Posts tagged ‘Dining Room’

It’s a woman’s prerogative, right?

People used to ask me how the condo was coming along, and my answer almost always seemed to be “Really great, we’re almost done decorating!” I would laugh along when they replied “You’re never really done. And when you are, it’s time to move.” But in my head I would think how every decision I’ve made thus far is beautiful and wonderful and I’ll never grow tired of it.

Apparently never is equivalent to 8 months in the life of a decorator.

I’ve slowed down considerably in the past few months, happy, nay – ecstatic, with the way things were. But now as the holidays have become just a memory and the decorations are stored away in the office closet, I’m charging full force back into condo decor.

Our bedroom has become dull and lifeless.

Our office is lacking a craft space.



Our bathroom resembles an olive. 

You’re probably shaking your heads, some of you knowing this feeling all too well, some of you bewildered with my seemingly sudden change of heart. But fret not! All these rooms need are a little tweak here, a pop of color there, and I will be back on my honeymoon!

We moved here in May. With the whole summer ahead of us, I was out every night gathering inspiration and creating magic (aka beautiful decor), thanks to the sights and scenes that can be taken in while enjoying outdoor seating at 1 of the many restaurants on our block.

With the winter months upon us, all I want to do is go home and cuddle up on the couch in my snuggie. A boring home makes me sluggish, a sluggish me makes a boring home, what a conundrum! Well Mother Nature can’t get me down! Effective immediately, I will be assigning myself homework and deadlines. Follow me on Twitter or Like me on Facebook to keep up with my daily homework assignments and to offer suggestions for projects.

Viva la Condo!

This is what I get for not being an architect…

Or maybe it’s what I get for not taking measurements. Anyway…

When Chris and I bought our condo the dining room measurements were listed as 8’x8′ on MLS Trend. When we got our condo appraised, the floorplan drawn up in the paperwork also noted the dining room as 8’x8′. When I bought a 16′ piece of wood from Home Depot and had it cut in 2 for the dining room bench, I assumed both pieces were 8′. So when I bought four 8′ pieces of wood for the bench back this week, I assumed they would fit.

Well it turns out our dining room is actually 7’10” x 7’10”.

The wood is still 8′.

Uh oh.

So after 3 trips to Lowe’s in 2 hours Wednesday night, the bench back is secured and upholstered..and standing on its side behind the dining room bench.On the bright side, the bench is reupholstered in this beautiful, more appropriate, more luxurious fabric. The brown pleather was nice in theory, but it was purchased before we painted the room. The red washed out the brown and it just looked cheap. I stapled the new fabric right over the pleather plus another layer of batting, so it’s plusher than ever.The Instructional:

I laid down the fabric first, smoothing out all wrinkles. The batting went over that and the wood over that. I utilized Chris to make sure the wood went down in its place in 1 try, as to not snag or fluster the batting. I didn’t think of how I would secure the 4 long pieces until I got home with the wood and realized I would need to lay a thin 1 inch piece perpendicular. This photo shows the 2″ pieces that I purchased as the bench sides, but they were too thick. So began my 1st of 3 journeys to Lowe’s.I purchased three 1″ thick pieces of wood to secure the four 8′ pieces. To ensure a tight fit for the fabric, I stapled the batting and fabric around all 4 sides before screwing on the 3 smaller pieces.Since this couldn’t safely rest on top of the bench, I had to head back out to Lowe’s for a picture hanging kit (This was actually the 3rd trip as the 2nd trip I forgot my wallet…where is my head these days?). I partially hammered the rings in until they were tight enough to screw in (a screwdriver can’t be used with these). After tying the wire through 3 rings it was ready to hang.The kit also included U-brackets to hang the wire upon. Each of these can hold 75 lbs. I used 2, 1 for every 4 feet.Re-upholstering the bench was a breeze. I pulled the bench a foot away from the wall, turned it on its side and laid the batting on top of the pleather.I repeated this step with the fabric and turned the bench on its other side to staple the bottom.Since the back was way too heavy and Chris wasn’t home, it took me about an hour of maneuvering and pivoting until I realized the back was too long. My shoulder muscles ache today just from getting it over the bench to its upright position.Being the optimists that we are, we didn’t let this snafu hinder us from enjoying Chris’ birthday dinner in our dining room. Truffle fries, grilled sausage with carmelized onions, and filet mignon à la Daddy Mims. Delicious!Excuse the lighting..Ambiance isn’t captured well on film.

