I have been laughing finding photos for this post! Ah, my dining room. It has taken a couple of tries to get things right…One of the funny things about doing design work is that sometimes my home ends up being a bit of a lab. Through some trial and error, I will finally end up with something I think is beautiful and suited to the space.
Join me on the journey.
This is what the dining room looked like when the previous owners lived here. I like the space, and I like grey, but this room felt very dark and low to me.
We started pondering what we could do to brighten it up in there. One of the problems was the amount of natural light reaching the room. The space is long and narrow, and there was one single chandelier trying to fill the space. Because of how our home is set up, you cannot put recessed lighting on the first floor so we had to come up with a different solution. And then we found it – though it is no longer available at Pottery Barn, we put up the Edison Chandelier, and we love it.
The arms allow you to position it any way you like so it was simple for us to stretch it mostly the length of the table. It gives us so much more light, and though we loved the crystal chandelier that was in there (it is original to our home), we moved it to the island in the kitchen so everyone is happy.
Now that lighting was tackled, we moved on to the aesthetics. I love painted molding, and I would like to have them in this house somewhere – white walls, color on the molding. I painted the molding first – Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue – but it just didn’t do it for me. (Take note of the small buffet piece in the photo for its later transformation).
It still felt lifeless. It just wasn’t right. Then I got to thinking…I would love to have a beautiful wallpaper in there, something that fits the home but still has a modern flair. But…the kids. We have lots of kids that would be walking through and touching it and leaving their sweet little marks. That’s when I thought of this…
Beadboard! It was the perfect answer. It’s durable, it’s wipeable, the creamy white would brighten the space, and it looks original to the home. You can see we took the texture off the walls to get to the smooth plaster surface below. Also, check out the “before” on the ‘Mad Hatter’ vintage chairs I picked up on Craigs List. I love love love the shape of them and knew they would make terrific host/hostess chairs.
We were on our way, but I knew the wallpaper would seal the deal. I quickly fell in love with this wallpaper which I thought was exclusively an Anthropologie item.
But a little more research led me to the discovery that this is a Cole & Son wallpaper called Hummingbirds, and instead of spending $198 a roll at Anthropologie, I could spend $115 at Decoraters Best. Obviously, this is still expensive, but I didn’t need much since I had a small space to fill. (another positive of doing the beadboard) Once I saw the paper and pattern in person, I knew this was it. I love the colors, and it has such a lovely almost hand-painted texture to it you can’t see in the photograph.
So without further adieu, welcome to my dining room.
We love this room. It is light, bright, elegant, and full of character. It’s interesting to look at. I like to create rooms you can’t take in with one swoop of the eye. Rooms with depth. Something I really like about this room is all of the special touches and details that make it us.
You can see the buffet makeover below. Didn’t it turn out beautiful? I found this piece at a garage sale forever ago for $15. The wood was in pretty bad shape except for the curved insets on the sides of the piece and the drawer fronts. But I loved the shape of it and knew I cold make it into something special. This project ended up being one of my, “woops! I stayed up all night” projects. I started painting it, and then it was morning.
I painted the frame in the same creamy white as the trim and beadboard in the room. Then I painted the detail with a bronzed gold leaf paint, oiled the exposed wood, scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed the hardware, and voila, it looks like something from a high end antique store.
The collection of blue and white china has come from various sources. The darling “let them eat cake” vase I adore was gifted to me and is from Anthropologie. Found here. The large bowl belonged to my husband’s great Aunt Grace. The lucite lamps are vintage.
What doesn’t belong here?
The abstract painting was a Salvation Army find - it is a bit unexpected, and I like that about it in regards to the room. It was $24, and it is actually a real-deal painting! A little research revealed it is by a mid-century artist who signed his pieces “Cien”.
On the right side of the room, you can see the etagere filled with my china collection, terrariums, and other treasures. Found by my sweet friend and Gypsy Soul comrade, Kristen Dowd, the vintage gold leaf frame with glass shelves adds a unique element to the room.
A year or so ago, an antique china store in my city closed. They had a huge sale, and I decided to get twelve sets of china. They are all different, and it gives such a collected feel to the space. So lovely to look at and study, the patterns range from the 1800′s to the 1930′s.
The gigantic light bulb is original to the house! We found it when we moved in.
The terrariums are easy to care for (a cup or two of water every couple of weeks) and lend some softness to the overall look. Glass containers were all purchased at Home Goods.
The crystal candy dish was our first wedding present given to us by Kent’s grandparents – it was their first wedding present! They have been married over sixty years! The “Dish” book (Christmas gift alert!) is a very fun read if you like looking at vintage and antique china patterns.
Love love love wallpapered doors. We put wallpaper inside the frames on both sides. (this door is open quite a bit) The door stop is original to the house. If you missed the post on how I put up my plate collection, it can be seen here.
The vintage host and hostess chairs were recovered in a wipeable diamond textured fabric for the front, and a beautiful silk on the back. You can’t tell the diamond fabric is vinyl until you touch it!
For curtain rods, I used my DIY Acrylic Curtain Rods, and they turned out just as lovely in my dining room as they did the living room. Dining rooms need a little sparkle!
I don’t normally prefer plain sheer drapes, but I do like a pretty pattern on a sheer. We didn’t need the privacy so the simple sheers work great. The fabric is from Cutting Corners – “Newman” in Ivory.
The diamond backed chairs are vintage and another Craigslist find. I had them lacquered and recovered in a faux ostrich. (I love using faux ostrich in homes with kids – it always looks chic and any spills are easily conquered with a wipe!) My husband will probably shake his head when he reads this, but I am pondering using a different color of faux ostrich. I was trying to branch out with the pink color (it picks up on the coral-y pink hues in the wallpaper and hostess chairs), and…I don’t love it. But it will work for now. I recently picked up a bolt of aqua ostrich fabric on clearance and may take on the recovering project myself. We’ll see. Crazy about the chairs though. (You can also see on the other side of the french doors is the playroom.)
One last before & after.
Hope you enjoyed my dining room makeover! Tons of work, tons of hours, but very very worth it. This is our only eating area so it gets loads of use, and it makes me so happy to look at it. I think it’s a great example of layering to create something comfortable, elegant, and unique. And also a true illustration of trial and error, ha!
Many many thanks to Kat Phillips (featured in this month’s Coastal Living – woot woot!), of TheGrayAttic.com, for the lovely images of my dining room featured in this post.