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???

Staining the Deck

Staining a deck is one of those projects that no one likes to do, but the finished product is definitely worth it (and so is saving hundreds or thousands of $$ by doing it yourself).  But sometimes you just need a break from painting, and after painting Tuscan’s room, I definitely need a break so staining the deck is not high on my “Want to do” project list, but it’s certainly high on my “Have to do” list.   We had the deck built about 3 months ago and since then, the unfinished wood has gotten a few stains and marks on it, so staining to protect the wood ASAP is a must before our $8,000 investment gets ruined.

In staining the deck, I wanted a stain color that was dark, but not too dark because I didn’t want the deck to get too hot.  I also wanted the rails to be an off white and not the same as the deck boards because the deck is big and I didn’t want it to look like a big blog of brown deck.  I was going for a look like this:

Deck Inspiration Photo


I love the white and brown mix of rails and decking but I wanted my colors to be reversed from the pattern in the photo, so dark stained verticals with white horizontals.  I also love the stair lights in my inspiration photo and I’ll try to get some when they go on sale at the end of the summer season.

I did a bunch of searches online to see what different stain colors would actually look like on other people’s decks, but even Pinterest was lacking in photos.  So, here’s my test swatches for those out there looking to see what a few stain colors look like before buying a sample:

Behr Wood StainsDeck Stains 2

Deck Whites

In the end we went with Cordovan Brown (the top color) since it is a medium brown tone without reds or greens in it and it paired really well with the rail color that we chose, Navajo White (the very bottom color).  Navajo white is actually a very light cream color which related well with our siding that sits right up against the rails.

One good thing about  not having those pre-fab composite rails is that you can paint the wood any color to match your siding.  The pre-fab rails come in white, white, or white.

Here’s a picture of the work in progress:

Deck ProgressFunny story…actually it is an irritating story with a good ending…  I first started painting the rails with my white color and after about 2 sections which took about an hour, I noticed that the color was way too white.  Like blindingly white.  Like, “Oh crap, I got the wrong color white” white.   And what’d you know, I accidentally got Pinto White instead of Navajo White.  I honestly don’t know if I asked for the wrong color or if I asked for the right color and Home Depot made the wrong color, but it doesn’t matter because Pinto White is now my “primer” which I need 3 coats of and Navajo White is now the top coat which I need 2 coats.  Lemons to lemonade people.

Navajo v

I figure it should take me about 2 full days to stain the entire deck since there’s a lot of deck to cover.  And, since the kids are home from school for the summer, I now have painters who will work for popsicles…  YEA!  If the weather cooperates and my workers don’t go on strike, hopefully in about a week I’ll have a post with our newly stained deck.


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…

Tuscan’s Room- Done!

I put the finishing touches on Tuscan’s room and for now, it’s done.  So, it’s gone from this:


To this:

Whole Room

He’s happy with his big kid room, and so am I!

I found this awesome star marquee at Home Goods for $80 that I put over Tuscan’s bed since he doesn’t have much of a headboard.

Star Marquee

He’s my little supa sta (said in the voice of Mary Katherine Gallagher), so I thought it was fitting that it should go in his room:

Star MarqueeI really liked the wooden crate that was supposed to just be packaging, so I mounted that first, then mounted the star on top of the box making sure to drill into studs as much as I could since I didn’t want it to crash on Tuscan’s head in the middle of the night.

Here it is all lit up!!!
Lit Up Marquee


Close Up Lit Up MarqueeAhhhhhhh….

BTW, I saw the same one at One Kings Lane for $110 more…  Shame on you, OKL!

I also got five RIBBA shelves from IKEA that were just the right depth.  Tuscan’s closet door opens into this wall so I needed something that was shallow and these shelves were perfect:

RibbaIt’s actually a picture ledge but for my purposes, it works great:

Wall Book Shelf

Wall Book Shelf and Closet

See, the closet door juuuuuust misses it.

When Tuscan and Trajan shared a room (which they did all their lives until we moved to this house), they had a “T” in their room that is really the only decorating item that I saved from their baby room.  The original one went above Trajan’s bed, but I found a similar one at Michael’s that I painted dark blue and put on his shelf.

Close Up T

The “22” is Tuscan’s soccer jersey number and I whittled it out of wood I cut down from the back yard.

Ha, just kidding, I found them at Michael’s.  I may be currently job seeking, but I haven’t taken up whittling yet…

Close Up 22

I also put up some roman shades from PBTeen:

PBTeen shadesFYI:  A few days after I placed the order, I got an email from PBTeen with a 15% off coupon code, so I called PBTeen and they did a price adjustment for me since it was within a 30 day window that I placed my order.  They’re really good about doing that.

Tuscan also got a new duvet cover and sham from Company Kids that they are no longer selling.  It was their cargo bedding.  PBTeen has something very similar if you’re on the hunt for that same look.

The rug is from RugsUSA that is going back to them ASAP!  It’s a nice looking rug, but so uncomfortable to walk on.  That teaches me to get a clearance rug from them…

Whole Room

The only other piece that I’m missing in his room is a PBTeen bean bag that is on backorder:


Other than eventually filling the second cubby with medals and mounting it above the one Tuscan already has, this room makeover is done!

