The multi-purpose dining room

The dining room has been a thorn in my side since we moved in. I knew moving into the house that I had no real idea for the actual use of this room. I’m grateful to have the additional space, but it’s been difficult to nail down an actual purpose for it. All I knew going in is that the piano has to be in this room. There is literally no other spot for it in the house. Because we downsized into a smaller home we also ended up with too much stuff and not enough space, so the dining room became the catch-all:

In october I went on a decrapification spree and got rid of a ton of stuff. I was able to clean out the dining room enough to have a blank slate to start with.

After 8 months of living in this space, We’ve finally figured out how we want to use the room. We want this space to be a multi-use dining room. We like the idea of having a dining room, but we still need a place for the piano. We also need a place for all my craft and office supplies since I lost my own office space in the move. And finally, we need a place for all the kids’ craft supplies and somewhere where they can spread out and do big projects, crafts, sewing, and the like. Basically, we need a dining room and a catch-all room, so we are going to combine the two.

Over Thanksgiving we went to the beach with our best friends. Well, my bestie Heather just so happens to be an amazing decorator and I seriously covet her house and style. While at the beach we spent a couple hours and a large pad of paper hashing out all the details of the dining room. We talked about every possible option, and every conceivable layout. I am so excited that we were able to brainstorm that day because the layout and ideas we came up with are so awesome! It will take some time to turn this room around while I save up the money needed for the supplies, but in the mean time I have tried to arrange some temporary furniture to get a feel for the layout.

Okay, so the plan. The plan is to move the computer into the kitchen. I will update you on that when I do a post about the kitchen.

The piano is now in its permanent location to the left of the windows. The long wall to the right of the windows will be floor-to-ceiling built-ins. They will house all the things; my office and craft supplies, the kids’ craft supplies, extra home decor, any dining room stuff such as china, extra dishes, pitchers. My kitchen doesn’t have a ton of cabinet space so I will also keep less-used items like the crockpot in these built-ins.

And finally, the dining table. I purchased the round table from Wal-Mart a few months ago. It is Better Homes and Gardens brand but unfortunately it is not on their website. I think they might have discontinued it and I bought one of the last ones. If you live in the Austin area and really love the table, there were two more left in November. It came from the Georgetown location and was $250.

Heather and I decided a round table would be awesome for this space, so I found this Wal-Mart one to use as a filler for the next few years. The ones I really want are around $1200, so I will use this cheaper one while I save up (or I might end up enlisting Ben to help me build a table at some point). However, after living with a round table for 2 months, I feel like the original plan of a round table isn’t quite working as well as I’d hoped. When I finally make a long-term table purchase I may get a narrow rectangle one so it will a) hold more people, and b) fit the space better.

Also, for the space between the table and the windows, we plan to leave that a little more open with a comfy chair tucked in there. I really like the library feel in that little space, plus I like to not have the windows blocked to allow as much light in as possible.

Am I confusing the heck out of you yet? In an attempt to allow all of this random hodge podge of info make any sense at all, I’ve created a mock up of what I hope the room will look like. I LOVE the built-ins that Thrifty Decor Chick did in her dining room turned library, so I borrowed her picture and added her built-ins to my dining room.

Seriously? Amazing. I can’t wait to get this project started! The only thing holding me back at the moment is purchasing the cabinets and wood for the built-ins. We are currently socking away any extra money we have for a kitchen renovation (I’ll give you all the details on that as soon as I have any). For now we are living with a couple bookshelves to hold some of our books and craft supplies.

The remainder of my office and craft supplies and extra home decor currently resides in our master closet. Eek. Huge mess.

Like I said in my last post, every project I have going on hinges on another project. It’s making me a little eye twitchy. I can’t make my closet more organized until I get my craft stuff out of there. I can’t get my craft stuff out of there until I build the built-ins in the dining room. I can’t build the built-ins in the dining room until after the kitchen is renovated. See my conundrum?

So for now we live like this:

Which I’ll admit isn’t really half bad. The only real issue is the lack of storage space.

While we wait on the kitchen (which hopefully will start soon – we are waiting to hear back on a few quotes) I will continue to plan and mull over every single detail of the built-ins for the dining room. Gah, I can’t get over how great this mock up looks.

Do you mull over projects for months before you start them? I do. I think, and think, and think about every small detail coming together. Once it’s all worked out in my mind, then I start the project. Right now I’m obsessing about the plug outlets, where I want to put new ones, and how the lighting in the room and in the built-ins will be laid out. Is that weird? Probably. But most of my projects don’t have too many hiccups once I start them because I’ve worked out almost every detail before I start. I’m way too Type B though to actually create a spreadsheet or anything. It’s all right up here (pointing to my head) in a jumbled mess that only I could ever possibly begin to understand. I make my Type-A-spreadsheet-loving-husband eye twitchy on a weekly basis.

Okay, way too long of a post. Sorry! I just had a huge brain dump about the dining room and it feels good to get all these random jumbled thoughts out of my head and onto paper (well, a computer screen to be exact).


     

The dining table {finally} has functional chairs

Don’t you hate it when bloggers start a project, and then never seem to finish it? You’re left wondering what ever happened to it, and hoping for an update. Ya, me too. It’s so annoying waiting months and months and still never get any updates. What I hate most is that I am guilty of this. I’m a terrible blogger! I get excited about a project, start blogging about it, then lose interest in actually finishing the project. Months go by before the project is updated.

I am sorry that I have been one of those really annoying bloggers that takes months to finish a project.

I am even more sorry that it has taken me over a year to finish my dining table and chairs redo. It’s actually been 19 months. Even more embarrassing.

