The Table.

Since we got married in 2015, we have lived in a total of 5 places. We lived in Kitchener, Ontario, in a little house owned by our church. Then we had a 6-month season where Dillon lived near his hometown in Canada and I moved back in with my parents in Pennsylvania while we waited for his Green Card. Recently, our last place of residence was near the college where I work and about 2 years ago, we bought a cute little house of our own. Moving has been such a normal part of our married life that staying put has been quite the breath of fresh air.

Like many newlyweds, most of our furniture has been handed down to us by friends and family. We’ve thrifted some pieces and adopted some pieces and passed along some pieces to others, never really minding the mis-matched nature of our collection. It fit within our budget and that was good enough for us.

One thing, however, that we never collected along the way was a table. During our first years of marriage, we ate at the couch or on-the-go, but for a significant season, we didn’t have a table to eat at together. So when we moved into our last apartment, Dillon decided to take some time to build a large 8 foot farmhouse table. It was big, too big for our current house, so we gave it away. But when Nora started eating foods of her own, we decide that we needed a table for our home, one that fit our family and fit our tiny dining space.

In one weekend, Dillon built another table with scrap wood and reclaimed turned legs and before we knew it, we had a table again to eat at together. That small, simple addition to our space changed the way we began our evenings as it gave us one common space where we could talk about our days, laugh at our silly child, and slow down a bit before we continued along with the chaotic process that is clean-up and bedtime. Even today, it is a space where Dillon and I create and dream and pay bills and have hard conversations.

In many ways, “that table” is what started Kinfolk.

That table sparked an even more valuable conversation in our family about the importance of home and belonging and community. It challenged us to think even beyond a table at other changes that can be made, within a home, that would allow families to function better.

Dillon always jokes about wanting to build a new table and getting rid of the original one that he built. It’s not high quality and rocks a little because of our uneven floors, but for me, that table has been the anchor to so many conversations, dreams, laughs, and lessons learned. No matter where we journey with Kinfolk and where life takes us as a family, I always want to come back to the table with deep gratitude of where it all began. That table, for me, is a reminder of our humble beginnings and a testament that something as simple as furniture can have a monumental impact on the stories we can write within our home.

“And I wanted to see as many families sitting around a table as possible, because it’s around a table that we learn and grow and dream and find love and work through doubt, and gather with others for the most important moments of our lives. The tabletops, the skirts, the legs beneath - the basic wooden pieces shaped by carpenters for centuries and held together by classic joinery and some glue - provide more than just a place to sit. They give us a space in which to craft our lives.” - Clint Harp, Handcrafted

Ashley Sider