dining room

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Kitchen Shelving

dining room

Remember when I declared the dining room done? We all knew that was silly, right? After living with it for a few months we realized that as much as we liked the giant bookcase and the idea of visually dividing the space, in a room that’s only 9′ x 11′, it’s just too much. We were constantly bumping into things. However, before the bookcase could go, we had to figure out where we would store everything it held.


Saturday Finn frantically hung shelves so that we could move the behemoth bookcase out of the space before it was invaded by a dozen 11-year-olds. Those, and the new cabinet below them that was part of the kitchen switcheroo, plus some judicious editing, neatly store everything from the bookcase. While you can’t necessarily tell from the above picture (taken at 6 this morning) the space feels so much lighter now.

Someday we’ll change out the plain pine boards for reclaimed wood, but our source didn’t have the right boards and I wanted the shelves done. Finn managed to hang them on our curved wall with no studs (there used to be a window there that was covered over prior to our moving in). Like any good blogger, I’ve detailed the process for you. It’s a 12-step process, of course.

  1. Get boards and brackets
  2. Go to the store for hardware to attach.
  3. Go back to the store for hardware.
  4. Swear copiously.
  5. Go back to the store for hardware.
  6. Drill holes.
  7. Remember the wall is curved. Swear copiously.
  8. Remember there’s an old window behind part of the wall. Swear copiously.
  9. Attach stuff (anything really, at this point it doesn’t matter and you’ve forgotten the the original design anyway).
  10. Stand back to look at your work and notice every minute detail that’s gone wrong.
  11. Check the level because they look slanted then realize it’s the ceiling that’s slanted.
  12. Swear under your breath every time you see the ^*^^! things.

Now to figure out what to do with the bookcase. We like it but I’m not sure I have a home for it here.



Her name is Gertrude. You can call her Trudy. She’s quite the lady, so no shenanigans under the table. And let’s all agree to ignore the horrible condition of my walls. They’re really never ready for a close up.

Paint color here. Ridiculously expensive (for papier-mâché) moose here (hooray for store credit).

The (Finally) Finished Dining Room

dining room text

That’s right, I’ve labeled it. The tiny rustic industrial dining room. And it is finished. Or, you know, as finished as things get around here. Which means I’ll have moved everything around by next week. This room has a much higher percentage of DIY projects in it than some other spaces. We made the chandelier, a roman shade and the table. No wonder it took us forever to finish (8 months).

You guys want pictures though. The obligatory before and after.
before after dining room

Different, yes? Tricky to photograph too. Some details.

dining room thru shelves


I’m still playing with the art/planter/lamp/bar situation on the back wall. I think I like the planters. I also like this moose, sprayed very light pink (maybe because then I could have the kids play a game called plant, plant, moose). I think the room may be taking itself a little too seriously (and I may be over thinking it) and it could use some silly. And what’s sillier than a pale pink papier-mache moose?

We went with plain wax for the table finish. The liming wax didn’t make enough difference to deal with the smell and mess and I didn’t like any of the stains. This wax smells lovely (seriously, like oranges) and gives it a rich sheen. Finn epoxied the major knots to keep them from filling with crumbs. It wipes down fairly easily and I already have to vacuum around there regularly, especially with the sofa, so adding vacuuming the table top to the repertoire isn’t terribly taxing.

table finish close

dining room no shelves

Dark and dramatic (and wouldn’t the moose be fun instead of the lamp?). Having the dining room done is making the kitchen look a little shabby. Some plans are afoot for that space. You can see some of what we’re thinking on Pinterest. Yes, I know I have a problem.

Small Changes: The Curtain Debacle


First, and clearly most important, I have chosen curtains for the living room. I know. Related to this somewhat, a story.

I had plans to rehang the dining room curtains this weekend when we were hanging the living room curtains (side note, that won’t be happening this weekend because the curtains were not in stock. boo.) I mentioned these plans to Finn and he sighed dramatically and mentioned that he hated hanging curtain rods. So I thought, being the modern, independent woman that I am (also, impatient), I would just take care of the curtain rod hanging. Here is what I learned from that decision.

1. I am short. I need more than a chair to stand on to hang curtains.

2. I hate hanging curtain rods. It involves measuring and planning. And screwdrivers because I can’t find where the ^*^! drill bit is hidden.

3. The reason Finn started hanging all the curtain rods is because when I do it they fall down.

4. I am totally fine relinquishing my role as modern, independent woman in the case of hanging curtain rods. It sucks.

5. Measure your window before you buy the new hardware (this sort of advice is why you read my blog, right? You can’t get this kind of information elsewhere).

6. I need to get Finn a really nice birthday gift. Something manly. Cause he’s totally hanging the living room curtains.

7. If you plan to blog about your dining room, don’t paint it dark grey. It is impossible to get good pictures.

That said, here you go.

Before. Too close to the window and not level.


