After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow. No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens. But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy. I made A LOT of mistakes. I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working. Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan. In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink. Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls. It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me. I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG. Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors. Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.
Case & point:
Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo. This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore. (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense. I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point. I realized that sometimes less is MORE. And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.
Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth. I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will. I’ll be thirty-one this year. I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator. The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual. It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy. It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.
I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages. It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos. So suck it
I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room. The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.
I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70. The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill. Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.
The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat. I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other. The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.
As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.