Monday, September 29, 2008

House in Progress: Dining Room Revamp

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.)

Do you have kids? Oh, the joy of it all ...

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."

53 comments:

Amy said...

Wow! It looks absolutely fantastic! Good work!

Anonymous said...

Scrumptious!

Oh how I wish we had an Ikea in Denver!

Michelle said...

That looks INCREDIBLE!!!! I am so impressed. I love how your existing furniture now pops and looks completely different. Wow. Love it.

Shones said...

This looks wonderful! I love the mercury in the corner, the way you backed the shelves and used white to lighten the heirloom piece, the pendant is smashing. Thanks for sharing.

Jackie said...

Gorgeous! Love the Coral pendant and the Orla Kiely wallpaper in your hutch. The new paint color really makes everything in the room pop.

Cory Ann said...

The redesign is lovely. I like the white and blue together. How about some eames molded chairs for the table? They would go well with the Tulip chair on the other side of the room.

hayseed said...

what a pretty room-great job!

sugarblush said...

Your redo looks great. I love how you consciously made the effort to really change the look. For me, I get so caught up in trying to repurpose, my results end up not as dramatic or different as I want. Your dining room looks fresh and functional.

NancyV908 said...

To think--when I woke up this morning, I still loved my deep-red kitchen. Thanks to your dining room makeover, I hate it now! I have the same curtains, so I hope you don't get rid of them & make me hate them too.

But really, it looks great. I think the pendant was well worth the splurge--it is amazing--& I really really love the way you arranged your (mostly) Etsy prints.

I learn so much from you--thanks!

Biba said...

Oh yes gorgeous! Love the Orla Kiely wallpaper - makes such a difference & contrasts beautifully against the oak, love the white frames, love your clock, cool pendant and was considering the expedit myself... no wonder you're happy :)

beachbungalow8 said...

leah this is STUNNING. I have to keep going back and looking, in depth, at each photo. and thanks for the link for rob dobi.

Leah said...

Thanks, everyone!

I've had a couple of questions via email about the "Foxes in Trees" print on the gallery wall. It's from I'm Smitten.

scrappy girl decorates said...

Leah-
I love that pendant light too! Did you all hang it yourself?

SGM said...

Beautiful, Leah! Esp love the photo with the kids. :)

(anon, we're getting an IKEA in Denver!)

Making it Lovely said...

Beautiful! I especially love the wallpaper in the hutch – it makes a huge difference.

Sara Christine said...

Oh my goodness, I am so impressed! I love the chandelier. Just gorgeous! Can't wait to get out of apartment land so I can put all this inspiration to good use in my own home. :)

The Other Leah said...

Okay...a lightswitch just clicked on in my head about something...

Your Name: Leah
My Name: Leah

Your Husband's Name: Nick
My Boyfriend's Name: Nick

You used the Orla Kiely Blossom paper in your dining room. I used the Orla Kiely Blossom paper in my dining room too.

Are we actually the same person, and I'm only just now realizing it?
:-)


p.s. I'm also obsessed with those Ribba frames too. Sheesh!!

Pigtown-Design said...

Leah! Brilliant job! It really came together well. I know you've put a lot of effort into this and it really shows! Good on ya!

C. said...

I love the new color! Domino used the same pendant lamp for a apartment makeover - it looks fantastic in your dining room!

Leah said...

The Other Leah:

Yeah, sure -- if that means I can have your kitchen.

;-)

Leah

Leah said...

Hey Scrappy --

We actually had an electrician put the light up, but only because we had her out to take care of a few other things around the house.

We could have easily put it up ourselves, and have changed out many a light fixture before. It usually just involves turning off the electricity so you don't get fried, dismantling the old fixture, connecting a couple of wires, and screwing in a few screws.

I'm *completely* mechanically challenged and can't do anything else, but light fixtures are generally fairly easy. (But if you're not comfortable trying it, any decent handyperson can do it for you.)

;-)

Leah

virginia said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, beautiful, beautiful, and gorgeous! i love it, especially the coral pendant.

i think you would be happy with the chairs if you could "paint" or print the canvas covers. they look like they are removable. my first thought: make stencils with contact paper that would create a pattern similar to the skinny tree artwork or the orly wallpaper print. take outside, and spray with automotive paint(color, pale gray?) and remove to reveal "canvas color" saplings or geometric design. maybe print/paint circles around the red border...a dowel end can be used to print circles. or, sew new slipcovers:http://www.modern-fabrics.com/

sweetcheese said...

Fantastic! I am in love with your dining room. And it is not too much stuff--it is just very well curated and still functional.
You've given me a big dose of inspiration!

sandra/tx said...

Wow! I thought those were magazine pics at first. What a fresh new, beautiful room.

maja said...

looks fantastic...good job!

Tracy K said...

Wow, love it! Every bit. Particularly the color and your desk/chair combo. I've been looking for that very shade of blue. Looks fab with white, but also with your wood table and hutch.

The Other Leah said...

Oh...and I forgot to mention that the DR makeover is fabulous!!!! (How could I forget to say that!?)

Love the turq color!

Office With a View said...

