Tags: dining

Dining Room Reveal!

We’re finally done!


Here is the before.


I came up with the basic plan for the dining room back in October.  Here is the Photoshop drawing that I did two months ago as I was coming up with ideas for the space.


Since we did the drawing, we made a couple of changes to the design.
- The ceiling and tray were switched so that the ceiling was white and the rest of the room was blue.
- Due to the configuration of the chair railing (it ends before the end of the wall), we didn’t do a different color on the bottom, but did the entire wall a dark blue.

However, most of the other elements stayed the same.  The design mixes natural elements with traditional and contemporary elements for an eclectic yet clean and sophisticated feel.  We pulled the navy blue from the rest of the house – as it’s an accent throughout the main floor.

The fabulous jute area rug was donated to me from RugsUSA!  I love that company – I’ve purchased from them several times.  It was so nice of them to send the rug.  I’ve tried several jute rugs in the past couple of years and this one is by far the best quality.  It’s awesome – there aren’t lots of pieces coming unraveled like the others I tried.  I chose this rug in order to add texture to the room.  It’s subtle, yet adds an element of texture and layering.

We also hung IKEA Ribba frames along the wall for a total of 10 frames.  Right now, they are filled with scrapbook paper which has a chevron pattern.  But, the long-term plan is to take area photos and put them in the frames.  You know, stuff like old tractors and funky Austin shops.

I may even opt for a few of the prints sold at Decor and the Dog.  Love those.


The dark blue on the walls (which is a custom color from Ben Moore) works because it’s broken up so much with white and because of the natural light in the space.

We used Benjamin Moore’s Natura line of paint which is odor free and no VOC’s.  It was great for an allergy sensitive person like me.  The paint itself looked like thick icing.  It covered in two coats!  Great paint.

But, let me tell you, painters charge extra for dark colors like this and it was a lot of work due to the moldings.  In the end, our painter, Fernando, did an excellent job.  He and his son got it done in one day and the stopping points are nice and crisp.

Do you remember the broken pots we got from Joss & Main?


Our solution was to keep the preserved boxwoods, but to use ice buckets as pots instead.  This just added to the silver in the room echoing the chairs and frames.

The table was custom built by Mason’s Woodwork back in June.  I still love it!    The chairs are from IKEA.  I chose the clear chairs to juxtapose the rustic elements as well as to make the table the star.


Here is the space looking in from the kitchen.  The white curtains are from IKEA and are the Ritva curtains which are a linen and come in lengths up to 118 inches.  We like to hang them with a thick rod and rings for a more polished look.


It’s so great to finally have it done!  Just in time for Christmas.  I have a confession, we are still so busy just getting the foundational decorating done that we didn’t do any Christmas decorating this year.  But we will next year!

I’m not sure if we will do the picture frame molding under the chair rail like in the drawing, but if so, it will be a while.  I like the room as it is right now.

Yay for the dining room being done.


More Thoughts on the Dining Room

Alrighty, so this week’s post on possibly doing blue picture frame molding in the dining room was fairly controversial.  That’s definitely is not always a bad thing.  I wouldn’t hesitate to do what you like if you like it.

Since that was just a preliminary idea, I continued on with brainstorming and here is where I am now.   Here is the design we’re going to start working on executing.  I created a mock up of this idea in the space in order to show it to you, below.


Blue (maybe more navy than it appears here) on the upper part of the wall, despite the curved corners.  White or pale gray on the bottom, white picture frame molding only on the bottom, below the chair rail.

Then, I will anchor the space with a natural jute rug which would add some texture to the space.  I’d add some life and green with plants on the table.  Probably actually three topiary style plants.

I will continue the blue (navy) on the wall on the coffered ceiling.

When designing a space, you have to also consider what is going on within eye shot so it all works together.  How would this work with the nearby entry?

Let’s take a look at the two side by side.  I’m considering a stencil behind the blue dresser in the entry.

entryanddining combo

How does the space look currently?  Well, so you can compare, here are the last photos that I shared where I had the tape loosely put up to show a general idea.

