Restoration Hardware 17th C. Monastery Dining Table Review: 8 Months and 3 Tables Later

It’s been 8 months since we made one of our first “grown-up” furniture purchases of this Restoration Hardware dining table. It’s pretty, huh?

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However, I’d like to share the drama we went through getting this table, as it has been quite the comedy of errors…not to be a Complainypants, but more as a cautionary/informative tale. And so I can offer a review of my experience and a review of how the table has held up.

Prologue. We pulled the trigger and purchased this table in June in the Year of Our Lord, 2014 (and we paid $249 for delivery to us in the outer suburbs of Grand Rapids. IRONY: shipping to my parents’ farm which is in a considerably more rural area, would have been $100 less. Booo.).

Chapter 1. Our “first” table was “delivered,” and by that, I mean that the delivery guy came up to the house, rang the doorbell, and proceeded to tell me to “sign here to reject this shipment” because apparently the table had been badly scratched while in the truck. I never saw the scratched table, but I signed and we proceeded to wait another three weeks for table number two (you may recall this story from my first blog post about this table). However, Restoration Hardware receives points because, when I called to formalize the table exchange, they refunded me 20% of the purchase price. Yay!

Chapter 2. Our second table arrives using Restoration Hardware’s standard “white glove delivery service” (they use what I believe is an independent delivery company). The deliverymen did an okay job. They did have large moving blankets they used when they brought in the table, but they also had to *assemble* the table (put the top on the bottom with a few nuts and bolts) and they 1) initially thought they didn’t have the correct tools and asked to borrow my drill (though they did in fact have the correct tools) and 2) didn’t know how the table went together (I had to show them). Huh?*

*More on the deliverymen later. #foreshadowing

In the hubbub of the delivery/assemblymen’s arrival, it didn’t occur to me to actually INSPECT the table. Once they’d left, we found several noticeable dings/scratches on the table’s edge.

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Exhibit A: see top right 1″ scratch and worn edge along bottom.
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Exhibit B: edge dents (would be fine if this were a “distressed” table, but alas, it it not. Except here).
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Exhibit C: there were a myriad of chips along the bottom edge of the table top. This is the worst of them, though there were more.

NOW. Would I actually have refused delivery for these relatively small flaws? Probably not. I was just excited to receive my new table (especially since we had moved our old table out of the dining room weeks before in anticipation of Table #1)! But I wish I would have said something at the time just so it was on the record. I don’t want anyone to be put out, but I do like to be heard.

Chapter 3. We enjoy our RH table for 8 months, and here’s where my “wear and tear” review comes in. It’s been a mostly good experience. A few things to note

  • The tabletop and pedestal base are not firmly attached together. If you put your elbows on the tabletop, for example, the whole thing rocks a bit.* MORE ON THIS LATER.
  • The top of this table has a very smooth surface with a matte sheen. Water/liquid rings leave a different sheen on the table, but we’ve always been able to wipe them off with a damp cloth.
  • We’ve had to be VERY careful to avoid scratches (which show up easily on such a smooth surface). It’s only Kenny and I–no kids yet– and we only eat 1 meal at the table each day, so you would think this would be fairly easy, but we haven’t been entirely successful. The worst was when I slid my glass terrarium about 6 inches across the table: it left a series of small scratches before I realized. Now I am VERY careful with wooden trivets, etc., often using a runner to cushion things.

Chapter 4. One evening about a month ago, Kenny was cleaning underneath the table and notices: a 3″ CRACK, located at the top of the pedestal base where it supports the tabletop.

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Now, is this VERY BAD? No, it is not. But it is kind of bad (and could get worse). So I decided to call RH to see what our options were. They were very helpful and apologetic and decided then and there that they would send a “furniture medic” to come and assess the situation to see if it could be repaired. However, a few days later, I receive an email saying the “furniture medic” would be unable to repair the table and they were wondering if we would like to move forward with an exchange. Well, sure we would (though the frugal/hoarder/green-minded person in me is being RACKED with GUILT over how much waste we? they? are causing).

Chapter 5. I receive an email directing me to call RH to begin the exchange process. I do so, and they inform me that they will first refund the initial purchase price of the table, ship the table, and recharge me for the table. That’s fine, I say. Immediately after I get off the phone, I realize we closed the credit card we’d initially used to purchase the table, so I call back and give them new account information, which they promise to use for the refund/recharge.

