Our Dining Room {At Christmas}

Urban Cottage Dining Room

Our Dining Room has finally started to come together. If you recall, this was the first room we painted after moving in because Mr. B informed me that he couldn’t live one more day in a house with red walls. So high maintenance. Side note: We all know that I can call Mr. B high maintenance because it is painfully clear that if anyone in this relationship is high maintenance and demanding, it’s definitely not him, correct? Not that it’s me, but you know, comparatively, I might be a teensy bit more demanding than Mr. B. But I digress. We moved on a Sunday, and I was at Benjamin Moore on Monday buying paint and getting to work taking our dining room from dark red to light gray.

When I wrote that first post about our dining room, I mentioned all the things on the list: a new light fixture to replace the ornate gold one, find a buffet or hutch to store our china and linens in, and redo the moulding (new, thicker baseboards and  craftsman window trim). I took my time to figure out what the vision might be, some things just fell into place and others I took a leap on. Here’s how our dining room sat from June until November:

So, first things first, I ordered a chandelier. After going back and forth between Ballard Designs’ Eldridge Chandelier and a different but similar aesthetic chandelier on Overstock, I finally decided I’m not a $500 light fixture kind of girl at this stage in the game. If we were to win the Mega Millions, that might change {hell, I’d buy you all a $500 light fixture}, but seeing as how we don’t play the lotto, I’m thinking I’m gonna stick with the $130 variety for awhile. The chandelier came with two broken shades. I contacted Overstock. They were awesome and immediately put through a request to the warehouse for two new shades to be sent to me. 6 weeks later those damn shades were just sitting somewhere in Singapore with a shipping label, bouncing between two shipping posts. I got a little bit cranky, the nice man in the parts department at Overstock told me he understood why I was cranky, and assured me he’d get me shades before we hosted Thanksgiving. He was true to his word. So two months of waiting, a tiny bit of being talked off a ledge, and we had a chandelier that I’m very happy with.

Dining Room at Christmas

Then, came the hutch. I already mentioned that my parents were upgrading their Dining Room furniture for their 40th anniversary gift to each other. I really need to take you all on a photo tour of Caroline’s house, it’s pretty great. My mom had been toying with getting rid of her antique pie safe for a couple years, but I kept talking her out of it. Finally, she decided to do what she wanted to do, and told me that if I loved that pie safe so much I could come pick it up and take it to my house (which actually translated into my dad and mom driving it up to me on a Monday and moving it into our house themselves. I might be a little high maintenance afterall).

Antique Pie Safe

And just like that, we went from a red room with an ornate chandelier to a much-more-our-style mix of old and new. An old rustic pie safe, a modern chandelier, a painted pedestal table and contemporary parson’s chairs. I’ve always called our style “urban cottage”, and I think the dining room in our new house is starting to take that form.

Urban Cottage Dining Room

Dining Room Christmas

Because it’s Christmas, I threw down a red plaid table cloth, my burlap runner, brought out a few Christmas balls, and whipped up a tweed moose in photoshop to throw into a frame we already had.

dining room vignette

We still intend to replace the baseboards and frame out the window someday, but that’s a whole house project down the line. And right now, the first room you see as you walk into our house makes me feel so at home.

 

Going Gray: The Dining Room

The Dining Room in our new house was dark red. Red paint is a funny thing – I feel like very few people are luke warm about red paint. It’s not my favorite and so I was planning to paint over it at some point in the first few months of living here to make the room lighter and brighter, but I’m not outrageously offended by red paint and it wasn’t the first room I was going to tackle. I have lots of friends who love red, and do red well. I know lots of people who can’t stand red. So let’s just all declare that it’s a color that creates a strong reaction one way or another in most people and leave it at that, sound good? However, Mr. B couldn’t handle the red. I was kind of surprised by this – he definitely has opinions about things he likes better than others decor wise, but he’s not the type of husband who would walk into a house and say, “We have to paint this room (insert whatever color he loves here)”. So, I was surprised that he felt strongly against a particular color. On the first night in our new house B said to me, “I really really really want to paint the dining room. Tomorrow.” I said, “Absolutely, if it’s bothering you, let’s paint it.” Again, I had always planned to paint it, just wasn’t my top priority. And then I remembered that he’s red-green color blind. I forget this, because he compensates so well for it in his day to day life, but red is not an attractive color the way Mr. B sees the world. So, the dining room became the first priority.

So I marched off to Benjamin Moore for a gallon of Gray Owl cut to 50%. Last winter I really wanted to paint our downstairs (which was Benjamin Moore Powell Buff) gray, and had picked Benjamin Moore Gray Owl as my winner, when I realized that I would have to chagne a lot of things to make the gray work – like curtain panels, etc. And knowing we were in our house at the time for another year to two max, I held off. Glad I did seeing as how not even six months later we’re no longer living there (especially since the buyer and her realtor adored the color and asked me how to pick colors during the final walk through. My answer? “No clue, I just picked this out of the Pottery Barn catalog”.) But back to the dining room.