Dining-001-5 Dining-007-4

So, the top images depict the design that we are going for.  I thought I would share.

Of course, things could change!  I’m always making tweaks.

Stay tuned to see the progress!   We hope to get started soon.


Coming Up With Dining Room Plans

I showed this photo a few days ago.  Nothing like a photo of an incomplete room to motivate you to find time to think it through.


Issues in the space to be aware of as it pertains to design:
- Chair rail ends before the end of the wall so it makes it difficult to create a solid white lower half.
- The corners are all curved except the one wall with the three windows at the end of the table, so it makes it less ideal to put a new paint color in the space.  Plus, it’s open to all other common areas which makes a continuous color make most sense.
- Those darn three windows are in the way for much drama on that wall.
- The walls on each side of the doorway to the kitchen (to the left of the three window wall) are not equal in size which is frustrating for a symmetrical look.
- The room is open to the entry which means the color palettes can’t be too far apart from one another.


So, as of right now (it could change), we have put the two tall end chairs that were at the dining table in the first photo in the office for seating in there.

We kept the clear lucite chairs.  In fact, we’ve decided on no end chairs, and instead, four lucite chairs on each side.

That means we need two more lucite chairs to make eight.  I haven’t yet purchased those as I want to let these ideas simmer a bit first.

Here is an image of the six chairs placed at the table – 4 on one side, 2 on the other side, 2 more to come later.  Why four on each side?  Well, it’s less chaotic and it better allows for a rug in the space since the rug doesn’t have to be long enough to accommodate end chairs.  That means an 8×10 would work which is nice.


Oh, and all that blue tape?   We also very loosely placed painters tape on the wall to very roughly approximate picture frame molding on the walls.  Don’t worry, I know it’s not straight or proportional.  It’s rough.

I didn’t complete the squares and rectangles or even do some of them.  For instance, I just taped the four squares on the back wall.  There’d be picture frame molding squares under the chair rail all the way around the room. So, it’d be consistent throughout. And, they’d be squared and proportionate and finished off, unlike the tape.

We also laid a measuring tape down to show the size of an 8×10 rug, if we place one in the room.


So, right now the plan is for a rug under the table, picture frame molding on the walls and curtains (there is a window on the right wall).  Obviously we want to bring in color and that will be done through the rug.


We are debating if to also bring in color with the picture frame molding like in this inspiration photo below.


We could do ours blue or gold.  Then, do a stencil in the middle, even.

Let’s see how the dining room opens into the entry.


And, here is how the entry is looking.  Please pardon the slightly blurry photo.


So, that’s the plan so far!  Whatcha think?


Dining Chandy Gets New Look

A confession – I haven’t gotten a ton done on the house since my last updates which can be seen on the tour page, but I have done some things.  Here is an update on the dining room.   Basically, it’s still a pretty blank slate.  I’m going to change up the chairs and the glass containers won’t stay.  I know I could just zoom in only on the new elements like many bloggers do (which makes total sense even though I always wonder what is outside the camera view).  That would sure look better since it’s so unfinished, but why not just show the whole thing?



As you can see below, we had a nice chandelier from the builder (an upgrade) when we moved in, but I always hate the frosted glass shades that covered the light bulbs.  So, I took them off!  Do you like the new look?

The photo below also still has the builder’s beige on the walls as well (pre-painting), though the sunlight washes it out a bit.  Can you tell a difference between it and the new greige  above?  It’s subtle, though the builders beige quickly went orange in certain lighting and that’s nice to be rid of.


I like the new look of the chandelier.  My husband doesn’t like the white sockets that you screw the bulb into showing, but I can easily Rub and Buff those or paint them.  I don’t mind them myself.  I like anything industrial, though.

I also removed the chair from the family room, and put that set of chairs back in the dining room where they belong, as you see below.


