Dining Room- A Work in Progress

We’re back to the dining room…  I was at Home Goods a few days ago when I spotted a rug that I loved!  I wanted to put it in the dining room, but it’s a bold rug and I didn’t think I had the nuts to do it.  So, I did what I’m always telling my kids, I put my “big girl pants on” and bought it (knowing full well that I could return it if my little experiment didn’t work…).

Here it is!

Rug Detail Rug

I know it’s bold, but I love it!  And, it was only $300…  I was looking at a similar one from West Elm that was much more expensive but also very pretty:
West Elm Rug

West Elm

The one that I got has a much higher pile which is more in line with what I want.  The look I’m going for in this room is cozy, eclectic, and comfortable.

Currently I’m having the hardest time finding affordable, comfortable dining room chairs.  I would love to get velvet ones from Restoration Hardware, but the particular ones that I want are about $420 a pop:

Restoration Hardware ChairI need 6 of them, so yeah, you do the math.  I’m a cheapa$$ and don’t want to spend that much!

I also want to find two “statement” chairs for the head and foot of the table like these, but a little more traditional:

D&T ChairDimples and Tangles

I like that these have a patten on the backs of the chairs, but not the front although I’d like something that is not rattan, maybe just a simple wingback chair.  I’ve been hunting on Craigslist for a couple of statement chairs but haven’t had any luck so far… only really, tired “swimming” eyes from all the scrolling through chairs that almost work, but not quite…

I also want to try my hand at custom millwork since, with the kids getting out of school, my job search is on hold and besides no summer is complete without power tools and lots of swearing.  Here’s the look that I’m going for:

Diamond WainscotingThis Old House

And the walls, to include the millwork, will be a nice dark blue green:

Dark Teal Walls

(Source Unknown)

For now, I’m on the hunt for chairs, then comes painting…

A Dining Room Table- FINALLY!

I finally found a dining room table that I like:

Restoration Hardware Table

It’s the Grand Baluster Dining Table from Restoration Hardware.  I love the lines of the table- the bulbous legs, the fact that the table top is NOT made of planks (it was hard to find a table that was not planked), the narrow width of the table which I need for my small dining room.

The table meets all my picky requirements, but the problem is that I didn’t like the finish and I didn’t want to pay $1,300 for a table where I don’t like the finish.  I wanted a darker table with a shinier finish. So, I looked on Craigslist and found one for $900 that seats 6-8 that was in the light gray/oak finish that I thought I could refinish to make it look the way I want.

This is the color of the table that I got off of Craigslist:
Oak Table

After carrying this heavy a%$ table down a flight of narrow stairs with another woman my size (wimpy) to get it into my van and almost busting my rear in the process, I took it home and decided to live with the finish for a little while.  Maybe it would grow on me… After about 5 minutes, I was mixing stain to re-finish.  I couldn’t deal with the gray oaky color.  It was too “country” for my taste.  There was also no protection from stains because of the raw quality of the wood and I knew that if I didn’t apply some kind of poly or wax, the table would be quickly ruined since my kids do their homework at the dining room table.

Table Top

I mixed ebony with dark walnut stain by Minwax since I wanted the table to be dark but still brown.  I applied the stain to the underside of the table to see how it looked before taking the plunge to possibly “ruin” the table.

Test StainHere it is with one coat applied:

One Coat

One Coat Close Up

After three coats, the table looked perfect.  It was just the right shade of dark brown except that there was a huge dented line in the middle of the table that happened when I took the table out of the van and the top rubbed against a plastic piece on my van.  I knew I did it at the time, but I thought that staining would make the line less noticeable and instead it did the opposite.  I know, lazy move… I should have just sanded the entire top then and there.   Lesson learned.

ScrapeSo…  I fell asleep that night thinking that I would just live with the imperfection.  I woke up the morning sweating and troubled…  who was I kidding! I’m type A!!!  I couldn’t live with my new table having imperfections!  I re-sanded just those areas until there was no more dent:

Sanded Table and tried re-staining thinking that I would try it this way first instead of re-doing the entire tabletop because obviously I DIDN’T learn my lesson.  I should have sanded the entire top because the areas that I sanded would not take the stain.

Refinished TableThe rest of the table was “raw wood” but my spots were “sanded wood” and I basically sealed the wood with my vigorous sanding and the porous wood was not porous anymore.  I applied  about 10 coats of stain to those spots and the spots were still too light because the stain would not absorb. UGH!  I was so frustrated and there was a lot of swearing involved before I bit the bullet, went to Home Depot for a palm sander, and refinished the entire top of the table.

I sanded the tabletop with coarse grit sandpaper until there was hardly any stain left and re-stained the whole thing which took another 2 days with drying time.  I applied 3 coats of satin poly also by Minwax to the top and it is finally done!  I am so happy with the result and can’t wait to find chairs to go with the table.