But on 3/16, when our credit card is charged the initial purchase price, I begin to get worried. Where’s our initial refund? I call RH three separate times with the following responses: “wait,” “wait,” and “oh, you should have received it by now” (YES DUH) “please contact your credit card company.”

So I contacted our credit card company, and they have no record of the refund either. UM WHO HAS OUR DOLLARS?!

So I call Restoration Hardware again, this time to request an itemized receipt, since to this point in the exchange I hadn’t received any receipts or anything other than a shipping confirmation. “It will take 3-5 days to email you a receipt,” they say.

Thankfully, the receipt came later that day, but it didn’t include any record of any refund at all. HMM THAT’S VERY STRANGE. So I requested a MORE detailed receipt (“Sure, that’ll be another 3-5 days”)…

I finally got the more detailed receipt on Friday and it was all finally very clear–they had sent the refund to the credit card account that we had closed (and that I’d specifically requested they NOT do). I had asked which credit card they sent the refund to on phone call number 2, and the customer service representative assured me they’d sent it to the right account. FALSE.

When I called to point this out, they agreed with my findings (DUH) but informed me that the bank (for our closed credit card) HAD ACCEPTED THE PAYMENT and we would have to call the bank. Well shoot.

Thankfully, Kenny was able to call the bank for our closed account, and they are going to send us a check for the refund. Phwew. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we don’t live paycheck to paycheck or have credit card debt problems, because that would have made things a Whole Lot More interesting.

Chapter 6. Table number three arrived. The delivery experience was mostly the same with a few marked differences: the guys knew how the table went together and didn’t ask to use any of our tools. GREAT. (Plus, we remembered to inspect the table carefully before accepting the shipment!)

SIDENOTE: while the delivery guys were assembling our new table, Kenny worked at disassembling our old table. However, he became very confused while he was supposedly unscrewing the 8 lag bolts holding the top of the table on when he could only find 4 of the eight bolts. It looks like the delivery/assembly guys had only used half of the bolts they were supposed to and just left it at that. WHAT. WHY. In addition, when we lifted off the top of the table, we saw that another set of bolts had been technically installed, but they were very very loose, which is what caused the rocking of the table top.

Conclusion. Third time’s the charm? We certainly hope so! Our new table is very solid (you can plant your elbows on the table without fear you’ll tip over any drinking glasses) and blemish-free (and we’re going to try our darndest to keep it that way). All’s well that end’s well. Do I feel moderately guilty for going through three separate tables? UM YES & I feel like a whiney consumer…but I also paid a lot of moolah to get a table we plan to have for the next several decades, so I guess that’s how I sleep at night.

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Epilogue. I just wrote a 1400 word product review. Sheesh, Anne, get a life! ;) Anyone else have any crazy customer service stories you can distract me with? Oh, and want an even more dramatic customer service experience? Read our lawnmower saga…I dare you.

24 Comments

  • We had a piece of clear tempered glass cut to protect the top of our table. It eliminates the anxiety of worrying about scratching or leaving moisture rings.

    • I’ve thought about doing that! Any pros/cons other than the obvious I should consider? I love the naked table as-is, but it might be worth it for peace of mind.

      • We love the glass and it truly gives you peace of mind especially during parties etc. Just make sure you use enough of the little spacers that keep the glass from touching the wood. The spacers are round pieces that look like clear bingo markers. The glass place should have them. I had glass cut for my dressers so that I do not have to worry about perfume dripping onto the dresser top and ruining the finish OR my husband’s keys scratching the finish.

        The glass doesn’t distract from the table at all.

  • Great review! It’s nice to see people’s actual experience with high-end furniture. I think it gives folks more confidence when shelling out that much moolah for a table, couch, etc.

    I manage a high rise in downtown Chicago and we have lots of residents order furniture from Restoration Hardware. I can confirm that yes – they do sub out their delivery, and no – not all of the delivery men are created equal. Some are great (in one instance a couch was too big to fit up the elevator so they carried it up 10 flights of stairs and didn’t complain about it even a little!). Some not so much (the showed up an hour earlier than the delivery window and then had a fit in my lobby because the resident wasn’t home and we wouldn’t allow them to dump the piece of furniture in our lobby and leave).

