Thursday, August 16, 2007

House in Progress: Breakfast Room Redux

Although I promised when I started this blog to "chronicle the process of making my family's house a home," I realize that I've been totally slacking on the House in Progress posts.

Mostly that's because everything has been in such a perpetual state of un-doneness around here that I didn't have much to show off. (Case in point: We still haven't repainted the pink bathroom.) That, and because Nick and I aren't totally satisfied with the rooms that we "finished" shortly after moving in last year, and have plans to repaint and rearrange a few of them.

But finally, one small area is coming together: Our little breakfast nook off the kitchen. It's a charming room with a bay window, two built-in china cupboards that are original to our circa-1939 home, a little arched entryway, and a peaked roof.

But as you can see from these "before" pictures we took when the house was for sale, the room was painted a dull beige, had ugly metal blinds hanging in the pretty divided-light casement windows, and sported a rather hideous copper and brass light fixture.

We repainted (with Benjamin Moore's Soft Fern) and took the blinds down right away, and I hung some cream-and-lavender ticking-striped cafe curtains that I had made up from a Restoration Hardware shower curtain. (I hated to cover up half of the lovely windows, but the room faces the street and has a southern exposure, so we needed to add something for a little privacy and shelter from the blazing sun while we sit at the table.)

Then we moved in our beloved retro formica dinette set, which had added such color and personality to our old kitchen. Unfortunately, the dinette set just wasn't right for this space, and it took forever to find something else. (The set is for sale on craigslist right now, if any of you locals are interested.)

We finally settled on a white parsons table from West Elm, and after a fruitless search for affordable wooden faux bamboo chairs, I ended up bidding on this set of metal patio chairs on eBay. (They just came back from the auto body shop today, where I had them powder coated in high-gloss white.)

Same with light fixtures. The one we ultimately went with (the new 15-inch Leran pendant from IKEA) is the third we've installed -- but I think the third time is the charm.

We also hung some vintage botanical prints (purchased very inexpensively on eBay and matted and framed in simple, stock-sized white mats and black frames that we bought at Aaron Bros. during one of their regular "buy one frame, get the second for 1 cent" sales). In retrospect, though, maybe we should have gone with white frames ...

And I set out my collection of purple sun glass and lavender transferware, assembled over the years from garage and estate sales, flea markets, and eBay.

Lastly, because the table needed a little something, but I wanted to keep it simple, I grabbed a metal tray I snagged for $2 last year at the Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale and filled it with moss balls ordered from Schusters of Texas.

Still to do:

* Replace the dull, grayish brown vinyl floor with some colorful Marmoleum.

* Hang some of my collection of lavender transferware on the wall around the big window. (I think I'm also going to spring for the "Wanker" platter from Etsy seller trixie delicious that I blogged the other day, just to keep the mood in the room light and not make the vintage-plates-on-the-wall thing seem too straightforwardly traditional.)

* Get some chair cushions and new cafe curtains made up using more vibrant fabric, since the ticking stripe doesn't really "pop." Maybe the Amy Butler Lime Star Paisley pattern, below. (Any of you real or armchair designers out there have other fabric suggestions? If so, I'd love to see 'em.)

Anyway, one room (almost) down, eight more to go!


katiedid said...

Love what you've done with the place! I have that WE table too! I bought it 6 months ago and it has been sitting in a box in our living room waitng on the completion of our remodel. (Need I say we are six months behind schedule?)You have a wonderful house!

P.S. I love the "wanker" plate best!

Jessica said...

Leah, this space is looking so cozy. I totally want to invite myself over for coffee.

Jana Souza said...

Very cool work in progress; Loved meeting you live and would love to help with paint color; that is so fun for me :) Looking forward; we could go fabric shopping for those chairs too :)

warmth to you,


Brilliant Asylum said...

Thanks for sharing your photos. I really like your lavender glass collection.

Ryce said...

I really like the combo of clean- lined table and delicate chairs. Have never seen lavender transferware before -- it's very pretty and will look great against the green walls.

anh-minh said...

well done! i love that you took the chairs to the auto body shop. it all looks fantastic.

deerseason87 said...

The space looks so airy and fresh! I think you should consider using a pretty Roman shade instead of the cafe curtains... They have such nice clean lines, which I think would be more appropriate for the room, especially if you are planning to decorate with the ornate (and beautiful) transferware. PB has some with a ribbon border that are very pretty here:


Elizabeth said...

It looks great Leah. I think the transferware on the walls will be great, and love the light fixture.

Also - if you still want white frames just take out the glass, prints, and backing and spray paint them. Super easy and works out really well.

Also, check out Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley for fabric - I think they have the best selection of prints in the Bay Area.

Can't wait to see the rest of the house!

Porcelain said...

Leah, It looks wonderful!!!!

Alison said...

I live in Oakland and have been looking for an auto body paint shop that would paint some of our furniture pieces. Where do you go? I called a few places and they thought i was nuts. Thanks for the referral.

Leah said...

Hi Alison,

I had the chairs sandblasted and powder-coated at
Melrose Metal Finishing on Pearmain @ 98th near the
Oakland Airport. The number is 568-7083.

Hope that helps!

All the best,


casacaudill said...

What a great little dining nook! Since we have a formal dining room and we really only eat in the living room in front of the TV, we turned our dining nook into a pantry ... and while I know a dining nook is not practical for the way we live, I can't help but to be jealous of how cute yours is. =)

Another Shade of Grey said...

Looks great Leah.


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