Something New and Something Old in the Dining Room

After a late summer vacation to the Bahamas with the family:


We went to Atlantis for 4 days


Then we stayed at Black Point Caye for about a week


Where we snorkeled


Fed wild swimming pigs


Made new friends


Were silly


And sweet to each other ūüôā

I’m finally turning my attention back to mi casa.

I bought an antique buffet a few months ago that was living in the garage until this weekend when we roped a friend with strong muscles into helping Thomas move it into the dining room.

Buffet Close Up


Buffet Leg

The buffet that was in the dining room was actually a fish stand that was a solid piece of furniture, especially for a fish stand, but the contemporary lines of the stand was not what I was looking for.  The dark brown color was too close to the table color, but the style was completely different from the table, or really anything else in the room, so the piece looked out of place in the room.   It was also too small for the space and had very limited storage capacity.

1whole dining room

See how the table sort of blends into the buffet…

I don’t like pieces to look too match-matchy especially in a small room (like our dining room) because matchy-matchy is boring and gives the room no character. ¬†I like different wood toned furniture with the same vibe to pull off that eclectic look. ¬†And I like that the orangish color of the buffet plays off the blue walls and that it is a better size for the space. ¬†The fact that it has lots of storage room for piano books, art supplies, school books, etc. makes me LOVE this piece.

Right AngleI also bought some curtains that I’m still not 100% sold on… ¬†I like the fact that the colors in the curtains are the same-ish as in the accent chairs and rug, but they *might* be too busy. ¬†I’m living with them for a while to see if they’ll grow on me. ¬†I’ve tried a few other curtain panels, but none of them look right, so these will do for now. ¬†They’re from Pottery Barn, btw.

Wide Angle

After waiting for almost two months, the lights for the guest area are on the way, so installing those puppies are next on my list.

Statement Chairs in Dining Room

Well… I thought I was going to take a break in the¬†dining room for now, but after going to Home Goods to pick up a few items for the guest room, I came across some statement chairs for the head and foot of the table that I couldn’t pass up:

1Chair Close Up

I wanted statement¬†chairs, but wasn’t actively looking for them which happens to the best time to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The chairs¬†have beige and gray in the fabric so that it relates to the colors in both the rug and also the side chairs and the legs and nailhead trim are the same as in the side chairs. ¬†When I saw them sitting in the store, I was excited about the possibility of them¬†being a winner, so I had to bring them home to at least try them out especially considering the price ($150 a piece). ¬†I love it when I find something I like that I thought would be really expensive or labor intensive to make, but turns out it’s not. ¬†ūüôā

Home Goods is about 10 minutes away from my house and they have a generous return policy, so (to the dismay of my husband) I’m always getting things from there that I’m not a hundred percent sure will work in our house knowing that I can just return the item if it’s a dud.

Even when these chairs were in the car in the driveway I was skeptical thinking they were too traditional, but when I put them in the room, I knew right away they were a winner. ¬†As an added bonus, my husband liked them right away too. ¬†It’s always nice when the two of us are on the same page and there’s no convincing/pleading/begging on either of our parts to do.

1Whole Dining Room

The chairs provide visual interest in the sea of greige that was all eight dining chairs by breaking up the solid colors. ¬†The gray looks a little lighter in the pictures than it actually is; it’s actually a shade or two lighter than the gray in the rug.

1whole dining room with dog

And because Billy wanted to get in every shot that I took this afternoon, here he is in all his glory (since he’s the real star of these photos anyway):

1BillieAnd now my focus is back to the guest room since I only have about a week to pull off the transformation (you’ll know what I mean when I post before and after pics this upcoming week… there’s a whole lot¬†of ugly¬†down there right now…).


Teal in the Dining Room

The dining room is painted (dun, dun, dun, duuuuun)! ¬†It took forever because I pulled a muscle in my back and neck that left me doing next to nothing for the last week. ¬†How did I pull it, you ask? ¬†Yoga. ¬†That’s right. ¬†F%$^ing yoga. ¬†Not even the strenuous hot yoga where you burn a calorie or two, but yoga for beginners. ¬†I’m ashamed to say that yoga left me¬†in pain for days…

I’m better and back into the swing of full on house projects and now that the dining room is painted, it’s one of my favorite projects because I ventured out of my comfort zone, first with the crazy rug, and now with the bold wall color.

This is what the room looked like before painting (and art):

Whole Room Side

And here’s what it looks like now:

1whole dining room

It’s coming along. ¬†For the paint color, I really liked two teal-ish paints; one was dark and more green and the other was lighter and bluer. ¬†Because I couldn’t decide between the two, I just had Home Depot mix them 50/50. My inspiration color¬†was this and I think I got pretty close:

Dark Teal Walls

The art is from Artfully Walls which sells fairly inexpensive art in collections so you don’t have to rack your brain deciding if this painting goes with this print or if the colors clash; the “experts” put them together for you so it’s pretty fool-proof. ¬†I did pick out the frames though, so I didn’t totally cheat.