After. Still too close to the window, but level. Needs some paint touch up. Also, likely to fall down within the month.

That, my dears, is my life changing weekend curtain hanging advice. Hang your curtains higher and wider than your window. Remember to measure. And don’t ask me to hang them for you. I’ll sit and watch. I take my tea with cream and honey, thank you.

Let There Be Light

lindsey adelman chandelier hardwired

One step closer to the dining room plan. Finn built our new chandelier, using the materials and instructions from the Lindsey Adelman website. Her instructions are quite clear, so I won’t go through a tutorial here. Instead, I’ll let you know what adjustments we had to make to make everything work.

We laid out our parts (all parts needed and where to order them are in the instructions). We did not have the double socket because I forgot to order it and we didn’t have the plugs because I couldn’t find a place to order them on the website. I also forgot to order wire (are you sensing a theme here?), so Finn grabbed it from Radio Shack.

The wire was the biggest problem with this entire project. Above you can see the gauge listed, 26 AWG. It was immediately apparent that this would be waaaay too big to fit through the little brass tubes. Finn went out again and got speaker wire. Which was also too big to fit through as specified in the directions. So instead he got out his soldering equipment and knit the wires together instead of threading four or more through the tubes intact. We also adjusted the plans so that we could hardwire the fixture to our ceiling box, rather than plug it in as the instructions listed.

The wires were still a pain. The first time he hung it he blew a fuse. He took it apart and found where pushing the wires through had pushed aside some of the electrical tape. Re-taped, re-assembled, re-hung. Next time it wouldn’t light. Fixed that, hung again. It lit and then didn’t. Fixed, re-hung. This took about three more tries before finally everything stayed together. Many wires, narrow tubes. Tricky. What seemed relatively straight forward took about 9 hours all together. Worth it though. Finn was patient and swore a lot less than I expected, although he says there were many words that just didn’t come out, being the parent that worries about what our children hear more than I do.

So. New chandelier, check. Athough we still need to pick up a ceiling hook so we can swag it over properly. You might notice the Warhol print in the background too, as it arrived last week. Still not sure its staying though, it looks fine in photos but it’s just not really working for us. Both Finn and I are iffy on it in the space, although we both like the print. We shall see. It’s staying for now, till I find something better. Yay progress. Still haven’t painted the ceiling though.

Planning Ahead

I have a never ending list of changes I want to make to this house. Anyone else have this problem? As soon as I get part way through one project I begin planning the next. Case in point, the dining room. Still not completely painted, by the way. However, moving on. I ordered the parts for this light fixture over the weekend. Finn and Roan may build it together and we can call it science class (that’s right, I’m using homeschooling as child project labor. What?).

Creature Comforts DIY farmhouse table

Saw the plans for this table and it’s now a major contender for a new dining room table. It looks very much like this one from CB2 that was on my original idea board for the space.

And I ordered the Warhol print last week, it should arrive tomorrow. Regardless of all these finishing bits maybe perhaps coming together, I have completely lost steam for the painting. I’ve got the ceiling and all the fiddly bits left and I just can’t work up the enthusiasm to finish it. Bleh, painting.

Despite not having finished that project, it’s done in my head and I’ve already begun planning the next area I want to work on. I’m hoping to spruce up our dreadful basement laundry area before full winter hits. There’s very little light in there, so I’ve asked Finn to put in some more overhead lights.

I’d love a half-dozen of these but that’s out of my budget. We’re also hoping to finally get around to painting the beams white and painting the concrete floor, although we’ve left it a little late for temperature and ventilation, so that will likely have to wait until spring. But more lights and a white ceiling will go a long way towards making the space feel less like a dungeon.

Other plans include installing some horizontal lapboard in the basement stairwell as above, to give the space a little style while covering the holes in the walls. And perhaps paint the doors, which are still the same hideous brown they were the day we moved in.


Finally, the ghetto window in the kitchen, the one with the bullet hole (ok, fine, bebe gun hole), is officially falling out of its frame and needs to be replaced. We’ve had dreams of installing french doors since we moved in and I have a contractor coming out in a few days to tell us how much we need to save up to make that project happen. The window to door isn’t all that expensive (because we won’t be going with custom french steel doors, as above, much as I might dream of them), it’s the covering up the old entrance, building up the floor where the stairs are and installing a deck and stairs bit that’s going to rack up the costs. I’m hoping he’ll have some good suggestions for how to do the project in pieces to make it more manageable, as well as which bits we can tackle ourselves.

So, that’s the plan for the next, who knows, year? Two years? With some other things in between. Assuming I can find the motivation to finish the silly kitchen. Anyone want to come over and paint ceilings with me?

