The one where I break up with Pottery Barn

I'm overwhelmed by the task of decorating our house: I want
it to be a comfortable place to entertain, a happy home for our
children to grow up in, a beautiful place to live our lives. Of course,
those high expectations have done nothing but paralyze me. That's my excuse for why my living room has looked like this for the better part of a year:

Living Room

It doesn't help that I have a love-hate relationship with shopping and the general buying of stuff. I hate the actual "going" part of shopping (wandering aimlessly in a mall - OMG KILL ME NOW!), but when I do need to buy something I absolutely DESPISE spending my hard-earned money on junk.  I  like to surround myself with pretty things and will pay for quality - mostly so that I won't have to go shopping to replace things anytime soon.

What to do?

Well, one way I get around that is to look at catalogs. They're convenient, portable and are filled with pretty pictures. Add to that the fact that we moved into a house that's approximately three times as big as our old apartment, and that equals the very real possibility that I would eventually end up buying something from Pottery Barn. And if you live anywhere in the United States, you already get 3
copies of the same Pottery Barn catalog at least twice a month, so why
not flip through them before recycling them?

(That's how they get us! We're powerless against Pottery Barn and their relentless catalogs!)

We moved into this house last May, and at the time I was still filled with enthusiasm for the whole decorating process. My first task was to buy a kitchen table and four chairs. Easy enough, right? I needed a place where the four of us could eat breakfast, that would fold out of the way when we needed the space, and that was easy to wipe down when the kids spilled their milk. (Which happens EVERY DAMN time we sit at the table.)

I was thrilled when I saw this table in the Pottery Barn catalog:


(Photo from

A simple,cute-enough table that folds:


(Photo from

I thought it was perfect - all I had to do was replace the chairs with something easier to clean* and we would be in business. Or so I thought.

We ordered the table in July. We did not receive it until the 30th of OCTOBER. There were many hours in between spent on the phone with Pottery Barn
customer service reps - hours spent asking where our furniture was
(typical answer: We don't know!), precious, after-dinner hours that are gone forever. Then, one day the table was here.

HOORAY! JOY! Time for breakfast!

After one week of typical use (you know, actually using the table to eat - crazy stuff!) this is what the table looked like:

Stupid Pottery Barn

And that, my friends, is why I will never buy wood furniture at Pottery Barn. Never again!

*(We settled on these chairs because when we ordered these they arrived in in boxes that said MADE
IN CHINA. We had purchased chairs that were advertised as Italian-made. When I called for an explanation I was brazenly told that in the four months it took to get the chairs delivered they had moved production to China, because Italy is too expensive. I had two questions for them:

1) Why didn't they tell me that that was the reason for the delay? And,

2) Where is my check for the cost savings?

Do you want to know what the rep said?

"What do you expect when you spend so little on chairs?"

Eeexcuse me? Since when was $269 (plus shipping!) a piece something to laugh at? I complained and got a $200 refund. But still, the whole thing is just wrong.)

(PS- The schoolhouse chairs are fine. We like them very much. And they were made in Italy.)