I am intrigued by how taken I am by the idea of a dining table. Perhaps the fact that I grew up in a house with a formal along with an informal dining table has to add to my love for dining tables. We are presently living in a villa which took over a year to build and over 2 years to plan. The dining area is the central facet of the open plan living area. Inspired by industrial design, our new home had to reflect a little bit of us and what we like – tons of whim, a rustic and eclectic appeal, and absolutely no gloss.
So my husband, Ahmed Shuja, a User Experience Designer with a penchant for psychology and human factors (ergonomics), started prototyping the table. I researched design philosophies and ideas to see what kind of furniture and walls resonated well with us. Brainstorming sessions between Ahmed and I ensued; complete with mood boards and an active Pinterest. To be honest we didn’t want to go through the hassle of building our own table and then handpicking chairs but the limited variety in Pakistan in terms of furniture design and quality inspired us to roll up our sleeves and create our own.
While we spotted some chairs at a retailer who imports furniture, our search for a table that would do justice to these chairs was in vain. One extremely over priced outlet had a couple of tables that matched our design philosophy but their inability to provide support for wear and tear in the future along with our wish to add the magic component of love led us to a DIY approach to the whole thing. The most expensive item in the making of the table was the wood and it didn’t bare a price tag thanks to the fact that we had so much left over in all shapes and sizes due to the construction of the house.
The table has been designed from left overs of wood used inside the house for various elements such as doors and wooden steps etc. Procuring the metal pipes was not as easy as walking into a DIY store with all the nuts and bolts readily available for purchase in a pretty box. Several trips to many nearby shops were required to procure all the necessary components in the right sizes. Even then minor shavings had to be done to the metal to get the balance right. Ahmed himself spray painted the pipes black (temporarily ruining a little patch of grass in the lush green front lawn) after building the structure with the help of a handyman. All the natural grooves of the wood have been preserved to keep its beauty intact. Watching Ahmed work with a single carpenter was a treat on its own. Workers in Pakistan unfortunately lack an eye for detail and have to be handheld at every step of the way. They are eager to take short cuts, the end result of which is often quite ghastly in its detail. Initially they refused to make the table with hand tools. Ahmed ruled out the idea of the use of large cutting machines to chuck out proportioned solid wooden blocks.
The end product is quite breathtaking in its detail and finish and the perfect addition to our home.