I spotted it resting lopsided on the lawn at a local yard sale.
There, beyond the supermodel-sexy table in perfect condition, was a forlorn table with painted wood and bulky contours that cried out to me. I knew I had to have it.
With my doubting husband in tow (his yard-sale default position is "We don't need that!"), I tried convincing him that this orphaned table was what would instantly transform our "vanilla" condominium into a far more interesting interior landscape. "It's ugly enough to be beautiful," I insisted.
So he gave in, already weary of this Saturday morning blood sport.
From the table dangled a tag that read $15. We unabashedly offered $7.50. The owners faked dismay. But we all realized it could be had for $10.
The sellers even helped us carry our prize to the car and tenderly deposit it on the backseat. "Such a bargain!" I kept exulting as my husband, who resists change as a basic policy, grimly drove home.
Inside our home, I spied the ultimate spot for my treasure: a naked place in our foyer that had been begging for adornment.
For a few days, the table simply rested against that wall. But something was definitely missing — and the "Aha!" moment came as dusk fell.
What that table needed was a lamp, something to chase the gloom of darkness. I even had one in mind. It was my grandmother's very fragile, very nonfunctional crystal-beaded peacock lamp, which had been relegated to the basement after the price for a complete redo was prohibitive.
But now it had a chance at rebirth.
After several conferences with experts who were willing to tinker with old pieces for a price, we sent Grandma's lamp off to be rewired. It would cost $180 — 18 times the price of the table. But with the pretzel logic of lust, I signed on the dotted line because, my reasoning went, look what I'd saved on the table …
Just one problem: There was no electrical outlet near the table. To reach one would mean snaking cords through a foyer that was not expansive.
But no worry. I thought of the electrician who had solved our problems for years in our former house, an ancient Tudor with incessant wiring needs.
But it seemed that this project, for reasons too arcane for me to comprehend, was no piece of cake. It was in fact, going to involve some electrical work ($150) on the wall behind the table and a bit of plastering ($85) as the mop-up operation.
There comes a point in a homeowner's life when you know you're teetering on the edge of a money pit, all because of a $10 table. My head processed that, but my heart refused to surrender. The foyer table led — I humbly followed.
"Let's do it!" I said. And my electrician gleefully did.
But just as the kneebone is connected to the shinbone, so, too, was the foyer's bare wooden floor connected to what was now becoming a major foyer redesign.
Let me cut to the chase: An Oriental-style area rug ($575) in just the right mellow tones to quiet down Grandma's peacock lamp somehow joined our household, providing an anchor for our amazing bargain table.
All that was left to complete the project were a few accessories, so the peacock lamp's glow would have something to illuminate.
I started with the Japanese painting on glass ($80), but because I'm a sensible woman, everything else I bought was on sale. That included the funky little dressmaker's mold the artist agreed to sell for way below its value ($38), and the wonderful copper planter that now rests by its side ($65).
The suggestion I've made to my husband about getting rid of the boring paint in the foyer — now that it's looking so snazzy — is being tabled.
In the meantime, our $10 possession sits grandly in its new surroundings. Never mind that an accountant might compute its cost at considerably, exponentially, more ($1,183). That number cruncher just wouldn't begin to understand the good luck of snagging a bargain at a yard sale.