dining room

dining room elimination

just a little update on the state of the homestead…

a year or so ago we worked really hard to pull together this lovely dining room.

and very recently, we decided to eliminate it. oh yes, you heard me right… we moved the big dining table into the eat-in kitchen area. i know..  #mindblown
here’s why: we never, ever stepped foot in the dining room. the last time we sat down and ate around the big table was christmas.  when we’ve had people over for any other sort of sit-down-and-eat occasion, we have pulled chairs up to our round, white table in the kitchen area and squished. the closed-off-ish dining room was never very inviting or conducive to any sort of casual entertaining. in short- it was a waste of space.
this area in the kitchen has plenty of room for the big table and is so light and bright and open to the rest of the first floor.
we now can showcase our pottery barn table (hands down, the biggest furniture investment we have ever made!) as well as my beloved bar cart.
here is the kitchen (below) before the switch. i love open space and all, but this is a whole lot of space and a bit sparse.  to make more room for the table, i got rid of those cross-back stools. i’ll eventually replace them with more subtle, back-less stools.
the white table [for three] remains for now because dane eating on the pottery barn table over a rug is far too anxiety provoking (1/3 of his food hits the table and/or floor each meal). i tried sitting him at the end of the big table with a placemat, but it didn’t go over well. the wipeable surface over hardwood is ideal.
so far this arrangement has been working really well for us. i also think, as our family grows and we spill over to multiple tables during holidays, it will be really fun to eat together in the big, open kitchen area as opposed to the claustrophobic [former] dining space.
as for the dining room… its basically looking the same – sans the table – at the this point. we think it will slowly be converted into an office and activity/homework area for dane.
and you guys.. i have like a half-dozen little projects in the works right now. i swear. they are anywhere from 20-90% complete and i’m excited to share them so check back in soon!

final hutch all dressed up

we may or may not be able to get the door back on… i wanted to use the old hinges but they are giving us a run for our money. in my pretend world i would have time to deal with the door and take some nice photos, but in my reality, these iphone pics emailed to myself on the train are what is happening…

lets see a yucky picture first:

and now the after:

* update: we got the door on finally. all is well in the world.

hutch makeover

if you have been monitoring my pinterest boards closely, you will notice the addition of assorted hutches painted various colors. i have been shopping around for hutch inspiration.


thank you don and kathy (yet again) for this beauty below. she has been sitting in our basement for over a year, but i promise we are going to make her purdy and treat her reeeeal nice from now on (<=read w/ southern accent).

first things first.. we pulled the wavys off the bottom. we literally just gave them a wiggle and they came right off with a tug.

 i don’t want to get all technical on you, but these are called wavys.

 the clean lines are much more modern. easiest step 1 ever.

next, mike spent a few minutes running the electric sander over it to rough up the finish, and then went over it with a quick coat of primer graciously supplied by our neighbors (ie. the best neighbors ever who have every tool in the world. and feed us. and have a pool). it was a really thin, quick drying primer meant to go over stain. i can’t remember the name of it.

we then painted everything white dove by benjamin moore (from a gallon of left-overs).

i made us go to lowes to get one of these wall panels ($16ish) to add texture to the back (as seen in many of my pins) we painted it the same coventry grey (benajamin moore) that is in our tv room.

this is a close-up of the panel before it was painted.

so we nailed the painted board to the back, put it back together and here’s how its looking now:

we need a little more time with caulk and touch-ups but, i think we can move ‘er to the dining room tomorrow and finally put our pretty china on display just in time for the holidays! happy stephanie.

love it. mike worked hard on this.. thanks bug!

i hope this post is in english. i’m very tired. goodnight!

dining room: before & after-ish

after 6 months of slowly putting this room together piece by piece, i am more than ready to call it a day and focus on the million other things on our home improvement list.

in somewhat chronological order, here is what went into our dining room design. a recap if you will:

and without further ado:

i will reiterate that we are definitely not done done.. we have a hutch in the basement that we will some day refurbish and put in here. i will eventually find two armchairs for the ends of the table… but they have to be the most perfect chairs in the universe with lots of character… hopefully thrifted.. i’m not sure – i’m going to let them come to me. no rush.

then there is this wall that is begging for art (?) floating shelves (?). something.

