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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tulip Talk

We've got a major furniture crush on the classic Saarinen pedestal table. Sure we've seen these around for years- they're hardly new on the design scene considering they've been around since the 50's- but only recently have we realized what a fabulous addition they'd make in our own homes. They're an all purpose dining table for smaller spaces, or if you're lucky enough to have a bit more room, you can create a cozy, bistro-inspired breakfast nook. Best of all, we're impressed by how effortlessly these tables can blend into so many different types of interiors- the same table can easily look cozy, futuristic, eclectic, or traditional depending upon the chairs it's paired with and the way it's accessorized. We love investment pieces, and this is definitely one of them.

A little history courtesy of the Design Within Reach website, which sells Saarinen tables manufactured by Knoll and made in Italy: "In a 1956 cover story in Time magazine, Eero Saarinen said he was designing a collection to "clear up the slum of legs in the U.S. home." Later that year, he completed his Pedestal Table and Tulip™ Chair Collection (1956) and obliterated the "slum" by creating a cast aluminum base inspired by a drop of high-viscosity liquid." 

Saarinen tables come in different sizes, shapes, and colors- the oval or round dining tables in various diameters, the smaller side table, and even coffee table sides. Likewise, you can mix and match the base color and the table top color and materials. In browsing online, I've come across bases in black, white, or aluminum, and tops in veneer, laminate, or marble in a variety of colors. 

While Design within Reach sells Knoll-manufactured Saarinen tables, there are (and have been over the last 50 years) a variety of other manufacturers out there that also make Saarinen tables. Though technically not the "official" Saarinen table, it's hard to tell the difference, and the pricepoint can be much kinder than DWR!

Despite the multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes, it didn't take us long to decide that our #1, hands down choice is the white base with carrera marble, as shown below:

Sigh. We are swooning for the 36" Saarinen Tulip Dining Table, $899, Urban Chic Direct. We're crazy about carrera marble in general, but we think that this goes especially well on a tabletop because it's more durable and scratch-proof than laminate. This way you won't feel stressed about the wear and tear of naughty kitties/spill-prone kids/adventurous craft projects. And we just love the way it looks!

For the deal of the day, check out the Ikea Docksta Table, $149. Something tells us you have to have a really sharp eye to spot the difference between this and its pricier counterparts!

We were inspired this picture from this month's House Beautiful feature about a New York apartment. We love how a Saarinen table looks against a banquette. Don't you just want to curl up with the Sunday Times and indulge in some croissants and OJ? Bonus points for the Jonathan Adler pillow!

Alternatively, a black table with a black top looks much more urban.

Guess where this table is from? This is the Ikea Doksta. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Jonathan Adler + Liz Lange = Whimsical Perfection. This is maternity guru Liz Lange's home, as decorated by Jonathan Adler. The white geometric chairs bring out the futuristic vibe of the table, but we love how it's tempered by the green and white fabric.

One of our favorite rooms, courtesy of Living Etc. Again, these tables look wonderful and cozy with a banquette on one side. This room looks like a perfect place for lounging and enjoying a glass of wine.

Also cour testy of Living Etc., we love the contrast between a classic, historical mantle and the jet-age vibe of the Saarinen table.

Here's the oval version. This isn't our favorite shape- we think the round ones are cozier- but if you want to use this as a real dining room table, then the oval is the most functional shape. Courtesy of Living Etc.

The small bistro-style size is perfect for a compact space. Living Etc.

I guess this isn't a Saarinen table because it's square, but it has the same clean lines. Living Etc.

Saarinen also designed the Tulip chairs to go with his table. We don't just looooove the chairs...when paired with the table, the group reminds us of something we'd see at the 60's styled Tomorrowland at Disney World! Photo from Living Etc.

A common theme we see with Saarinen tables is that you don't have to use four matching chairs- an eclectic yet cohesive mix of chairs, or two chairs and a banquette, really softens up the look. Living Etc.

Here's two of our favorite things- a Saarinen table and classic French bistro chairs. They pair surprisingly well! House Beautiful.

This is our favorite look- a white marble-topped Saarinen table with the Louis Ghost Chair by Philippe Stark. We love the upholstery on the chairs- it softens everything up. Living Etc.

Such a cheerful room, and again, note the assortment of chairs.

Here's a different twist- the Saarinen table even fits with an updated french-country inspired vibe, as seen in Temple St. Clair's home from Elle Decor.

Finally, if you've already got a dining table you love, think about throwing a Saarinen end table in your living room or bedroom. They definitely add a modern twist to any room.


Anonymous said...

While the Saarinen table is not my personal taste, I can certainly appreciate its simplicity and clean lines. I love hearing the history behind the design. Great job.

Faux Beams said...

This looks clean and elegant. Thanks for sharing beautiful pictures.

Lauren Strother said...

I adore the use of upholstery on the Louis Ghost chairs paired with the tulip dining table! I might have to copy this look for my own breakfast nook.

Oneka said...

I love the tulip table. I'm in a bit of a love affair with it at the moment. I even use the ikea Docksta table as my desk at my work room.

LauraB said...

Love love love this table, could not afford the one from DWR. I did some research and found one that uses a beautiful natural marble and a cast iron base like the vintage original. picked up at 48 inch from

cml said...

How do you think the fiber board top would fair if used/wiped daily as a "the" kitchen table?

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