Dining Room Built-Ins

I love my husband for 1001 reasons – he is literally the best human and I’m forever indebted to him for all he’s done (and continues to do, you better bet that honey do list aint complete) for our family.

So these built-ins y’all. These built-ins are pushing him to the 101/100 level cause they are sweet as sugar and I’m totally obsessed.


We’ve had some practice in this arena with the other houses (like this, and this, and this), but we’ve definitely had learning experiences as we’ve gone along and I do feel like these turned out much better than some of our other attempts. Practices makes perfect, I guess! 😉

If I could hand a few silver nuggets on how to make builts ins look sublime this would be it:

  • Sand the hello dolly out of them (in between every paint coat – sand, too)
  • Add extra pieces of trim to the shelves to beef up the front and make it look chunkier (big difference between our first built-ins here, 4 years ago, and these ones!)
  • Always add crown – gives it the zinggggg 🙂


We had a counter and cabinets in here before, so we knew we needed to order some to match when we renovated our kitchen a few months back. Although it definitely added to the cost to have a professional style base cabinet (vs the pre-fab options we’ve used in the past from Home Depot stock cabinets) but I think it provides continuity and a uniform look. Since these two rooms (our dining and kitchen) are connected to each other and in the same visual plain, it seemed important to have a streamlined look between the two spaces.

I had lots of fun styling the bookcases – and finally using some of the decorations and picture frames that we’ve had stored in closets for a year +


Jay insisted on adding a beer opener, and fridge, hehe. We had a wine fridge here in the old design, which apparently, does not get cold enough for beer 😉


Another favorite new addition is this dining light. which I got on sale for $270 (which is still steeeeepp, but I do love it!). I wanted something classic and understated in this room, and this light fits the bill. We started out with a chandelier I found on craigslist (which you can see here) and it was too low (and people kept hitting their heads on it), so after a year I updated to this light and I love it.


Another view. Smitten!

I love the brass detail on it and I think it adds some warmth to the space as well.


We also added in a kitchen for Mr. H in our dining room. Keeps him busy “cooking” for us while we make dinner each night! This was a $25 craigslist find that we painted navy for him and gift to him this Christmas. So far the paint is holding up fine (we just spray painted it…)


Right now the bookcase looks a smidge bare, but I figure in a few months we will add to it with thrift store knick knacks and family photos.


This is the before of the dining room – I love the white – it makes the space feel so much more open and bright!

Dining Room with Built in

And the full shot view once more, for comparison:


Dining Room Plans Are Served

As soon as we found a house I was (of course) immediately drawn to the corner of the interwebs I think we all know too well, full of all types of juicy things to look at. Yes, pinterest, my fellow house renovation addicts. This is the land of obsession and alllll kinds of inspiration.

Ever since our offer was accepted, I started thinking about how I wanted our Dining Room to look once the space was finished. It’s the first room you see when you walk into the house, and right now – it’s screams 1992.

Dining Room with Built in

I LOVE built-ins. I do not love these built-ins.

Dining Room Built in

That being said, even though they look sorta funky, I’ve found even after just a few weeks of living here that they’re functional. Really great storage and with a small kitchen, they’re a perfect place to store those huge casserole dishes you pull out like twice a year.

So although I know we’ll be getting rid of these particular built-ins, I do think I’d like to keep the concept going with our new dining room plans as we continue to renovate down the road. So with my pinterest obsessed way, I stumbled across this gem and it’s officially become my inspiration for what I’d like to do with the space.

Built-ins in Dining Room

I mean – if I ever find this style table on craigslist, I’m going to literally die and stop whatever I’m doing to go and get that sucker. I swear, it’s just the loveliest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. And truly, as much as I love those linen chairs, with a one-year old, that’s just not happening. Unless your going for a modern tie die effect via spaghetti sauce everywhere.
Grasscloth in Dining Room

We’ve also got chair rail in this room, so this dining room photo caught my attention, too.  Eventually we plan on adding in some nice trim beneath the chair rail to make the room look a bit more polished and finished. In the more immediate term, we’ll just plan on painting it white though.

