When I moved to my current apartment, I came with enough stuff to fill up my Subaru hatchback to its capacity. I left a lot behind in Virginia: two bookshelves, a six-month-old mattress, even a foldable drying rack that obscured the rear windshield just enough to make me nervous about driving the five hours to New York. I also left my nightstand, a functional gray-black number with three drawers that came straight from Target.
I moved into a room in Brooklyn that became available when one of my best friends moved out. She had met a guy on the subway and now they were in love, so she decided to cohabitate, leaving an opening for me.
She also left her furniture: a gray couch overstuffed enough to sleep on; a hexagonal coffee table with a glass top and claw feet; and an end table with a white marble top, black wooden legs, and black metal fretwork around its oval edge.
It’s this last item that appeals to me the most. For whatever reason, it strikes me as adult, but the design of the fretwork, with alternating upside-down and right-side-up hearts, is downright charming.
So charming, in fact, that I immediately relocated it beside my bed, where it holds a small lamp and nothing else. Unlike nightstands of my past, it usually stays clear; it’s too pretty to mess up with stacks of magazines or half-empty water glasses. At night, I slip my book into the top drawer of the dresser instead.
So where did it come from? I called my friend last week to find out, and she put me on speakerphone with her dad—of course it was his, I thought immediately. When I visited their house in the Bronx during our freshman year in college, I was amazed by his antique furniture and contemporary art. He had taste unlike anything I’d seen in the Pennsylvania suburb where I grew up. It was enough to make even an 18-year-old think, “Maybe I should get into antiquing….”
Sadly, I had not stumbled into possession of a treasure. The table, he told me, is a repro from the 1970s or ’80s, modeled after an Empire design from early-19th-century France, which he acquired from a cousin who worked as a real estate developer. The cousin used it to decorate model apartments until it was snapped up by him, and then by Deanna, and finally by me.
I still love it. In an era of midcentury modern reproductions, there’s something compelling about its egg-and-dart details and spindly legs. The Estelle metal and marble accent table ($94) is the closest one I’ve found online. This accent table from Lulu & Georgia ($143) has some affinity with mine; and 1stDibs has a few thrillingly real options, too.