The Victorian Kitchen | Episode 1: A Table to Die For

The Victorian Kitchen | Episode 1: A Table to Die For


– I am literally laying here, on my bed, staring out the window, waiting
for this thing to arrive, because it has been two
months since I bought it, and it is literally 30 minutes away. And it is almost here, and
I can’t even remotely deal with this right now. I don’t know if you do this, but the, oh god! Oh, god it’s here! – [Delivery Man] I’ve got it right here. – Hello, and hi. We are in the process of designing, and renovating our kitchen. While this is definitely the room that is the most fun to renovate, and the one I’ve been looking forward to, literally more than anything, it is taking an obscene amount of effort, and research, and work
to figure out exactly what a 1906 kitchen
would have looked like. And specifically, what a 1906
kitchen would have looked like in a farm house. And yes, I will answer the question as to what I was so excited
about earlier in the video in a minute, but first, we have some background to establish. As I said, the first problem is what did a 1906 kitchen look like? Now this house was a farmers house, so it literally is a farm house. The problem is, if I got to Pinterest, and I type in farm house
kitchen, I will get, shall we say less than
historically accurate references as to what a farm kitchen would look like in 1906. Knowing that that is absolutely no help, instead, I have had to
turn to history books. I found more than I thought I would. I didn’t expect to find a whole lot, but I have found a very
good representation of, um, home economics, domestic books, setting up kitchen books
from between 1888 and 1916. With this kitchen, I am
not necessarily trying to create a 1906 kitchen. Because a 1906 kitchen, and
we can tell by burn marks on the floor, mainly
functioned with a wood, or coal fired stove. I don’t want to deal with that. We’ll have a dishwasher. We’ll have all the modern conveniences, but I am trying very hard
to make this look correct to the house. Specifically, I wanted
to talk about something that I purchased. Something that I was very
very excited to find, because through these forty
years that I’m studying, between the 1880’s and the 19 teens, there is a common element that is in almost every single kitchen, and talked about in almost every
single book that I’ve read, and it is a kitchen work table. Oh, Paige! Do you, do you mean like an island? No. No I don’t mean like an island. The work table in the kitchen, behaved differently as far as I can tell. A lot of times they were on
casters, or small wheels, so that they could be moved around, and even one author
said that the homemaker would be absolutely
delighted, and surprised at how much efficiency she could gain by using a work table with wheels. I thought Paige, you
really like furniture, and you really like your kitchen, so I suspect that you would
probably like furniture in your kitchen. So I had decided that we
were gonna have a work table in our kitchen, in addition
to some minimal counter space, um, and built in cabinets. As I was reading through
these, I got to a book called The Efficient Kitchen. I will link it down below. It is available for free. It is a book that will
knock your socks off. Completely. I can’t, I can’t get into this right now, ’cause this video will be an hour long. Suffice it to say, it’s a
fantastic, wonderful book, that I will talk about more in future. But in this, she specifies
setting up an efficient kitchen by way of defining the kitchen purposes, and defining the kitchen needs. Which is kind of mind-blowing,
but also brilliant. In this list of required duties that the kitchen has to perform, Mrs. Child discusses having a place to set incoming supplies. Otherwise known as a
place to dump groceries. Now this is a very interesting point, because it is temporary counter space. Modern kitchens, more counter
space is generally better, but both in this, and another
book called An Ideal Kitchen, they both discuss the idea
of temporary counter space by means of a drop leaf. Now, these drop leafs
were put against a wall, hung on the wall, so you could drop them
down against the wall if you didn’t need them, but that got me thinking,
what if there’s a table that combined a drop
leaf, with a work table. Now, I go to a lot of antique fairs. I look at a lot of antiques, and I spend way too much time browsing Facebook Market Place, so I have seen quite a few tables. And I see these all the time. I am sure you have seen them too, because they are beautiful, they’re usually relatively cheap, under 200 bucks, they are narrow, the ends are usually really narrow. Like too narrow for a chair to slip under, and then they have drop leafs. And I see these all the
time, and I want them, because I compulsively need more tables, but the problem is that they
make terrible dining tables. Well Paige, did you know that they make terrible dining tables because they’re not dining tables? They’re work tables. So, this was a light bulb moment, because these tables are exactly
what you need in a kitchen. (record scratching) – [Paige Voiceover] There is an absolutely massive plot twist coming in regards to what kind
of table I actually have. But listen to this next
bit of information, because it is 100% the way
that kitchens should be set up, and I don’t know why we
ever went away from it. – Harvest tables specifically
were long, narrow, and used primarily at the harvest. So, the drop leafs would come up. You could have all this room
to do all your harvesting, and all your canning, and
all your food processing, and then you’d drop them back down, and it doesn’t take up as much space. We have a big kitchen. I want a big old harvest
table with big old drop leafs. Let’s just be, you know,
totally candid for a second. As that, I have forty
five million ideas a day, about what furniture I need
to buy to put in this house. And this usually isn’t a problem, because what I decide I need
to buy is very hard to find. So, I can’t just immediately
go out to Amazon, and place an order. I have to like, look
