Friday, June 10, 2011

Delightful Dining

Formal Dining Room
It has always been a dream of mine to have a formal dining room.  I enjoy cooking and entertaining.  This room is a nice size and we can seat 10-12 around this table and often have other tables set up in the front living room which connects to the dining room.  Click here for a blog entry about our black living room:
This room is a wonderful compliment to our adjoining black living room.
The dining room renovation included tearing down 70's wallpaper and patching the upper portion of drywall as it was not easy to remove.  Once the walls were in tact again, I put up paintable, textured wallpaper from Home Depot.  It is hard to capture this treatment in photos, but it really is an elegant finish when you see it in person.
I painted the upper portion of the wall papered walls with semi-gloss taupe.  The bottom portion is the same taupe color in eggshell finish.  The chair rail is gloss black.  Here is a photo of the dining room before we moved in:
I kept the chandelier for now and removed the shades for a modernized, brighter look.  The sheer window treatments were switched out for new pinch pleat drapes hung on a distressed black rod with matching clips.  Drapes, rod, and clips are from JCPenney.  I was able to get good sale prices on everything.

This photo shows the fabric detail of the drapes.  The close up of the chair rail shows the distressed gold on the gloss black.  When I painted it black you couldn't see the lines in the trim so I took a gold paint marker and went along the lines in an imperfect way to distress and highlight the trim. 

Furniture Finds
Every piece of furniture in our dining room was purchased from  I was able to get the table and 6 chairs for $400.00.  I talked the owner down from $500.00 and it is gorgeous!  The only thing I did to it to improve the set was to recover the chairs with fabric from Joann Fabrics.  The chairs came with white stained fabric.

After (new fabric on chairs)
***Sorry for the dark pictures, this room is very difficult to photograph.  In the daytime there is a lot of light flowing in and at night there are weird glares off of the chandelier and not enough light***

For nearly two years I searched for a coordinating buffet on Craigslist.  I was willing to refinish a piece as long as it was the right style, size and quality.  I came upon this buffet in the perfect shape, scale, color of wood, etc.  It was listed for $200.00 and I talked him down to $150.00!  Isn't this beautiful!?!  I appreciate the extra storage and the extra display space & serving space for entertaining.

Look at how well the wood coordinates with the table top ~ Happiness!
With the buffet in place, I wanted to fancy it up with a mirror.  Back to I went.  This time my search only lasted a few weeks and I was able to score the perfect oval mirror.  The mirror fantastically reflects the natural light & landscape from the window and it is positioned across from the chandelier creating the perfect reflections.

The oval mirror is beveled and is antique and shows its age.  The frame was a shabby chic white, but I painted the wood with eggshell black (leftover from the front living room walls).  The detailing shows up better since I glazed and distressed it using glaze tinted with the beige wall color.  The gold relief was left untouched.  Here is the mirror as it was when I bought it (for $30.00 on Craigslist).

This room is happily complete!  The latest thing I am searching Craigslist, EBay and Homegoods for is a matching set of buffet lamps to flank this oval mirror.  Always something...

 The table is set.  Come and dine with us, my friend!  Our kids really enjoy eating in "the fancy room" as they call it.  With white carpeting we don't eat in here daily. 

