My coffee tables have always consisted of grouped baskets, borrowed This End Up fortresses of oak and masculinity, or a really cheap particle piece from IKEA (i.e., LACK) that is altogether too boxy and lasts five minutes until someone sets their drink on it, causing it to promptly faint and collapse. As a result I didn’t particularly care too much about them; they were either ugly, useless, or crudely impenetrable. I was determined to find a reasonably priced sturdy piece that would not fall away with the trends or double as a Jersey barrier.
Mid-Century Modern, a style that experienced a revival and has developed a devoted following in recent years, has always been a preference of mine. Despite all the cliche, I appreciate the clean lines of these pieces, the multiple mediums their designers chose to design them, and their minimalist unimposing stature, leaving the flitty or whimsical aspects of decor to accessories. I considered foraging through tag sales or estate sales in the hopes of finding something I really liked, like an Eames Elliptical Table that I could ever-lovingly restore, or buy a second-hand Isamu Noguchi Modern Coffee Table off Craigslist. But I know myself. I’m not that patient. I don’t like tag sales, they don’t give me a euphoric high like treasure hunts do to dirty pirates. And I’m certainly lazy. So that was not an option.
So I ferreted around CB2, West Elm, and IKEA (I know, I know, but the affordability sucks you in), drooled over Design Within Reach (ironically no, for most income levels, it’s not) and finally popped onto Overstock in the hopes of finding something that didn’t look like it once had a home at my parent’s place in 1985. What I found was a Rae Walnut Coffee Table on sale for $169.99. Two left, with all the “hurry hurry, buy now!” bells and whistles going off on its product page. A little googling confirmed the piece retails a bit higher, I saw prices ranging between $500 and $900. Do I know who the designer is? No. But the price was right, it received great feedback, and the lines were exactly what I was looking for. And despite my impatience, its unveiling will occur once painting in the living room is finished. I hope I can hold out that long! Now, off to find some fancy minimalist coasters…
UPDATE: I love the presence of this piece in my living room, the sturdiness of the complex leg structure and the solid walnut hardwood comprising the table top. While Overstock.com no longer carries the coffee table, they still carry the Rae Walnut Desk, Console Table, and Dining Table.