for two or three months to actually find something. And this works in my favor, because it means that by
the time I find the thing, usually I’ve lost interest. That didn’t happen with this. I literally decided that this
is what we were going to do, typed it into Ebay, and
found the perfect table, in all of existence, on the entire planet, all within 15 minutes of each other. And I have zero impulse control. But, I do also have a spouse, and I try really hard
to avoid doing things that will make him grumpy with me. So, I still thought this
was an excellent idea, but I came home, and I presented my findings
to my husband, Brandon. Here’s what I’ve read
about an efficient kitchen, here’s what I think we should get, here’s why it’s totally
awesome, and the best idea, and bonus, it’s really really pretty. And to my complete, and utter amazement, he said, “sure, let’s get it.” Quick as I could, I placed
a bid, I got the table. The problem was that this table, which is unlike anything that
I’ve ever seen in my life, it is in New Jersey. And I am in Kentucky. The seller of the table said, “No big deal, this is totally fine. We’ll just use Uship.” Now, if you’re not familiar with Uship, it is actually quite a brilliant service. It is basically Uber for cargo. Put it up there, shippers bid on it, and then, once you get
a bid that you like, they pick it up, and deliver it to you, and it’s freelance-ish. The other problem, is that
I really don’t do well when other people do things for me. Not that I’m a control freak. Okay, maybe I’m a little
bit of a control freak. Things just go so much
faster when I’m involved. So already, letting the
seller take care of this is just like, stress
level, and anxiety level is just increasing. So, I figure, okay this
might take two weeks to get it shipped. No. Somewhere around the
fourth week, I get a call from him, and it says, “hey,
we got someone to ship it.” I’m like, ha ha give me my table please. The guy wants to ship it, in
the back of a pick up truck, with a chance of rain. No! Two months go by, and he’s
no longer responding to me. And I’m like, you know, this table is a once in a life time thing, and really, really, really,
really, really, really, really need it. Definitely not a control freak. I set up my own Uship,
and within 24 hours, I have a shipper. My glorious, wonderful, amazing,
fantastic, harvest table is delivered into my waiting paws. (Saloon music) It’s here! Oh my god! It’s actually here! It’s like sitting in my study,
even though it’s gonna go in the kitchen, it’s in
my study, and it’s here! And it’s forty seven
thousand million times better than I ever possibly
imagined that it could be, and it’s here! (Saloon music) That is the wild saga of how (slam) There was a problem. I can’t, I can’t even be mad about this. Okay, so I put up here,
and someone messaged me, and says, “I’m pretty
sure that’s a wake table.” So I google, antique wake table. (saloon music) So. So, is there a possibility
that a dead body table is going in my kitchen? Oh, yes there is. But I’m going to stand by it, because it functions the same way a drop leaf harvest table would. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. I’m completely in love with it. I don’t care who’s laid on it. For all my good
intentions, it would appear that I do not have an
antique harvest table, I have an antique wake table. Now, I don’t know a ton about
antique wake tables naturally, because I bought one, not knowing it was an antique wake table, but here’s the thing, Victorians were nothing if
not obscenely practical. It’s a wake table. Which means that’s where the coffin, and the deceased person
would sit during a wake before they went to be buried. So it’s not like anybody was
being processed, shall we say, on this table. It was just that it was there for a wake. But that is a very
large piece of furniture to have in your house,
that has no other purpose. So I talked to one of my
friends who is a historian, and a museum curator, and his belief is that somebody somewhere, had a table that looked like that, put a body on it, and said,
“guess it’s a wake table now.” And then the marketing
system caught up and said, “hey we can sell a lot more of these if we market them as wake tables.” So, I think more likely, they
are multi-purpose tables, multi-purpose dining tables, that just also happen
to be conveniently sized for grandma. What am I going to do about it? Absolutely nothing. The fact that it’s a wake table, means that it’s probably a
little bit higher quality than would typically be seen in a kitchen, but it serves the exact same
function as a harvest table. So, it will be absolutely, perfectly, fantastically spectacular for
what I want to use it for, which is non-permanent counter space. Despite that little plot twist, I am absolutely thrilled with my table. I could not love it more if I tried. It weighs nine million pounds. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, ever, and I just didn’t know it. So, that is the wild saga
of how I decided I wanted, found, and acquired the
perfect harvest table for our kitchen. It’s not gonna be the primary
work surface in the kitchen. It’s more gonna be like a, a landing spot for baking cookies, or rising bread, or stuff like that. So, I’m not too concerned
about the low height, but if I do any adjustments,
or anything like that, I will be certain to show you. There are more videos on the way about researching the historic kitchen, how we decided to do
the layout that we did. How we discovered what the
original kitchen wall layout was, and how I’m doing my best to honor that with um, a few changes that
will work for our house. So, I have very much hope
that you will stick around. Subscribe to make sure you
don’t miss any of those videos. In the description box below, there is a link to the top
ten renovation mistakes that everyone makes. So, just to make sure that
you’re not making any of those, go ahead and give that
a click, and a download. Like this video if you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time. Thanks so much for watching. Bye! (saloon music)