Dining Room Update 2012
This Spring I had the honor of hosting a baby shower tea party for my sister-in-law, Anna.  It was a lot of fun to plan and execute this gathering.  At the time of the shower we did not know if baby was a HE or a SHE.  In May baby surprised all of us by arriving a month early and it was then revealed to us that baby was in fact a GIRL!  Caitryn Antoinette was 4lbs, 14oz and 17 inches long!
It was fun to use my fine china for this special occasion!  This pink table cloth was from the wedding reception of the mommy-to-be!  Maybe secretly I also wanted her to have a little girl since up until now I am Aunt to two nephews and zero nieces...
As I am blogging I wish I could reach into these pictures and have few nibbles and sips.  Yummy!
Hot tea, pink lemonade, water, chicken croissant sandwiches, fresh fruit salad, chocolate hay stack cookies, and fruit pizza made a lovely late afternoon tea for ladies of all ages.
Hay Stack Cookies these no-bake treats are very easy and yummy.  I added the Cadbury eggs on top to signify baby making THREE in the Coss family.
Daffodils were in bloom and provided a Springy, gender-neutral splash of color to the dining room. I sent each guest home with morning glory seeds. I hope they had better luck with theirs. Unfortunately, mine failed to flourish in my garden.
Individual Fruit pizza (semi-homemade)  Here is the secret - buy the bakery sugar cookies from Meijer, make your own fluffy frosting and top them with fresh fruit.  Super easy, beautiful, and most importantly delicious!
Here is beautiful baby Caitryn.  We had the opportunity to visit her and her parents over the Fourth of July holiday in Florida.  Caitryn is not only beautiful, she is a sweetheart!  Here is a cousins photo below.
Buffet now has the twin lamps flanking the mirror.  They add ambient light to the room in addition to the chandelier. They were purchased at a furniture store.  We had ordered new love seat couches for our family room and since they were delayed in delivering them (by several months) the store gave us a credit of $100.00 to use in the store.  These were exactly what I had in mind and the free price tag was very appealing.

The beautifully framed artwork on either side of the buffet were a surprise gift from my husband.  They are Renoir etchings and are a lovely addition to this room.

To good friends, health and happiness

Friday, June 3, 2011

Updating Light Fixtures

Foyer Fixture
Our foyer had a simple brass fixture.  The shape was attractive, but the aging brass was not so appealing.  With a little help from my dad, we took down the pendant, removed the glass, taped off the important light components, and spray painted it in Oil Rubbed Bronze.

After                                                                             Before
I like how this light fixture looks like it belongs in our foyer now with just a few dollars worth of spray paint.

Before. (Excuse the walls they were patched & waiting for a fresh coat of paint)

Stairwell Fixture
Another light fixture that I have wanted to update for a while is at the top of our stairway.  The single bulb brassy fixture was not very luminescent and it was screaming 70's!  We removed the tiny brass fixture and replaced it with a chandelier that was hanging above the breakfast table when we first moved in.  I sprayed the chandelier with a textured bronze spray paint and am pleased with the results.

Here is a blast from the past with that 70's fixture (Before)

Without shades = too plain
Notice we did have to get a ceiling medallion from Home Depot to easily cover up the space on the ceiling that would not have been covered by this chandelier.

With shades = classic elegance.  I like the soft glow and fullness the shades provide.

Before we moved in.  Light fixture located in breakfast nook.  Click here to see the kitchen now.

Stairwell After

Stairwell Before
These small projects remind me that design is in the details.  Small changes can lead to dramatic results and it doesn't have to cost a fortune to improve our homes.

Cherries in the bedroom (Progress)

I have been working hard collecting pieces for the twins room. It is slowly coming together. Just a few more things to finish up (decorative quilts & throw pillows, dressers painted and a shelf hung) and then I will be satisfied.

So far, I am pleased with the results and would like to share how Addison & Amelia's big girl room has transformed.
Letters stayed nearly the same as here D and E have been recovered with scrap book paper and cherries cut out of fabric.  Mod Podge holds it all together.

Amelia & Addison the first night in their new beds!  They look happy and cozy.
Big girl beds painted, bottom half of walls painted green, duvet covers from Ikea, bed skirts and throw pillows Waverly brand from Cherry panel sewn onto valance.

Even though they each have their own bed, we often find them snuggled up together.  So sweet!  Cherry sheets were purchased on EBay and they match perfectly with the light green and maroon details.

Two identical lamps from Home Depot clearance $28.00 for each lamp and shade combo down from $60.00 each.

Decorative plates are by Mary Engelbreit and purchased on EBay. Curtain tie backs were a clearance purchase from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They were a rusty red colored ball and I painted them to be the red and ivory gingham pattern.
Tablecloth on round table will be getting more embellishment, but for now it is just a piece of fabric I found on EBay.
Chair rail added between ivory and green paint. Close up of the curtains and tie backs.  Hamper in the corner is from big lots.  It was a light wooden color, but I spray painted it with a Cabernet color.

Follow up for pictures of the quilts, pillows, and finished dresser & shelves. Hopefully SOON!

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.