Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Journey of a Room: The Dining Room

I've shared my dining room on the blog before (check out state of the space Parts One and Two), but it was in one of its many iterations on the road to completion. Today I wanted to document its completion, well as close to complete as it will get as I am moving on to other spaces in the house and think its about time I call it on the Dining Room.  Here's a not so short description of where the room started, where it's been, and where it's at today. 
When we moved into our home back in May of 2010 we had a sort of blank slate to work with, well to be precise, a beige slate. From the wall paint to the carpet it was beige as far as the eye could see (and that went for the rest of our home as well). It did have an octagonal tray ceiling and a chair rail that added of bit of architectural character to the room. Although the chair rail did not align with my more modern aesthetic preferences that don't rely as heavily on trims and moldings to define space. And then there was a builder-grade chandelier that was sort of dragging the whole room down. It was a mess of brushed nickel arms capped off with large frosted glass shades, it lacked any defined form or real personality.
The room really kicked off with the Danish Modern dining set I picked up for a steal Nearly New Thrift Shop. The table and hutch really established an Mid-Century Modern vibe in the space while leaving room to add other details that sort of branch away from this style and keep it current. 

On top of a fabulous dining set I found a way to camouflage the nickel and frosted glass mess of a chandelier that was a focal point in the room as it sits smack dab in the middle of it. With the help of some burlap wrapped plexiglass I created a nice clean drum shade to conceal the eyesore. 

And the last major component of what I would call, Phase One of this Dining Room project, was a floating cubby buffet. This piece met our need to have some toy storage on the first floor of our home as well as a buffet to serve food on the rare occasion we have company (i.e. Thanksgiving) and the rest of the time a spot to display some of my favorite objects. It's a collision of two worlds and so far its worked out great!
At this point I really didn't know what to do next with the room, but after I came down with a severe Navy and White obsession I decided to finally go ahead and break out the paint and de-beige the space by painting all the walls white. And so began Phase Two.

To me white is always a better choice than beige, it creates a much sharper contrast with any color or  material it's paired with and it also was an easy way for me to camouflage an existing detail in the space, the chair rail, that I wasn't thrilled with. Instead of removing the chair rail (who wants to go to all that trouble?) I simply matched the wall color to the trim color and it just sorta disappears. 

As you can see I tend to prefer camouflaging eye sores to removing them. In many cases this approach requires a lot less labor at a lot lower cost and no one is the wiser.

With the walls painted white it was time to bring on the Navy and I decided to do it in a bold way, by using it our tray ceiling. I think every room needs an unexpected element and this was an easy way to do unexpected.
The ceiling was a nice touch but the room needed more Navy. So I made some no-sew drapes that had a navy and white retro pattern that really livened up the space thanks to its busy pattern. The drapes also helped create a nice transition between my white walls and navy ceiling.

I then picked up two bamboo and wicker arm chairs from a thrift store. The arm chair pulled in the woven effect found in the baskets of the buffet and my burlap light fixture shade.  I also found a fabric for the dining chairs upholstery that had a woven effect to further emphasized this natural woven texture I have more subtly repeated throughout the space. The navy and white fabric also speaks to the overall color scheme in the room.
The final touch that really warms up the dinging room are the wood floors we had installed this past December. They coordinate perfectly with the dining set and buffet top and more importantly they help warm up the space as navy and white can feel quite stark when left alone.
As for accessories and art in the dining room, everything is either vintage or made by me (except the silver candle sticks we were given at our wedding from Crate and Barrel and the lapis lazuli cups The Man brought home from overseas).

One such DIY "art" project is my scrap laser cut wood screen that I acquired from a graduate school classmate who was about to toss it. I sprayed it gold, hung it on the wall, and called it art. It fits the spot perfectly.
Another DIY art project are my wall-mounted globes. As you can see I have a loose definition for what constitutes as art. If an object's only function is to look good (occasionally act as a geographical reference when the internet is down) and hang on the wall, it's art in my book. This "art" sits on little white ledges that blend in with the walls to give the globes a floating effect.
The globes are the only objects in the room that really veer outside of the navy, white and wood color scheme (and yes, I am calling "wood" a color) they are a little pop of fun to shake things up and speak to the map hanging over our fireplace in our adjacent living room.
And finally in the "art" department there is my Chad Wys Inspired Art made from some $8 framed prints I picked up at Big Lots.  The frames gold color speaks to other gold elements found throughout the room while the white triangles painted on each frame give this "art" some abstraction and causes part of the frame to disappear into the wall.
None of the art in this space is earth shattering but everything has a story behind it and offers a little intrigue, so it makes me happy.
Today our dining room not only speaks to my personal design aesthetic but more importantly, it functions to meet my family's needs. This is a room we eat in daily, not some stuffy space we use for special occasions. I wanted this space to easily transition between kid-play, with baskets and toys strewn about, to formal dining space, where meals could be served up and enjoyed (I'm working on the meals-to-be-enjoyed part). As you can see from this ridiculously long post it took some time, almost four years to get it to this point. Living in the space for a while and allowing it to evolve with our family and then taking time to establish a specific vision ensured that I was left with a cohesive look. And (at least for now) it's one that I am happy with.

P.S. I'm posting everyday this week don't forget to check out yesterday's post and stop back tomorrow and Friday! Thanks kind reader.


  1. I am about to use that same exact fabric that you used on the chair seats. How has it held up so far? Are you still a fan? It is such a great print. (I'm also a little obsessed with Navy and white)

    1. Hi Merabella, you can't go wrong with navy and white (: I love the fabric it's held up great! I did spray it with a scotch guard type finish just to be sure as it is our dining room and we eat there daily and with a toddler I like the extra protection (: But no issues.

    2. Thank you! I am super excited about a new Navy/white themed living room.

  2. gorgeous! love the colors, and love the fabric on the seats!

  3. Where did you get the fabric for the chairs? That could work for my living room!

    1. Hi Stephen, I'm really happy with the fabric, I got it from here's the link:

  4. Do you have a post on how you did the no sew drapes? I just repainted my bedroom and the curtains I had need to be replaced with something more formal and chic.

    1. Hi Paula, I did it's not these specific curtains but I used the same process- it's super easy! Here's the link:


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