardman says:

    OMG! Those lamps…..amazing.

  16. Sabina says:

    Awww, he’s adorable, too bad he was just a prop! I love mixing mid-century in with other design elements for a one-of-a-kind look. I scored a mid-century walnut credenza working an estate sale a couple years back and turned it into a media center. It solved a multitude of problems very discreetly without looking like it came unassembled in a box from China. I knew when I found the right piece I would know instantly and this was it! So yes Karen, I know exactly how you feel about this table! Looks great!

  17. Oh joy of joys! It looks awesomely awesome!! Grown up and sophisticated even! Well done!! I love the wait, it makes it all the more special. And the lamps…oh, the lamps…gimmee those lamps!!

    You did good kid, you did good.

  18. Robyn says:

    As you were going on about the table I was very distracted by the lamps. The table is great but the lamps are awesome! That is a good looking dog too. Please give him a kiss for me.

  19. Wendy says:

    I love the table. My mum had one in her office for years, and now she’s retired, so a friend has borrowed it until my mum downsizes her living quarters, which is when the black, veined marble tulip table will return to our lives in all it’s splendour.

    I feel sort of the same way about an Eames lounger. Black. It’s the lounge chair of my dreams, but I don’t really have the space (or time to lounge).

    Wendy

  20. Leisa says:

    Very happy for you – you’ll have it forever!

  21. Vicki says:

    Love the lamps!
    And was that a typo… or did you really say you were going to make wooden shutters for your window?

  22. Sally says:

    It’s BEA-U-TI-FUL!!!

  23. Heather S says:

    Oh yes- love the lamps personally!! Also love the whole space now. I do want the cute green plant!!!

  24. Heather S says:

    So glad for you!!! You finally got the table. It’s on our wishlist as well…. it might be awhile… too many problems with this old house…..
    Heather

  25. Gillian says:

    I love those lamps. Even before you told me how cool they are with their fancy turn on and off-ery.

    I can’t imagine that table any wider. It would have seemed entirely unstable. It is now perfect!

  26. Jamie says:

    Karen,
    Have you ever checked out movelineliquidators in Oakville? They resell old hotel furniture at great prices (over half my furniture – including two leather wing chairs from the King Edward Hotel – is from that spot. Maybe you can find your leather club chair there? I’m a huge fan of the place.

  27. Dan Stoudt says:

    To grow your own “oversized twigs”, plant a corkscrew willow. Or better yet snip someone else’s twigs and root them in water for planting. They grow fast and you should be able to take a new batch of cuttings yearly, plus have lots to share.

  28. Diane amick says:

    THOSE. LAMPS!!!

  29. Cred says:

    Loooove the tulip table! And love that you got an awesome deal. And love those lamps- they jumped out at me even though the tulip table is a showstopper.
    I’ve also been pining for one but don’t really have the room and definitely don’t have the budget (I’m not fond of the affordable IKEA version with the 2-pc base). Last yr I found a rectangular side table with a metal tulip style base at a flea market for $10. I plan to make it into a tulip side table which I will have space for. I want it to be actual Saarinen side table dimensions, so I googled the original tables- I didn’t know they also sell them in black; I am smitten and torn. I like the black and it would better suit my decor but white is iconic. So, there it sits in my garage awaiting my decision. I guess I have another 14yrs to decide which way to go.
    I love that your table was discounted but still not perfect so you waited. Then so deeply discounted you couldn’t say no but could make it perfect (fit perfectly). I really love your whole foyer- so beautifully put together and yes, the natural wood elements perfectly mesh to keep it from being too formal. Simply beautiful! (with an exclamation point)
    And I agree the black shades are best with your decor.

  30. Ella says:

    LOVE the crayon!

  31. janpartist says:

    Great score-congrats! I know how you feel. I’ve been wanting a button tufted leather chesterfield sofa for years. Still waiting.

  32. Kelli says:

    *slow clap* Well done, you! One of these tables has been on “my list” for years. I’d snap it up if I found one for that price too. But OH THE HUMANITY why did you have it whittled down??? I’d kill for a 48″ version! Sigh. But yes, it definitely goes great with the lamps.

    I literally gasped when i saw that doggie: OMGKARENGOTAPUPPEEEEEEE….oh. Nevermind. 🙂

  33. Jackie says:

    Your room looks great. I love it all.

  34. Tigersmom says:

    Congratulations! It’s proof and gives hope that good things come to those who wait.

  35. Flash says:

    A dog would make your awesome place look even better. Especially a rescued pittie.. bet you could find one in black and white.

  36. Thank you, thank you, thank you…..for having “lamps that you have stored in the basement…” I have 7 lamps that I’m currently “storing” much to the chagrin of my husband.
    Now I can say “Karen stores lamps in her basement too!!”
    Thank you!!!

  37. Amie Melnychuk says:

    I love the sound of the club chair and agree that a worn leather, caramel chair would be amazing.

  38. Connie Bridgham says:

    LOVE the story; LOVE the end results…
    Beautiful room.

  39. Jen says:

    I will admit fully, I didn’t even NOTICE the tulip table in that first pic. Those lamps stole the show. I love me a good tulip table, don’t get me wrong. My house is FULL of midcentury modern. But those lamps…….(sigh). LOVE! 🙂

  40. Patsy Lortie says:

    Love the table, and LOVE the lamps…. You have quite the eye for setting ‘scale’ including the pup. Love it all, and your little dog too Dorothy!!!
    All good things,…. who dig deeper and find what they want.
    Good for you Karen.

  41. Kathy says:

    Love marble and the table is awesome, yet I kept looking at a lamp, make that a pair of lamps. So glad you shined some light on those on the table’s special day. I made the, oh you lucky thing face, when you paid 20.00. That takes the cost of the table at least in half. Happy you. I have 2 oval oak plant hangers 2 ft. long with a oak plate at the base for the plant. They were stashed here and there waiting. Found a woodworker on ebay that made L shaped hangers with the corner rounded, which matched the curve of the plant hanger and just like that after 14 years I had plant hangers with ferns that make me happy.

  42. Claire Bear says:

    So beautiful and the, um, ballerina in me gives you extra credit for having a table in the middle of a room and not constantly walking into it surprised each and every time which is what I’d surely do.
    And yes, I join the shoutout from the crowd: Do-nut! Do-nut! Do-nut!
    Did you keep the trimmed off piece, is it an intact circle and if so, what are you going to do with it? (Somehow I suspect that if it survived as a ring, flexy son guy has adapted it into an overhead aid for doing squats.

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