The first dining table we bought was a round one. It had four rickety chairs and was bright glossy red. I found it in the trading post and drove to Bachhus March to pick it up in my chocolate brown HK station wagon. It cost us $25. We were so pleased to have it and after a couple of coats of white paint it even looked the part. Over the next 30 years, there were six more dining tables, chosen to suit the stage of life and style of home, including a white glass one in the apartment we rented on the Sunshine Coast.
Few items of furniture are as formative as a dining table, so we took our search for the one that would occupy this dining nook pretty seriously. The chestnut wood is polished smooth on the top, but the edges retain a rough and uneven finish - a nice bit of rustic luxury design. We chose low-back chairs to keep the space open. Soft pads on the bottom of the legs mean they slide quietly and easily on the polished floorboards and the grey fabric is just the right mix of comfort and everyday functionality. Although it is designed for eight, ten is pretty comfortable.
But what really makes the space is not so much the furniture as the nook itself. Externally it is annexed by a deck, and the dominance of clear glass invites the outside in. In the warmer months we sometimes open the doors to feel the breeze and hear the evening sounds of the town while we eat. The relaxed curve of the hammock, the rambling shapes and colours of the veggie garden and the clean lines of the fences and garden beds are close and therefore attract-ive so draw people from the living area to the table... the trees of the village park provide the backdrop.
Looking the other way, the open kitchen and lounge area make up the integrated communal areas. On the wall at the end is the only original painting we've ever bought. We spotted it at a market stall in Port Macquarie and arranged to pick it up from artist Lynne Bickhoff's home studio later in our yurting excursion. We bought it to hang behind the sofa in Brunswick and it later hung in my CityPoint apartment as a reminder of the continuity of life. We think it fits beautifully in its new home.
It is fitting that I am writing this on Easter Sunday. We've missed Rachel who is on the Overland Track and Alex who is at home recovering between shifts on a busy start to the AFL season, but the rest of our mob and a friend or two, have spent many hours this weekend eating seafood, cooked breakfasts, drinking tea, and of course eating chocolate and easter buns, around this table. It is the place we gravitate to to mix those two critical dimensions of life; communication and food.