Oh my! Your home is beautiful!

Jo said...

god this is so beautiful! i haven't stopped thinking about your daughter's room and now i won't be able to stop thinking about this room. so inspiring!!!

Tiffany S. said...

Seriously gorgeous. The blue, brown and white look amazing together - crisp and serene. I have a lot of that same white pottery and yours looks great against the wallpaper. Great job!

Sugoionna said...

It looks gorgeous!!!! Fabulous work

corine said...

This is flawless taste my friend! The sewing/crafting corner is my favorite, especially the little hanging bowls for supplies and the color coordinated sewing machine. The color on the wall is perfect.

casacaudill said...

i absolutely LOVE what you did with this room, especially the paint color and light fixture.

maison21 said...

lovely job! bright and cheery, and i love how you've made the room multipurpose by tucking in a work area.

the wallpaper backing was an excellent way to perk up the big brown piece without permanent alterations.

kudos!

selena said...

gorgeous! de-lurking to say that i've always enjoyed the peeks into your own home and personal style... absolutely lovely.

i'm thinking doing a similar wall color for our DR, which has original oak trim and picture rails. do you think the color would be ok? i like the look of your wood china cabinet and teak clock against the aqua, so i'm wondering if it would work.

AT said...

Beautiful. So many points of inspiration in this room. Thank you!!

babs711 said...

I haven't posted a comment here before but had to tell you that I just repainted our dining room from Benjamin Moore's Moroccan Red to Benjamin Moore's Spring Rain. Spring Rain looks the same shade as your dining room! Reading your post was like reading my mind when I decided to paint! I wanted a red dining room forever and we painted ours before we even moved in. But it started feeling too heavy and closed in. We, like you, use the room every day. I LOVE our new room even though the blue came out a little less subdued than I thought it would. But it's so nice, airy and open! I'll have to post pics of mine soon too!

Leah said...

Hi Selena,

I think it would look great, but the only way to know for sure is to paint some test patches on the wall right next to your wood trim.

Send pix if you go through with it!

Cote de Texas said...

Leah - it looks fabulous! I love the new color - it looks great I think! just wonderful - what a change. I can't do minimialism either!

Joni

lisa s said...

hi leah - it looks so cozy and inviting... and i'm so thrilled to see our prints in someone's home... thank you....

jana Souza said...

Hi Leah,

You have done such a great job, the room is so warm and loaded with personal touches---but really, you could have offered me few fries---I do love me some fries---or is that pasta? I'm sticking with fries.

smile,

jana

Leah said...

Jana,

It's pasta. I may be a *little* white trash, but I'm not so white trash that I'd serve the kids nothing but a big ol' plate of french fries for dinner. ;-)

Actually, Laurel made dinner that night -- and look, she even put carrots and yogurt on the table!

kelly said...

A-maz-ing! This looks fantastic. I thought, "How is she going to beat the gorgeous red dining room?" and you totally did!

Fantastic work -- so inspirational. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful dining room. Love the color, and love what you did with the sideboard.

It's funny, I have those same dining chairs, with the same slipcovers. The chairs, although boring, are quite comfortable. But those covers - do you despise them as much as I do? They are so hard to zip! So hard that I broke two of mine. And now they don't make them anymore! Gah!

Anyway, like I said, you've created a warm, lovely space!

Leah said...

Melissa -- I know, those dining chairs are SO comfortable, which is part of the reason Nick won't let me get rid of them. More modern chairs just aren't that comfortable, unfortunately.

(I don't mind the slipcovers so much, although it is hard to get the zipper to go all the way down after you wash them.)

Anyway, I'm still looking for the perfect, comfortable, modern, light-colored dining chairs. Anyone have any ideas?

jawcey said...

Wow - the change looks AMAZING! Very inspirational :)

Ursie B said...

Super inspiring! My dining room is also super dark & I've been thinking about repainting it. What a GREAT color. And the table...and the chairs...it's all wonderful.

alis said...

I love it, the color is bright but you have accessorized so perfectly that everything looks fresh and in-tune. I was about to say "I'm smitten with the foxes in trees print, where did you get it?" until I saw your comment saying they're from "I'm Smitten"! Funny!

Joslyn said...

absolutely stunning! i love it.

Sarah said...

Leah,

Where did you find those white shelves above your "desk" area. They are perfect. It want to do a picture wall like you wouldn't believe, and that shelf would be just the ticket!

Leah said...

Hi Sarah,

The shelves are from IKEA (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50072259). You can run several together lengthwise. Very handy!

Leah

Cindy said...

I came to you though a link on Apartment Therapy's nursery website: http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/inspiration/inspiration-art-supply-storage-073882

I love your whole room, but like AT, am focusing on your great idea of putting craft supplies etc. on the wall. One question, why'd you chose the Grundtal rail and Asker containers instead of just using all Asker. Everytime I go to IKEA I can't figure out what goes toegther, and then end up giving up.

Leah said...

Hi Cindy,

I guess I just prefered the look of the Grundtal rail -- more substantial and sort of industrial than the Asker rail. Luckily, it's all pretty mix-and-match.

 

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