If my budget allowed for grass cloth, I’d be all the heck over that, but alas, a gallon of paint is a whole lot cheaper, so for now I’m thinking Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter which should give the room a similar look. Not nearly as classy, I know, but hey – it’s the look for less, right?!

Since this room also opens up into the foyer, I want to keep the color consistent in both spaces.

Entryway landing

My heart is so drawn to entries like this. Swoon. That picture is enough to make me want to buy a country farmhouse with 200-year old pine floors.

Farmhouse Entry Way

Or something like this … an old dresser off craigslist with some sweet little lamps on it?

Entry Way

So these days, you’ll find me with paint brush in hand, doing some hard core craigslist searching on the side 😉 Next up I’ll have some after photos of our Dining Room. It’s in progress now – can’t wait to share the changes with y’all!

Built In Shelf DIY

Whew! It’s been a busy week over here. We’re well into our bathroom renovation and I’m so excited with how it’s coming along! We’ll have some progress photos of the space up later this week for you all to check out (get excited!). (for those new to the blog – you can see the before and after shots, here)

In addition to demoing and rebuilding our upstairs loo, I took 30 seconds this week to do a first round of accessorizing on our newly refurbished built-in.

Remember this built in shelf DIY from last week?

Vintage Built In

That turned into this guy?

Adding Shelves to Builtin

Well I decided there’s no time better than the present and snooped around the abode for some accessories to add into the space.

It’s most definitely not finished, and it’s leaning a bit too traditional for me right now, but hey – it’s better than an empty cabinet, right?

Built in Bookcase

It was fun to be reunited with lots of the little treasures we still had packed away.

I love, love, love these little bookends I found thrifting a while back.

Marble Bookends

They are the perfect bookends for the (imperfect) books we found stashed away in our attic when we moved in.

Antique Books

They’ve got some water damage on them, but from a distance, it’s hard to tell 😀

Our little happy pig found a new happy home. Fitting that he overlooks our Dining Room where this preggo lady pigs out quite often.

How to Accesorize Bookcase

Right now, these little gold guys serve no function other than ornamental, but when we add in a little bar on the bottom shelf, I plan on using these for stashing some mixer essentials.

Accessorizing Bookcase

And above it all, Honest Abe sits looking pretty. Another fun thrifting find. 🙂

Abe Lincoln Bookend

What were you all up to this weekend? Anybody else renovating a bathroom?

Farmer Jack

First off, can I start off by saying that I love the fall. Like want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner can’t get my fill – bring. it. on. Something about 70 degrees and sunshine down here is just too much for me to take some days. Perfection.

So, adding to the list of things this lady finds perfect – y’all – check out this farmhouse table Jay built. Disclaimer – online it said this plan would take you 8-12 hours, it took us like 8-12 days. Now it really wasn’t that hard, it was just tedious. And had lots of steps. And my husband liked it a little too much – ya know – like he would go out there and tinker for an entire evening and I would be all like, awesome!! so, it’s ready for stain tomorrow, right? And he’d be all, well actually no, I cut a board and sanded it. What can I say, the man found some peace and solitude out in the garage and now he’s a bonafide table maker. Our neighbors even stopped by and asked Jay to make them one!! Ha ha (that went right to his ego)…

DIY Farmhouse Table

This table, makes this wifey, very happy. See, we’ve been sorta slumming it in the dining room category. We, eeerr I, made an executive decision that the old table just wasn’t working in the space so I went and sold it on craigslist. I figured, sell the table, pay for the supplies on the next one, right?

DIY Farmhouse Table

The thing that makes me the happiest about this table is that we can sit six people at it! That’s legit entertaining category right there, y’all!

Up close, it’s got a super nice, subtle stain on it. After some failed attempts, we landed up going with minwax golden oak.

Golden Oak Minwax Stain

It’s the stain we used on the floors in our first house and ever since, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for it.

Now the arrangement is nestled to the right of the room (as you look at it from the kitchen) so the chandelier needs some … reconfiguring. I’m also thinking it needs some spray can action.

Moving Chanelier

I got super excited about styling up this room so I decided to add in a few more accessories.