2011 Resolutions

Is it really possible to leave all that we dislike in 2010 and bring only good things forward? Maybe not. But the point of New Years’ resolutions is to better ourselves over time, right? I like to think that I have the willpower to change bad habits as they occur, but the truth is I like to binge on the unhealthy and inconvenient until I can take no more. So here are my New Years’ resolutions for 2011:

1. Work out more. I am happy to say that I am 4 for 4 in the gym this week. (May be 4 for 5 due to this lazy snow day). You may be thinking “Day 5? Today is January 7th, where is she getting ‘Day 5’ from??” Obviously weekends don’t count when it comes to diet and exercise. This couch sure is looking cozy right about now.

2. Decorate more. As I went through old notebooks, cleaning up my workspace, I came across home plans that I drew up months ago. Some I accomplished halfway and some never got further than the pen hitting the paper.

Among such were dining room drapes. It is true that I bought, hung, and steamed the drapes. However, that is as far as I got. The drapes are still loosely hanging with no drawback. (I taped them back with electrical tape for the photo below. Shame on me). Instead of presenting the dining room like a pretty little package, it resembles the balcony of a beach house with wet, sandy towels drying to a stiff uncomfortableness (only more silky and soft than stiff and uncomfortable). It is also asymmetrical. I’m not encouraging perfect symmetry in every aspect of a home, but the entrance to our dining room is too wide to have only one side dressed.

Also on the list was the dining room bench. With the haste stapling and the lack of foam and batting, I had planned on reupholstering the bench while also adding sides and a back. This will ideally give a more sophisticated-lounge-like feel rather than a playground-picnic-like feel.

Last in the notebook of procrastination was the Master Suite Makeover. I started on my mom’s bedroom a few months back and progressed pretty far during the 2 weekends I spent on it. But with the holidays and my own home plans, the master makeover fell to the back burner. This morning I came across the original plans I had for the room, and while I’ve got to say that the floorplan itself is close to complete, isn’t it really all about accessorizing?

The footboard doesn’t yet exist. The 2 chairs in the ‘seating area’ have become 1 chaise, table yet to be found. The TV is on the opposite wall to the left of the bed. Other than that, this is spot on. But the accessories! The tables need lamps, the seating area needs an area rug, the walls need art, the windows need drapes, etc, etc!

This photo is pre-paint.

3. Take and post photos regardless of progress. In the past, I have hesitated to take photos in the before and during stages. While this may seem shallow and vein, it is really mere forgetfulness (with maybe a dash of vanity). I would clean from top to bottom in preparation of a photo shoot, and regret it later when I am explaining only in words how long and hard I worked on any given project. For example, in 2010 I would have never posted these cringe-worthy photos of our office during laundry day (laundry week).

Stage 1: Wait until clean laundry builds up on the floor and the closets are empty.

Stage 2: Sort laundry into his and mine, foldables and hangables.

Stage 3: Rejoice in clean room


4. Be more efficient at doing laundry.


I hope everyone’s 2011 is off to a great start and I look forward to jumping back into inexpensive elegance now that the hectic holidays are over.

Home Depot Designer Coasters

Coasters are something that you don’t go out specifically to shop for, but instead may remember to look at if you’re already out. We’ve acquired a few of the cheap cardboard bar coasters in our lives, not exactly worthy of my champagne tastes, but have made do for the time being. Well that time has expired. I grew tired of the coaster sticking to my glass every time I went for a sip. I needed heavy duty coasters to protect our hand stained coffee table. To Home Depot!

I know what you’re thinking: huh? Coasters at Home Depot?

Yes! Designer couture coasters!

These are heavy duty floor tiles, $2 each.

With a little glue and a patch of felt ($.49)…

My tables are protected from water marks and my glass can rest comfortably (and fashionably) upon.

If there’s someone you haven’t yet shopped for, or if you want to add a little supplement to the bar-ware you bought your mom, these are perfect. The malls are PACKED this week, but Home Depot is not! This project cost me 5 minutes and $8.50. Wrap some ribbon around the stack and present it beautifully under the tree.

