My Favourite Designs: Why I love the Ercol ‘pebble’ nest of tables.
In the first part of my new series, ‘My Favourite Designs’, I feature an iconic design I would dearly love to have in my own home, the ercol ‘pebble’ nest of tables. This gorgeous set, often referred to as the ‘pebble’ nest, was designed by ercol’s founder, Lucian Ercolani, in 1956 and has become something of a mid-century design classic.
Playing ‘Happy Families’ during the half-term holidays.
This half-term, I took our girls on a bit of a UK tour and visited almost every member of our family in the space of a week. It was like taking part in a real-life version of the ‘Happy Families’ card game (or filling a Panini Sticker book), where you have to collect the full set of family members. Except, instead of collecting cards or stickers, we were notching up real-life encounters with our relatives.
We started at the beginning of the week with Richard’s cousins and their families in Nottingham. Then we added my sister and her family in Manchester to the collection. Then we travelled to the North-east to see Grandma Spikes (think hair, not personality!) and Grandad Ukulele (aka Grandad Watches – it’s a long story). Finally, we ‘collected’ Grandma Tractor in Derbyshire. In fact, Grandma Tractor was like the elusive, final card we needed to complete our ‘Happy Family’.
If Grandma Tractor was a Panini Sticker, she’d be the shiny gold one: the one you’d go to extreme lengths to get your hands on. Well, it wasn’t actually that extreme but we really did ‘collect her’, scooping her up on the way back from the North-East to bring her back to Nottingham with us.
What have my half-term adventures got to do with Ercol Pebbles?
You might be wondering what on earth our half-term adventure has to do with the ercol ‘Pebble’ nest of tables? There is a connection, honestly! Every time I visit mum, I see her beautiful ercol pebble nests in her living room, and that’s how I fell in love with this design classic in the first place.
Whenever I walk into mum’s living room, I’m always a little bit envious of her gorgeously curvaceous ercol pebble nests (bet you were wondering how I’d end that sentence!). Mum has two sets of ercol pebble nests! Two! What’s more, she bought them in secondhand furniture shops about 8 years ago. She bought one set of three in dark varnish for £8 and stripped them down and restored them (see photos) and the other set of two tables for £4! She really was ahead of the curve (pun intended). Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to snap up these mid-century design classics for less than £300, so mum really did get a bargain.
The ercol 354 Originals nest of tables costs around £600 new. In terms of secondhand prices, it’s virtually impossible to snap up these mid-century design classics for less than £300 these days, so mum really did get a bargain. I must admit, being a savvy shopper myself, the fact mum got her ercol pebbles for such a great price makes me love them even more!
Ercol: Made in England since 1920.
Ercol was founded by a young Italian immigrant, Lucian Ercolani, in 1920. Since then, Ercol has gone from strength to strength, achieving Lucian’s goal of ‘making well-designed furniture, in a good working environment by craftsmen who really take pride in their jobs’.
Design is at the heart of everything we do – design for comfort, design for looks, design for function; we use a combination of our own in-house design team and commissioning of other British designers. In 2002 we moved into a new, purpose built factory and showroom in Princes Risborough and we remain, to this day, a family owned company. – Ercol website.
Ercol furniture is enjoying a huge surge in popularity at the moment. There’s been something of a ‘mid-century’ revival too in terms of design trends. No wonder design classics like the Ercol Pebble nest of tables and the iconic Ercol butterfly chair have graced the pages of glossy magazines and found their way into the homes of style-conscious individuals around the world in recent years.
The Ercol Pebble nest of tables.
So why do I love the Ercol Pebble nest of tables? Let me count the ways!
I adore the simplicity of this classic piece of furniture comprising three individual tables: the gorgeous curves of the pebble-shaped top and the three beautiful tapered wooden legs. I love the flexible design, where the smaller tables slot neatly underneath the large one to save space when not in use.
The choice of materials is perfect too. The glorious woodgrain of the elm tops and the beech legs.