I’ve actually been having some fun rearranging our living room (more on that later this week), so I grabbed the bamboo chairs we had in there previously and added them to either side of the doorway. Lil’ cuties.

IKAT Pillows

We’re also artless in this corner of the house, so I grabbed some of our dollar finds from thrift stores up in the mitten and popped them right in.

It’s a lady, and a pig. I may or may not have made up a song to accompany these two fine fellas for serenading every time I pass them 😀

Folk Artwork

So overall, we’re chalking up this DIY as a big fat win. I’ll have a play by play post on building the table up soon!

Here’s another close up shot of the beauty to feast your eyeballs on in the mean time. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be doing some crazy hair waving head banging. It’s feels good to be back in the dining room business.

Farmhouse Table

Floor to the Door

After having 2+ months off from home ownership while we’ve been chilling in our little apartment, I’ve gotta say there are some nights when you’re longing for a glass of wine and an episode of Mad Men. And a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, all of those things. Although fixing up houses is seriously my jam, some projects are just grueling any way that you look at it. Our kitchen demo/floor install falls into that category. We’re definitely attempting to take things at a more comfortable (sane) pace this time around, but every once and a while you come up against a deadline where you’ve just got to bust it out and make it happen.

The deadline this time, our tool rental. So it was ready, set, 24 hour rental, let’s go!

Before we went to grab the nail gun (our rental), we had a few minor things to do to get the space all ready for the next round of flooring. If you’ve been keeping up with our little adventures, you’ll know that we removed all the old flooring before, so that the new wood would match up with the old flooring we already had in the dining room. But, since we’d removed a wall in the process, we had to create a clear edge as a starting point for the next row of flooring.

Removing Existing Wood Floor to Add Flooring

Luckily, this took all of 2 minutes, since we literally just came through with a circular saw, cut through the last row and then grabbed a crow bar to pry the loose pieces out, like the photo above.

We knew we’d be under a tight 24 hour timeline, so we did everything we could to prep for the flooring installation before the tool was actually in our hands. By the time we were done getting the room ready, it was looking like this – mighty empty.

Prepping for Wood Floor Install

Other than the tools we knew we’d be needing, we made sure to have everything completely cleared out of the space (along with having it swept clean to avoid any conflicts with debris and the new flooring). I also started a new tradition with this reno. Since I knew it would be a beast of a task, and that Jay, well, might be reluctant to make the magic happen – I made an executive decision to resort to bribery. From this point out, I’ve started budgeting an extra $20 bucks into the equation to buy this fella some nice beer that he can sip on to help stay motivated (ahem, wash away his sorrows and pain). For one, it makes Jay the happiest husband ever, and for two, happy husbands are just a very good place to start a project. Since y’all, it usually heads down hill rather fast with a reno 😉

How to Bribe Your Husband

But before we even got to this point, we had to purchase our 200 (or so) square feet of wood that we’d be laying down. When we moved into town, we immediately noticed that there was a lumber liquidators over by our new apartment, so we thought purchasing the unfinished wood we’d be laying down would be easy peasy. I knew the wood had to acclimate to the house for a few days, so I called about a week out from when we planned on installing the floor and was told that 1) they didn’t have the wood we needed in stock, and 2) that it was on backorder – indefinitely. Errrrkkkkkk. Brakes, people.

After a considerable amount of progressively desperate antics from me, the sales guy mentioned that they did have 204 feet in stock – but it was 200 miles away. Mmmmm, eeerrr – ok. Problem is, desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, so my friends, you bet I got into our little Prius that could and crossed over the state line into Virginia to get me that wood.

How to Save Money on Wood Flooring

Turns out the $30 to fill our tank was totally worth the trouble, since the wood we wanted was only .88 a square foot, vs. over $3 a square foot for their premium grade oak. We did some research and found out that although the wood we were getting was lower quality stuff – if we were willing to deal with a few knots here and there, and some inconsistencies in quality, than we could save upwards of $600 on our flooring. So, we rolled the dice, and decided to save our similions.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the quality of the wood. It definitely had some serious jankiness with some of the pieces, but since nearly a 1/3 of our flooring in this room will be covered by cabinets, we decided to just be strategic about it and hope for the best.