The VIP lounge gets a little more VI

Let there be light! My dad finally made his way over to fix our dining room light. We have ceiling fans in every room, only 1 has a light. It’s not necessary in the larger rooms because we have lamps but the dining room could not be used without a ceiling light. I tried to install it myself, and was about 95% accurate…just forgot to strip the wire. Now I know.

Since the light installation, I feel as if our condo has grown by about 70 sq. ft. We have a room in which we can dine! Who’d have thought? I was so excited that I had to hang the corbels right away. I came up with a layout and measured accordingly. The installation was very easy. Hammer and hang. I also found a 12 pack of candles..with votives..earlier in the day for $6. Could it be any more perfect?

There are 8 on the back wall and 2 on each side wall.

Still looking for a pullback for the drapes.

VIP spot

While writing the last post, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted the dining room with all its updates yet. My corbels haven’t arrived yet and I’m still sifting through old photos for the right and left walls. As such, the walls are still bare, but look at what a difference table dressings and accent pillows make!

I experimented with drapes over the entrance, both in my head and dining room. I got funny looks when I told people my idea, and therefore second, third, even fourth-guessed myself. But I stuck with my gut and headed over to Boscov’s (the only affordable drapery!). My 9 foot ceilings require 9 foot drapes that will be seen from both sides. Luckily, I came across 18 foot scarves ($20) that I considered hanging as you would a scarf over a window. But my attempts to get it stay wrapped failed and the scarf pretty much fell over the rod like this, with 9 feet on each side.

This look is 2 different scarves, 1 in bronze-ish red, and 1 in gold. I planned on leaving it only to 1 side like this as to not overwhelm the room. But I love it so much I am going to repeat the look on the other side. I will also install metal drawbacks instead of the current tasseled string so that it doesn’t taper quite as much toward the bottom.

I’ve complained about the price of pillows before, so I usually buy anything that are priced reasonably and fall into the right color scheme (which is hard to come by). The floral one is actually a seat cushion that I cut the tie strings off of. They were $1 at Walmart! I wish I had use for more of them! The rosy textured pillows came in a pair for $12 from Home Goods. The taupe pillow that doesn’t photograph well is from Ikea and was sold as just the pillow case, $7. The pillow form was sold seperately for $2. I’m always shopping for more pillows but I’m happy with the progress so far.

The red place mats are also from Walmart, $4 for the set. I went a little fancy on the napkins after receiving a promotional email from Pier 1. I’m a big believer in individuality. I use wine markers even if there are only 2 of us and 1 of us is drinking from a margarita glass. So of course I’m going to let everyone get their own special napkin ring!

The room is undoubtably premature for dinner parties. The table is deserving of a pretty centerpiece other than this top of the line martini shaker.

But for now, it’s nice to look at on my way out the door.


Just as I predicted, whilst decorating my mom’s bedroom, inspiration struck for my own home.

The dining room has come a long way since I last posted photos a month ago. For one, the paint is finished. I also purchased place settings to dress the table nicely, as well as pillows to dress the bench. I just bought window scarves today to try out over the entrance…fingers crossed on that one.

While watching Design on a Dime on HGTV, I saw a beautiful piece of art made from bookends.

The designer turned the bookends upside down and placed tea-light candles on each one. I LOVED this idea, but couldn’t find cheap bookends anywhere! I tried Amazon, Overstock, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc etc…all at least $12 each for something this regal looking. I temporarily gave up until recently, while browsing Etsy, I discovered corbels. I had no idea what these were, only saw the picture, the $3 price tag, and knew I had struck gold. The ones I found were very small and the seller didn’t have enough available, so I googled “corbels” and bought 12 from Total: $60 (plus $20 shipping). I plan on painting them gold before hanging them as shown on the back wall of my dining room.

Now for the real inspiration: A few weeks ago while at my dad’s house, I came across an old spatula box (apparently spatulas came in boxes?) in his garage full of photos from his youth. I took it, deciding to make a few copies and creative wall art for my place. Unfortunately, they’ve sat in a cabinet above my fridge since then.

This weekend while continuing my mom’s bedroom makeover, I happened upon a wedding photo of my grandmother (who passed before I was born). News to me: she had a double wedding and the brides wore identical dresses, unheard of these days. I also took this (with permission), realizing that my vintage photo collection is growing and therefore my opportunities expanding.