Here’s the finished product in all it’s glory!!!

Table Top Whole Table

Restained Table Table Leg

The pics make the table look like it has an organe-y undertone but it doesn’t.  It’s a rich mahogany color.

In this room, I still have to do a lot!:

  • Finally buy a dining room table and chairs!!! (that’s high up on the list!)
  • Eventually get rid of the old wallpaper since it’s looking shabby in places
  • Get some cool artwork to hang (ordered!)
  • Restain the buffet sitting in the garage and move that bad boy into the dining room where it belongs
  • Move the current buffet (which is actually a fish stand) to the covered porch or basement
  • Paint ceiling white
  • Get an area rug


Makeover: Sofia’s Bedroom

Sofia, my 12 year old daughter, needed and wanted a bedroom makeover.  I always call Sofia “my odd bird” (in an endearing way :)) and I wanted her room to reflect her quirky personality.  Sofia loves to read, loves music, loves her little puggles, and loves Abe Lincoln (that’s right, Abraham Lincoln).  She wanted green and purple in her room but not in that elegant purple and green combo way; she wanted funk.    After taking her to look at paint samples and both of us getting frustrated, she said, “Mom, you know what I like and so long as there’s green and purple in the room, you just design the room and surprise me.”  That’s exactly what I needed to hear to go nuts!

I started researching online and found the following things that I thought would be perfect for her:

Sofia's Eclectic Room

I love the eclecticness of this room!  It’s minimal but still colorful.  The colors tie in together but it’s not too matchy-matchy.  To pull this off, you have to have white or close to white walls otherwise it’s color overload.

abePurple and green with Abe Lincoln!  It’s like this designer was reading Sofia’s mind!  I also like the green lamp and hot pink accents.




Gold severed animals as artwork, who wouldn’t love that?!  Sofia loves animals but because she’s quirky, I’m going to replicate this artwork using the animal BUTTS instead.  She’ll love it!



This is a keeper because I want to do one accent wall with these ombre chevron stripes but the stripes are going to be lime green at the bottom going to soft green at the top.


So with all these ideas, I made a mood board since the best way for me to see if things are going to work when I do a room from scratch, is to make a board.

Sofia's Room

Purple, orange, and lime green are the main colors with punches of pink and to neutralize the room, gray and white.

1.     A gray bedspread anchors the room and gives the eye a rest since the accents in the room are so colorful.  I got the bedspread from Marshall’s for $40.

2.    This colorful tapestry is from Urban Outfitters for $39 and it will lie on the foot of Sofia’s bed to give the bedding a little color.

3.    Sofia loves music!  This headphone print is from ZGallerie and will be in the collage above Sofia’s bed along with Abe, the turntable, and the Keep Calm print.  It was $40 for the print.

4.    Same collection of prints as the headphones.  $40 from ZGallerie.

5.    Sofia is also an avid reader and I got this print from the Keep Calm store on Etsy for $20.

6.    Every girl’s room needs a gaudy, plastic, purple chandelier.  This one is from Amazon for $118 but I’m going to try to find a similar one on Craigslist and just paint it to keep costs down.

7.    I got 2 little knobs from Urban Outfitters for $10 for the pair to serve as pullbacks for Sofia’s curtains.

8.    This little wooden jar is from Urban Outfitters for $10 and is perfect for Sofia’s retainer that she leaves on her nightstand that one day I’m afraid is going to become a dog treat…

9.    Lampshade from Target to go onto the lime green lamp base which will sit on her nightstand.  $26

10.  Lamp base from Target for $36.

11.  Awesomely colorful rug from Urban Outfitters for a whopping $18.  It’s only a 3×5 but it’s going to go at the foot of her bed and should be just the right size.

12.  Neutral curtains from Urban Outfitters for $29 per panel.  Great deal!

13.  The Abe Lincoln print from Zazzle for $19.


So, that’s all I’ve ordered for now.  I’m still looking for some pillows for the bed which I might sew myself since I am trying to keep the costs down!  Overall, I’d like to keep the makeover under $500 and so far I’m at $357 plus I still need to paint…

Gettin’ Moody in the Family Room

I really don’t know what the end product of our family room will be when I’m finished remodeling, but below is a mood board that I put together with items that I love now.

I want the room to be in calm neutral colors with furniture that’s not too “fussy”  so that when we’re in there watching TV or just hanging out, we can just chill and not worry about messing up the family room.  With three kids and two dogs, I have to keep this in mind!  I added pieces that were on the inexpensive side (the couch) to balance out the ones that are more expensive (the green chair that I want to get 2 of).  The desk I am going to make per the instructions on Shanty 2 Chic.

Of course I want to get all the items NOW, but one step at a time right?  I still need to paint the walls first then on to the fun stuff!