Laying Down Tar Paper for Wood Flooring Install

The first step to laying the wood flooring down (after we had cleared the debris, and cut the final row to match up), was to lay down some tar paper under where we would be laying down the new flooring. After the first cut was down, I eventually took over this job so that we could multi-task a bit and get some more done. In theory, laying down this paper should help to insulate the floor and minimize any squeaking as well.

From there, we just tapped each piece of wood into place with our mallet, and than came back through with our trusty rented nail gun. Lucky for us, our only cut for each row was a straight cut at the end. Heeeeelllll yeah – that definitely sped things up! 😀

How to Install Wood Flooring

To start out, Jay was in charge of installing each piece of wood, and I would come through in front of him to “pre-lay” each row of flooring. Since I knew I cared about each piece a bit more (i.e. not wanting wood knots and mis-colored pieces front and center) I took over with laying down each piece preemptively, so he could just grab and go.

Prepping Floors for Wood Install

Now, given the fact that we went the cheap route and opted to use the chipper chicken wood, we did have to get creative at times. After putting all of the seriously ugly wood under where we knew cabinets would be, we still had some improvising to do. I.E. the hack-a-wood-a-thon. Take the wood that’s jank, and cut it so it ain’t.

Removing Imperfections in Wood

You can see that I definitely tried to use the worst off pieces first though, to cluster along the edges of the wall, where we will be placing our cabinetry. Anything that was deemed to dark, or had lots of knots got placed right along our new cabinet base locations.

Installing Wood Flooring

In addition to bribing Jay to bust this beast of a project out with beer, I also decided to redeem a sweeter than life coupon we got from Whole Foods for a free dinner (say whaatt??). We totally got a free coupon in the mail as a welcome to the neighborhood type of thing and I got this, for absolutely nothing!

Whole Foods Coupons

I may or may not be Whole Foods biggest fan now 😀 Seriously, as anyone that’s been through home renovations knows, things like making food tend to take a back burner, so having this plop on to our doorstep was a very welcome addition. (Added bonus, that whole meal is normally only $16 bucks (including the salad…), and we got 3 meals out of it, so that ain’t bad either)

When I came back from the grocery store, and saw Jay bird crouched in the fetal position, I knew it was a good time for a food break anyway 😀

DIY Wood Floor Install

The next day, after we’d returned our nail gun to Home Depot, we came back through and did the final round with our normal nail gun. Unlike the rental, this one had different nails in it that technically, aren’t meant for installing floors, but since we were unable to fit the rental in that small of a space (since it was too close to the wall), it worked in a pinch.

Installing Unfinished Wood Floors

Now instead of a big, vast, open space, we’ve got some matchy, matchy floors going down in our kitchen. Well, at least we will once everything is sanded and stained. Can’t. WAIT! 😀

Adding On Wood Flooring

Dinner for Two

Y’all TODAY IS THE DAY. Not yo momma’s birthday, not the day Abe Lincoln was shot and not Goldfish appreciation day. It’s closing day!! WOOOOOOOOTTTT. Apartment life has been fun, it’s been adventurous, it’s been efficient, it’s been cheap – but ya know what – I’m pretty excited it’s also fading into the memory banks and officially becoming a “remember when” chapter of our lives. I’m SO ready to grab the keys for this next house, and take on all the beautiful adventures that await us.

I’ll definitely be back next week with all sorts of fun details on what we got to tackling in weekend numero uno, but while y’all are waiting on baited breath for those adventures, I thought it would be fun to continue on with the house styling plans. Aka, let’s all escape to dream land, where rooms are done and all prettied up. Today, let’s talk about one of my favorite rooms, the room we eat in. 😀

For a refresher, this is what the dining room looks like pre-movin.

Taking Out Wall

I love the look and feel of this dining room (below), I’m especially digging the color with the nice crisp crown up top, and the wainscoting down below.

Traditional Dining Room

Although I love the color in this space, the furniture is a bit too traditional for my taste. I’m thinking I’d really love to tackle building a farmhouse style table with Jay bird in this space. I’m (giddy) excited about how much space we will have in this house for chowing down. Our last house was more of a combined kitchen/dining space, so it never really felt like we had a formal dining space for entertaining. Even though this room will still be close to the kitchen (with a wall removed…) I’m really looking forward to giving this space it’s own identity and vibe.

