The Rough Table from NORR11


Look at this. It’s my new rough table  from NORR11 and I’m so thrilled that it’s finally here. Like all the fashionable people it arrived late. About six weeks late to be precise but it was so gorgeous when it turned up that nobody minded.

People say the kitchen is the heart of the home but I would go further than that – I think it’s the table. The kitchen table is where you sit together as a family, it’s where your friends come to join you. It’s a place for homework and crafting, drinking wine and sipping coffee. I wrote my book at our last kitchen table. I’m hoping to write my next book at this one.

We have had long lunches and late dinners. Sat there for “just one more glass” then devoured eggs and bacon round it the following morning. Kitchen tables have been used to start businesses, make dreams come true and as the starting point for plans for holidays, weddings and funerals. The kitchen table is perhaps the most important piece of furniture you will buy.


This one is the Rough Table and the top is basically a giant slice of tree fixed onto two iron legs. I love the raw edges and the organic shape of it. The other, slightly mental thing, is that despite being significantly bigger than our old table, which could only fit two chairs down each side, it appears to take up less space.

You can see from the pictures that we have comfortably fitted three chairs along each side and could happily put one at each end. We haven’t because we only own six chairs, but if we had more people coming for supper we have a couple of stools that would work. Or, darnit, we’ll just have to buy two more chairs.

My theory about this taking up less space is that the old table had a leg at each corner (hold on before you raise your eyebrows in a statement of the bleedin’ obvious kind of way) whereas this has two legs that are dark and are set well underneath. This gives the table the appearance of floating.


It’s a good trick to bear in mind if you want a big table and are nervous about how it might dominate the space. This one, for the record is 220cm long. The old one was 180cm so that’s quite a difference. If you have more chairs than us (or friends come to that) then it comes in either 3m or 4m long.

Each one is unique, of course and some might curve slightly more than others. I also love the butterfly joints that have been inserted to stop the natural cracks from widening. The reason ours was late is that NORR11 check each table carefully and dry them in the warehouse and sometimes the wood fails the test and can’t be used.

I should tell you  – because you will rightly care about such things that the Suar, or Monkeypod tree lives in Asia and is not endangered. NORR11 pays the owner of the tree once for the tree and also gives him (or her) enough money to plant another one in its place.


You can choose from the iron legs, as I have, or brass legs which are really quite breathtakingly wow but didn’t go in my house as I have a stainless steel worktop. The table contrasts beautifully with that and its warm, wooden curves are the perfect antidote to the hardlines and cold edges that are so often found in the kitchen.

For those who like to finish a story, the old table was an old school table and was slightly too high for modern chairs. We considered cutting the legs down by a couple of inches but feared that that would spoil the proportions. It also had large drawers underneath and shortening the legs might have interfered with the space for ones own legs under the drawers. But over the years the children got used to kneeling until they grew tall enough and the grandparents used cushions. We loved that table but it wasn’t ideal.

The rough table, however, is.


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Love the table, and please don’t change the rug as goes beautifully with the table. I just love the two together.
    Have a good weekend!

  2. I’m afraid I have to agree with Nicky about the rug. You need a more monochromatic one – and is that a tin ceiling? Or tiles? How unusual to see in an English house – I associate them with old South African or American properties. It looks gorgeous with the modern dark painted kitchen. I am rather envious of your table – saw some beauties like it in Australia years ago. But I did buy the Norr11 chairs you featured a while back and they are really lovely.

  3. This new table is absolutely gorgeous, and perfect in the space (which is perfectly beautiful, BTW). Cheers, Ardith

  4. This is such a wonderful table, Kate! I love what you wrote about the table being the heart of the home: I’d certainly agree (esp if kitchen space is a bit limited, as I expect it will be for my boyfriend and I when we buy our first place next year).

    Putting it that way, I’d say its WELL worth the investment to buy a table you really, really love. A bit like beds and TVs: they get a lot of us so are worth every penny! And even better that they plant another tree in its place…certainly helps to alleviate any “we spent HOW much on that!?” guilt!

    Also, “the top is basically a giant slice of tree fixed onto two iron legs” made me smile: exactly the kind of table I’d like myself!


  5. I adore that table too…hope you don’t mind my commenting but I think you now need to change the rug..sorry! It competes with the beautiful wood-grain. I reckon something large and plain that picks up one of the colours in the wood would allow it to shine. Still, more shopping!

  6. Hi Kate,
    Gorgeous table but might I ask if tablecloths are to be thrown out the window??? I love natural wood tables but I also love a beautifully set table with tablecloths, etc. What is your view?

    1. Hmm interesting point. I think perhaps a return to the days of my Grandmother – tablecloths for dresssing a table for a party and plain for weekdays. Or, perhaps the other way round – tablecloths for practical every day and mats and coasters for parties. Basically, do both depending on how you feel!

  7. Wow ! Your table is absolutely beautiful, Kate! Really stunning . Just sheer gleaming rich natural beauty. I can imagine you sitting there with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine – and lovingly stroking the table ! I think that’s going to be your ‘forever’ table . It would be mine ! Beautiful – looks gorgeous in your kitchen – and I agree, the table is the heart of the home.

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