Finishing up the Dining Room

Warhol Sunset

Now that I’ve repainted the dining room, I need to figure out a few details to finish the space. The dark walls will make a great backdrop for some new art for the space, but I’m not sure what exactly I want there. I’m drawn to the Andy Warhol Sunset print, above, which was kind of surprising to me. I’m not usually a pink girl, or really anything bright, but I keep picturing this against the dark walls. And it’s large, 34″ x 34″, so a big statement in a room that’s already perhaps a little full of statement. Wallpaper, dark walls, big art? Can they all play together? I don’t know.

I’m also considering a few staghorn ferns, to bring some green into the space. I already have a row of air plants over the half wall by the door and I’ve always loved the sculptural quality of staghorns paired with air plants. I need to see how much they protrude into the space though, the room is small and it’s easy to bump into the walls.

Or some sort of gallery wall, art collage installation. Somehow this feels too busy though. And do I want something on both walls (I think probably not) and if so, which wall? The one over the sofa or the one people will see? Why is this so complicated?

What do you think? Too much? Or awesome? Btw, I tried a mock-up with the ferns and they looked like creepy aliens. I’m sure they’d be better in real life, but my Photoshop skills are not up to the task. Any other suggestions or great places to look for art?

whale print. juju hat. quote.

The Dining Room Progress

Significant progress was made this weekend on the dining room. Would you like to see? Here’s the before.

green dining room before

And today. Goodbye green.
gray dining room after

My new favorite room (shhh, don’t tell the others). So very different. There’s still a lot to be done, the room needs art and the shelves need some styling. And I still have to paint most of the kitchen and ceiling. Ugh. But speaking of shelves, take a closer look at this lovely thing.

Just what I was looking for, simple and attractive storage to replace the leaning bookshelves (speaking of which, if anyone’s in the market, I have some bookshelves for sale). There was so much clutter on the others, as I tried to bring in other colors to tie the two rooms together. Now everything is white (or will be when I’m done) and I’ve limited it to only things we use and love. Plus an owl. Cause he’s cute. Currently sitting on a cake plate. Of course.

Another view of the tiny room (9 feet x 10 feet). Love the dark. Does make getting a good picture rather difficult though.

What do you think? Anyone else tempted to do a dark and dramatic room? Next time I’ll show you the floor planning shenanigans that were necessary to get that rather large shelving unit to fit in this space. Crowd sourced furniture placement for the win.

The Plan for the Dining Room

The kitchen and attached dining room are full of weird little nooks. I’ve tried to show you the layout below. The two spaces form an “L”, but there are several oddities. There’s the entrance at the end of the kitchen that looks right into the dining room. The soffit where we knocked out the wall to expand the space. That bump out provides the end of the dining space on one side of the room, but it’s not even with a second weird little bump on the far wall next to the shoe cabinet thing.

All this to say, trying to figure out what colors to paint this space and how to visually separate the dining space from the kitchen is tricky. Luckily I was able to enlist some help. Nicole is a color genius. Bonus, she lives nearby, so she generously offered to come by the other day to help solidify color choices.

After looking at the three options this weekend, I really wanted to go dark in the dining space. The room is tiny, just 9′ x 10′. I’ve tried to make it seem bigger and brighter for years and it doesn’t work. Instead I’m embracing the dark and small and trying to create dramatic and cozy. The kitchen already has the dramatic wallpaper, the dining room needs to step it up. Nicole gave me the courage to choose an even darker gray then the ones I’d sampled and I’ll be painting the entire dining room Seal by Martha Stewart. I’d been planning to paint the ceiling and some of the other nooks that connect to the kitchen a lighter gray, but she suggested I pull a tone from the wallpaper for those. Much better idea. So now the ceiling and the upper part of the wall above the chalkboard, as well as many of the weird nooks, will be a pale aqua to tie the space together. Here’s a general idea of which color will go where.

And then some furniture layout changes for the space. I want it to feel eclectic and cozy when all is done and after years of trying to tie the two spaces together I think a visual separation might be better. So I’m going to move the sofa to the back of the room, where the leaning shelves are now. Install a couple of sconces, find some good art. No wall shelves can go here because the silly wall is curved. Oh old houses, you are so stupid. So the table and other chairs shift back as well. New ceiling light project. And then some sort of bookcase thing up front, because I do still need the storage. Not sure what I’m looking for there yet.

Back to the painting. I put the first coat on the dining room last night and it is crazy good.

dining room painted Martha Stewart Seal

Oh yes. This will be fabulous.

Important Questions

Which paint color do you like?

I think (and these are just today’s thoughts, I’m still a little flip-floppy on what I want to do with the space) that I want to take off the chair rail, install board and batten up about 3/4 of the wall height and paint a dark color on bottom, lighter on top and ceiling. The lighter color could then extend onto the weird entry wall and over the chalkboard area. Here’s our kitchen layout for reference. Its L-shaped with the dining area and there’s that weird entry on one end. I’m not sure any of these colors are quite the right shade. Grays are tricky little things and I want one with depth. hmmm.

Also. What on earth did this to our yard last night?

dug up back yard

Monumentally important questions you guys. Fate of the world stuff.

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