I’ve always gone a little too white (IMO), since it’s safe and neutral, and easy to decorate around – but I’m looking forward going a bit darker in here. I’m thinking that the white wainscoting below will help support a darker color a bit better. Right now I’m leaning toward Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. Here’s the color in Rhoda’s house, from Southern Hospitality.

Buffet and Lamps

Love the board and batten treatment in her house, but we’ll probably only go half way up the wall, vs. 3/4, like she has it.

Just like the living room, I put a board together to help guide my style evolution for this space, as well. Here’s what I have so far.

Dining Room Mood Board

I like the idea of going more mismatched in this room, with lots of the same elements to help tie the space together. I’m considering (not certain if we’ll do this or not) bumping out the counter on the island in the kitchen in order to make room for some additional seating – if I do that, I’ll definitely be using bar stools like the one pictured above.

Here is a snapshot of the layout, so you can see what we intend to do with the wall adjoining the kitchen/dining room.

Removing Wall Between Kitchen and Dining Room Timmmbeeer, it’s coming down. Now, since we’ve done the whole wall removal rodeo before, I’m pretty sure we can pull this off. That being said, I’ve got a few lingering concerns, namely – is there HVAC or any type of plumbing in the wall. The rest is pretty easy to deal with, but those two variables could really impact our overall bottom dollar. Like the last house, we’re majorly crossing our fingers that there isn’t anything too significant in our way when we grab the good old sledgehammers and start working away.

Since we haven’t been able to answer those big picture questions quite yet (don’t think the current owners would be too keen on us creating some exploratory holes during our final walk through…), I’ve been working on some of the smaller details around here – to the tune of a massive thrifting expedition. I’ve got a confession to make. I seriously spent $45 at the goodwill, which to me, is crazy town since I didn’t buy any furniture. I usually spend like 10 bucks at goodwill, but the good times were rolling man and I just kept adding things to my cart.

For the dining room, I found a few winners.

Artwork for Dining Room

For $2 each, I thought this artwork would look fun nestled on a small space on the wall. I’m thinking a good spot for it will be on the wall between the built-in and the basement door.

I’m also seriously in love with these salad servers I found.

Unique Salad Servers

If you can’t tell from the zoomed out picture, they’re little zebras, just chilling at the top of the servers!

Zebra Salad Servers

Probably my take the cake thrift/craigslist find so far though, has been these (2) slipcovered dining room chars that I scored for $25 – for both!! Huzza!! They a tiny bit beat up, but I think we can remedy most of the problems they have with a deep steam clean.

Slipcovered Dining Chairs


Dining Room Double Take

Designing just the right space, it’s an iterative process, ya know. Although I lovey dove our dining room table (that we refinished after snagging this beaut on the (craig)list) the more I thought about it, the more the circular dining table made the space feel a little less formal and a little more breakfast nookie to me. Now I’m as big of a fan of a breakfast nook as the next guy, but since we don’t have any other dining space in the house, I kind of wanted our dining room to feel a bit more formal than the look we had going on.

Since we really like our dining chairs, and they were a steal of a deal at $139 for 2, we decided to get two more so we’d be set when and if we decided to expand our dining space to accommodate more people. So, being the little problem solver (maker) that I am, I schleped those babies right on up into the dining room, just to see how it would look with two more chairs capping off the end. And by George, I liked it. It looked official. Like a legit dining room.

Dining Room Set for Two

Only trouble was that with the current table, people’d be losing their meatloaf off the side, cause there just wasn’t any table to put their plate on. Not good.

Current round table wouldn’t work – so I moved on to plan two. First, I did a quick scan of the internet and found a few contenders. But our space is small, and most American spaces are BIG, so most America furniture is BIG, too. Take this table, for instance that I found at Art Van. It was sleek, it looked small, but it was 60″ wide. When your entire dining space is 96″ wide, that is taking up a solid chunk of the real estate. When you’ve got chairs that bump out for people to get in and out of them, that makes things even tighter. Oye.