In case you are new here, or just flat-out forgot what the heck I blogged about 19 months ago (I practically forgot about this table and I live here!), Here’s the low-down on the biggest-pain-in-my-ass project I’ve ever taken on.

19 months ago I found a 10 seater table and chairs on craigslist that was solid wood and, hello? It seats 10 people! I quickly bought it and brought it home with the intention of refinishing it top-to-bottom within the month.

Two months later the table was refinished with dark black stain.

Then 4 months later I did a post on how to remove old upholstery. It was suppose to be one of several in an ongoing series about upholstering dining chairs.

And then… nothing. For a full year. Not one post about the chairs. I’ve blogged a lot about the dining room. I just never got around to finishing those darn chairs.

In my latest dining room post you can tell that I painted the chairs. At least some of them. The table is missing several (which were in the garage waiting for a 2nd coat of paint).

So, before I share the good and bad news about finishing the table and chairs, I first want to formally apologize for being the most sucky blogger on the planet. I am sorry I started a project 19 months ago and am just now finishing it. You can just call me Sucky McSuckerson. Because I suck. I will try to never be such a sucky blogger ever again (except for the patching-the-drywall project. I still haven’t finished that one either.)

Okay, for the good news. I have fully functional chairs in my dining room. The table and chairs are done. We can officially eat in the dining room now.

The bad news. They are not the same chairs.

You guys, refinishing 10 dining room chairs is hard. Really hard. I will be the first to admit, I bit off more than I could chew. I could have totally done one chair. Maybe even two. But 10? I got myself in way too deep. And I gave up. Not to mention I’ve never actually upholstered even one chair in my life. So I thought the best way to jump into this world of upholstery was taking on a 10-chair project right out of the gate? I’m nothing if not overambitious.

But back to the good news. I was trolling craigslist last week and came across a post for 8 BRAND NEW Bonded Leather 20″ Pleated Back Parsons Dining Chairs. For only $300 for the full set.

Brand new they are $118 a chair. I don’t luck out on fantastic craigslist deals very often.

I jumped on those chairs so fast and was at the guys house within the hour (with Ben who was acting as my furniture loader and bouncer in case the guy was a creeper). Fortunately the guy was not a creeper, and the chairs were in fact in perfect condition, so we loaded them up in the soccer mom van and headed home. Here are the new fully-functional chairs just waiting for a big family dinner.

I didn’t measure to make sure they would fit before I bought them. Thank goodness they are the perfect size for the table.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do about Captain’s Chairs at the head and foot of the table, but in all honesty I really like the set up with only 8 chairs. Having one on the end seemed kind of cramped.

I don’t really know what else to say. I’m not usually at a loss for words. I’m just really glad to finally have a place to sit and not have to explain to every person that pokes their head through my front door why my chairs don’t have any upholstery on them.

I took a few artistic shots of the table from the opposite angle. I always take pictures of the room facing the window but here are a few with my back to the window.

I got the large bluish glass vase at Hobby Lobby last year. It’s one of my favorite decor items in the house. I’m not sure how well the scale works having it on my table, but I love looking at it anyway.

  

As for my half-finished dining chairs that I still own, I am going to be listing them on craigslist as-is. I’m hoping some fabulous upholsterer will snatch them up and finish them all. I can totally picture them being finished as singletons or in pairs and sold for extra seating here and there. Can’t you picture them painted bright yellow with a bold black-and-white chevron fabric?

Hmmm, that makes me kinda want to keep them and finish them myself.

Totally kidding. Hopefully I’ll have the ad posted by this evening.

And again, I hereby swear to try to be a better blogger and finish any projects that I start in a more timely manner.

The End.


     

How Now Orange Cow {dining room painting}

It’s been awhile since I updated you on any dining room progress, so I figure it high time we revisit this little purple people eater, er, I mean, this little purple room.

When we moved in a little over two years ago, the room looked like this (otherwise known as the Barney Massacare room):

If you are new(er) here, you probably are more familier with this version of the room:

Now that we’ve got the pleasantries out of the way, let’s talk barn animals. Or rather, huge orange cows, and how they fit in with this dining room with the bird curtains.

Back in August I instagram’d some new artwork I found. Yes, I just invented the word instagram’d. Isn’t this cow amazing? (The art, not my adorable boy).

It took me a month to figure out where to hang her, but once I decided it just seemed such an obvious spot.

I seriously am in love with this cow. I’m not usually so obsessed with barn animals, but I can’t help from smiling every time I look at this painting.

Try to overlook the still unfinished dining chairs. They have been a bigger thorn in my side than I could have ever anticipated. I’m ready to turn them into firewood.

Doesn’t Bessie just seem to fit so perfectly there? You can see her from the front door too. It’s really the simple things that get me the most excited. Orange. Cows. Orange Cows. You know.

I really am no professional at decorating (I’m sure that’s obvious). I just buy and create what I love, and mash it all together. If you hate it, good thing you don’t live here! If you love it, you are now my best friend and can move in whenever you’d like.

Chase couldn’t miss out on all the photo taking action. Or he just likes to sun bathe in a warm spot each afternoon. One or the other. He’s really quite a camera hog. If you love dog pictures just say the word and I’ll start posting more of him.

Oh, and in case you actually read through to the end, I take back what I said last night about Downton Abbey. I spent this afternoon watching THE ENTIRE FIRST SEASON and Oh-Emmm-Geee I am hooked. You guys were right. This show is amazing. I guess it took the first two episodes to really get into it. I wish Netfix had the 2nd season. Boo. I’m going to have to finagle a way to watch it.

Oh, and Mooooooo.


     
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