I’d seen lots of hints on Pinterest to cut grays by 50% when getting them mixed, and since the dining room has very little natural light, I thought that was a good choice. Benjamin Moore was super helpful and recommended two to three gallons to cover the red. But at their paint prices (I really like their paint and have found that their formulas aren’t color matched very well at other places, so I shell out the money for the real deal), I chose to go the primer route first. We bought a 2 gallon bucket of Kilz Premium Primer, and used it all (3 coats of primer! My arm was killing me!) . The next day, my mom came up and we painted the dining room during nap time. Should I have been getting things ready for Tom and Nell’s birthday party tomorrow instead? Yes. But I’m good at not sleeping, everything will be fine.

I love this color! It’s very light, but just gray enough. And it’s a very true gray (word of warning: I’ve heard that when it’s color matched elsewhere, it often reads too blue or too green). It has some brown in it, which makes it a “truer” gray according to the Benjamin Moore guy. Here it is in natural light and artificial (with some natural light) so you can see the color variation.

I’m not labeling anything as an after yet, but this is progress. Please excuse the bins of Thomas’s baby clothes we still have to move to the basement storage section. Moving man, takes a lot of work.

Again, not an after, just progress. This won’t be the final piece of furniture we use as a buffet/china cabinet. But until I find something perfect, we had it and it does the job. Also, this paint choice solidified the decision to paint the entire house. The two neutrals don’t play well together. Plus, the house is 12 years old and hasn’t been painted in about that long, it’s due for some paint.

So that’s the first change we made to the house. What do you think? Still to do (with no time frame in mind): Replace the chandelier with something a little more in line with my “urban cottage” style; replace or paint the baseboards (we’re leaning towards replacing them with chunkier, craftsman trim, but we’ll see), a cool old buffet or hutch to hold our wedding china. Mr. B wants to replace the dining room table, too. We’ll see, I love that table.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it used to drive me crazy that there was only really one configuration for my living room. I’m used to changing furniture around on a monthly – sometimes weekly, basis. But I finally realized that there were more options – sure, the sofa can really only be situated in two locations, but the accent furniture? The possibilities are endless. So, because I was feeling the need for change, I replaced the big green chair with the two cane back chairs I redid two years ago. Our living room now has realistic seating for 6. Warning: I did not clean up before taking these pictures. There was time for one or the other, and the ol’ blog was feeling a little neglected.

 Do you love Casco’s toy box behind the chairs? This is real life, people. Glamourous.

IKEA’s finally in Denver. And I love me some IKEA. But now that it’s here, I’ve had a heart to heart with myself. I said “Self, IKEA’s great for cheap basics. But you don’t want your house to look like an IKEA ad, so don’t go overboard.” But that black and white Stockholm rug? I’ve been eying it for four years. And it now belongs to me. 

And because IKEA rugs are inexpensive, I picked up a white cotton rug for the dining room. You know, so the chairs now actually fit on the rug.

Baby socks and golden retrievers. Real life.

So. the beloved big green chair now resides in my office/B’s study zone/Thomas’s playroom and physical therapy room. T and I read books on the big green chair before his afternoon nap, and B will sit there and read his textbooks to keep me company if I’m working after Thomas goes to bed. It’s working out well, even though aesthetically this room is not anything to be proud of. But sometimes, you just have to go with what works for your family’s needs at the time. And my baby needed a mat to practice crawling and falling on in our hardwood floored house.

So that’s the latest around here.

Dining Room Question

I love our cheap dining room chairs.  B reminds me frequently that they cost next to nothing and I should prepare for one to break someday.  Such an optimist.

The parsons chairs were my solution to our hand-me-down dining room table.  I painted the table, but couldn’t make the super ornate chairs work – even painted.  I like clean lines.

I love parsons chairs – they’re classic, un-fussy and I’m a fan of the name.  My entire graduating high school class, boys included, had a crush on our English teacher -Mr. Parsons – and for a solid four years I planned to name my first daughter Parson in his honor.  Cute, right? Mr. B vetoed that one the very day that we started talking about the future as our future – something about an obsession with a former high school teacher not being a good reason to give someone a name forever.  So I settled for Parsons chairs, instead.  Or, that’s a lie and I’ll still push for a Parson when the time comes – and lose.

Distracted, again.  So, I love my Parsons chairs, name and all.  But I also like slipcovered Parsons chairs.

And I like the idea of being able to switch between slipcovered and non-slipcovered depending on my mood.  Remember, I’m distractable, it’s good to keep things fresh for me.
What do you think? Should I try to find inexpensive slipcovers? Maybe gussy them up with a bold number or simple monogram?  Or would it be too much white in a sea of white furniture and slipcovers? Sound off!

Fall Centerpiece

I moved my dining room table hurricane candleholder to the kitchen temporarily..

So I needed to do something with the dining room table. I wanted something simple but interesting. Fresh but rustic. Warm but contemporary. I told you I’m a difficult personality.

My Answer: Burlap. You know how I love it. I was at the fabric store getting the burlap cut and the lady said to me, “I hate burlap.” I said “I love it. I made a bed out of it, and now I’m going to make candleholders”. Oh she was so confused.