However, the scale kind of bothers me, compared to the shorter lucite chairs.  Some designers do that, but it bugs me.  So, I may take those out.  Or, the others.  I am just going to play with it when I get time.  I don’t want them to be a design obstacle as we discussed here.

Still so much to do!  The room is far from complete.  I don’t have a firm plan for it yet.  I’m still thinking about it.  But, I do hope to add color though curtains and art.  Probably some picture frame molding as well.

As mentioned, the jars will not stay on the table.  They are meant for the top of the cabinets, which I rarely do.  But it will be simply and sleek and not visually busy.  However, we first have to build a platform so they can sit above the crown molding on the cabinets.  I plan to add some greenery on the table instead.


What else have I done in the house since the last tour photos?  I’ve added a few pillows and accessories in the family room, had the office painted, added a few accessories in the kitchen.  Not a ton.  I need to get photos of the guest room up, as it’s essentially done, but I feel like I need a wider angle lens – I can’t get great shots of the space while in the room.  I’ll try to get some updated photos soon.

The painting of the common areas of the house took us a while (we did half ourselves) and demanded most of our attention during that time.  So, that has slowed me down on other progress.  And, I’ve been pretty sick with asthma, sore throat and such since all of the painting.  I’m so prone to allergies.  We used no VOC paint, but that doesn’t mean no allergies.  Dang it.  So, we’re leaving windows open, hoping it all dissipates soon.  And, in the meantime, I’ve pulled out the nebulizer.

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were around years ago?  Are you old enough to remember?  I would read them in elementary school.  I loved being able to help decide what happens.

I want to involve you in upcoming posts in a similar way.

Out of the possibilities below, what would you love to see a post about?

- How to choose paint colors for open concept spaces.
- Updated pics of the new house.
- Why this room works series explaining why certain spaces work.
- How to find a good painter.
- Series on undertones.  This would explain why a room may not be working.
- Best of Craigslist.
- Staging tips.
- Trends.

Those are just off the top of my head.  Anything else that I didn’t list that you’d love to see a post written about?


A Custom Made Dining Table – The Journey

Here are all the nitty gritty details of the journey to having our beautiful new custom dining table (pictured below) today, including our bumps and bruises!

It’s a little long, so grab a cup of coffee and a seat.


Let’s just start by quickly addressing the elephant in the room.  You are probably thinking, doesn’t “custom” mean expensive?  It doesn’t have to…  and surely does not in my case.  It was actually a way to get a look I wanted for less.  Read on.

Old Table

Our last dining table (pictured below) had been damaged in the move from AZ to TX.  Thankfully, we were able to get a claim check from the moving company since we had insurance.  That meant we needed to replace it for the claim amount.


Though I loved that table, it was fine with me since I wanted to eliminate my black furniture anyway and go for an overall lighter look at the new house.  But, that meant we had a budget and needed to find a new one in that price range.

On a bit of a side track, our old dining room in AZ was really the dining and breakfast area all in one.  There weren’t two separate spaces.  But, here in TX, we have a breakfast room and separate formal dining space as well.  The breakfast room is below.

And, our separate dining space.  It’s pretty blank…  This is prior to us receiving the new table.

In this photo, the footprint of the table is marked off with painters tape.


What style should we go for?  I love mixing rustic with chic and knew I wanted a rustic farmhouse style table.  Yet, not anything too trendy.

Of course, the tables that I loved cost way too much.  I really fell in love with this one at Restoration Hardware.   It is not only is it a cool design, but it’s classic and can be paired with so many things.


But, at $2995 for a 9 ft table, that was way out  of my budget.  Way out.

Custom Table for Less

The next thing I knew, I saw this table on our local Craigslist for a fraction of the price.

image image

Pretty similar, right?  I ordered it to be made.

Stain Issues

He made it in a week (fast), but put the wrong stain on it and it turned out pretty purple.  Not at all what I wanted.  He created his own custom stain.  Well, once you stain something, it’s tough to undo.  So, you’re safer trying it on a scrap piece of wood first if it’s new to you, and then getting the customer’s approval.


