There are times when having a spare table comes in handy. How many times have you wished you had such a table and resorted to the reliable card table? Not that card tables are a bad thing— heaven knows many a party has been saved by them. Owned or borrowed, they are handy to have and easy to store.
However, have you ever wondered what folks did a couple of generations ago? Those thrifty colonials and Europeans had such a solution when an impromptu table was needed, and the table did not have its legs folding into the top and side for storage under the bed; they had console tables that doubled as game tables and tea tables and whatever kind of table they needed. These console tables had a flip top, and the top swiveled around to support the extension; like magic there was a game table for a quick lesson in cards or chess, or a table for additional treats at tea time. When not in use, the table would stand in the entry or against a wall with a few pictures or a vase of flowers in it, paying no attention at all to its surroundings; it was just ready whenever needed.
I came across quite a nice selection of such tables this past weekend at an estate sale. The company sponsoring the sale had a bit of overstock on baby grand pianos, tall secretaries and console/game tables. On the last day of the sale, I arrived in time for them to announce everything was 75% off. As I wandered through the nearly empty warehouse, I was surprised to see so many of these tables still left and now at true bargain prices; they were well priced on the first day; but on the last, they were a steal. I am guessing that people did not know about them or their value. These tables were quite popular in the Victorian times, and their popularity lived on for more than a hundred years. The furniture came in every style that was manufactured. I have often thought of them as the card table of the past. They do not flatten down and slide under a bed, like our modern day card tables, but they are infinitely more attractive and have many uses.
I was saved from buying one or two of them and painting them, because I am in such a state of chaos having just downsized. And, I have a large refinishing job looming ahead of me this month just as soon as I can clear a spot in the garage to get to it. I was certainly tempted though, and even made another trip into the warehouse to take another look.
Several of the tables would have been better off painted rather than refinished, since refinishing them would leave them looking like they belonged in a great grandmother’s parlor, but painting lends a whole new meaning and life to such a table. No longer, great granny’s old stuff, now it can be a fun, colorful table for a kids room and a great play space for them to do crafts and even enjoy a little tea party. You can get very creative and paint whimsical patterns or simply a checkerboard in a fun color for the family room. It is a great table with many uses; if you come across one, you should consider it.