35 thoughts on “The Victorian Kitchen | Episode 1: A Table to Die For

  • The table is beautiful. I have to admit I cringed a little bit when you realized what it actually was. 😉 But I am like you, I would totally use it anyway! I mean it's been a long time, right? LOL! GREAT VIDEO!!!

  • Haha! Not only did we get a lesson on tables, but on negotiating with husbands! I absolutely love your channel and wait for for your videos impatiently. This one tops them all!
    PS I bought a kitchen table with a drawer at a flea market in Provence a few years ago and was thrilled to get it for about 129€, that is, until I saw one for sale in your newspaper B-roll for $1.29!

  • Story of my life ! Searching a Facebook and Craigslist franticallyfor the historical piece of furniture that I suddenly realized I must have, finding it, and then thinking to myself, "How am I going to convince my husband to go and pick this up? Is it worth the extra grumpiness? What can I do to convince him we must have this?!" And then, once in awhile, he will just randomly agree to whatever I propose. Ah those fortuitous and serendipitous days… By the way, I absolutely loved this video. I can't wait for any other kitchen ones that you do in the future 🥰

  • I think your friend Jesse is right in what he says. They were multipurpose tables and one of the functions was as a wake table. The houses would not have been big enough to devote a large piece of furniture like that for a single purpose. I love the idea that it may have many a tale to tell of family life!! Thanks for a lovely story.