Needless to say, we turned that table down.  I’ve learned not to compromise if it’s going to always bother you and it’s not what you ordered.

He tried to remedy the stain by essentially painting it a tan color and put it up for sale.  He then came by with a table, so we could see how it would fit in our dining room.  Never hurts to double check measurements and all.  Looks pretty good in the space.   We gave him the green light to start fresh on a new table.  We’re on board, as long as the stain is right.


He left, and as usual, was very hard to reach by phone or email.   (Nice guy, though.)  When having custom work done, you need to be sure to work with people who are available and easy to contact (more tips later).   Unexpectedly, a few days later, he informed me that he was not going to build it.  No real reasons. Great.  So, back to the drawing board.

All of that long back story to show you how we got to where we are…

Finding a New Table Maker

I saw the table below on Craigslist and asked this artisan if they could make one more similar to our inspiration table from Restoration Hardware.   I love the general design below, but had my heart set on the other style.


They said of course they can!   Yay.  Best thing about it?   It’d cost less than a third of what the inspiration table costs.  Custom can be less expensive and make your vision possible!  How?  They have a lot less overhead than a larger manufacturer (offices, warehouses, trucks, transport, machinery, workers).  And, a store isn’t tacking on an additional cost on top of it.

One thing I loved about the table above and wanted to keep was the detail like the bolts and brackets – the hardware that shows.  Great little touches.

We met them in person, looked at their work and agreed to start a custom project together.   They are an absolutely adorable young couple!  They own Mason’s Woodwork.  Check their website out.  It’s a new small business and I love supporting small businesses, especially if they do good work, have good prices, and their customer service impresses me – then I’m very loyal.

Measurements and Details

I sent them my inspiration photo and the measurements that I wanted.

It was the beginning of April and with their work schedule at their regular jobs and travel, it’d be mid-June before the table was ready.  Not as fast as the other table, but that was fine with me.

I could tell they’d be much more responsive than the other guy which was comforting, as that had been a headache.  When doing anything custom, it requires a lot of communication, agreeing on measurements and photos along the way.  Both parties need to be available to one another.

We wanted a table that could fit up to 10 people if necessary, that fit in our dining room well, and that was wide enough that we could easily put a centerpiece or food in the middle while place settings are on the table.

Here is a diagram of approximately what we wanted.


But, I also wanted to more often just seat 8 with plenty of space, sort of like this table, but ours would be longer by 9 inches.


Width – 43.75 inches -  I told them my ideal width.  They advised the exact width and in the end, we went with their advice, as it made sense and we agreed.

The top of the table is constructed with wood planks and that means the width of the planks dictate the possible widths of the table.  Each plank is a little over 9 inches, so you could do 37 inches across or 46.  Well, 46 was pretty wide. So, we chose to do three wider planks and two more narrow planks between, with a border, making it 43.75 inches across in total.

Length – 107 inches – The length was determined by the number of people we wanted to seat and the space.  We wanted to not go too long so you could still easily walk around a chair if it was pulled out away from the table.

Height – 30 inches is standard for a dining table.

The other measurements that are important are the legs.  How far between the  table legs?

How wide are the legs is important for this design.   We knew we wanted their width to be proportional to the top of the table.  Similar to the inspiration table in proportion, yet of course, a tad wider due to our tabletop being a tad wider than the inspiration table.  If they are too narrow, the table will appear to be top heavy.

Communication Breakdown and Tweaks

This is where communication began to break down a little.  I asked how wide the legs would be, twice.  No precise information, just “trust us.”  As I decorator, I hate that phrase because my vision and what I had in mind may be different than their version of what works well.   It’s not to say they are not trustworthy or good at what they do, we just all have different ideas and visions in mind and it’s not until it’s put to paper that we see if we are on the same page.

It is important to spell out every aspect of a custom design out.   Discuss every measurement and then have all parties sign off on it before anything is actually executed.

