Remember when I said we were going to repaint our dining room -- oh, about ten months ago? Well, we finally got it done. (And, as always, by "we" I mean Nick).
Before, the room was a deep crimson hue (Benjamin Moore's Segovia Red) with dark wood furniture and dark metal, circa-1930s light fixtures. It was really dramatic, and at first I loved it. (After years spent living in beige-painted rental apartments and our first owned home with only an eat-in kitchen, we'd always wanted a red dining room and painted this one before we even moved in.)
But eventually it started feeling heavy, a bit oppressive, and altogether too grown up for our relatively young family. Plus, we really use this room -- we eat pretty much every meal in here, the kids do their homework at the table after school, and I sometimes spread out my work there or let Laurel use it as crafting central. So it wasn't just a formal nighttime space or a room reserved for company, although it looked like one.
Finally, I just couldn't stand it any more. For his part, Nick still liked the color and was reluctant to paint over the red and replace the vintage light fixtures. But I really craved something lighter and fresher. (Guess who won?)
I'm incredibly fortunate to have a partner who has strong opinions about our home, but who's usually willing to give my ideas a try. And lucky for him, he had a little helper for the priming and painting, since I no longer have the patience for it.
It took two coats of gray-tinted primer to fully cover the red. Nick used Mythic primer and paint, which is formulated without VOCs. The paint was mixed to match Benjamin Moore's Sonoma Skies, which I'd loved as a paint chip.
Once the paint was on the wall, though, the aqua color was really intense. In an attempt to lighten it up to a more subtle shade, we wound up dumping an equal amount of white paint into the bucket before rolling three coats onto the wall. The final color is still a bit brighter than I was expecting, but it's fun and cheerful. (And Nick will kill me if I make him paint it again, so the color will stay -- at least for a couple of years.)
After the painting was finished, it was time to redecorate! I'd been lusting after David Trubridge's Coral Pendant forever. It was a big splurge (and a big statement), but I love it.
The table, which we already had, is the Basque from Crate & Barrel, and the chairs were a craigslist special; the slipcovers are leftovers from the room's red incarnation. I found the flatweave rug at Urban Outfitters ($40 on sale!).
I turned a blank expanse of wall into a gallery for (mostly) Etsy prints in IKEA's white Ribba frames.
The antique oak sideboard and hutch is a family heirloom. Painting it isn't an option, but I did want to lighten it up a bit.
Orla Kiely's Blossom wallpaper taped to the back of the shelves, plus my collection of vintage white ceramics and a set of Lisa Solomon-Aurora Robson "Couplets" prints in white Ribba frames, does the job nicely.
More light-colored accessories. Left: A white-painted vintage garden urn displays a sea "bouquet" made up of white and purple coral, purple-and-white barnacles, and sea fans. (All purchased for a few dollars apiece on eBay; check the "Rocks and Fossils" and "Aquarium" categories for similar.) Right: Salt and pepper shakers from Heath Ceramics and a trio of vessels from Portland's Life + Limb; I'm planning to fill them with petite succulents.
On the opposite side of the room, a white IKEA Expedit unit laid on its side with stainless steel Capita legs attached fits perfectly under the window, offers storage for fabric and craft supplies, and provides a handy surface for extra dishes during dinner parties and large family gatherings. The white storage boxes and linen curtains are also from IKEA (although this particular pattern is no longer available).
We tucked a small workspace and sewing- and crafting station into a corner of the room. I can set up here with the laptop, or Laurel can sew while I keep an eye on her. The desk is West Elm's white Parsons. I found the vintage tulip-style chair (most likely by Burke) on eBay. The IKEA Grundtal rail and Asker containers corral scissors, rulers, pens and pencils, paperclips, and other supplies.
On the shelves and wall is my prized collection of Rob Dobi photos, purchased from ImageKind, and framed in more white Ribbas.
The vintage teak sunburst clock is an eBay find. The bird mobile is from Helen Ige. A vintage Lucite bar cart holds a display of mercury glass and silver-toned accent pieces collected from eBay. The sconce is from West Elm. (And yes, I know there's altogether too much stuff in this room -- but god help me, I just can't do minimalism.)
Anyway, that's about it. I'd still like to find chairs that are a little less boring and traditional than these, but that'll have to wait. (I did win a set of cool midcentury teak dining chairs on eBay, but when they arrived Nick and the kids vetoed them on grounds of comfort, so up on craigslist they went.)
Overall, I'm really happy with the end result, except that now the camel color in the adjoining living room looks all wrong. I'm already mulling over new paint colors for that space -- keep your fingers crossed that Nick won't divorce me over it.
P.S. Want to see more? Click here for a tour of other areas of our "House in Progress."