  • Wait I thought it was a 1905 farmhouse? Loving the table. Makes me want to gut my kitchen and start from scratch but since I have a 1950’s kitchen with cabinets to the ceiling, which I can’t come close to reaching I shall completely enjoy your kitchen transformation😊

  • Is a WAKE table where a food spread was laid out, as family and friends came in with FOOD and flowers they laid upon the table ???? It's actually pretty sweet , my friend has one of these amazing beauties she set it on blocks raised it a bit it's perfect in her REAL farmhouse kitchen 🤗😆👍🏻🙏🏻👏🏻💕. Best video I have seen in a while

  • You're seriously so entertaining. 😁 I keep up with you on IG, although I don't comment much over there. I'll be listening to your stories and my husband will say, "Who is that?" "Oh, it's Paige." Like I know you or something. 🤣

  • I’m sure the anticipation of it was part of your excitement. When you have to wait it’s even better! It’s a beautiful table. Where are you from in Kentucky? I am originally from the great state of KEntucky!

  • I love that table! Who cares if some deceased person laid there for a while! This was a great video. 👏🏻👏🏻❤️

  • Love this! So funny, and your table is amazing! I never knew about wake tables or temporary storage space, but it makes total sense.

  • What that table really is, is a very rare Victorian New Jersey pizza table, the leaves were there to hold more pizza, for when you were real hungry!
    I don't have anything to document any of this, mostly because I just made it up, but I do really like the idea!

  • Thank you sooo much for clarifying what the tables like that are!! I have had several tables like that passed around my family and could NOT understand why they were made that way, no one could possibly sit between those legs! I have a single story farm house in Western NC that was built in 1912, I appreciate the “accurate” information you are sharing. I want to throw my iPad when trying to research “original farmhouse design/decor”! I wouldn’t mind if I never see another modern farmhouse Pinterest page in my life!!

  • Warning way to practical and a dark sense of humor.

    Y’all are preparing your house to age in place. This wake table is just taking that logic to the next level is all. Now I need my own wake table. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  • Absolutely loved your excitement for this table! Reality is that old houses like ours had people die in them. The caskets had to be set up somewhere for the visit of neighbours to stop by and say farewell. Wouldn't do to have people still lying on their death beds. 😉

  • So happy for you. It’s a beautiful table. I’m so happy to have found your channel because I am so intrigued with your kitchen remodel. I also have a drop leaf table. Someone told me it’s a “gate leg table”? But with the leafs down it’s very narrow. I’m using it as a sofa table. Would rather thrifted finds than new any day. Love your little cat cameos 😆

  • Paige… those table are GORGEOUS and AMAZING !!! My parents had one that was in our small local town School. YES! My Dad was the head custodian at the School and Schools are always getting rid of furniture… they were going to just trash it ….. WHAT??? Trash it???? My Dad said.. “ I’ll take care of it! “. LOL…… he brought it home!

    My parents have ( I now live in my family home…) and it has a large kitchen …gorgeous but lacking counter space! The kitchen is 24ft x 20ft…. you would think there would be LOTS OF COUNTER SPACE! But anyways ….. with all the family gatherings we would open that gorgeous HEAVY cherry table up and fit 10-12 people easily around it!

    After my parents death ( that is why my husband and I are living here) we don’t have the big gatherings and plus we remodeled the kitchen ( did NOT add counter space…. hubby said no to that much changing…. men don’t get the need for counter space ! ). So I needed to remove the table.

    I took it all apart… many, many screws…chewed gum…YUCK… , etc. and climbed the pull down stairs to the attic with it! Yup…heavy is an understatement! Probably why I have metal in my shoulder, neck and back! Super woman I am NO LONGER…. ! I ended up giving the table to my contractor! YES… I gave it away!

    Wish I had it back …but my house is big, but my rooms are small! Lots of little rooms …

    ANYWAYS…. “ CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GORGEOUS FIND “ …. I would be excited also!

    I can also see why they would consider them a “wake table” and market them to get sales up! And yes they are strong tables! Mine held tons a chewed gun! …. sooo gross! LOL!!!

  • So glad to see you are posting again. Missed you. Love your table. I am so surprised you couldn't find it in Kentucky with all the antiques in the south. But now it's yours and you will never let it go. Can't wait to see your kitchen updates.

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