Updates Over the Last Week

It’s been a busy week the past week with a yard sale on Saturday (that produced a whopping $37.50, let’s not talk about it), the last of the season soccer games, and getting curricula together for the kids’ summer of torture, I mean, homeschool.  I did finish Tuscan’s room finally that I’ll post about soon, but here are some other, smaller projects that I completed:

Foyer: I moved the yellow mirror that I had at the back of the foyer, painted it gold, and put it front and center so that it’s seen right when you walk in the front door.  I also got some “placeholder” stuff from Target for the entry table.  The red bowl is actually a ramekin from the kitchen section at Target and the wood box is a clearance item.  I also got a couple baskets from Target to go under the table for storage.  I’m not super excited with how the tabletop arrangement looks right now since it’s still too one-dimensional, but I’ll play around with it over the next few weeks.

Whole Table

Foyer Table

This is a sad before shot of the same table:

Foyer Little Table

and the mirror that used to be in the back of the foyer:
Foyer BackCovered porch:

Covered Porch BeforeI added some pillows and table top decorations, but there’s still a lot to do in here.

Covered Porch After

Covered Table SetI’m looking for an outdoor sectional on Craigslist to put up against the side and back of the room.  I also want to find a couple indoor trees (maybe something that produces some fruit, like lemons or figs?), and I want to put up some string lights on the ceiling for more ambiance (ooo la la!).

I’ve seen some really pretty white-washed wood covered porches that I’ve been contemplating changing my rustic covered porch into, but with the porch overlooking the woods, if I paint it white, I’ll lose the treehouse-in-the-air feel that I have going on now.  But here’s one I really like that if I had the nuts to change mine into, I would:

White Covered Porch

 (Country Living Magazine)

Flower Beds:

Garden Collage

I added a bunch more New Guinea Impatiens and also our neighbor who’s selling his house was throwing out a bunch of irises since his realtor told him that they had to go so, Thomas snatched those up right away.  Irises are his favorite garden flower.  He must have gotten at least 100 bulbs so those will look nice when they bloom next spring.

And that’s it for now!  I’m still working on the dining room and will post pictures of Tuscan’s completed room soon!

Tutorial on How to Display Kids’ Medals

Tuscan has racked up a lot of medals with swimming, running, and soccer and he wanted them displayed in his room somehow.  Previously, they just kind of hung from random spots… off door knobs, off trophies, off his bedposts, but I wanted to show them off in a way that he didn’t have to hunt all over his room for them.  So, while rummaging through Home Goods a few weeks ago, I picked up a couple of display boxes that I’ve seen at lots of places (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, thrift stores to name a few) thinking at the time that I could some SOMETHING with them, but I didn’t know what exactly.

Display Box

So they sat in my basement storage for a few months then as I was thinking about re-doing Tuscan’s room, it hit me that the cubbies were the perfect size to display medals.  So, out of storage they came and after thinking of the best way to rig the medals for maximum viewage (that’s now a word 🙂 ), here’s what I came up with:

You need:

  • Wooden dowels
  • A glue gun
  • Command Strips
  • A display box
  • Scissors
  • Medals!
  • Something to cut the dowel into pieces (I used my miter saw)

Medal Project Supplies Collage

First, I measured about how long I would need my dowel pieces to be by just placing a medal in one of the cubbies and measuring where I wanted the medal to eventually lie. I recycled an old drying rack by using the dowels from the rack which is why my dowels look a little rough but they’ll be hidden from view so ugly doesn’t matter.  If you don’t have an old drying rack just lying around waiting to be upcycled, Home Depot or Lowe’s has dowels and if don’t have a miter saw, they can cut the dowel into pieces for you if you have the measurements beforehand.

After cutting all the dowel pieces, I cut a velcro Command Strip into little squares, then put them together, velcro side together, and stuck one side to the medal and one side to the dowel.  I used Command Strips because I didn’t want to damage the medals with glue and the Command Strips just peel right off if and when I take the medals out of the cubbies.  I also thought that if Tuscan wanted to change out the medals, he could just pull apart the velcro from the dowel and medal, stick another velcro square on the new medal, and stick it back onto the dowel.

Dowel with Command Strip

Then I hot glued the other side of the dowel to the back of the cubby and positioned the medal where I needed it to be before the hot glue dried.  If the dowel is not long enough, you can remedy that problem by sticking on a Command Strip square or two (in my case three sometimes) then glue the command strip to the back of the box.  That actually worked better since there was more area on the square to glue to the box than there was area on the dowel (hope that made sense!).

I then tucked in all the ribbons so that they could provide an interesting background:

Before and After Collage

Repeat for all the medals and that’s it, you’re done!

I bought two of these cubby boxes so that I can add more medals to the count.

Medals and Dresser

It was a super easy project and I love the way it turned out!  It’s just one more thing to add to Tuscan’s room to make it more “Tuscan.” 🙂

FYI:  I know it seems like I was compensated by Command Strips since that was the main ingredient to putting this puppy together, and I used that phrase, “COMMAND STRIP” about 50 times in this post, but I wasn’t.  I just really like them and use them all the time.  I also like typing “COMMAND STRIP” and asking my husband to pick up “COMMAND STRIPS” from the store.  “PICK UP SOME COMMAND STRIPS NOW!”  End FYI.


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