1picsAnother good thing about Artfully Walls is that they have the collection hung up on a sample wall in the arrangement that they think looks best. After I received and framed the art, I went online to see the arrangement they recommended, but my collection was not for sale anymore so I had to rely on my wits, talent, and perseverance to come up with an arrangement myself.  To do this I laid the artwork out on the ground and just played around with the position and spacing.

1Staggering Up

1symmetically staggered

I went with the bottom arrangement since I like symmetry even if this is a loose definition of symmetry:


I like the way the art looks (especially against the teal wall), but they are reproductions of the real deal and I’d rather have the actual real deal, so my goal is buy one nice piece of artwork every year or two to have an actual art¬†collection that I love and that I can pass on to the kids when they’re older and I’m close to kicking the bucket. ¬†I love art and when things slow down (like when the kids go to college in about 9 years), I’d love to try my hand at painting. ¬†For now, I buy what I like from real artists.

I still have a way to go in this room to include finding curtains, replacing the buffet which is actually a fish stand that we got at PetSmart years ago, replacing the chandelier with something more modern, and putting up something on the wall opposite the new art wall. ¬†I also want to try some wainscoting because I can’t stand the ivory, beat up, old lady wallpaper that I have now, but I have to wrap up other projects first so for now, I’ll keep painting the deck…little by little that will get done! ¬†We also have some guests coming to stay with us in August so our guest room needs some attention which I’ve already started thinking about. ¬†More on that soon!

Formal Dining Room Chairs

After looking for months for dining room chairs that were good looking, made well, and reasonably priced (the standard for all furniture in my house), I finally found chairs that fit the bill at Wayfair.

Chair Close Up

Here’s a pic from the front:

Chair Front

There were a bunch of places that I looked for chairs to include Target where I found these for $169 a pair:

Target Chairs


There were nice looking but they didn’t get the best reviews for quality. ¬†I also really wanted something a little more formal, with some nailhead trim and more traditional lines. ¬†These chairs are still a really good “budget” choice.

This one is from Pier 1 for $250:

Pier 1

Pier 1

I really like the nailhead trim, but I want tufting.  This chair is like a modern version of what I want.

This one is from Macy’s for $275:



I love this chair, but I didn’t love the price especially since I had seen others that were very similar for a better price. ¬†To be fair though, I didn’t see these up close so for all I know the quality of these chairs could have justified the price.

This is the chair that is the big winner that I got from Wayfair for $139 a piece after coupons:

Wayfair Chair

It had everything I wanted- traditional lines, tufting, and nailhead trim. ¬†The color was also exactly what I needed since I wanted something that was a bit darker than a typical beige. ¬†My kids¬†do homework at the dining room table, so darker is better. ¬†When I got the chairs the color was definitely not like the picture as the reviewers said but more like a greige- it’s more gray than beige which was a happy surprise since it goes so much better with the rug that has a lot of gray in it.

And here’s how they look in their new home:

Whole Room Side

Whole Dining Room

Also as an FYI- These chairs were a monster to put together until I realized that the very first one I tackled had a defect. ¬†The next five were a breeze to put together and took me a few minutes per chair. ¬†When I called Wayfair about the defected chair, they promptly sent me two replacements (since they came in packs of two). ¬†They told me that I could do whatever I wanted with the defective chair so after breaking out the glue, hammer, drill, scissors, and pliers, I fixed the defective chair. ¬†I had to cut the bottom panel off the ¬†chair so it looks perfect unless you get down on your back and look at the underside of the chair. ¬†So, I now have 8 chairs for the price of 6. ¬†I’ll take it!

Next on the list for this room is to install the wainscoting which I know will take a while especially since I’m still on the paper and pencil planning stages. ¬†Then paint, then artwork, then curtains…

This is the paint that I’m thinking about using. ¬†It’s called Ocean Abyss from Behr. ¬†It’s part of their Marquee line that they say covers in one coat, and I can tell you that after painting a big swatch, it really does cover in one coat. ¬†I was really surprised that it did especially considering that I got such a dark color. ¬†This is one coat of coverage:

Ocean Abyss

As for curtain choices, the dry cleaners ruined the ones that I had hanging (they washed silk!), so I have to get new ones with the money that they gave me for replacement curtains. ¬†FYI: ¬†This is the second time that the same dry cleaner (ZIPS for those in Maryland) has washed my silk curtains and to get reimbursed was horrible. ¬†I had to threatened to sue them both times¬†before they bothered even calling me about the curtains and they only gave me a fraction of what I paid for them…

So with the pittance of money they gave me, I’ve been searching for curtains and I saw these that I really like on Etsy, but I think they might be too busy with the rug that I already have in the room:


Martha and Ash

They seem blue in the picture, but they’re actually a dark gray.

Any thoughts??? ¬†Yes to the curtains? ¬†No, they’re too busy???

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‚Äôs high up on the list!)
  • Eventually get rid of the old wallpaper since it‚Äôs 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