I’ve been brainstorming all day about how to display the photos. Our condo is very modern, and I don’t want them to be placed on a shelf out of sight. These deserve attention, they demand it! The dining room popped out as the location. It has broken free from the rest of the condo decor and would host these photos beautifully. Still… how to hang them? On a shelf? The wall? Mismatched frames? Scattered?  I’m 24, I don’t want it looking like my grandmother’s basement.

It was finally suggested to me that I hang the old photos on one wall, all enlarged in a sepia tone, and on the opposite wall hang recent pictures of my friends and I in a pop-art print (sandwiching the corbel wall). I instantly fell in love and am already shopping for frames…gold tone.
I am going to keep a symmetrical pattern and hang my favorite photos in neat columns as shown above. Hopefully I make it to a photo lab this week for copies (have to protect the originals)!

Dining Room – During the Upgrade

I have become addicted to wallpapering furniture! I toyed around with the idea in my head for a while, wondering if it would be financially smart as well as a beautiful outcome. It has proved to be both. I bought the diamond checkered pattern on ebay for $10. I did the table top and drawers, and I also did my new vanity/bar, which needs another post entirely.

The table folded down to a tiny drink station

You may be able to tell that we haven’t solved the lighting solution in this room yet. I do plan on keeping it darker to add an ambient atmosphere, but as of now we just have a lamp plugged into the wall to add light when we painted.

We haven’t moved the bench out to paint behind there yet either. There’s no doubt that this room is only about 40% finished. I plan on adding some drapes to close it off a little, and throw some pillows together for the bench as well as new ones for the chairs.

We’re also at a standstill on the wall. The original plan was to stencil the fleur de lys onto the wall in a diagonal criss-cross pattern, but after we painted we started brainstorming other ideas. Maybe have frames of different shapes and sizes covering the back wall. Maybe thin gold stripes. Possibly leave as-is? To be determined..

I love this room as a lounge. The small trunk between the 2 Ikea chairs is from Home Goods. It’s perfect for setting down a drink or for a tray of appetizers. The room looks so bare in thie picture but once the drapes are up, the lighting is perfect, the bench has pillows, the walls are decorated, then voila! it will look wonderful. How is the smallest room the hardest to decorate?


The Dining Room..the smallest space proves to be the biggest project

The "Bonus" Room

Our dining room is just awkward. The way our condo is shaped, the dining room is set in the front of the unit right by the door. If you follow the hallway from the front door, past the dining room, you are lead into the kitchen/living room, and the rest of the otherwise-open-layout condo. It is easy to forget that the dining room even exists, especially with the breakfast bar where we eat most of our meals anyway.

It is only 8ft by 8ft and therefore very difficult to plan a formal dining room around. Now, in the defense of the architect, this room was not necessarily planned as a dining room. I’ve seen it used as an office, a sitting room with a small TV, I’ve even considered converting it into a 2nd bathroom. But as someone who loves to cook and entertain, a dining room was inevitable.

Folded down at 10″ wide

Fully extended to 5 feet

We were given a versatile Ikea table and chairs from as a gift. It was perfect for the small space. It can be folded to a minimum when I’m going for a lounge-type feel, 1 side down for an intimate dinner for 2, or fully extended to accommodate a group. Although the versatility was like magic, the simplicity wasn’t my cup of tea. But the renovation deserves its own post.

 I built a bench for the back wall of the room using wood from Home Depot and a drill. (Having two 8ft 2x4s cut into several 16 inch legs by the Home Depot tech was a major stress saver!) It was much easier than I imagined and it cost around $20. With a staple gun, I covered the top of the bench in thick batting, and topped it with a faux leather material from Joann Fabric’s clearance section. However, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my own work, and the batting wasn’t quite as thick to conceal the hardwood feel, and the fabric wrinkled a little after haste stapling. So my next step is to remove batting and fabric and add a thick piece of foam (2-3 inches) cut to size from Joann Fabrics. With their never-ending 40% coupons found in every ad, this should be under $10. 
These are the ‘befores.’ Since the ‘afters’ don’t exist in photograph or my home, stay tune for the ‘durings.’
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