    Side note – I grew up in a suburb of GR. Not sure why I feel compelled to share that, but I guess you don’t find a lot of peeps from West Michigan in the blogosphere! :-)

    • Oh man, I bet THAT is a fascinating job–you must have tons of crazy stories, ha! And it is great to hear from other West MI natives…it definitely doesn’t happen often even though I know there has GOT to be more bloggers from Grand Rapids? Hmm. I may need to start hunting more.

  • We have a pedestal table from C&B and luckily I scored it at the outlet because man, it is wobbly. We’ve tried so.many.things and it remains a pain my behind. This will be my last pedestal table. I hope you have a better experience with your third table :)

    • So far, so good! Table #3 has proven itself to be quite sturdy–very little wobbling at all! Sorry to hear about your table–that’s so frustrating.

  • I just bought this table and was trying to fix the wobbly top. Thanks to your review I am going to take off the top and look for the other loose bolts you described. Our delivery guys put it together on the truck, so I never got to see the guts. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Kay–The chairs are actually from World Market, but I’m not sure they carry this exact style anymore. Thanks for reading!

  • I have had the worst time with Restoration Hardware, but my issues involve sofas.
    I first purchased a sofa in November 2014, and it looked great. After a few days it felt like it was smaller than it should be. Measured it, and yep! Came up 8 inches too short. So we returned it. In January 2015 I received a call from my RH credit card saying I have missed 3 payments and if I didn’t pay up, I’d be sent to collections. Interesting since I don’t have the sofa! They called RH and everything was fixed.
    Fast forward about 5 months (yes, we were sofa-less for 5 months) and I ended up purchasing another sofa from them. It arrived damaged. They sent an exchange, it too was damaged. Decided to try a different style all together, and this sofa measured short and was the wrong depth which we paid for. The next exchange never got to take place because I found out they were lying to me about flame retardants (FR) in their furniture. (I DO NOT want them) I was told numerous times over and over that they have phased out flame retardants and no longer put them in their furniture. The last sofa they sent was 2 years old according to the tags (made in 2013, and I purchased in July 2015!!) and yes it contained FR. Called the company who told me that ALL of their upholstered furniture contains FR, and they were so sorry I was told otherwise. After many google searches, many news websites state RH no longer carries FR in their furniture as of Jan 2015. So, bottom line, I will no longer purchase upholstered furniture from them and gladly (and happily!) purchased a sofa from Pottery Barn.
    But here I am googling RH dining room tables!!! The obsession with the company cannot be stopped! LOL

  • We just received our RH dining table, monastery in gray acacia. Thinking about glass for the top. Have you had any damage to the finish with regular spills of liquid or food?

    • Hi, Sheri! We haven’t had any issues so far, but we are very careful and are only two adults. Liquid leaves a “sheen” on the table even after it dries but a damp cloth wipes that right up. A glass top might be good for piece of mind, though! Enjoy your new table!

    • Hi, we’ve had the monastery in gray acacia for two years and I am so happy to report that it never stains! We have three kids and get lots of spills. So far no water marks or stains. Even spaghetti sauce comes right off. Our old dining table had glass and it had to be windexed every day. Hope this helps!

      • Thank you, Ann, that is very helpful to hear that you’ve had it for a few years with kids and have no stains! And thanks so much for the detailed review, Anne! We are very interested in purchasing this table and I’m so glad I found your post. :)

  • Awesome post! Just ordered the RH Priory round in grey and thanks to you will inspect it thoroughly! Hope yours is holding up well! Could you please tell me if it’s not?

  • Hi! Thanks so much for this review, I just ordered this table and am getting a bit nervous that it’s high maintenance! I’ve heard that the wood of this table is quite soft– have you found that it easily gets indentations?

  • HI! Thanks so much for this review. The photo just looks so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist buying it anyway. Can I ask you- is that the 48inch round or the 60inch round? I want to make sure the size won’t be too overwhelming in our place. Thanks!

  • Hi! We are considering buying this table in the rectangle shape. My husband is concerned about the top being a veneer. Have you found it to be a good quality? Not peeling? Doesn’t chip easily? Thanks!

    • Oops, delayed response…my bad! It’s a very high quality veneer and I don’t see it ever peeling unless you drive over it with a car. We have had a tiny bit of crackling (like…the TINIEST bit of crackle) in one area, but you would never be able to see it unless I pointed it out to you. We aren’t careful with water glasses (so they condense on the table) but we are very careful with hot things and always use potholders. Hope this helps!

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