I was cleaning up after breakfast one morning and noticed our 2 year old’s tiny fork marks on our recently NEW dining table. In the moment, I tried to scrub them off, thinking that the marks would magically ‘disappear’ with a little elbow grease.
Then I remembered his new habit of pounding his fork into our table during dinner the night before, and during several other dinners we have sat together as a family. My partner and I try to divert and tell him it’s not good table manners. Mostly for our own sanity and to preserve any nice furniture we have.
But a thought occurred to me as I was washing the table. These marks will always be here. They are now a part of this furniture piece that we love and will remind us of when we sat as a family, just the three of us at the dinner table.
In the moment, the fork hammering into the table was annoying, but short lived. In the long term, it will cement itself as a time when we were all together as a young family in the most mundane, yet wonderful moments we shared together.
After I cleaned the table, I looked up at my grandmother’s cabinet that now sits in our dining room, and noticed an old chip of wood pealing off that someone had tried to once repair. I wondered what crazy kid of my grandmother’s must of knocked it while playing, or perhaps it chipped while in transit on the boat from Germany where she lived, right after WWII. Over years of use, it has a rich history and story to tell.
I used to think that my furniture was ‘ruined’ and money wasted after some accident or long term wear. But in fact, these small wear and tears are reminders of the simple and wonderful moments of living well in our home. Whether that’s raising kids, or that time you laughed so hard during a party and left a wine stain on the marble counters. I want to live well and remember the feelings of joy (and hard times) from raising our son and spending meaningful time together, while also appreciating the quality and beauty of our home.
I decided early on, and again during this moment, that I’m giving myself permission to have nice things that bring me joy and meaning. This includes my furniture, bedding, and anything else that I find to be beautiful and well made. It gives my home intention and serves a purpose versus something that is temporary and won’t last.
I no longer use words for furniture like ‘abused’ or ‘ruined’. After all, furniture is meant to be loved, lived in, used, taken care of, and make life a bit more comfortable and beautiful.
Not everything in my house is ‘high-end’ or quality made. It doesn’t need to be. But when I am deciding on a piece of furniture or whether or not to go with real marble, I am making the choice with full awareness of letting go of the wear and tear, cracks, holes, and scratches that will inevitably occur from living a full life in our home.
Calnin Design Studio is a full-service interior design firm serving Wisconsin and beyond. Katie and her team specialize in designing laid back luxury homes for clients seeking an intentional and slow living lifestyle.
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