Art Van Woodmont Table

So then I started thinking we could make a table. Perhaps something that more or less met our current dimensions, but had a different shape to it where I might be able to fit all (6) chairs. I mean, 4 legs and a chunk of wood on top. Easy enough, right? I got even more hopeful when I started looking at Home Depot to get some prelim pricing info. Legs were like ten bucks, and the top was around $40. Building a custom table seemed more and more like a winning idea. Although I liked the table legs at the box stores, they weren’t calling me name. They were kind of skinny, and I was looking for some hunka hunka burning legs. So I went back to my little chrome book and started searching. And found the perfect furniture table legs. But they were $100 each. Wha wha whaat? That ain’t happening.

Being the craigslist addict I am, I started to look around for table that would catch my heart. Now it’s a rare day when you go onto craigslist and actually find the exact item you’re looking for. I mean, the exact, item you are looking for. Can I get an amen fellow craigslist addicts? Well this day, I’m pretty sure that Craig himself pulled out the stops for me. Here I was, browsing the ads on a Sunday Night when I came across this guy. 45″ square. Why yes, I think I can work with that. Same dimensions as our current guy, but with a bit more room for the guests to spread out. So I promptly bought it for $125. Bam!!

Antique Dining Room Table

See those beautiful legs. Man, they just don’t make them like that anymore. Seriously – not for $125, that is fo shizzle. The legs I wanted that were half as chunkalicious were going to set me back $125 – a piece – on the online furniture store. Alright – anyone want to call me out – go ahead and count the chairs… Yes, there are still only four. After bringing the beast (it was seriously, the heaviest piece of furniture I’ve ever lifted) home, we figured out it would only fit four chairs, just like the last one. Jiminy cricket. But I digging this new dude of a table, so we’re keeping it.

Notice anything else different? Since we had to cart ourselves out to Canton to get the table, we decided to swing by our local IKEA to pick up the Egeby Rug. Love. It.

Sisal Egeby Rug

Tricky thing about our space (we quickly learned), was that an 5′ x 8′ was actually going to be too large for our space. You heard me right, an 8 foot rug would have practically have been hitting the side of the cabinet face. I wanted a rug that pretty much covered the entire dining room space, since I wanted to distinguish the space as it’s own little area but hitting the cabinets was a wee bit too large. Since the rooms are open and joined to each other, I felt like a rug was a good solution to kind of give the dining space it’s own identity. The IKEA rug was 7’7″ x 5’5″ , so it was literally perfect for the space. A bit wider to accommodate chairs pulling out, but less length to keep it from hitting right up against the kitchen cabinets. Plus, it was only $99 (!) Yippie skippie.

Sisal Rug in Dining Room

Here is a shot of the new space from the Living Room, onto the screened in porch. Lots of natural light that pours in each morning.

Brookline Tufted Chair

The game plan is to pop the old table on craigslist and see if we get any takers. Giving that we paid $90 for it, and refinished it into some prime time glory, I’m pretty sure well be able to come out ahead on this whole table switcharoo. Sa-weet.

For reference, here are some before shots (a la, when we moved in) to help you track the progress in this space.

Dining Room Before and After

And here is a shot of how the room looked before the rug, and the new, square table.

Refinished Antique Table

Punching Through the Punch List

The last week here was so hot and so humid. I kind of morphed into a zombie and did all the rudimentary things in the day and absolutely no more. The temp died down a bit this weekend (down to 85 ;)) which has inspired me to whip on the good old house punch list and start karate chopping my way through. Oyyyeeee. Karate chop. (That was the voice inside my head doing an Asian inspired karate chop, if you couldn’t tell). Karate chops and punches, are the same in my book. 😉

After I tackled the living room mantle, I got to thinking that there were still a few stones unturned in the rooms that were doneish. Rooms like our Master. It functioned, the furniture was all in place, but there were little details still nagging at me when I walked in there. Like our sheets. We’ve got some off-white, some white, and some with burns on the back (whoops, don’t put a pillow over a light, apparently, my bad).