This process may even result in you finding that their plan and idea is much better than yours, like on the table top when they suggested the wider boards mixed with the narrower boards!

When I got the next update on the table, it included a photo.  I realized that the legs were already built without going over any measurements!   Eek.

image image

You can see the disproportion in the photos that were sent at that stage.  Up until then, all measurements had been agreed upon prior to work being done and photos sent along the way.   They had done a superb job.

Though the table looked great in general, the legs were a little too narrow for the top.

It was at this point that I called Restoration Hardware to get their measurements so I can check their proportion and compare.

Their general measurements were:  108 L x 42 W x 30 H

Close to ours.  Very close.  Ours are 107 L x 43.75 W x 30 H

The width of their legs?  38 inches.

So, their legs were two inches shy of the edge of the top on each side.  That means that though our table was 1.75 inches wider than the RH table on the top, our legs were 4.25 inches narrower than theirs.  See, proportion problem.  Though the width of our table increased from the inspiration photo, the width of the legs decreased.  That would have to be remedied, especially since these dimensions were not discussed ahead of time.

We ran the math and concluded that in order to be the same proportion as the inspiration table from RH, our legs needed to be 39-40 inches wide at the bottom.  We decided to be as gracious as possible and just ask that the actual horizontal feet be replaced at a wider width.

After getting actual leg measurements post leg build, we sent this diagram to illustrate our point and show exactly what we wanted, and ask that the feet be redone now that we’ve discussed measurements.

Sometimes things are best explained in images.  And, it’s probably better to over-communicate in this scenario.


Lengthening the bottom foot should do the trick.

Just to make certain we communicated clearly, we also did a really rough photoshop rendering to show the difference the change would make.   The first image is the new longer feet versus the original size in the second image.

clip_image001 clip_image001[4]

They agreed to the changes for the foot and set out to remake that one portion of the table.  Yay!!  What a relief.  You never know how people will respond and how great their customer service will be.

Another Bump in the Road, But Turned Out to be Good

At this time, we also got the actual measurement of the width between the table legs.  Come to find out, the finished measurement was 67 inches, rather than the 70 inches that we all agreed upon.  It had been changed, but not told to us.  Eek.

Now, really, that was a good thing.  Why?  Well, when I rechecked that measurement, I realized that I wanted them closer.   In fact, 65-70 inches apart would have worked, in different ways.   I think 67 inches may be ideal.  So, that turned out to be a good thing, since I wouldn’t have felt right changing agreed upon measurements once work had begun.  But, this is why you work together and tweak things based on your needs/ desires and their expertise.

If you are thinking about using them, don’t let this dissuade you.  I just want to be transparent about the process, but I think we all learned a few things along the way and I always think that each project I do makes me better.  I think the same is true for them!


Next decision?  The stain!  What color?  I purchased and tried out a few stains on scrap wood that we got from them.  That way, we could see exactly how it would look on the table.

In the end, we went with the stain seen below (Early American).  It’s sometimes easier to just go with something they have done before than something new.  That way, the end result is more predictable for all of us.


Almost Done!

The next update photo I got was with the new feet, the stain and the fun hardware!


Looking good!   And, a few days later, here it is in our home!


Aren’t we glad we didn’t end up with the one we almost got?!



Overall, it turned out great.  I like it so much better than the other table that we almost got.  It’s such a close match to the Restoration Hardware table that acted as our inspiration, yet unique.


Ours is also 1.75 inches wider on the top.  The Restoration Hardware table has a brass sheet with a zinc finish on the top.  Ours is all wood and has the metal brackets and bolts.

Turns out, we stayed in our budget and got a look-alike for a lot less, that fits our new house better than a square table would have!

Check out their website and consider ordering a table from Mason’s Woodwork!  Check them out on Facebook as well.

Now to actually decorate the formal dining room.

What do you think of the table and process?   We’re excited to have a dining room table again.  We love it!  Have you ever had a custom table made?  Would you ever?  Tomorrow I will share some tips for having custom pieces made.