The table looked beautiful and the description said it was in great condition. The chairs were described as "fair," but I wasn't really deterred by that. After a few emails back and forth with the seller and a couple of text messages, we headed to a student neighborhood to pick the table and chairs up.
The house where the seller lived with his five roommates is massive. It's on a road that is full of student houses, but is set so far back that we never noticed it. It has stately columns, elaborate trim work, and original pocket doors in the massive doorways. Like many sought after student apartments, the house has passed from one group of students to the next, all in the same academic program (the local university's law school). The student selling the table decided to restore it and he did a beautiful job. He also refinished two of the three leaves that go into the table (fully extended, it's about 92" long).
The finish on the rest of our dining room furniture is a very dark, almost-black, espresso brown, but I couldn't fathom passing up on the beautiful table.
I had always hoped to move our black table into the kitchen and having a table with leaves in the dining room so we could host holiday dinners at the house.
The student was apologetic about not finding the third leaf while he was refinishing the table and sent us home with the leftover stain he had used. He and his roommates were so nice!
Within hours of getting the table, I was packing to go to a conference, so I haven't even had a chance to really enjoy it. These pictures are all I have so far. I can't wait to get home to see it again!