57th Street Bookcase & Cabinet

Just about everything in my apartment–furniture, artwork, tchotchkes–has a story detailing how I came to own it.  And so it is with my coffee table.  My latest favorite piece is from 57th Street Bookcase & Cabinet, and it’s a beauty.

The coffee table idea started as a leftover piece of granite, the cut out of my cooktop from the granite counter installed this past September.  Often these cut outs do not emerge in one piece.  Sometimes the customer has no interest in the rough leftovers.  But I did and was fortunate that mine was large enough to be usable.  What emerged from the installation was a slab slightly less than three feet in length and about half as wide.

Coffee Table Top

I had no interest in an hexagonally shaped table, so the fabricators at Stone City kindly trimmed off the uneven side and rounded off the edges for me.  A few days later they dropped off a beautifully heavy piece of granite, cold to the touch but smooth and gentle on its sides, 33″ x 14 1/2″, length by width.  It was up to me to figure out what to do with it.

Originally I thought to make it into a breakfast table of sorts, but soon tossed that idea aside.  In the living room area I had a sofa and chairs but no table, having never actually owned a coffee table before.  (Maybe small NYC apartments had something to do with that.)  On a whim, I stopped by 57th Street Bookcase & Cabinet to see if they could customize a table around my hulking piece of granite.  The owner, Chip, was receptive and accommodating, and guided me through the choices required such as type of wood, finish, height and other details.  I chose walnut with one shelf, as simple as possible, knowing the raw elements of wood and stone were rich enough on their own not to require any additional flourishes.

They delivered and assembled the table a few weeks after I finalized the details.  I am delighted by it.  All these years of never owning a coffee table served me well; I was waiting for the perfect one, and now I have it.

coffee table

Location: 604 Davis Street in Evanston.  Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 11-6; Thursdays 11-7; Saturdays 10-5; Sundays 12-5.  Closed on Mondays.