Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dining room....the beginning of progress

We are in the midst of a busy home improvement Saturday around here. Already there has been a trip to Lowe's, curtain hanging, lamp spray-priming, and firepit yard digging. That's still going on, the digging is. But I can't help--pregnant! Yep....digging while pregnant gives babies two heads, I think I read somewhere. And hanging curtains is such hard work that I'm taking a break to post. More on Firepit Weekend later (or Firepit Month--we'll see which).

Today...layer two of the house tour continues, with a comparison of the dining room back before we moved in and now. Our old house had a tiny dining room that acted, at various stages in our nine years there, as a playroom, schoolroom, and office/music room, but never actually a dining room.

I kind of liked the idea of actually having a dining room in this house. We don't have weekly dinner parties or anything, but we do usually host Thanksgiving for Dave's side of the family and we have some other times when a room with a big table that seats a lot of people comes in handy (like the math club that Dave coaches. At the old house, this involved dragging tv trays out and setting them up in the living room. No more! Math club at the table, baby! Movin' on up).

Yes, so we like to have wild and crazy math times around here and we need a table and a room to keep it in.   But I didn't want a room that was just a dining room, either (truth be told, we mostly eat in the kitchen). My original plan, before we even picked out this particular house, was that our new house would have a dining room/schoolroom/library, with lovely shelves lining all the walls. I pinned several examples to inspire me, such as:


So pretty! Only then we moved into this house, and the dining room was filled with judge's paneling. I didn't want to rip all the judge's paneling out (and, looking around, this room isn't really big enough to support a big ol' table AND walls lined with shelves). So a new plan was born: schoolroom/dining room in the dining room and library/music room (it would have been a music room/vaguely sitting room-esque room under the old plan, I think) in the living room.

So far this is working out nicely. I have a dining room that suits our schoolroom needs beautifully by day but can pass as a respectable dining room by night. We spend a lot of time in this room, contrary to all the stereotypes about dining rooms. It gets a lot of natural light and is a pleasant room to be in and, of course, there's always somewhere to sit no matter how many people are already in there. It's our home base for school, it's where the laptops tend to spend most of their time, and it's where I put giant piles of hand-me-down baby clothes until I have a chance to sort through them (thanks, Kristi!)

Here's the picture of it empty again:

And here it is today (not really today. Today there are the piles of baby clothes. I think it was Thursday):

I can't get as good of an angle as I could into the library....must purchase wide angle lens (with magic money). Okay, so this is the view from the foyer. That table and the buffet were housewarming gifts from my mother (who, along with my aunts, owns a really cool shop that sells second-hand and antique furniture/stuff: A Classy Flea). Table and chairs are of unknown origin; the buffet is from Lane, orginally. The table has another leaf that can go in it and two more chairs (chairs are slightly mismatched, you might notice. I'd like to someday get more that are closer to the style of the ones with the round spindles, as I like them better and they're more comfortable, but it's all close enough for now). When the leaf is in, we can seat as many as 10 people in relative comfort.

The buffet is pretty, and it's also HUGE. It holds tons and tons of stuff--like all the currently used school stuff that needs to stay hidden when not in use so that the room can look like a real dining room. Generally speaking, there are piles of books and a computer or two all over the table. But each kid has his own compartment in the buffet where his stuff goes, so it's pretty quick to whisk it all away when needed.

We've had that painting--we'll call it the Sad Pilgrim painting (I guess they're pilgrims. They're dressed up like pilgrims) forever. It's an old oil painting, also from my mom, but it spent a long time in exile in our old basement because we couldn't find the right spot for it at our old house. And it got kind of beat up in the process, and I feel guilty about that. But it's still pretty! Also, it needs to be hung up instead of just leaning there. Ongoing theme in the house, it seems. Leaning is easier than hanging!

Those lamps have already gotten a paint job. They were $5 each at the thrift store, and then I got the shades at Target. The shape is pretty traditional/boring, but I decided to go ahead and get them, since they were the right size/price and let the color do the heavy lifting for them. They'll get their own post later, because I can't spray paint something and not devote a post to it! If I do, I'll run out of things to post about, and I'll have to go outside and help dig.

I'm envisioning getting some buddies (at the thrift store/garage sales, I hope) for the globe and having a small collection of them on the buffet--sort of an homage to the room's schooliness and also a way to add a little...whimsy? 

Finally, I am aware that the brass outlet cover sticks out like a sore thumb. It will be gone soon.

We call this the Old Lady Cabinet. I'm thinking of eventually moving it to the foyer and getting something else in this corner. With the buffet and the table both being pretty formal and traditional, I'd like some things to tone down that vibe a bit. This is also from my mom's shop, but we paid for it all by ourselves. On top are baskets of school stuff and inside are...MORE boxes of school stuff. Math manipulatives and art supplies, to be precise. 

Here's another shot of the fancy light fixture. Fancy! (This might be another thing that eventually leaves to facilitate the toning down of the traditional vibe)

And these pictures were housewarming gifts from some friends. This is the room where we keep all the housewarming gifts. I want to spray paint the frames, and then they will be even more lovely. 


  1. I'll switch dining room chandeliers with you.

    1. I don't remember what yours looks like! I don't dislike this one; I'd just like something a little more quirky. there's another post I think where I post one that I want....from Schoolhouse Electric.


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