A Dining Room Revamp…

 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.  

iphone 686

 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.

before after

corner sideboard view

corner view light off

booze close up

I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

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.

window seat view

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.  




So, yesterday I gave you a sneak peak at our new DIY train table/coffee table.  Today I am going to show you some pictures of the LR, and some recent changes that spurred from this new coffee table. I posted this picture of our little living room nook months ago.  The problem is that the whole nook started taking on this  feminine, cottage country feel.  It wasn’t that it was terribly bad, It just wasn’t right.  I decorate from the gut, and my gut was telling me something was off.  When the chalkboard table was done, I knew I had to inject more black into the space.  Another thing I might quickly add, is that we have our TV in an Armoire, OK, a cabinet-its not exactly fancy enough to be an armoire. Whatevs. It was previously 25 different colors, all in the course of two years, and now it’s white.  Rustoleum’s white gloss enamel to be exact, which is the most spectacular paint. Now all of the furniture in the LR is white. I am not a fan of matchy-matchy, but I must say it is cohesive, and lovely.  

I love the black tuxedo stripe on the cabinet, it transforms an ordinary piece into something, dare I say, sexy, and the lion head pulls will forever be one of my favorites.  The oriental lamp with the Liberty of London shade adds something whimsical to mix.  I ordered the Ikat pillow cover several years ago from an Ebay dealer in Uzbekistan.  The pillow got a fun little update with some Sharpie marker! It honestly took forever, but the end result is pretty fabulous, and it looks like I bought it that way!

These Ribba picture ledges are a great way for me to display my books and Magazines.  The asymmetrical valance was all moms idea. I have to admit, as someone who holds firm beliefs about symmetry, I was not totally on board with the idea. I quickly changed my mind, because it’s totally punk rock!  I have never dyed anything before, so I followed this tutorial for dip dye.  I already had a white fabric panel leftover from another project, and the drapery tiebacks that I spray painted white, so all I needed to complete the project was a three dollar box of dye.  I want to emphasize that I completed this little redo with things I already had, or things that are relatively inexpensive like a sharpie marker, and fabric dye.  Change doesn’t have to drain your pockets.

The design of this little nook has changed, but the premise has stayed the same.

 Make a drink, grab a magazine, sit down and relax. XO-Tara

nook beterDSC01867DSC01857good one


bar cartDSC01873