03 April 2012

My Dining Room Dilemna

via athomearkansas.com design by Debi Davis
via houseofturquoise.com
via stylecourt.blogspot.com design by Mary McDonald
Good morning! My dilemna?  My dining room doesn't look like any of thess pretty rooms! Seriously, I've come to a long overdue conclusion about my dining room, and my home in general.  It is, to be frank, positively B-O-R-I-N-G.  Thankfully, it's not alone and has plenty of company since each and every room in this entire house is dull and suffers from a horrific case of the blahs due to my own negligence.  Honestly, most of the rooms still don't even have window treatments!

Really, the house is just filled with the stuff of life - thrown together, helter skelter style, without any master plan or forethought. I've been too busy the past few years to really even take notice.  That is until now.  And, of course, in my usual neurotic way, I'm positively fixated on exorcising the dullness out of this house.  

When we first moved in we spent a great deal of money trying to fix some of the previous owners major errors - like a different type and color of carpet or flooring in each room.  The kitchen actually had alternating stripes of tile and berber carpet -- what were they thinking?  The powder room had a magenta sink and toilet with murals of birds flying across the pink and white striped walls.   The walls in the kitchen had faux gold leaf arches with murals of purple wisteria dripping from pink faux bois panels. (I'm not kidding!) I soooooo wish I had those photos to share with you!

But, I could see beyond all of it to the beautiful home this place could become...or so I thought.  But, once we put in hardwood floors and had the place painted inside and out nothing else happened. Period.  Oh sure, some new furniture came and some old stuff went.  But, nothing in terms of design has happened.  I've thought about it a great deal (alright, alright -- I admit it, obsessed is more like it!)  I bored more friends with this fabric sample and that paint chip than I care to remember - You all know who you are -- I'm so sorry! xoxo-  But, I just couldn't figure out a design that would compliment the things I couldn't or wouldn't change.

But now, I think it's time to really design this place and make it actually look in reality the way it does in my head.  So, I thought I would start with my dining room since it will be the easiest space to do and share my plan with you.

First, the issues.  My very traditional Duncan Phyfe dining table, and Hepplewhite chairs, and buffet belonged to my grand-mother, one of the most important influences in my life.  She left me the mahogany dining room table that she bought in the 1920s on the installment plan.  Some man came to the house each week and collected a few dollars each week until it was paid for.  She hosted every holiday I can recall and loved nothing more than a house filled with friends and family gathered around that table. My name is written on a piece of masking tape underneath the table skirt in her handwriting where she placed it before she died.  So... for sentimental reasons it stays. Forever.  We had it refinished years ago, but it was damaged in the process of moving here and has yet to be repaired.   


Second, the room is small and narrow - a mere passageway between the living room, kitchen and sunroom.  There is really only one usable wall, another has french doors to the sunroom, and the third has a huge greenhouse type window that the former owner (and now me) used to grow orchids.  They love the south-eastern exposure of the room. (Forgive the lousy photos!!)

Boy do those chairs need to be recovered!!

Third, since the room is open to so many other spaces my colors are limited as well.  A fireplace of peach, ivory and charcoal Alabama marble sets the tone for the space.  Everyone said we should sheetrock it, but when the sun hits it in the morning, it glows.  The budget doesn't allow me to do anything with it,  so I'm determined to live with it.  

The dining room will be the most traditional space in the house and done in the softest hues. Now, my inspirations:

I definitely love hand painted Chinoiserie wallpaper as in De Gournay and Gracie, but they are not in my budget and since I'm a wanna-be artist, I figure why not paint my own?  I am definitely drawn to the silvery gray version with the ivory and peach colored flowers like the close up on the bottom left.  It's beautiful, traditional, and well, I can envision how great I think it would look every time I walk by the space.  So the upper walls will be my own handpainted Chinoiserie and below the chair rail will remain in Benjamin Moore's Super White 02 along with the trim (benjaminmoore.com)

For curtains, I want to make soft London shades from the striped Scalamandre silk with the peach silk taffeta french pleat draperies on each side, lined with heavy weight flannel, that falls to the floor. (silkresource.com and bigzfabric.com, respectively)

I also envision two new host chairs like the gray chair in the center of the board (homedecorators.com) either as it is, or in this great Charcoal Gryphon printed linen by French Laundry on the far right. (housefabric.com)  While I'm really into the animal hide rugs, I absolutely have to go faux because of my philosophical views toward animals, so I hope to find or make something fluffy and sheepskinish, in cream like the bottom right photo. Or, a faux calfskin rug in ivory.  We'll see!

The Hepplewhite chairs will either go the Annie Sloan chalk paint route in paris gray over old white, (anniesloan.com), or in a funky aluminum finish.  Either way, I'll recover the seats in a faux ostrich leather in either ivory or pale gray, so I can wipe up spills easily.


Lighting is another issue due to my limited budget, so while I want a capiz shell chandelier, like this one:


I'll have to DIY it.   If I could figure out how to make this hickory twig chandelier, I might be tempted to go with this instead!

Oh well!  That's my plan, I'll share the room's progress here with you!

Here she is, our DDON: Daily Dose of Nola!  Don't you love the headband!

Have a great day!!



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