but for now, thats it! moving on….

dining room: the home stretch

this will be the second to last post before i declare the dining room “done for now”!  the final project in this room was installing (applying? adhering?) these decorative molding panels.

we wanted to add some sort of texture below the chair rail. i considered wainscoting and board & batten, but decided on these panels because they seemed like they would be the easiest. and thankfully they were pretty easy.

lowes sells these pre-formed, polyurethane panels in a few sizes (fyi – home depot does not carry these… at least not the one in our neighborhood). 13 of these did the trick:

EverTrue 1-7/8’L Paint Grade Plastic Panel

Item #: 364065 |  Model #: P 1823 ETPLY


i literally didn’t do the math until just now. $169 (13 x $13) is way more than i would have told you we paid for these… we bought them in a few different trips (first we bought some of the smaller ones which we returned and bought a half dozen of these larger ones, then had to go back & get more)… regardless, the convenience of the pre-formed shapes and the impact they have on the room is definitely worth every penny.
once again, mike did all the heavy lifting while i entertained this little monkey.
including all the thinking which he is way better at than me…

once all the planning was done, the process was pretty straight-forward. all we needed was one weekend, some wood glue, painters tape, and a neighbor with lots of tools.
 (i.e. this nail gun that made it all possible):

first, mike measured and marked up the walls with pencil lines where each shape would go.
i was the taper. my one job was to tape the rectangle in place after mike covered the back with wood glue and held it to his marks. then he shot 8-10 nails in each one with his manly (borrowed) power-tool.

he did half saturday and half sunday. they add so much to the room. i’m totally loving them.

there are still some finishing touches needed – like a little spackle-type stuff to hide the nails and a little touch-up paint where some of the glue is showing (both only noticeable if you get up really close).

i will be back in my next post with some “final for now” dining room shots and my favorite – the before & afters!

diy quatrefoil mirrors

why do i hate using the ‘diy’ acronym? it makes me feel corny – i don’t know..

these three narrow mirrors were given to us by mike’s parents when they moved. i knew i could find a place for them, so they have been sitting around since the spring.

now that the dining room is painted, it was time to pull them out, dress them up, and hang them on the big blank wall that is visible from the tv room. there was 2 feet of snow outside when we woke up yesterday, so we weren’t going anywhere!
mike had spray painted them last week. so my project was to add a quatrefoil decal to make them look a little more modern and interesting.

i made my own stencil by tracing 4 overlapping circles onto cardstock (using the lid of dane’s earths best formula canister – it was the perfect size!).

i traced the stencil with this oil based sharpie paint pen. i’ve never worked with this paint/pen/marker situation before, so i had no idea what to expect.

after a quick trace, i was left with some pretty messy edges –
but i was able to go along them and clean them up pretty easily with my finger wrapped in a paper towel & dipped in windex.

they were so quick and easy and turned out great (my kind of craft)!

and look good against the dark blue wall.

we hung them off-centered like this because we have an old hutch living in the basement that we will be refurbishing and putting on the other side of the wall hopefully in this lifetime.. its also nice to see the mirrors when you look through from the tv room & kitchen..

so i definitely recommend using a pen like this to add a little something to an old or new mirror. because it was easy to wipe off, it was easy to fix mistakes.. but that also means that the paint is definitely not permanent and the mirrors are not exactly wipeable (is this a word?). so how will i clean them? very carefully. for more staying power, you can use a stained glass paint like gallery glass instead (if i find these shapes are wiping off or fading, i’ll probably trace over them with white gallery glass paint). 
getting something on the wall was a big step toward finishing up this room! can you tell i am still experimenting with window treatments? ha..


chair fair

its been a big few weeks. 
dane turned 7 months old and we bought 6 chairs. 

they are from hayneedle. its a pretty amazing operation over there.. free shipping and they practically overnight them. we got two to start… to see how they looked and how we got along. we decided they were probably the best we were going to do for the price (on sale… $165 for a set of 2). they look great with the table. they are not amazing quality (see price above), but we will only be using this dining arrangement for holidays and the rare dinner gathering, so i’m not too worried about wear & tear. they are comfortable… would i want to sit in one for hours while i got my hair braided into tiny cornrows? no. but comfortable enough to sit through a meal or two without complaint. so i ordered another couple sets last week and here is where we are at:

as for the 7 month old baby… he is crawling (army style) everywhere. talking up a storm in the silliest, most adorable language ever. and he has TEETH. two razor sharp little bottom teeth.
he has been new york city, his first patriots game (vs buffalo.. a close one, but we got the w) and has been in serious training mode for his first 5k this thursday (the hingham turkey trot). a busy man to say the least.

