The new-old table & a breakfast nook is born

Ever since our kitchen was young, it’s been used as an eat-in kitchen. I know for certain that the family who lived here in the early 1960s had a sweet little table in one corner, and the people who lived here before us had a round table in the opposite corner. We Pypers also prefer to eat in the kitchen, except when we have more formal dinners in the dining room.

The windows in the south corner of the kitchen were MADE for a breakfast nook. Our builder crafted custom built-in benches (with hidden storage) when he remodeled our kitchen, but because we couldn’t find the perfect table, that corner of the kitchen remained unused.

Until this week.

Our builder (@harrowcon on Instagram) and his cousin Joey Thompson (@jthompsonworkshop) built this table out of the reclaimed wood. If you are in the region and looking for a table that’s darn near perfect, they’re your guys. We can’t rave enough about it! And one of the coolest things is where the wood came from.

I write for a company that builds reinforced-concrete storage structures all over the world and sometimes takes on other custom concrete projects. Last summer our company was contracted to rehab a dam outlet tunnel built more than 100 years ago at Hebgen Lake in Montana.

Look at these amazing photos of the sawmill taken in 1910 or 1911 when the dam and its outlet tunnel were built. Imagine what a huge undertaking it must have been to do this project back then!

The outlet tunnel was 475 feet long and lined with 16-foot pine staves planed on site in the mountains. Water flowed through this tunnel for more than a century, and in a way that water preserved the wood. Our crew pulled out the staves and resurfaced the tunnel with rebar and concrete.

via—one of the staves going under the knife, so to speak.

After the project, our company acquired the old pine staves. And they gave enough to me to have this table made.

It’s 8-foot-4-inches of beauty built out of pine. You can still see knots and cracks and some of the rust from metal that pieced the staves together. This table is a work of art and a heck of a beast. My second son has already claimed it upon my death.

We chose a kind of trestle base that would keep the table legs away from the four corners of the tabletop. After doing a little research, we learned this is desirable for nooks where people have to sit and scoot to get a seat on the bench. Legs at the corners would make it tricky to slide in and out.

The primitive design is just what we were hoping for and will continue to look richer as the table experiences wear and tear and dings from silverware and scissors.

I love the completely clear epoxy filling in the cracks and gaps—no stray crumbs can become lodged in the spaces, but we still get the look of an old farm table.

Which is perfect for an old farmhouse like mine.

So bring over your kids and let’s have a play date! I figure I can fit about 15 little kiddos around our breakfast nook now. It’s going to be wonderful. •

4 thoughts

  1. This table is perfection–they did such a great job. Johnny is so cute! That is nice the epoxy keeps food from getting in the little cracks. That is a flaw that I have heard others complain of. I can’t wait to see your house in April, Bec!


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