Welcome to the second installment of my house tour! My dining room! Woo! If you were looking closely at the living room pictures, you already got a sneaky little glimpse of this room. The rooms are technically separate, but thanks to a large archway between them, they feel very open to one another.
Like the living room, the dining room has got a pretty scary before picture. When we first moved in, the dining room “featured” the same “lovely” brown below the chair rail that was in the living room. Above the chair rail, it “featured” some damaged, peeling wallpaper that was probably actually very pretty once upon a time (light blue with birds).
While I was in the midst of debating paint colors (you can see a bunch of paint chips taped to the wall in that before photo), I found out from the owner of the house that the walls of the living room were once light blue. And I knew then that I wanted to do this room in light blue as a little way of honoring the history of the house.
Since the dining room is so open to the living room, I decided to continue the white of the living room below the chair rail, but I wanted to paint above the chair rail and the ceiling a pale shade of sky blue. I’ll let you be the judge of the results…
The furniture is all from IKEA. We got it when we first moved and had to furnish this much-bigger-than-our-old-shoebox-apartment-house. The room felt a little sterile with just the new furniture though, so I brought in the old persian rug that used to be in the living room of our first apartment (actually it was the first thing I ever bought for that apartment, so it’s rather sentimental). It was from ebay, and it was cheap–I think around $100 including shipping. It’s not in perfect condition, and it’s much narrower at one end than the other, but it’s almost 12′ long, and it’s somehow one of those things that manages to look casually stylish even (especially?) when it’s dirty (it usually is.) and all scratched up by my kitties (this rug and my couch are their favorite things to scratch. sigh.).
The vintage boucherite rug hanging on the wall is another one of my most favorite things. It was the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought purely for decoration, and it felt like a really big indulgence at the time. But the colors were so exactly perfect to tie together the cool tones of the dining room with the warm tones of the adjacent living room, and I just loved the texture, and… okay getting carried away. But I love that thing, and it totally makes the room. I may occasionally just go up and pet it a little bit. Or snuggle it a little bit. While I whisper sweet nothings to it. But don’t tell. It will probably make people think I’m a weirdo. And it will probably make them think you’re a weirdo too for telling them how I’M a weirdo.
Anywho. The big window on the wall opposite my very beloved boucherite is home to my ever-growing collection of orchids. Fun story- my employer regularly discards flower arragements of live orchids, so I bring them home to my little, make-shift orchid hospital, and then they become happy again and give me lots of beautiful flowers. I happened into the hobby by accident, but they are very addictive! And not nearly as difficult to care for as their reputation suggests.
Okay this is getting rather lengthy and I know you’re just here for the eye candy anyways. So here’s some more pictures of some different angles of the room.
See that big crazy tree thing in the back? It came with the house. Anyone know what it is? Also, I can’t believe I was such a lame-o that I did a fake table setting just for these pictures!! I just couldn’t help myself. I am appropriately embarrassed by my behavior. So, FYI, my table doesn’t usually look like this. Usually it’s just got some crumbs and some cat fur on it. Don’t go thinking I’m all fancy. I am like the opposite of fancy (and I like it that way.)
This little chair is off to the left of the window. I have a set of 3 of these early 1900s bentwood chairs. They are among the few pieces of furniture that made the move with us from New York. I love the little trio of butterflies under the domed glass. The domed glass is my favorite part, and I was very sad when it cracked during the move. You can see the cracks on the top left. But I still like it.
This is off to the left side of the archway into the living room. Not my greatest vignette, but the sticks in the owl are practical. Those are all my extra orchid stakes. Extra clips and some plant food live in the little orange pot. The Brooklyn bridge photo was taken by Nathan’s brother back when we lived in New York. I had it printed big one year as a Christmas present for Nathan. A bittersweet reminder of our first home. The bar cart was here when we moved in and originally I was going to replace it. But I’ve come around, and I think it’s rather sweet. Nias (the cat) snuck into the picture! I think she was hunting a bug. (See, I told you I’m not fancy.)
I think that’s basically all there is to see in this room for now. I do have some more things to work on in here though, so you’ll be seeing this room again for sure!
1. The floor: There are still some stray paint flecks on the floor from when we painted. I think I don’t quite get how drop cloths are supposed to work. I always manage to make a big mess. :/
2. The windows: The house is very drafty, and in the winter, those little white roller shades just don’t cut it. The original curtains that I took down, in retrospect, served the important function of insulating the room and helping to save some money on heating! (Heating for this old house with its baseboard heat is a pretty penny!!) So for next winter I want to look into trying to figure out some attractive, yet inexpensive, insulating drapery solution.
3. The sideboard: I can see the solid wood dining table from IKEA lasting us for the rest of our lives, but the sideboard is particle board and it already has some water damage. I’ve been poking around here and there for something cheap that I can DIY back to life, but haven’t found the right thing yet. When/if I do, I’m sure it will make a fun little project for me to share over here with you!
4. The chairs: The pine bench and the white chairs are staying, but the teal folding chairs are only a temporary solution. I’m going to rehab my beloved old bentwood chairs (the are one of the few furniture items that made the move with us from NY to VA)- the caning on the seats is worn out and I’m going to replace the caning just with solid wood. And then I’m going to spray paint them black. I love a big dose of black and white to ground my rooms and I think this room will just have so much more pop with some black chairs at the head and foot of the table!
5. A cushion for the bench: The pine bench is a solid and attractive piece of furniture, but the slats are a little bit uncomfy for delicate “little” tushies! (Not so little, but humor me here…) I want to sew a nice, comfortable cushion for the bench. I’ve got some white linen fabric I want to use, but I think I want to paint some kind of geometric design on it in black (to bring in a little more of that sexy black-and-white-ness that I want to get going on in here).
And that concludes our little tour! I’ll be sure to update when some of these projects get checked off the list!