I used drinking glasses and tall cylindrical vases for this, a little spray adhesive, my cut strips of burlap and I was done.

And here she is all lit up:
Pretty, no?

Everything In Its Place(mat)

You know what I’ve never really understood? Placemats.

Don’t get me wrong, I think some of them (like the PB ones above) are lovely. But I don’t get them. I mean, I think that they are supposed to protect the table from food…right? But isn’t it just as easy to wipe up a table as it is to wipe up 6 placemats after a dinner party?

Or are they just to add color to the table? I can see that, maybe. But a runner is easier on our round tables. And I have chargers on my dining room table to add color and interest and keep me from piling mail there – but they’re not there to catch my numerous crumbs. That’s what we got Casco for.

So, what’s your take on placemats? Unnecessary? Or absolutely impossible to live without? Would I understand them more if I had a square or rectangular table? I would love to be enlightened. Sound off!

Cozying up for Fall – Part 2

Quick change of plans. This was earmarked to be Part 3, but um…it snowed yesterday. Briefly with no accumulation, but cold enough to prevent good pictures of the outside fall decor. So we’ll jump ahead a day and look inside.

It was time to ditch my summer linens. So, out came the darker green table runner from last fall and the warmer toned pillows. I love these napkins turned pillows. From green and white to green and brown for Fall and Winter. Ugh, winter.


Last week I bought some Candy Corn. But guess what? When I buy Candy Corn, I eat Candy Corn. Crazy. So I threw it in our hurricane candle holder so that I wouldn’t eat it. And with a little ribbon left from an outside project, I tied some around my favorite hurricane. You know, just in case the Candy Corn wasn’t enough of a hint at the season.

And since I thought the candy themed hurricane suited the kitchen table better than it’s usual dining room spot, that left the dining room table a bit bare. But don’t you worry, because I found something I really like. And it’s coming at you soon…

Benchwarmers

When it comes to dining, do you prefer cozying up and sharing a bench with another person (or several)?

World Market’s Bench and Table

Or are you all about personal space? Pottery Barn

I like my own chair for personal space and back support- especially if I’m stuck in the middle of a bench and moving means kneeing the people on either side of me. But what about you? Are you a chair or a booth kind of person? Sound off!

Christmas Decor 2008

I am constantly trying to find a balance between my desire to have a tastefully accessorized house and my natural disgust for all unnecessary accessories that require dusting. Christmas makes that struggle for balance even more difficult for me. I love Christmas – trees, garland, stockings, presents. I just don’t love looking at Christmas for an entire month in my own house. It would be ideal if one of you would move in next door to us and decorate your house cutely so that I can just come over to enjoy the Christmas and then leave when the visions of sugarplums become too much. Any takers? There’s a cute house for sale one door down. Don’t believe what you heard about the -3 high in Colorado today. It’s downright balmy here. I promise.

Anyway, here’s my attempt at Christmas 2008. It’s nothing to blog about, but I was feeling like the Grinch looking at everyone else’s beautiful and festive decor.

Outside


The Tree with all of B’s ornaments of Christmas past all over it. I will never win the fight for a themed tree. This one has a Ninja Turtle ornament hung on the back. It’s charming.

I tried to crop the awful bow topper off the top. I want a cool tree topper like D, but her explanation of how she made hers was beyond my ability to even concentrate, let alone replicate. My mom probably has a few report cards saved that speak to my lack of attention span, and I’ve seen some of hers that say the same. It gets progressively worse with generations – my children are screwed.
The Stockings


The Table:

So there you have it. Please, try to contain your excitement.

More Tables

Someday you might get to read a blog post from me that’s not about a table, but today is not that day. A couple weekends ago I carried the lost leaf for our dining room table out to the yard, armed with high gloss white spray paint for maximum coverage. I spray painted the whole table, actually. Then I did one coat of high gloss white with a foam roller over the top for an even finish. Remember in this post how I told you I wished I’d had a before picture to show you just how awful the oak was? Well, you’re in luck:

Mmmm. Love that sexy tiger striped oak. Just picture more of it. And claw feet. You’ll get a pretty good depiction of what my last house looked like. It was a beaut.

So, here was our dining room before, in all of it’s 4 person capacity glory:

And here it is now: Our grown-up, we can now feed four people plus ourselves dining room. Mr. B picked up two extra chairs on his way home from work the day after I put the painted leaf in the table. I think he’s been itching to have more than two people over for dinner at a time for awhile, now.

I originally thought that we’d keep the table small and only add the leaf for dinner parties, but Mr. B *loves* the dining room with the big table, so it’s staying for awhile. He says it feels like an actual dining room now. Come on over, bring three friends, and I’ll feed you something out of my crock-pot.

In other table news, the console table arrived and we’re fans. Maybe you can read about that later this week. Then I’ll try to find a coffee table to blog about. And then maybe we’ll move onto the Periodic Table of Elements. Just trying to keep you on your table loving toes.