In terms of finish, there are currently five wood colours (Straw, Light, Special Light, Golden Dawn, Clear Matt) and three painted colours available. The clear matt lacquer helps to showcase the beauty of the timber.
To celebrate ercol’s 90th birthday two special edition nests were produced in 2010. One had walnut table tops, instead of the normal elm. The other special edition gave the pebble nest a playful makeover with the large table painted in teal, the medium table in coral and the small table in red ochre.
Over to you.
What do you think of my choice of subject for the first in the ‘My Favourite Designs’ series? Are you a fan of ercol’s iconic ‘pebble’ nest? Do you have any pebbles or ercol pieces in your home and if so, did you get them for a bargain price? As always, I’d love to hear from you.
This is not a sponsored post.
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Love those tables, they look fantastic and what a bargain! We’ve managed to find a few treasures on eBay, but nowhere near as beautiful as those tables. #Homeetc.
Thanks, Suzanne. Mum did well, didn’t she?!
It is one of my favourite pieces of furniture and I scour the internet and second hand shops for that illusive bargain.
They are so tactile, you just want to stroke those smooth edges, well I do anyway.
Your lucky Mum, I am not sure how you didn’t sneak them in the car
Ha! I think she might notice!!! And she reads my blog so she knows how much I looooooove them!
I love these tables too! I’ve kept an eye out at our local auction as they occasionally come up – they do usually go for a bit more than I’d want to pay though! It is still possible to get some good Ercol bargains – I bought a beautiful Ercol sideboard off eBay for about £200. Not cheap, but when you compare it to buying a new sideboard of a similar quality it was definitely a good buy! x #HomeEtc
It’s only now that I realise how lucky my mum was to get hold of these before everyone remembered how fab they were! Thanks for commenting!
Yes Jane I love Ercol, years ago we had to go on a waiting list for the dining room table and chairs. I like the idea that there are no screws or bolts only joints. You can spot Ercol by the beautiful curved edges which I find very tactile. I’m so glad you see what I see when you look at this iconic furniture. Mum x
Oh they are so gorgeous! I have a set of Ercol chairs and sofa, I picked them up in a charity shop when I was a student for about £50. They are lush but need new cushions and I’d love to strip the dark varnish off them to get back to the gorgeous elm. But I don’t want to ruin them! x #HomeEtc
Now you just have to find a subtle way of killing off your mam. Sorry. Too much??
Nutter! I told my mam you were a lovely northern lass as well!
I cannot believe how much your mum paid for them!! They’re an absolute classic – I’d love an Ercol love seat for our kitchen but so far have completely failed to find a bargain. One day! #HomeEtc
Oh, they have some fab stuff on their website. I would love to work with them!!
Ooooh I’m so jealous you have these tables, I just LOVE Ercol furniture. I have a few pieces of Mid Century furniture in my house, I can’t get enough of it!
love Ercol, there is something so tactile about it and timeless. Great choice. #homeetc
Oh Ercol, how iconic it is! My Mum had loads of Ercol furniture when I was growing up and I’m pretty sure even my Grandad had some too. This nest is beautiful X #HomeEtc
Ah, thanks Lindsay!
Aaah I LOVE Ercol. It just goes to show that great design never dates. Their pieces are so iconic — and the clean lines are perfect for today’s living. Well done to your mum!! She did very well with those! No wonder you’re coveting them 🙂 Cxx #HomeEtc
She reads this blog so if they ever go missing she has a prime suspect 😉
Lovely! These are perfect pieces and looking so stylish 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and linking up – much appreciated xx
Jess – #HomeEtc
cool..Perfect table set for styling up your room or office.Thanx for sharing.
They are such beautiful tables! They’re too modern for my own home but would go perfectly in my imaginary Pinterest worthy chic apartment! ?
I can admire the design, and classic-ness but it’s not a style that I’ll be opting for anytime soon. I think it’s partly growing up with that style and that my parents and in-laws still have the originals that put me off 🙂