in other news, someone will THREE YEARS OLD in just a few short weeks. do you know who? here is a hint:
if you guessed shakespeare, then you’re right! i can’t believe its been a whole year since his 2 year old birthday bash.

i have some party planning to do…

shine on you crazy pendant

our dining room has a new light! its from pottery barn… teen…

i love it. and it was freeeeeeeee.
allow me to explain. when we bought the dining table at pottery barn (during tax-free weekend) we opened a pb credit card (with the intention of paying it off right away then feeding it to shakespeare) and earned 10% in “rewards” which translated to $175. these lights are still at great deal at $99, but we like to think of it as free since we had more than enough reward dollars.

i didn’t even know pottery barn had a “teen” brand until i was doing a search for lighting. this woody, orb-like pendant caught my eye and i honestly liked the idea of it for the dining room better than the fancy shmancy chandeliers 3xs this price.

we also mcgyvered the old chandelier base & chain to use to hang the pendant from, so it wasn’t just wire (which would feel a little cheap for a “formal” dining room).

you have to buy the actual light bulb & wire part separate.. annoying. i had one from a west elm chandelier i haven’t gotten around to installing yet, so we used that.

our electrician friend came over & walked mike thru how to wire it. which is a good thing bc we were extremely intimidated by this process and what took 15 mins. probably would have taken us hours.

nice guy. let us know if you’re looking for an electrician in the south shore neck of the woods.

we’re getting there slowly but surely.

dining room update in 100 words or less

the dining room is starting to resemble an actual dining room (you have to squint):
mike bought some new manly tools and did an awesome job painting and putting up chair rail.

the new colors (gentlemans gray and white dove) are a huge improvement. i was nervous about opting for the darkest/boldest blue, but we’re happy with it.. and thankfully, after spending an hour choosing among 900 shades of white, this one works just fine. 

table is here. love.

lots more to be done. lighting. window treatment. wall art. CHAIRS. and we have a deadline. christmas. 
so this room will be up and running in a couple months for better or for worse.

i’m so overwhelmed with the task of choosing a chair. we (i) want 6 matching side chairs, & probably a different set of matching armchairs for the ends (??). its a big, expensive decision. these are two variations of what i’ve been considering. i really don’t know which direction to go at this point. the dark brown looks nice (pb pic below) and the new light we are considering would work with this look. we’ll see.
regardless, this is definitely a step in the right direction!

my next post will be dane’s first fenway experience. this little guy has had a big summer / fall. so much to share 🙂

dining room design

after five months in the new house (at what point must i stop calling it new??), we are finally ready to address the two empty rooms that have become a dumping ground for unpacked boxes and baby gear over-flow… 
the formal sitting room is in the front of the house which flows into the dining room with a slider out to the deck in the back and entrance to the kitchen off the side.

here’s the view from the back of the dining room:

the first order of business is painting. the current colors are blah and the walls are filthy. the plan is to install a chair rail with white and panel moulding below and a rich blue above to pick up the color of the velvet west elm chairs..


the two finalists from the samples above (all benjamin moore) are “gentlemens gray”: 

and “blue danube”:

somehow, they both coordinate well with the chairs. i am partial to the gentlemens gray (a bit of a misnomer if you ask me) but it makes me nervous to go so dark. 

i’ve never been one to shy away from color (see my bright teal cape house and sunshine yellow laundry room).. so gentlemens gray it is.
oh, big news.. i finally figured out how to make normal mood boards. olioboard is the best site ever. lately nursing time = olioboard time. this really helps make creating a room from scratch much less scary. it will be a long time before we actually pull everything together (primarily because we just don’t have the money to do it all at once) but this is what i’m going for.. minus the chairs.. i have no vision for these yet, as you can see!..
so, hopefully over the next couple months, i will have a somewhat dramatic transformation to check back in with.

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