Burnt Pillow Cases

Our official punch list in this room before it’s done includes:

  • Put artwork above the bed
  • Get new sheets (these)
  • Hem curtains

Other rooms, like the guest bedroom basically just had a bed, so it was more of an open slate. That’s my optimistic way of saying we ain’t done anything in this room. Nada. Well, we did make the bed, so that is something.

Guest Room Design

To finish this guy off, I’d like to do:

  • Purchase and install curtains
  • Purchase and install a rug
  • Get an ottoman for the end of the bed (DIY?)
  • Get a small bookshelf/storage unit
  • Add artwork
  • Get a new light fixture

Rooms like the Dining Room and Kitchen have made tons of progress in the last month or two, but largely due to the timelines of our materials coming in (slow), we’re currently without a few essentials. Like, a countertop, for instance. Or a backsplash, or cabinet hardware, or a sink. You get the picture. 😉

How to Install a Dishwasher

To “finish off” the kitchen and dining room(s), I’m hoping to bust out the following:

  • Add trim beneath door in dining room
  • Paint around light in dining room
  • Add hardware
  • Install counter
  • Install backsplash
  • Install crown
  • Install sink and faucet
  • Add art work

How to add trim around door

And then there is the Living Room, which is also inching toward progress. Kind of one step forward and two steps back in this room right now. Love the new rug, don’t love the new fireplace. Move the mirror above the dresser to the mantle, need art work for above the mirror. It’s always so much more fun when you go through all the effort of beautifying something and you love it. When you slave away and your reaction is just meh. Not as satisfying.

White mantel with round mirror

In this room, we still need to tackle:

My goal is to get all these (or most of these) done by the early fall, so that we can start to tackle some of the auxiliary spaces not on our main floor. Namely, we are looking to convert our attic into a Master Suite (squeee!!!). We are currently in the process of getting quotes for this, and we’ve been really pleasantly surprised at how affordable (knock on wood), this addition is going to be. Since we are planning on doing all the interior work ourselves, the quotes we are getting only include the framing and exterior work and the first one came in at $6,000. Certainly not cheap but for what we are getting in the space, we’re leaning toward it being well worth it. Here is one of the picture’s I’ve been drooling over on pinterest as my inspiration.

Attic Conversion

Grab a Seat

We’ve officially been chairless in this joint for a month now and our legs are growing weary. We need a place to sit when we chow down at dinner time. The couch was nice and novel for the first week or two but we’re ready for some legit lumbar support to re-enter our lives. Now that we’ve got a revamped table, it’s high time to put some chairs around it.

Round Pedestal Dining Table

Seriously though, before we move onto chairs, let’s just talk about the mega-watt difference that this little round table is making in our space. Here is how the dining room was looking before. Lovely in many ways, put pretty low on the feng shui moveability factor.  You had to do jolting robot moves to get around the table (and the wall), it was tight with a capital T. Now the room is cozy, but much more comfortable. It gets my official stamp of approval.

Double Pedestal Dining Table

In addition to the curved table. there is obviously a huge difference made from the wall being down too. 🙂 The entire room just feels so much more open and airy. It’s so. much. better. I was actually quite fond of our last dining set, I got the table at a local thrift shop and the chairs came with a cheapo dining set we got when we got married. Although they looked fine from afar, they were actually pretty crappy quality, and they kept falling apart. I was waiting for a guest to sit down and land up on the floor. Never good. With the new rounded table, I dreaming of something a little bit chicer, to compliment the nice dark floors we have now. Here are some of my leading contenders.

The first chair I saw that jumped out at me was the Lydia Dining Chair from World Market.

World Market Lydia Dining Chair

I had an opportunity to see this one in the flesh (most of the others I’ve scouted have been online) and it had me at hello. Great lines, linen fabric, tufted back. Yummy. It’s also $320 for a set of (2). Ouch. They often have sales on this little guy, where the price comes down closer to $250 for a set of (2), but I’ve been waiting patiently for months now to no avail. Frustrating. If this guy goes on sale, I’ll probably grab a set of (4).

If not, I’m loving this one, and this one from Overstock. The super frustrating thing, is that the prices on these keep fluctuating UP. The first one was $230, a week later, $260 AND out of stock. The second was $280, now $320. Seriously, can’t win. It’s the first time I’ve seen prices fluctuate so much on overstock. Just when I want it, I swear.

