I am a huge fan of family heirlooms. I appreciate ‘old-fashioned’ things, am fond of antiques, and especially cherish pieces that are part of our family history. We recently received a very special piece from our family heritage – a dinning room table and eight chairs.
This dinning room set comes from my husband’s paternal grandparents, Pat and Mamina, as they are lovingly called by their family. They are from the south of France, from Marseille; though Pat was originally from Metz, in the north of France. Mamina lives in Marseille; Pat passed away two and a half years ago – his funeral took place at the same moment as our first son’s birth. Pat and Mamina were married in 1944 and in 2004 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They were a couple deeply in love, wonderful role-models for all of us. In the early 1950’s, Pat had this table made as a surprise for his beloved wife.
Styles of French furniture are classified by the period in which they were made. Today, new contemporary furniture can be made in an old ‘antique’ style. Even though this dinning table was made in the 1950’s, it’s made in the Louis XV Provençal (king Louis 15th provincial) style, also known as Rococo – a style that dates from 1723-1774. (Read more about this style and others here.)
Marquetry and parquetry inlays were an important decorative element of this period. The marquetry of Pat and Mamina’s table-top is referred to as Versailles parquet because it mimics the parquet floors found throughout the Château. The wood the table is carved from is solid walnut. Closed, the table seats six, and can expand to seat eight. The eight chairs were previously caned, but my father-in-law re-upholstered them for us. I love the colorful fabric he chose and how each chair is a little different even through they all match. We’ll be able to easily coordinate different colored tablecloths and table settings for different family gatherings and holidays.
I am very very touched and deeply humbled that we should inherit this special and beautiful dinning room set. I know that many special meals and family occasions were celebrated around this table and I am very excited that we can continue to celebrate new family moments around the same table. I love that we have a little piece of Pat and Mamina present with us in our new home, warmly and lovingly surronding us with every meal we share.