Sunday, March 20, 2011

Decorating obsession--my dining room!

First, the sob story. I think it will help you hate me less as I share the journey of how I am about to make over my dining room. Rich and I are both spending-averse to put it nicely. We pride ourselves on DIY projects and using credit as little as possible, so it's taken us almost ten years to furnish the house we built together back before we had babies. I also tell you this so you won't be appalled as I share the pictures of my current dining room. I know, this is killing any hopes for foodie street cred. Where do I find a camera lense that makes this room look more cool?
  • The Rug: The rug was a hand-me down from a restaurant in Chapel Hill that went out of business. Nice actually, but not our taste at all. The cat also uses the rug to vent his frustrations when we don't let him out the nearby backdoor fast enough. And fringe. I. Hate. Fringe. Pre-kids I would get down on my hands and knees and straighten the fringe with my fingers. Rich would just sigh and shake his head. As you can see from the photo above, the fringe has not been touched in years.
  • The Table: A discontinued, harvest-style table from Crate & Barrel. More contemporary and along the lines of our tastes. But have you ever tried to find a 54-inch square table cloth? Nearly impossible. And it has gotten a bit wobbly over the years. Plus I want a table with more presence, one that doesn't look dwarfed by the vaulted ceilings and tall windows.
  • The Chairs: These chairs are sturdy do I put it? Ugly. Filthy. Old. Another free hand-me down from a restaurant where I worked in the bakery in New York. No, not that kind of restaurant and not that New York. A chain buffet called The Ponderosa, Upstate. (Smooch. Bye-bye street cred.) And yes, that is two different shades of paint from the times we've used the chairs as step-stools while repainting other rooms. We originally planned to sand the chairs and repaint them. Fifteen years later...
  • The Windows: One of my biggest challenges will be finding drapes that do these windows justice. I love the view of the woods out back of our house, but I don't like valances or sheers. I want a sassy, bold drape that helps with the sun/heat issue but doesn't take away from the light or interfere too much with the architectural feel of the trim. They'll need to be at least 100 inches to reach the floor, easy to clean, and I don't want to spend too much money. You see why I saved this room for last?
So the parameters. The budget--is my own business, no offense. And did I mention that I'm not big on shopping? Shopping with kids in tow is akin to torture, and when I have free time without them I'll be darned if I spend it in a store, any store. Maybe in ten years... Yeah, I'm sure they'll embarrass me in public then too, but at least they'll be old enough to carry their own change for the bus ride home. I do a lot of research online and then check stuff out in the store when I'm 99-percent sure I want it. Unless of course, there are special online deals with free shipping and an easy return policy. Cue angelic choir.

Also, we use our dining room for formal and daily meals, game night, craft center and kids' art display and chalkboard wall (photos of that for another post). Our taste is decidedly modern but I love to mix things up. Rich loves ultra contemporary with industrial details but I prefer a more eclectic modern design inspired by nature--earth tones mixed with bright colors, wood, baskets, stone, pottery. We agree on modern, clean lines and a casual, fun and comfy atmosphere.

I won't be able to have my dream dining room--I can't afford it! My hope though is to come up with something that's fun and inviting that will last us another ten to fifteen years. So check back in with me from time to time and I'll post photos of the room in progress--growing pains and all.

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