Monday, August 10, 2015

The Classics: The Telescoping Table

Next month, I will celebrate nine years of blogging, and I can hardly believe it.  Back then, blogging was considered cutting-edge, but today, it's more like the éminence grise of the social media world.  So much has changed since 2006, and yet, in a way, much has stayed the same.  Nine years later and I'm still focusing my attention on those interiors and furnishings that have stood the test of time.

Some of you who have been with me for the long haul might remember "The Classics" series that I wrote a number of years ago.  Each of the series' blog posts featured furnishings that I considered to be classic.  Think Porthault linen, Brunschwig's "Les Touches" fabric, and Billy Baldwin's slipper chair.  (Little did I know back then that I would eventually develop this concept into a book, In with the Old.)  But it dawned on me last week that I had never written about a piece of furniture that is most definitely a classic: the telescoping table.

Look at the homes of Hubert de Givenchy, Howard Slatkin, and Alex Papachristidis, to name but a few, and you'll find at least one telescoping table, which is a small occasional table whose height can be adjusted thanks to a telescoping shaft.  You often see these tables constructed in brass, although they are made in others metals.  And although most owners seem drawn to round telescoping tables, you will find square versions in many a well-appointed home, too.  I have been told that those made by Maison Toulouse in the mid-twentieth-century are highly desirable, but also coveted is Matthews & Parker's nifty new version, which I recently saw in the Atlanta Brunschwig & Fils- Lee Jofa showroom.  Seriously, what's not to love about a table that is handy, adjustable, and, most important, classically chic?  And now, after having written this post, I covet a telescoping table even more than I did last week.  I'm moving this table to the top of my wish list.   

I always identify the brass telescoping table with Givenchy, who has quite a collection of them in his hôtel particulier in Paris.  The table in the top photo also belongs to Givenchy.

Howard Slatkin has a number of these tables in his home, including one that holds a candle and porcelain flowers and another that supports a stack of dinner plates.

Brian McCarthy must be a fan, as he used this round telescoping table in a client's home.

A square brass version in the former home of designer Alex Papachristidis.

And here, in Robert Couturier's living room, a telescoping table holds a cheery bouquet of pink flowers.

Photo #1: The Finest Houses Of Paris; #2: Private Houses of France: Living with History; #3 and #4: Fifth Avenue Style: A Designer's New York Apartment; #5: Luminous Interiors: The Houses of Brian McCarthy; #6: The Age of Elegance: Interiors by Alex Papachristidis; #7: Robert Couturier: Designing Paradises.


  1. Interesting timing because I just got one in June at a bric a brac and it is just perfect for when people come around for drinks because they get to claim that table with their drinks put down and it is great for putting mints out and a additional table to set things on if you are on your laptop and the sidetable is already piled high with books!

  2. Jennifer these tables are wonderful and the perfect size to use almost anywhere! At the top of my list as well!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Nicoletta Belletti

  3. Jennifer,
    I really enjoyed your post, leaning about the telescoping tables and also that you are a pioneer in the field of blogging. Congratulations on nine years of Blogging!

  4. congratulations on your 9th year + I use them when ever possible.

  5. Congratulations---the years have gone so quickly. Love the table. Mary

  6. My square Maison Toulouse table is one of my all time favorites. I have had it for many years and many clients keep offering to buy it but I will never part with it. I dont even know where you can find them anymore? Ill check out 1st dibs.

  7. Anonymous11:01 AM

    The Maison Toulouse tables tend to go for 5-8,000 when they come up at auction.

  8. We have a contemporary pair of dark wood and metal. Perfect for founiture with arms of different heights.