Torn between two tables

The photo below was taken more than a year ago at one of our first visits to the house. Its a photo of the garden floor living room (aka the "rental" where the inlaws will reside) The rickety air conditioner, the fire hazard of a lamp and the neglected table were the only "furnishings" left behind when we eventually closed.
The lamp and the air conditioner made a hasty path to the first dumpster but the table was something that had potential. At the time, our dining room was just a drawing on paper and I wasn't quite sure it would fit in there. It certainly wouldn't fit in any other room of the house. So we covered it with plastic and it was the "command center" for the renovation catalog, supplies, lunches for the duration.
Living & Music room in progress
During the reno, I walked into the parlor floor living room (aka our living room) one day to find that the table had been moved upstairs. Sweet! (I wasn't sure it was going to be able to make it one piece up the narrow hallway)
Mohlhenrich Furniture Tag
And then when the floors were being refinished, the contractors up-ended the table on the island, exposing its underside. I found this tag which I thought was cool although not all that informative.
And then finally, after its long mysterious life downstairs, it was gingerly placed in the dining room. It seems to "fit" pretty well so thats a plus. And it has an interesting shape and is very well made - plus, plus. And its free - the ultimate plus!

So what am I torn about? Well there are a few things that make this less than ideal. One, the top needs to be refinished as it has a lot of water damage. Also, its not large enough for 10 so its more than big enough for everday but too small for Christmas dinner. Its also a little lighter than I would like - I'd really like something even darker than this. I can have it refinished and have a leaf made but thats going to cost me. So its not really "free". Its very wide for the room so while thats great for creating elaborate tablescapes and centerpieces (love that!), its not the best for traffic once the chairs and people are in place.

What do you think? Should I invest in this and live with its scale problem? Or should I sell it and get another table that suits my needs a bit more closely?

(Im having a furniture guy coming over this weekend to give us a price quote for the leaf and resfinishing so Ill report back on ccosts)


  1. I like the story that goes along with the table, so for me, I'd probably live with it's not-so-perfect scale and refinish. It's almost like it was meant to be.

  2. Curious, who's your furniture guy? If you'd like a second opinion on it, I have a great guy to recommend (the one who sold us our dining set; he refurbs dining tables and that's his entire business model).

    Come to think of it, hell, I'd do the refinishing part for you for a pizza and a couple of beers ;)

  3. I think its kind of beautiful. And unique. You could always say "The table has lived there longer than you have."

  4. Live with the table and see how you like it. It does have lovely lines - however I could see something "round" or oval to go with all the square edges.
    I agree, re-finishing it darker would be chic!

  5. I really love the table , it is so pretty, thin tables may allow some better traffic flow, but there is never enough room for food on the newer tables, any money you spend will be worth it , that is a great piece it wants to live on with the house, its meant to be. Get a secondary table for parties , a nice round foldable table that can have a pretty table cloth to the floor for those occasional holiday dinners, it will be festive to have more than one table for big do's.
    I hope it makes the cut.

  6. Love the table--in a darker finish--fabulous. Love the style--goes with the house!! Love your renovation. Beautiful!!

  7. I love the table, and think that if you refinish it in the darker color that you like it will be beautiful.

    I would also check into the feasibility of instead of getting the table cut and a leaf added, perhaps having a two or three piece 'cover' that can be set on top of the current table to create another, larger, top. A friend of mine has one- the sections lock together with brass fittings on the bottom of the apron, and each section has wafers and notches to keep them from slipping sideways.

    They have a recessed cutout in the shape of the table top on the underside so it fits snuggly.

  8. I love the table, but would try it out with people and chairs before spending money on it. Are you going to have stools by the bar? Even more reason to try it first...

  9. Ok - seems like the overwelming vote is for it to stay. Thats the way Im sorting of leaning as well. The two end chairs I ordered will be here the week of the 17th (woo-hoo) but I don't want to buy more chairs until I have figured out what kind of table I'll be pairing with them. Hopefully the end chairs will help me decide.

    Kingst - Im using a guy that has an antique store around here. Maybe I should call your guy too? But he has to be able to make a leaf to match (which is the harder request) than the refinishing. The table has water damage but I dont think its so bad it can't be pretty easily repaired.

    Chris - A secondary table won't work. There wouldn't be enough room in the dining room to set up a whole other table b/c this one is so big.

    Jen - The table already has a middle split for a leaf. Its just missing the leaf. Your friends table sounds very cool way to get around it if I couldn't use a leaf but where would I put such a big thing? I don't have that kind of storage.

  10. I'll be the odd man out..or woman.. I would have a look around for something that is perfect for the room, traffic flow.. size and number of well as the correct size for your anticipated number of guests...If it was me I would like black lacquer in a slimmer shape and not so chunky in the legs.

    I am betting it will cost about as much to repair and refinish as it would to find a new one.

  11. Keep the table. What great history.

    For the record I think it's great that you choose to renovate. I live in Dallas where we tear it down and rebuild McMansions.

  12. If the cost of a serious refinish comes out to a nauseating amount, is there somewhere else you might be able to use the table, such as your office? That way you could do a less costly refinish but still hold onto the table- I do agree with a previous poster who said it has a great story!

  13. Ok, so here is the estimate. $900 for the refinishing, $500 for two 12 inch leaves with the decorative detail. We may be able to get him to come down a few bucks but its still pretty steep. Any thoughts on if thats a fair price? But the factors in favor are: Its half the price of the table I'd buy to replace it AND I don't have to go out and find yet another piece of furniture.

    This table is definitely too big to even fit thru the doorway of most of the rooms no less be functional. Its either here or in someone elses house.

  14. so what did you decide on the table?

  15. That's a pretty good estimate for the work. I have a table that I first saw in pieces, painted black, in the back of an antique shop.

    Three months later, refinished - it was beautiful.

    Good refinishers do amazing work - and you'll pay for it, but I do recommend.

    I'm working through your posts sort of backwards...I'll have to read (up), to see what you decided.

  16. Love, love, love those end chairs! where did you get them??

  17. Rah602:23 AM

    RE: Dining table label.  Did you search the internet for info. on the Mohl.... Furniture Co.
    There might be more info. on your table.  Who knows, it might be a coveted antique.

    I'm enjoying your reno. and blog.

  18. Does anyone know anything about the Mohlhenrich company other than they're from Baltimore.  I have a piece and I've never been able to find out it's value.

  19. Lara Mohlhenrich1:20 PM

    Just curious (I know it's been a long time) - what did you decide to do with the table? The company was owned by my husband's family and we're always curious to hear about pieces.

  20. John George Mohlhenrich was my great-grandfather, born in Baltimore in 1865. He became the president of the Reliable Furniture Manufacturing Company of Baltimore and later renamed the company to the Mohlhenrich Furniture Company. At least one of the original buildings still stands in Baltimore on President St., with the Mohlhenrich name faded, but visible, on the building's side. The Mohlhenrich Furniture company had show rooms in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wisconsin, and New York.

  21. John George Mohlhenrich was my great-grandfather, born in Baltimore in 1865. He became president of the Reliable Furniture Manufacturing Company and later renamed it to the Mohlhenrich Furniture Company. The Mohlhenrich Furniture Company had showrooms in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wisconsin, and New York. One of the original buildings stills stands in Baltimore on President St., with the Mohlhenrich name faded, but visible, on the side.


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