Safavieh Dining Chair

I’m leaning toward the upholstered dining chair, mainly because I think it offers a contrast to the dark wood floors and table that currently match each other pretty hard core. That being said, I did sleuth out a few wood options, mainly because I had some concerns about the upholstery holding up over time. I.E. spaghetti sauce on my chairs.

I found these Sutton’s Bay options at Art Van, $127 each, but since Art Van is always running specials, I know that I could bundle them all and be out the door for $400 or so. They are classy looking, but my concern about too much dark wood mashing all together persists. Plus, we hopped over to Art Van and saw them in person, and they were actually on the ginormous side of things. Like, they were made for giants. Not sure how they would look around our petite little dining table. Ponder.

Suttons Bay Dining Chair

Sad thing is, I was totally ready to pull the trigger and commit to the pair from Overstock, when they were $220 for a set of (2) and actually available. Now they are listed as sold out on the website, and it appears they are going to “restock them” but with a price tag that is $40 higher. Guess I should have just committed when I had the chance.




Table Talk

So, I’ve been on the hunt for a table for quite some time. I searched far and low, and then found this little beauty on the list. craigslist, that is. What can I say, it had be at hello. My favorite thing about this guy is the base and the legs. It’s got good legs, what can I say.

Antique Pedestal Table

When I started my hunt, I was initially looking for a table with an extension, and alas, this little beaut is extension(less). But, it was also $90, I’m just going to go ahead and call that a win. My general thought is that if I find something different down the road for a steal second hand, that I can swap this one out and get the leaf I’ve been after. Otherwise, it’s usually just the hubster and I at the table, so I’m thinking this should fit the bill. When we got this little beauty, it was in quasi rough shape. Namely, it appears the household before us had apparently used it as some kind of craft table, cause it was littered with glitter. A fairy godmother table, if you will. A sander seemed like a good place to start. So we went out and got all the necessary grits for a lovely finish and got to work.

How to sand a table

Not really knowing what I was doing, or how to go about removing the glitter, the veneer or the stain, I started sanding this little guy. After 30 seconds or so, it became strikingly apparent that the sander was just not going to cut it. Not a lick of the finish budged. Bummer dude.

How to remove stain from furniture

So, we moved onto the the next thing. Look at this friendly furniture removing fella. He looked like just the man for the job.

Formbys Furniture Refinisher

Applying this stuff was so disgusting. It wreaked to high heaven. But that sander wasn’t working and sometimes, ya just have to pull out the big guns. To apply it, I just grabbed one of our crappola paint brushes and liberally applied it on there. For some extra stain removal, we also came back through and lightly wiped everything off with some ammonia (also very stinky).

Overall, we found that a combination of the two pretty much sealed the deal. The ammonia step was probably the most crucial, can you see all the stain that came up on this step? Jay just took a nail brush and lightly scrubbed the top of the table to get the stain off the surface. Worked like a charm.

Using Ammonia To Remove Old Stain

After we removed all the stain from the top, we moved on to patching up some parts of the table that had cracked over time. We simply purchased some wood filler that was stainable and applied it liberally to the cracks and chips we were trying to help fix. We took a putty knife to smooth it out along the edge of the table.

How to use Wood Filler

Then, we had the fun part. We got to see this baby transform with some purty little stain! After perusing the aisles of the home improvement store, we opted to keep using the same stain color we had on the floors, Minwax Dark Walnut. One, since we had it in the house already, and two, it just looked the best and had the elegant yet simple look we were going for. A pinch of this a pinch of that – you’re on your way.

Staining Antique Table

Jay referred to this step as the New York Black and White cookie phase (Mumzie, if you are reading, we formally request one of these as a special souvenir treat when you go to NY with Jo) 😉 I think we were hungry. Look how good that stain looks going on though! After we were all done, the table was looking like this! After seeing this guy back in the dining room, I’m thinking I need some larger, more pronounced artwork… It’s always something 😉 Oh, and some chairs, there is THAT, too.

Round Pedestal Dining Table